ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Here is a round-up of the latest outdoors news from across southwest and central Virginia.

Dogs Dog Foreign Invader

The spotted lantern fly is an invasive species from Asia that is a threat to plants and trees in Virginia and across the United States. Now, the Virginia Department of Forestry is training dogs to sniff out the fly’s eggs, nymphs, and adults.

The specially trained dogs were run through their paces recently at First Mountain State Forest in Rockingham County. They are trained through a special program at Auburn University.

Dogs specially trained for use by Virginia Department of Forestry to counter invasive spotted lanternflies (Photo Courtesy: Virginia Dept. of Forestry)

Live and Work on the Water

If you want to work outdoors and around wildlife, and possibly live at the beach with access to plenty of fresh seafood, this might be your ticket. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has opened applications for its Waterman Apprentice Program. Applicants accepted for the program will receive training toward certification as a waterman’s apprentice to learn the commercial fishing trade. Waterman harvest fish, clams, oysters, crabs, and other shellfish.

A Virginia waterman with oysters on the Lynnhaven River near Virginia Beach (George Noleff/ WFXR News)

Elk Viewing

Virginia’s effort to restore its wild elk population is meeting with a lot of success. The herd is thriving in the border area with Kentucky. Now, you have the chance to view the animals in the wild. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has opened registration for elk-viewing tours. The tours will take place at Breaks Interstate Park and will involve guided bus tours through that region to view the herd. Elk are the largest deer species in Virginia.

A wild elk that is part of the restored Virginia herd (Photo courtesy: WJHL)

Birth Announcement!

The Federal Fish Hatchery in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia is pleased to announce the birth of a baby, actually a lot of babies. The first Sandy River Crayfish hatchlings have been born. Federal wildlife officials are working with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and West Liberty University to restore Sandy River crayfish numbers. The species is listed as Threatened. The unique crustacean is found only in the Sandy River drainage in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Wildlife experts say regulations to address water quality issues connected to industry and mining have been helpful. They say there are decent numbers of the crayfish in the wild, but that hatchery supplementation is needed to restore Sandy River crayfish populations.

A Sandy River crayfish hatchling (Photo courtesy: USFW)