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Federal News

Residents Urged to Clean Up Now

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 03:56

SAIPAN – Individuals affected by Typhoon Soudelor that occurred August 1-3, 2015 are urged to begin cleaning up their homes and personal property as soon as possible. Officials from the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emphasize that it is not necessary to wait for a housing inspection before beginning this process.

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Categories: Federal News

Use Disaster Grants Wisely

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 18:31

SAIPAN-- Disaster assistance payments are bringing some much needed financial help to survivors affected by Typhoon Soudelor. But those payments come with some words of advice from commonwealth and federal officials: Be cautious, use them wisely.

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Categories: Federal News

Major Disaster Declaration for CNMI (FEMA-4235-DR) amended to include the Islands of Saipan and Tinian for Public Assistance Categories C-G.

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 18:23

SAIPAN – On August 18, 2015, the Major Disaster Declaration for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (FEMA-4235-DR) as a result of damages occurred August 1-3 by Typhoon Soudelor, was amended to include the Islands of Saipan and Tinian for Public Assistance [Categories C-G].

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Advice on Preventing Damage from Future Storms Offered at Home Improvement Stores in Texas

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 13:29

AUSTIN, Texas – As Texans rebuild or repair their homes damaged by the May 4 through June 22 storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local home improvement stores have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Helps Mississippi Preserve Important Architectural Properties

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 13:28

BILOXI, Miss. -- As part of an innovative agreement between federal, state, local and tribal officials, 29 historic properties lost during Katrina have been commemorated with cast aluminum markers.

“We thought it especially important to have sketches of the destroyed buildings on the markers,” said Kenneth P’Pool, deputy state historic preservation officer of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “It gives people an appreciation of what was lost. Some of these illustrations are the last examples of architectural styles on the Coast.”

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Mercury and Selenium are Accumulating in the Colorado River Food Web of the Grand Canyon

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 13:24
Summary: Although the Grand Canyon segment of the Colorado River features one of the most remote ecosystems in the United States, it is not immune to exposure from toxic chemicals such as mercury according to newly published research in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Contact Information:

Heidi  Koontz ( Phone: 303-202-4763 );



Although the Grand Canyon segment of the Colorado River features one of the most remote ecosystems in the United States, it is not immune to exposure from toxic chemicals such as mercury according to newly published research in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

The study, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, found that concentrations of mercury and selenium in Colorado River food webs of the Grand Canyon National Park, regularly exceeded risk thresholds for fish and wildlife. These risk thresholds indicate the concentrations of toxins in food that could be harmful if eaten by fish, wildlife and humans. These findings add to a growing body of research demonstrating that remote ecosystems are vulnerable to long-range transport and bioaccumulation of contaminants. 

“Managing exposure risks in the Grand Canyon will be a challenge, because sources and transport mechanisms of mercury and selenium extend far beyond Grand Canyon boundaries,” said Dr. David Walters, USGS research ecologist and lead author of the study. 

David Uberuaga, superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, added, “studies like this continue to educate the public and highlight the threats that face the park and its resources." 

The study examined food webs at six sites along nearly 250 miles of the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park in the summer of 2008. The researchers found that mercury and selenium concentrations in minnows and invertebrates exceeded dietary fish and wildlife toxicity thresholds. 

Although the number of samples was relatively low, mercury levels in rainbow trout, the most common species harvested by anglers in the study area, were below the EPA threshold that would trigger advisories for human consumption.  

“The good news is that concentrations of mercury in rainbow trout were very low in the popular Glen Canyon sport fishery, and all of the large rainbow trout analyzed from the Grand Canyon were also well below the risk thresholds for humans,” said Dr. Ted Kennedy, USGS researcher and co-author of the study. 

“We also found some surprising patterns of mercury in rainbow trout in the Grand Canyon. Biomagnification usually leads to large fish having higher concentrations of mercury than small fish. But we found the opposite pattern, where small, 3-inch rainbow trout in the Grand Canyon had higher concentrations than the larger rainbow trout that anglers target. This inverted pattern likely has something to do with the novel food web structure that has developed in Grand Canyon.” 

Airborne transport and deposition -- with much of it coming from outside the country -- is most commonly identified as the mechanism for contaminant introduction to remote ecosystems, and this is a potential pathway for mercury entering the Grand Canyon food web. Also, long-range downstream transport from upstream sources can deliver contaminants to river food webs. This is the case for selenium in this study, where irrigation of selenium-rich soils in the upper Colorado River basin contributes much of the selenium that is present in the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. 

Exposure to high levels of selenium and mercury has been linked to lower reproductive success, growth, and survival of fish and wildlife. No human consumption advisories are currently in place for fish harvested from the study area. However, to assess potential risks to humans that may consume fish from Grand Canyon or Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, additional studies are planned. 

Research partners in this study include the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Montana State University, and Idaho State University.

Map of study area showing sample location relative to Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, Grand Canyon (AZ, USA).

Oklahomans Have One Week Left to Register for FEMA Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 12:22

OKLAHOMA CITY –There is only one week left for Oklahomans who sustained damages from the May 5 through June 22 storms to apply for state and federal disaster assistance.

Residents and business owners in the 45 counties approved for Individual Assistance have until August 26 to seek assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

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Disaster Recovery Centers to Open at CAP Offices

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 11:14

PINE RIDGE, S.D. – The Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are establishing Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in six locations for individuals who experience damage during the severe storms from May 8-29. The centers will be located at the CAP offices in the following locations:

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Disaster Recovery Center Open in Carter County to Help Kentucky Storm Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 10:48

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A disaster recovery center operated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now open in Carter County.

The center will operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (EDT) Monday through Saturday until further notice. The Carter County center is located at Northeast Kentucky Community Action, 539 Hitchins Ave. in Olive Hill.

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Categories: Federal News

Arkansas, Louisiana & New Mexico Receive More Than $2.4 Million in FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 10:36

DENTON, Texas — Fire departments in Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico have been awarded more than $2.4 million in preparedness grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In Arkansas, the grants total $413,524 and cover firefighting equipment for the Lake Village Fire Department and the Lone Rock Volunteer Fire Department in Norfork.

In Louisiana, the grants total more than $1.8 million and pay for:

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New Cowboy State Maps Add U.S. Forest Service Data

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 10:00
Summary: Newly released US Topo maps for Wyoming now feature more trails using data provided by the U.S. Forest Service such as the recreational trails in the Bridger-Teton National Forest

Contact Information:

Mark Newell, APR ( Phone: 573-308-3850 ); Larry Moore ( Phone: 303-202-4019 );



Newly released US Topo maps for Wyoming now feature more trails using data provided by the U.S. Forest Service such as the recreational trails in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

“The USGS has expanded an excellent working relationship with the U.S. Forest Service to include adding their recreational trails to the data being integrated into The National Map and on our US Topo maps,” said Kari Craun, director of the USGS National Geospatial Technical Operations Center. “The value of adding trails in areas like Bridger-Teton is high because of the number of people using the trails. We are very excited about taking this first step toward incorporating U.S. Forest Service trails information on US Topo maps nationwide.”

The U.S. Forest Service has provided boundary and road data for the US Topo map series for the past five years, and is now working on a national dataset of recreational trails.

Also, a number of the new Wyoming maps contain segments of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) and other selected public trails. Further substantial upgrades to the new quadrangles include map symbol redesign, enhanced railroad information and new road source data. Some of the data for the trails is provided to the USGS through a nationwide “crowdsourcing” project managed by the International Mountain Biking Association.

The 3,100-mile long CDNST runs from Canada to Mexico through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Crossing the spine of the North American continent numerous times, it traverses some of America's most spectacular and isolated scenery, offering views unlike any other trail in the world.

In Wyoming, the trail passes through Yellowstone National Park; the Bridger/Teton, Shoshone, and Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests; and public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

This NST joins the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail the North Country National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, the Arizona National Scenic Trail, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail and the New England National Scenic Trail as being featured on the new US Topo quads. The USGS hopes to eventually include all National Scenic Trails in The National Map products.

Additionally, the new Wyoming US Topo maps will continue the inclusion and improvement of Public Land Survey System data. Wyoming was one of the first states to display this topographic layer several years ago. PLSS is a way of subdividing and describing land in the US. All lands in the public domain are subject to subdivision by this rectangular system of surveys, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for Wyoming and are available for free download from The National Map, the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website , or several other USGS applications.

To compare change over time, scans of legacy USGS topo maps, some dating back to the late 1800s, can be downloaded from the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection

For more information on US Topo maps: http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/

Updated 2015 version of the Green River Lakes quadrangle with orthoimage turned on. (1:24,000 scale) (Larger image) Scan of the 1919 USGS quadrangle of the Fremont Peaks area from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection. (1:125,000 scale) (Larger image) Updated 2015 version of the Green River Lakes quadrangle with orthoimage turned off to better see the various trail networks. (1:24,000 scale) (Larger image)

The National Trails System was established by Act of Congress in 1968. The Act grants the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture authority over the National Trails System.  The Act defines four types of trails. Two of these types, the National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails, can only be designated by Act of Congress.  National scenic trails are extended trails located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, and cultural qualities of the area through which such trails may pass.

There are 11 National Scenic Trails:

  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
  • North Country National Scenic Trail
  • Ice Age National Scenic Trail
  • Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
  • Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
  • Florida National Scenic Trail
  • Arizona National Scenic Trail
  • New England National Scenic Trail
  • Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

FEMA Specialists Reach Out to Survivors in Kentucky Communities

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 13:02

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Specialists with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are reaching out to survivors in Kentucky’s storm-ravaged communities of Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble counties to help individuals register for assistance. Survivors may meet a specialist in their neighborhood or speak to one on the phone.

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Survivors of Kentucky’s July Storms May Register by Phone or Internet for Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 12:53

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentuckians whose home, apartment or business was affected by the July severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble counties must register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to see if they are eligible for disaster assistance.

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Insecticides Similar to Nicotine Found in about Half of Sampled Streams across the United States

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:00
Summary: USGS discovered insecticides known as neonicotinoids in a little more than half of both urban and agricultural streams sampled across the United States and Puerto Rico, according to a study by the agency published today in Environmental Chemistry

Contact Information:

Michelle Hladik ( Phone: 916-278-3183 ); Mike Focazio ( Phone: 703-648-6808 ); Catherine Puckett ( Phone: 352-377-2469 );



USGS discovered insecticides known as neonicotinoids in a little more than half of both urban and agricultural streams sampled across the United States and Puerto Rico, according to a study by the agency published today in Environmental Chemistry.

This study, conducted from 2011 to 2014, represents the first national-scale investigation of the environmental occurrence of neonicotinoid insecticides in agricultural and urban settings. The research spanned 24 states and Puerto Rico and was completed as part of ongoing USGS investigations of pesticide and other contaminant levels in streams. 

“In the study, neonicotinoids occurred throughout the year in urban streams while pulses of neonicotinoids were typical in agricultural streams during crop planting season,” said USGS research chemist Michelle Hladik, the report’s lead author.

“The occurrence of low levels in streams throughout the year supports the need for future research on the potential impacts of neonicotinoids on aquatic life and terrestrial animals that rely on aquatic life,” said USGS scientist Kathryn Kuivila, the research team leader. "These results will serve as an important baseline for that future work."

The foundational study is the first step needed to set priorities for environmental exposure experiments and the potential for adverse impacts to terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Scientists and others have raised concerns about potential harmful effects of neonicotinoids on non-target insects, especially pollinating honey bees and native bees.

In May, the White House released the Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, which includes a Pollinator Research Action Plan

"This research will support the overall goals of the Strategy, by helping to understand whether these water-borne pesticides, particularly at the low levels shown in this study, pose a risk for pollinators,” said Mike Focazio, program coordinator for the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program.

At least one of the six neonicotinoids tested by USGS researchers was found in more than half of the sampled streams. No concentrations exceeded the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s aquatic life criteria, and all detected neonicotinoids are classified as not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

Detections of the six neonicotinoids varied:  imidicloprid was found in 37 percent of the samples in the national study, clothianidin in 24 percent, thiamethoxam in 21 percent, dinotefuran in 13 percent, acetamiprid in 3 percent, and thiacloprid was not detected.

Use of neonicotinoids to control pest insects has been increasing over the past decade, especially on corn and soybeans. Much of this increase is due to a shift from leaf applications to using the insecticides prophylactically on seeds.

The paper, “First National-Scale Reconnaissance of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Streams across the USA,” was published in Environmental Chemistry.  To learn more about the study, please see our science feature. To learn more about USGS environmental health science, please visit the USGS Environmental Health website and sign up for our GeoHealth Newsletter.

Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Johnson County

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 09:52

FRANKFORT, Ky.-- A Commonwealth/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is now open in Johnson County to assist homeowners, renters and business owners in Carter, Johnson, Rowan, and Trimble counties who sustained damage as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in July.

The Disaster Recovery Center will be open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice and is located at:


Midway College School of Pharmacy

(formerly the Paintsville Entrepreneurial Center)

120 Teays Branch Road

Paintsville, KY 41240

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Categories: Federal News

Next Steps After Receiving a FEMA Determination Letter

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 21:56

SAIPAN – FEMA housing inspectors have been assessing damaged homes of applicants who registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for damage sustained in Typhoon Soudelor. Once the inspection process is complete, your case will be reviewed by FEMA and you will receive a letter, or email if you signed up for E-Correspondence, outlining the decision:

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Categories: Federal News

Deadline Approaching to File Requests for FEMA/CNMI Public Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 21:40

SAIPAN – The Government of CNMI agencies and certain private nonprofit agencies, that may be eligible for federal and commonwealth disaster assistance, must submit Request for Public Assistance (RPA) forms to Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) Homeland Security by September 4, 2015.

The Public Assistance Program provides grants to commonwealth governments and certain private non-profit entities to assist them with the response to and recovery from disasters.

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Getting Disaster Help from the U.S. Small Business Administration: SBA Representatives available at Disaster Recovery Center

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 20:53

SAIPAN-

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

♦ SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.

♦ Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury.

♦ SBA offers low-interest working capital loans (called Economic Injury Disaster Loans) to small businesses, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes having difficulty meeting obligations as a result of the disaster.

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Categories: Federal News

Mississippi Hurricane Katrina: A Decade of Progress through Partnerships

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 12:45

BILOXI, Miss. -- It’s been nearly ten years since Hurricane Katrina left widespread destruction along the Mississippi Coast. In the storm’s path, more than 234,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and more than one million people, a third of Mississippi’s population, were affected.

During the ten-years of recovery, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have collaborated with local governments and communities statewide to ensure that Mississippi rebuilds stronger and safer.

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Disaster Recovery Support Services Resume Following Tropical Storm Goni

FEMA Press Releases - Sun, 08/16/2015 - 08:47

SAIPAN – Now that Tropical Storm Goni and the follow-on monsoonal rains begin to subside in the Saipan area, the following disaster recovery support services will resume on Monday, August 17:

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Categories: Federal News