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Federal News

Reservoirs Affect the Movement of Carbon in Large Rivers of the Central and Western United States

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 12:47
Summary: A recent study conducted by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences found that a combination of climate and human activities (diversion and reservoirs) controls the movement of carbon in two large western river basins, the Colorado and the Missouri Rivers

Contact Information:

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



A recent study conducted by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences found that a combination of climate and human activities (diversion and reservoirs) controls the movement of carbon in two large western river basins, the Colorado and the Missouri Rivers. 

Rivers move large amounts of carbon downstream to the oceans. Developing a better understanding of the factors that control the transport of carbon in rivers is an important component of global carbon cycling research. 

The study is a product of the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis and the USGS Land Carbon program. 

Different downstream patterns were found between the two river systems. The amount of carbon steadily increased down the Missouri River from headwaters to its confluence with the Mississippi River, but decreased in the lower Colorado River. The differences were attributed to less precipitation, greater evaporation, and the diversion of water for human activities on the Colorado River.

For upstream/headwater sites on both rivers, carbon fluxes varied along with seasonal precipitation and temperature changes. There was also greater variability in the amount of carbon at upstream sites, likely because of seasonal inputs of organic material to the rivers. Reservoirs disrupted the connection between the watershed and the river, causing carbon amounts downstream of dams to be less variable in time and less responsive to seasonal temperature and precipitation changes. 

The study presents estimates of changes in the amount of carbon moving down the Colorado and Missouri Rivers and provides new insights into aquatic carbon cycling in arid and semi-arid regions of the central and western U.S, where freshwater carbon cycling studies have been less common. This work is part of an ongoing effort to directly address the importance of freshwater ecosystems in the context of the broader carbon cycle. In the future, changing hydrology and warming temperatures will increase the importance of reservoirs in carbon cycling, and may lead to an increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions that contribute to global warming, but may also increase the amount of carbon buried in sediments.  

FEMA Offers Rebuilding Advice at Area Home Improvement Stores

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 11:25

PENSACOLA, Fla. – People who are repairing or rebuilding damaged property can get advice from a Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation specialist at two Pensacola home improvement stores.

Hazard mitigation specialists who are knowledgeable about property cleanup and rebuilding safer and smarter will be offering advice and guidance Tuesday, June 17, through Thursday, June 26.

Specialists will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays at the following locations:

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Categories: Federal News

Austin Coal-Tar Sealant Ban Leads to Decline in PAHs

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 11:00
Summary: The 2006 prohibition on the use of coal-tar-based pavement sealants in Austin, Texas, has resulted in a substantial reduction in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey

Contact Information:

Peter Van Metre ( Phone: 512-927-3506 ); Jennifer LaVista ( Phone: 303-202-4764 );



The 2006 prohibition on the use of coal-tar-based pavement sealants in Austin, Texas, has resulted in a substantial reduction in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Pavement sealant is a black, shiny substance sprayed or painted on the asphalt pavement of parking lots, driveways and playgrounds to increase the longevity of the underlying asphalt pavement and enhance its appearance. Pavement sealants that contain coal tar have extremely high levels of PAHs compared to asphalt-based pavement sealants and other urban PAH sources such as vehicle emissions, used motor oil and tire particles. PAHs are an environmental health concern because several are probable human carcinogens and they are toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

In 2006, Austin became the first jurisdiction in the United States to ban the use of coal-tar sealants. USGS scientists evaluated the effect of the ban on PAH concentrations in lake sediments by analyzing trends in PAHs in sediment cores and surficial bottom sediments collected in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2012 and 2014 from Lady Bird Lake, a reservoir on the Colorado River in central Austin. Average PAH concentrations in the lower part of the lake have declined 58 percent since the ban, reversing a 40-year upward trend. The full study, reported in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology, is available online.

“Identifying contaminant trends in water and sediment is key to evaluating the effect of environmental regulations, and provides vital information for resource managers and the public,” said lead USGS scientist Dr. Peter Van Metre.

Results of the USGS study support the conclusions of previous studies that coal-tar sealants are a major source of PAHs to Lady Bird Lake and to other lakes in commercial and residential settings. A sediment core collected by the USGS from Lady Bird Lake in 1998 was part of a study of 40 lakes from across the United States that used chemical fingerprinting to determine that coal-tar sealants were, on average, the largest contributor of PAH to the lakes studied. Chemical fingerprinting of sediment collected for the new study indicates that coal-tar-based sealant continues to be the largest source of PAHs to Lady Bird Lake sediment, implying that PAH concentrations should continue to decrease as existing coal-tar-sealant stocks are depleted.

To learn more, visit the USGS website on PAHs and sealcoat.

FEMA Urges Preparedness ahead of Severe Weather; Residents Encouraged to Monitor Conditions and Follow Direction of Local Officials

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 10:04

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—through its regional offices in Chicago, Kansas City and Denton (Texas)—is monitoring the possibility of tornadoes and large hail Saturday afternoon and evening across much of Nebraska, Kansas, and western Iowa. Residents in potentially affected areas should take the time now to prepare for severe weather and to monitor conditions via NOAA Weather Radio and local media.

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Categories: Federal News

Human Activities Increase Salt Content in Many of the Nation's Streams

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 09:18
Summary: Concentrations of dissolved solids, a measure of the salt content in water, are elevated in many of the Nations streams as a result of human activities, according to a new USGS study

Contact Information:

Ethan Alpern ( Phone: 703-648-4406 ); David Anning ( Phone: 928-556-7139 );



Concentrations of dissolved solids, a measure of the salt content in water, are elevated in many of the Nations streams as a result of human activities, according to a new USGS study. Excessive dissolved-solids concentrations in water can have adverse effects on the environment and on agricultural, domestic, municipal, and industrial water users.

Results from this study provide a nation-wide picture of where dissolved-solids concentrations are likely to be of concern, as well as the sources leading to such conditions.

“This study provides the most comprehensive national-scale assessment to date of dissolved solids in our streams,” said William Werkheiser, USGS Associate Director for Water. “For years we have known that activities, such as road de-icing, irrigation, and other activities in urban and agricultural lands increase the dissolved solids concentrations above natural levels caused by rock weathering, and now we have improved science-based information on the primary sources of dissolved-solids in the nation’s streams.”

The highest concentrations are found in streams in an area that extends from west Texas to North Dakota. Widespread occurrences of moderate concentrations are found in streams extending in an arc from eastern Texas to northern Minnesota to eastern Ohio. Low concentrations are found in many states along the Atlantic coast and in the Pacific Northwest.

The total amount of dissolved solids delivered to all of the Nation’s streams is about 270 million metric tons annually, of which about 71% comes from weathering of rocks and soil, 14% comes from application of road deicers, 10% comes from activities on agricultural lands, and 5% comes from activities on urban lands.

All water naturally contains dissolved solids as a result of weathering processes in rocks and soils. Some amount of dissolved solids is necessary for agricultural, domestic, and industrial water uses and for plant and animal growth, and many of the major ions are essential to life and provide vital nutritional functions. Elevated concentrations, however, can cause environmental and economic damages. For instance, estimated damages related to excess salinity in the Colorado River Basin exceed $330 million annually.

“This study applied statistical modeling to understand the sources and transport processes leading to dissolved-solids concentrations observed in field measurements at over 2,500 water-quality monitoring sites across the Nation,” said David Anning, USGS lead scientist for the study. “This new information was then used to estimate contributions from different dissolved-solids sources and the resulting concentrations in unmonitored streams, thereby providing a complete assessment of the Nation’s streams.”

The study determined that in about 13 percent of the Nation’s streams, concentrations of dissolved solids likely exceed 500 mg/L, which is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s secondary, non-enforceable drinking water standard. Many of these streams are found in a north-south oriented band stretching from west Texas to North Dakota.

While this standard provides a benchmark for evaluating predicted concentrations in the context of drinking-water supplies, it should be noted that it only applies to drinking water actually served to customers by water utilities.

An online, interactive decision support system provides easy access to the national-scale model describing how streams receive and transport dissolved solids from human sources and weathering of geologic materials. The decision support system can used to evaluate combinations of reduction scenarios that target one or multiple sources and see the change in the amount of dissolved solids transported downstream waters.

The dissolved-solids model was developed by the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program, which provides information about water-quality conditions and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Information on modeling applications, data, and documentation can be accessed online.

Nearly $16.5 Million Approved for Mississippi Disaster Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 15:05

JACKSON, Miss. Federal assistance approved for disaster survivors in 12 Mississippi counties has reached almost $16.5 million.

Here is a summary through Thursday, June 12, of all federal assistance to individuals and households in the 12 counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance. The severe storms, tornadoes and flooding occurred from April 28 through May 3, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

Mayflower Disaster Recovery Center Transitions to SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:46

Little Rock, Ark. – To meet the needs of Arkansans affected by the April 27 severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, the state/federal Disaster Recovery Center in Mayflower will transition into a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Outreach Center on Monday, June 16.

The center’s hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center will close Thursday, June 26, at 6 p.m.

Address:

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Categories: Federal News

Last Chance to Visit FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Arkansas

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:39

Little Rock, Ark. – Survivors of the April 27 severe storms, tornadoes and floods have until      2 p.m. Saturday, June 14, to visit the Disaster Recovery Centers in Mayflower and Vilonia.

The state and FEMA have closely monitored visitor traffic at the centers in Arkansas. Traffic to these centers has significantly decreased, indicating the information needs of survivors in the area have been met. 

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Categories: Federal News

New Hours for FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers; Closing Date Set

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:36

Little Rock, Ark. – Effective June 9, 2014, the State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in Mayflower and Vilonia will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday–Friday. The DRCs are also open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Survivors of the severe storms, tornadoes and floods have until June 14 to visit one of  the Disaster Recovery Centers.

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Categories: Federal News

New Saturday Hours for Arkansas Disaster Recovery Centers

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:33

Little Rock, Ark. – Effective immediately, the State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in Vilonia and Mayflower will have new Saturday hours.

The centers will be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. The centers will continue to be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday–Friday.

Disaster Recovery Center Locations:

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Categories: Federal News

Storm Survivors Have 30 Days to Register for FEMA Individual Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:28

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Residents of Faulkner, Pulaski, Randolph and White counties who suffered damages as a result of the flooding, severe storms and tornadoes of April 27 have until June 30 to register for state/federal Individual Assistance.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Mitigation Experts Continue Outreach in Conway and Little Rock

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:23
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Rebuilding or repairing property damaged from the recent severe storms? Thinking about adding a safe room to your home? Have questions about flood insurance? Ask an expert from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA mitigation teams will be at home improvement stores in Conway and Little Rock to offer information and answer questions. The experts can provide advice on rebuilding after a disaster, offer tips to build hazard-resistant homes and provide information on building a safe room in your home.

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Deadline Approaches for Arkansas Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:11

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Survivors of the April 27 severe storms, tornadoes and floods may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).  Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides unemployment benefits and re-employment services to people who have become unemployed because of the storms.

Residents of Faulkner County have until June 2 to apply for DUA.

The DUA deadline for residents of Pulaski, Randolph and White counties is June 5.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Vermont Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 22:16

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of Vermont.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Vermont

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 22:10

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Vermont to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding during the period of April 15-18, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

After the SR 530 slide: long-term recovery in the Evergreen state

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:46

A visit to hurricane-battered Louisiana inspired prompt digital planning after the SR 530 Slide that will sustain communications needs for the long haul.

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Categories: Federal News

Be Prepared; Have a Family Emergency Plan

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 13:21

Montgomery, Ala. – Severe weather can happen any time of the year. The best way to prepare for it is with a family emergency plan. If you don’t have one, develop one. If you have an emergency plan, review and update it, then go over it with your family at least once a year.

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Categories: Federal News

Gulf Breeze Disaster Recovery Center Transitions to SBA Loan Outreach Center on Wednesday

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 17:34

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The State/FEMA disaster recovery center located at the Gulf Breeze Recreation Center is transitioning Wednesday, June 11, to a U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan outreach center.

SBA customer service representatives will be on hand at the loan outreach center to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program and explain the application process. Survivors can get help applying for or closing low-interest disaster loans. The center is located at:

Gulf Breeze Recreation Center

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Categories: Federal News

Deadline for Disaster Unemployment Assistance Approaching

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 17:32

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Residents of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties who were unemployed as a result of the April 28 to May 6, 2014, severe storms and flooding, have until Monday, June 9, to apply for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits.

Residents of Okaloosa and Walton counties have until Thursday, June 12, to apply, and Jackson County residents have until Monday, June 23, to apply.

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Assistance in Florida Panhandle Nears $50 Million a Month after Storms

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 17:30

PENSACOLA, Fla. – One month after severe storms, tornadoes and flooding hit parts of the Florida Panhandle, almost $50 million in state and federal disaster assistance has been approved as survivors continue to rebuild their homes, businesses and communities.

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Categories: Federal News