Share

First State Geology Newsletter Signup

First State Geology has been the newsletter of DGS for over 25 years.

Click here to signup!

Federal News

New Mexico Awarded More than $1 Million in Federal Disaster Assistance Following the Sept. 2014 Flooding

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 16:57

DENTON, Texas – The state of New Mexico has been awarded more than $1 million for debris removal in the aftermath of severe storms and flooding in Sept. 2014.

The heavy rains and flooding in 2014 flowed into arroyos, acequais, the Rio Nambe River and the Pojoaque River just north of Santa Fe. This caused more than 17,000 cubic yards of sedimentary debris to be deposited into the Nambe Falls Reservoir. The reservoir provides water for nearby municipalities and also for irrigation purposes.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

New Mexico Awarded More than $1 Million in Federal Disaster Assistance Following the Sept. 2014 Flooding

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 16:57

DENTON, Texas – The state of New Mexico has been awarded more than $1 million for debris removal in the aftermath of severe storms and flooding in Sept. 2014.

The heavy rains and flooding in 2014 flowed into arroyos, acequais, the Rio Nambe River and the Pojoaque River just north of Santa Fe. This caused more than 17,000 cubic yards of sedimentary debris to be deposited into the Nambe Falls Reservoir. The reservoir provides water for nearby municipalities and also for irrigation purposes.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Moises Dugan Sworn In as New FEMA Region 6 Deputy Administrator

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 16:44

DENTON, Texas – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 6 Office has a new Deputy Administrator. Moises Dugan was officially sworn in today by FEMA Region 6 Administrator Tony Robinson.

“Moises Dugan is an effective leader and brings a wealth of experience to this critically important position at FEMA Region 6,” said Robinson. “As Deputy Regional Administrator, he will work very closely with our federal, state, local and tribal partners in our Region 6 states – Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.”

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Moises Dugan Sworn In as New FEMA Region 6 Deputy Administrator

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 16:44

DENTON, Texas – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 6 Office has a new Deputy Administrator. Moises Dugan was officially sworn in today by FEMA Region 6 Administrator Tony Robinson.

“Moises Dugan is an effective leader and brings a wealth of experience to this critically important position at FEMA Region 6,” said Robinson. “As Deputy Regional Administrator, he will work very closely with our federal, state, local and tribal partners in our Region 6 states – Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.”

Language English
Categories: Federal News

New Mexico Receives Nearly $2.5 Million in Federal Disaster Assistance for the Tres Lagunas Fire

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 12:12

DENTON, Texas – The state of New Mexico has been awarded nearly $2.5 million in federal disaster assistance in the aftermath of the Tres Lagunas Fire that happened in late May, early June 2013.

The funding, which is made possible by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Fire Management Assistance Grant Program, serves as reimbursement for firefighting costs incurred while fighting the fire.
In 2013, the Tres Lagunas Fire threatened hundreds of homes, as well as roads and bridges, and burned thousands of acres of land in San Miguel County.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

New Mexico Receives Nearly $2.5 Million in Federal Disaster Assistance for the Tres Lagunas Fire

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 04/06/2015 - 12:12

DENTON, Texas – The state of New Mexico has been awarded nearly $2.5 million in federal disaster assistance in the aftermath of the Tres Lagunas Fire that happened in late May, early June 2013.

The funding, which is made possible by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Fire Management Assistance Grant Program, serves as reimbursement for firefighting costs incurred while fighting the fire.
In 2013, the Tres Lagunas Fire threatened hundreds of homes, as well as roads and bridges, and burned thousands of acres of land in San Miguel County.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Rhode Island Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 16:16

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 Rhode Island.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Rhode Island Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 16:16

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 Rhode Island.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Rhode Island

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 16:12

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 Rhode Island to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm and snowstorm during the period of January 26-28, 2015. 

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Rhode Island

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 04/03/2015 - 16:12

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 Rhode Island to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm and snowstorm during the period of January 26-28, 2015. 

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Tennessee Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 13:12

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 Tennessee.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Tennessee Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 13:12

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 Tennessee.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Tennessee

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 13:07

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 Tennessee to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm and flooding during the period of February 15-22, 2015. 

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Tennessee

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 13:07

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 Tennessee to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm and flooding during the period of February 15-22, 2015. 

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Circulation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu in North American Birds

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 11:45
Summary: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 viruses of Eurasian origin continue to circulate and evolve in North American wild birds Viral Changes Make Current Situation More Complex

Contact Information:

Marisa Lubeck, USGS ( Phone: 303-202-4765 ); Gail Moede Rogall, USGS ( Phone: 608-270-2438 ); Joelle Hayden, USDA ( Phone: 301-851-4040 );



Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 viruses of Eurasian origin continue to circulate and evolve in North American wild birds. 

The U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Department of Agriculture published the genetic analysis of a mixed-origin HPAI H5N1 avian flu virus in the journal Genome Announcements today. This novel virus was discovered in a green-winged teal in Washington State that was sampled at the end of 2014. It is a mixed-origin virus containing genes from the Eurasian HPAI H5N8 and genes from North American low pathogenic avian influenza from wild birds. This H5N1 virus is different from the well-known Asian H5N1 HPAI virus that emerged in 1996. 

This new publication follows a recent article describing the introduction of Eurasian HPAI H5N8 into North America at the end of 2014 and the detection of a different mixed-origin virus (HPAI H5N2) in wild birds. In March 2015, the HPAI H5N2 virus was detected in commercial turkey flocks in Minnesota, Missouri and Arkansas, in a backyard flock of mixed poultry in Kansas and in a wild bird in Wyoming. 

“Such findings are not unexpected and might continue as the Eurasian lineage H5 circulates in the United States,” said co-author Mia Kim Torchetti, a USDA Animal and Plant Inspection Service scientist. 

The term ‘highly pathogenic’ refers to the ability of an avian influenza virus strain to produce disease in chickens. The population-level impact of these viruses on free-living wild bird species is currently unknown. 

“This report describes the first detection of HPAI H5N1 virus in North America, and this virus has since been detected in a backyard flock in British Columbia, Canada,” said Hon Ip, a USGS National Wildlife Health Center scientist. 

As with the parental Eurasian H5N8 virus, no human infections with this H5N1 virus have been detected. However, similar viruses have infected people in other countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The public health risk posed by these domestic HPAI outbreaks is considered low at this time, but it is possible that human infections with these viruses may occur.  

Each mixed-origin virus might carry different risks and surveillance of circulating HPAI viruses is ongoing. The USGS and USDA scientists continue to monitor Eurasian H5 lineage viruses and provide stakeholders with timely information for management purposes. 

For more information about avian influenza, please visit the USGS National Wildlife Health Center website or the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service avian influenza page

Polar Bears Unlikely to Thrive on Land-based Foods

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 13:00
Summary: A team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey found that polar bears, increasingly forced on shore due to sea ice loss, may be eating terrestrial foods including berries, birds and eggs, but any nutritional gains are limited to a few individuals and likely cannot compensate for lost opportunities to consume their traditional, lipid-rich prey—ice seals

Contact Information:

Karyn Rode ( Phone: 907-786-7106 ); Paul  Laustsen ( Phone: 650-329-4046 );



Polar bear laying down to dry after a swim in the Chukchi sea. (High resolution image)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey found that polar bears, increasingly forced on shore due to sea ice loss, may be eating terrestrial foods including berries, birds and eggs, but any nutritional gains are limited to a few individuals and likely cannot compensate for lost opportunities to consume their traditional, lipid-rich prey—ice seals.

“Although some polar bears may eat terrestrial foods, there is no evidence the behavior is widespread,” said Dr. Karyn Rode, lead author of the study and scientist with the USGS. “In the regions where terrestrial feeding by polar bears has been documented, polar bear body condition and survival rates have declined.”

The authors detail their findings in a review article in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The scientists noted that over much of the polar bear’s range, terrestrial habitats are already occupied by grizzly bears. Those grizzly bears occur at low densities and are some of the smallest of their species due to low food quality and availability. Further, they are a potential competitor as polar bears displaced from their sea ice habitats increasingly use the same land habitats as grizzly bears. 

“The smaller size and low population density of grizzly bears in the Arctic provides a clear indication of the nutritional limitations of onshore habitats for supporting large bodied polar bears in meaningful numbers,” said Rode. “Grizzly bears and polar bears are likely to increasingly interact and potentially compete for terrestrial resources.”

The study found that fewer than 30 individual polar bears have been observed consuming bird eggs from any one population, which typically range from 900 to 2000 individuals. “There has been a fair bit of publicity about polar bears consuming bird eggs. However, this behavior is not yet common, and is unlikely to have population-level impacts on trends in body condition and survival,” said Rode.

Few foods are as energetically dense as marine prey. Studies suggest that polar bears consume the highest lipid diet of any species, which provides all essential nutrients and is ideal for maximizing fat deposition and minimizing energetic requirements. Potential foods found in the terrestrial environment are dominated by high-protein, low-fat animals and vegetation. Polar bears are not physiologically suited to digest plants, and it would be difficult for them to ingest the volumes that would be required to support their large body size.

“The reports of terrestrial feeding by polar bears provide important insights into the ecology of bears on land,” said Rode. “In this paper, we tried to put those observations into a broader context.  Focused research will help us determine whether terrestrial foods could contribute to polar bear nutrition despite the physiological and nutritional limitations and the low availability of most terrestrial food resources. However, the evidence thus far suggests that increased consumption of terrestrial foods by polar bears is unlikely to offset declines in body condition and survival resulting from sea ice loss.”

The review article was developed by researchers at the USGS, Washington State University, and Polar Bears International.

The USGS is leading studies of polar bear response to sea ice loss through its Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative. Current studies include examination of polar bear nutritional and behavioral ecology, linked to population-level consequences. For further information, visit the USGS Polar Bear Program.

USGS Releases Online Tool for Estimating Atrazine Levels in Streams and Rivers

USGS Newsroom Technical - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 11:12
Summary: A new online, interactive tool for estimating atrazine concentrations in streams and rivers is now available

Contact Information:

Wes Stone ( Phone: 317-600-2786 ); Jon Campbell ( Phone: 703-648-4180 );



A new online, interactive tool for estimating atrazine concentrations in streams and rivers is now available. 

The online mapping tool can assist water managers, policy makers, and scientists in several ways, including:

  • Understanding where and why pesticides occur in streams.
  • Assessing geographic patterns in pesticide stream concentrations at many scales, ranging from the watershed to regional and national;
  • Designing efficient and cost-effective monitoring programs and studies; and
  • Identifying streams with the greatest likelihood to have concentrations that exceed a water-quality benchmark of potential concern. 

“Assessment and management of pesticides require far more information on concentrations in streams and rivers than we can afford to directly measure for all the places and times of interest,” said Wes Stone, the USGS hydrologist who developed the model.  “For these situations, statistical models can be used to estimate water-quality conditions at unmonitored locations under a range of possible circumstances.” 

The estimates are based on a USGS statistical model — referred to as Watershed Regression for Pesticides (or “WARP”) — which also provides key statistics for each selected stream, including the probability that a pesticide may exceed a water-quality benchmark of potential concern, and a level of confidence and uncertainty associated with each estimate. 

The release for atrazine is the first in a series of statistical models for other pesticides, each of which is based on USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) monitoring in streams from 1992-2011, agricultural pesticide use, and environmental characteristics, such as soil characteristics, hydrology, and climate.  

Future updates will provide similar mapping and modeling for additional pesticides. Estimates and interactive mapping of pesticides for streams in the U.S. are available at this USGS website. The new website replaces an earlier version of the model for atrazine.  

Golden State Quads Add Trails

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 09:30
Summary: Several of the 2,798 new US Topo quadrangles for California now display public trails along with segments of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Newly released US Topo maps for California now feature selected trails and other substantial updates.

Contact Information:

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



Several of the 2,798 new US Topo quadrangles for California now display public trails along with segments of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Also the new maps now show improved data layers such as public land survey information, 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 (IMBA).

“The USGS 7.5-minute quads have been the long time gold standard for wall to wall mapping in the United States.” said Tom Lupo, Deputy Director, Data and Technology Division, California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “To me, they are the second best thing the Federal government has ever done!”

For California recreationalists and visitors who want to explore the diverse west coast landscape on a bicycle seat, hiking, horseback or other means, the new trail features on the US Topo maps will come in handy. During the past two years the IMBA, in a partnership with the MTB Project, has been building a detailed national database of trails. This activity allows local IMBA chapters, IMBA members, and the public to provide trail data and descriptions through their website.  MTB Project and IMBA then verify the quality of the trail data provided, ensure accuracy and confirm the trail is legal.  This unique crowdsourcing venture has increased the availability of trail data available through The National Map mobile and web apps, and the revised US Topo maps.

Another trail system, provided through a USGS partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, is the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. This west-coast long NST joins the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the North Country National Scenic Trail, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail as being featured on the new US Topo quads around the nation. The USGS hopes to eventually include all National Scenic Trails in The National Map products.

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail is a treasured pathway through some of the most scenic terrain in the nation. Beginning in southern California at the Mexican border, the PCT travels a total distance of 2,650 miles through California, Oregon, and Washington until reaching the Canadian border. The PCT is one of the original National Scenic Trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act and fifty-four percent of the trail lies within designated wilderness

Another important addition to the new California US Topo maps is the inclusion of Public Land Survey System data. 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 the Golden State 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 El Capitan, California quadrangle with orthoimage turned on. (1:24,000 scale) (high resolution image 1.4 MB) Scan of the 1909 USGS quadrangle of the Yosemite, California area, to include El Capitan, from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection. (1:250,000 scale) (high resolution image 2 MB) Updated 2015 version of the El Capitan, California quadrangle with orthoimage turned off to better see the various trail networks. (1:24,000 scale) (high resolution image 1.3 MB) 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
(high resolution image 64 KB)

Federal Aid Programs for the State of West Virginia Declaration

FEMA Region III News Releases - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 18:54

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 West Virginia.

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

Language English

Federal Aid Programs for the State of West Virginia Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 18:54

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 West Virginia.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News