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Federal News

Federal Aid To Vermont For Winter Storm Repairs Tops $1 Million

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 13:41

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – State and federal officials say that more than $1 million in federal assistance has been delivered to the state to help cover the costs of the December 9-12, 2014 winter storm that wreaked havoc on Vermont’s infrastructure, downing trees and power lines.

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Hydraulic Fracturing (Frac) Sand Sources and Production in the United States

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 12:20
Summary: Newly released research from the U.S. Geological Survey describes U.S. hydraulic fracturing (frac) sand deposits and their locations, and provides estimates of frac sand production, consumption, and reserves. A companion map of producing and potential frac sand and resin-coated sand source units in the conterminous U.S. is also included

Contact Information:

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



Newly released research from the U.S. Geological Survey describes U.S. hydraulic fracturing (frac) sand deposits and their locations, and provides estimates of frac sand production, consumption, and reserves. A companion map of producing and potential frac sand and resin-coated sand source units in the conterminous U.S. is also included. 

The United States is the largest producer and consumer of frac sand in the world with nearly 70 percent of 2014 domestic production coming from the Great Lakes Region, primarily Wisconsin and Minnesota. The specialized silica sand, which consists of natural sand grains with strict mineralogical and textural properties, acts as a proppant (a granular substance that props open fractures) when added to fracking fluids that are injected into unconventional oil and gas wells during hydraulic fracturing. 

“These new USGS compilations will provide comprehensive information about frac sand to mining companies, the petroleum industry, and land managers,” said USGS scientist Mary Ellen Benson, principal author of “Frac Sand Sources in the United States”. 

Hydraulic fracturing in the U.S. significantly increased around 2004, and frac sand production rapidly grew to meet that demand. “Estimates of Hydraulic Fracturing (Frac) Sand Production, Consumption, and Reserves in the United States” by USGS scientist Don Bleiwas, provides an overview of the frac sand industry, including production, consumption, reserves, and resources. 

“Frac Sand Sources in the United States,” by USGS geologists Mary Ellen Benson and Anna Burack Wilson, describes the unique physical properties of frac sand and focuses on the geology and spatial relationships of frac sand sources in the U.S. It also tracks recent published efforts to examine the potential for less optimal frac sand sources, reviews current and future sources in Canada, discusses the emergence of alternative proppants, and provides geologic guidelines for identifying potential new sources. 

The papers are contained in a special supplement, Frac Sand Insider Resource Guide, in the May 2015 issue of the magazine Rock Products. A USGS Open-File Report expanding on the geology and containing digital data is expected to be released later this year. 

More information on silica, including demand, production, and uses is available from USGS. Learn more about USGS minerals research or follow us on Twitter

Map of producing and potential frac sand and resin-coated source units in the conterminous United States. (High resolution image)

Louisville Disaster Recovery Centers To Transition to Disaster Loan Outreach Centers

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 08:18

 

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – The two remaining disaster recovery centers in Louisville, which are operated by the commonwealth of Kentucky and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will close on Thursday, May 28, at 6 p.m. (EDT) and reopen as disaster loan outreach centers on Friday, May 29,      at 9 a.m.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for State of Oklahoma Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 15:41

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 Oklahoma.

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Oklahoma

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 15:35

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 Oklahoma and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of May 5-10, 2015

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Cleveland, Grady, and Oklahoma counties.

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Categories: Federal News

Mammoths Reached the California Channel Islands Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 10:57
Summary: Recently, U.S. Geological Survey researchers and partners working in California’s Channel Islands National Park discovered mammoth remains in uplifted marine deposits that date to about 80,000 years ago, confirming a long-held but never proven hypothesis that mammoths may have been on the Channel Islands long before the last glacial period 25,000 to 12,000 years ago

Contact Information:

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



Recently, U.S. Geological Survey researchers and partners working in California’s Channel Islands National Park discovered mammoth remains in uplifted marine deposits that date to about 80,000 years ago, confirming a long-held but never proven hypothesis that mammoths may have been on the Channel Islands long before the last glacial period 25,000 to 12,000 years ago.  

“These are the first confidently dated fossils from the California Channel Islands showing that mammoths had been on the islands a long time, not just during the last glacial period,” said lead author and USGS research geologist Dan Muhs. “It supports an older hypothesis that mammoths could have swum from the mainland to the islands any time that conditions were favorable for such a journey, when sea level was low.” 

This discovery on Santa Rosa Island, detailed in the online and print journal editions of Quaternary Research, shows that mammoths likely ventured to the islands during at least one earlier glacial period, when sea level was lower than present and the swimming distance from the mainland to the islands was minimal.  

The older age of mammoths also challenges the hypothesis that climate change and sea level rise at the close of the last glacial period (about 12,000 years ago) were the causes of mammoth extinction on the Channel Islands. Earlier mammoth populations also would have had to contend with climate change and sea level rise, but apparently survived.     

The newly discovered fossil mammoth remains are likely Mammuthus exilis, the pygmy mammoth. The Columbian mammoth immigrated to the islands from the California mainland by swimming and the pygmy mammoth evolved on the islands from this ancestral stock. Most mammoth remains previously reported on the Channel Islands date to the last glacial period, about 25,000 to 12,000 years ago.  

Mammoths are iconic animals of the Pleistocene Ice Ages, both in North America and Eurasia. Fossil mammoths and other proboscideans (elephants and their relatives) have also been found on many islands of the Mediterranean.    

Public invited to submit comments on draft environmental impact statement for Tillamook area flood mitigation and habitat restoration project

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 15:13

BOTHELL, Wash. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will host a public open house on the Southern Flow Corridor Project where the public may ask questions about the project and provide comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  The open house will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at the Port of Tillamook Bay Officer’s Mess Hall (6825 Officers Row, Tillamook, OR). 

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Categories: Federal News

Hurricane Season Begins June 1—Are You Ready?

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 14:58

ATLANTA – As the 2015 hurricane season begins, FEMA has launched a new feature to its mobile app to help you be prepared and stay informed about severe weather. The free feature allows you to receive weather alerts from five locations you select anywhere in the country, even if the phone is not located in the area. This tool makes it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening your family and friends in other areas.

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Disaster Recovery Centers To Close For Memorial Day

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 14:25

 

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – Disaster recovery centers, which are operated by the commonwealth of Kentucky and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will not be open on Memorial Day.

April storm survivors can continue to call FEMA’s toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585, Video Relay Service 800-621-3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) or go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

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Categories: Federal News

Hurricane Season Approaches

FEMA Region III News Releases - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 13:50

PHILADELPHIA – As the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season approaches, FEMA Region III continues to proactively work with its state, local, and federal partners to increase preparedness, coordinate response and recovery capabilities, and empower individuals to take an active role in their community’s emergency management team.

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Hurricane Season Approaches

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 13:50

PHILADELPHIA – As the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season approaches, FEMA Region III continues to proactively work with its state, local, and federal partners to increase preparedness, coordinate response and recovery capabilities, and empower individuals to take an active role in their community’s emergency management team.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs Available for the State of West Virginia Declaration

FEMA Region III News Releases - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 22:19

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:

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Federal Aid Programs Available for the State of West Virginia Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 22:19

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:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for West Virginia

FEMA Region III News Releases - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 22:11

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 West Virginia to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides during the period of April 13-15, 2015. 

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President Declares Disaster for West Virginia

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 22:11

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 West Virginia to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides during the period of April 13-15, 2015. 

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Recovery Center to Close in Franklin County

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 16:08

 

 

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – A disaster recovery center operated by the commonwealth of Kentucky and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Franklin County will close Saturday, May 23, at 6 p.m. (EDT).

The Franklin center is located at 101 University Drive (Kentucky State University Exum Center) in Frankfort.

After the center closes, help is still available to survivors who suffered losses in Bath, Bourbon, Carter, Elliott, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Rowan and Scott counties during the severe April storms.

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Hart County Added to Disaster Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 15:42

ATLANTA— The Federal Emergency Management Agency added Hart County to the State of Georgia’s recent disaster declaration from the severe winter storm of Feb. 15-17.

Hart County joins 15 other counties already receiving federal assistance as a result of the presidential disaster declaration signed April 20, 2015.

Hart County was added to the declaration following new damage assessments requested by the state, and conducted by local officials, representatives of Georgia Emergency Management Agency and FEMA.

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Long-term Prognosis for Florida Manatees Improves

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:11
Summary: The risk of extinction for the endangered Florida manatee appears to be lower, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey led study 2012 analysis shows reduced estimates of long-term risk, but mortality events since then raise questions

Contact Information:

Michael  Runge ( Phone: 301-497-5748 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 );



The risk of extinction for the endangered Florida manatee appears to be lower, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey led study.

Based on the data available in 2012, the long-term probability of the species surviving has increased compared to a 2007 analysis, as a result of higher aerial survey estimates of population size, improved methods of tracking survival rates, and better estimates of the availability of warm-water refuges.

USGS scientists, working with colleagues from several other agencies and universities, used the manatee Core Biological Model to analyze the long-term viability of the manatee population in Florida, and to evaluate the threats it faces.  A similar analysis completed in 2007 was used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of its 5-year Review of the status of manatees. 

“Our analysis using data from 2007 estimated that there was nearly a nine percent chance of Florida manatee numbers falling below 250 adults over the next 100 years on either the Atlantic or Gulf Coast,” said Michael Runge, a USGS research ecologist and lead author of the study.  “The current analysis, using data available in 2012, has the estimate dropping to a fraction of one percent, but we need to be cautious in our conclusion, because the analysis did not include several mortality events that have occurred since then.

The mortality events Runge was referencing were cold winters, loss of seagrass in prime habitat, and a red tide event, all of which affected the population.

“Although the estimated status in 2012 was better than in 2007, questions still remain about the population effects of the more recent cold-related mortality events in the winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11,” Runge said. “The 2012 analysis also does not account for the extensive loss of seagrass habitat in Indian River Lagoon in 2011 and 2012 nor the severe red tide event in the Southwest region of Florida in 2013.”

The potential effects of these events will be analyzed in the next update of the Core Biological Model, which is underway in collaboration with Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory, and is expected to be complete within the next year.

The major threats to long-term survival of Florida manatees remain boat-related deaths and loss of warm-water winter habitat.  In the Southwest region, an increasing frequency of red-tide deaths also warrants concern.

Manatees are large, gentle, herbivorous, slow-moving mammals. They are entirely aquatic, and their range is limited by temperature. Manatees cannot survive for extended periods in water colder than about 17°C (63°F), and prefer temperatures warmer than 22°C (72°F). Manatees live in shallow fresh, brackish, and marine aquatic habitats, traveling readily among them. In Florida, they travel considerable distances during the winter to access warm water refuges, such as artesian springs and the heated discharges of power generating plants. Some individuals also travel long distances during the warm season.

The publication “Status and threats analysis for the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), 2012,” USGS Open-File Report 2015-1083, by M. C. Runge, C. A. Langtimm, J. Martin, and C. J. Fonnesbeck is available online.

Louisiana Quads Add Trails and Survey Data

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 09:30
Summary: Several of the 812 new US Topo quadrangles for Louisiana now display public trails along with improved data layers Newly released US Topo maps for Louisiana feature select trails and other updates.

Contact Information:

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



Several of the 812 new US Topo quadrangles for Louisiana now display public trails along with improved data layers. Other significant additions include public land survey system information (PLSS), redesign of map symbols, 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).

“I am very excited about the 2015 US Topo maps for Louisiana!” said R. Hampton Peele, GIS Coordinator for the Louisiana Geological Survey. “These maps will provide a great reference for our Cartographic Section as we compile our annual geologic map deliverables for the USGS.”

For Louisiana recreationalists and visitors who want to explore the diverse Gulf coast landscape on a bicycle, 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. The 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.

Additionally, a widely anticipated addition to the new Louisiana 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 (lands owned by the federal government) are subject to subdivision by this rectangular system of surveys, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“The US Topo maps provide an excellent instructional tool in our GIS Certification Program,” said Brent Yantis, Director of the University of Louisiana Lafayette Regional Application Center. “They orient students to their environment and provide a fundamental foundation in the development of geospatial concepts. We look forward to this new release.”

These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for the Pelican 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 Saint Landry quadrangle with orthoimage turned on. (1:24,000 scale) (high resolution image 1.3 MB) Updated 2015 version of the Saint Landry quadrangle with the orthoimage turned off to better see the contour intervals. (1:24,000 scale) (high resolution image 1.1 MB) Scan of the 1935 USGS quadrangle of the Turkey Creek area (which covers the Saint Landry map) from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection. (1:62, 500 scale) (high resolution image 1.6 MB)

Disaster Recovery Centers In Bourbon, Madison and Rowan Counties To Close

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 16:54

 

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – The disaster recovery centers in Madison and Rowan counties will close at 6 p.m. (EDT) on Thursday, May 21, and the Bourbon County disaster recovery center will close at 6 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, May 22. 

The centers, which have been operated by the commonwealth of Kentucky and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are located at:

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Categories: Federal News