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Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Connecticut Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 18:39

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 Connecticut.

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

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Connecticut Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 18:39

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 Connecticut.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Connecticut

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 18:36

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 Connecticut 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. 

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Connecticut

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 18:36

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 Connecticut 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. 

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Categories: Federal News

Get Ready Now for Potential Severe Weather & Wildfires

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 17:10

DENTON, Texas – People living in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are urged to get ready now for potential severe weather that could strike over the next few days in the form of possible severe thunderstorms, hail, strong winds, flash flooding, tornadoes and wildfires.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 6 office continues to monitor the situation and stands ready to support state and local partners as needed and requested in any affected areas.

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Categories: Federal News

Get Ready Now for Potential Severe Weather & Wildfires

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 17:10

DENTON, Texas – People living in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are urged to get ready now for potential severe weather that could strike over the next few days in the form of possible severe thunderstorms, hail, strong winds, flash flooding, tornadoes and wildfires.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 6 office continues to monitor the situation and stands ready to support state and local partners as needed and requested in any affected areas.

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Categories: Federal News

In Anticipation of Severe Weather, FEMA Monitors and Encourages Residents to Prepare Now

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 16:29

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the potential for severe weather across the plains and several Midwestern states this week, staff at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII office are coordinating with state and local officials in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska and urge the public to be prepared and stay informed.

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Categories: Federal News

In Anticipation of Severe Weather, FEMA Monitors and Encourages Residents to Prepare Now

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 16:29

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the potential for severe weather across the plains and several Midwestern states this week, staff at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII office are coordinating with state and local officials in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska and urge the public to be prepared and stay informed.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Awards $511,153 Grant to Lake County

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:50

CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $511,153 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to Lake County, Minn., for the installation of fire-resistant roofing materials on 65 residential and commercial structures.  

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Awards $511,153 Grant to Lake County

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:50

CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $511,153 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to Lake County, Minn., for the installation of fire-resistant roofing materials on 65 residential and commercial structures.  

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Awards $186,801 Grant to the City of Nelsonville

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:43

CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $186,801 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the city of Nelsonville, Ohio, for the acquisition and demolition of eight residential structures in the Hocking River floodplain. Following demolition, these properties will be maintained as permanent open space in the community.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Awards $186,801 Grant to the City of Nelsonville

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:43

CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $186,801 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the city of Nelsonville, Ohio, for the acquisition and demolition of eight residential structures in the Hocking River floodplain. Following demolition, these properties will be maintained as permanent open space in the community.

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Categories: Federal News

Prepare Now: Severe Weather System Threatens the Midwest This Week

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:36

CHICAGO – With a potentially volatile midweek forecast that includes severe storms, heavy rains, strong winds and the potential for tornadoes, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages everyone to get prepared.

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Categories: Federal News

Prepare Now: Severe Weather System Threatens the Midwest This Week

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:36

CHICAGO – With a potentially volatile midweek forecast that includes severe storms, heavy rains, strong winds and the potential for tornadoes, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages everyone to get prepared.

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Categories: Federal News

Multiple Satellite Eyes to Track Algal Threat to U.S. Freshwater

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 10:00
Summary: Four federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey have joined forces in an effort to transform satellite data into vital information to protect the American public from freshwater contaminated by harmful algal blooms. 

Contact Information:

Jon Campbell ( Phone: 703-648-4180 ); Keith  Loftin ( Phone: 785-832-3543 );



Four federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey have joined forces in an effort to transform satellite data into vital information to protect the American public from freshwater contaminated by harmful algal blooms. 

The $3.6 million research project is a collaborative effort among NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and USGS. Using methods and technology established to analyze ocean color satellite data, scientists from the four agencies will work to develop an early warning indicator for toxic and nuisance algal blooms in freshwater systems and build an information distribution system to expedite public health advisories. 

Algal blooms are a worldwide environmental problem causing human and animal health risks, fish kills, and noxious taste and odor in drinking water. In the United States, the cost of freshwater degraded by harmful algal blooms is estimated at $64 million annually. In August 2014, officials in Toledo, Ohio, banned the use of drinking water supplied to more than 400,000 residents after it was contaminated by an algal bloom in Lake Erie

“Harmful algal blooms have emerged as a significant public health and economic issue that requires extensive scientific investigation,” said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director. “USGS uses converging lines of evidence from ground to space to assess changes in water quantity and quality, ecosystems, natural hazards, and environmental health issues important to the nation.” 

Ocean color satellite data are currently available to scientists, but are not routinely processed and produced in formats that help state and local environmental and water quality managers. Through this project, satellite data on harmful algal blooms developed by the partner agencies will be converted to a format that stakeholders can use through mobile devices and web portals. 

“The vantage point of space not only contributes to a better understanding of our home planet, it helps improve lives around the world,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We’re excited to be putting NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration to work protecting public health and safety.”

The new network builds on previous NASA ocean satellite sensor technologies created to study the global ocean’s microscopic algal communities, which play a major role in ocean ecology, the movement of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and ocean, and climate change. These sensors detect the color of the sunlit upper layer of the ocean and are used to create indicators that can help identify harmful algal blooms. 

NOAA and NASA pioneered the use of satellite data to monitor and forecast harmful algal blooms. Satellites allow for more frequent observations over broader areas than water sampling. Satellite data support NOAA’s existing forecasting systems in the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. 

“Observing harmful algae is critical to understanding, managing, and forecasting these blooms. This collaboration will assure that NOAA’s efforts will assist the coastal and inland public health officials and managers across the country to distribute this information to the community in an easily understandable fashion,” said Holly Bamford, acting NOAA Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management and Deputy Administrator in Washington. 

Under certain environmental conditions, algae naturally present in marine and fresh waters rapidly multiply to create a bloom. Some species of algae called cyanobacteria produce toxins that can kill wildlife and domestic animals and cause illness in humans through exposure to contaminated freshwater or by the consumption of contaminated drinking water, fish, or shellfish. Cyanobacteria blooms are a particular concern because of their dense biomass, toxins, taste, and odor. 

“EPA researchers are developing important scientific tools to help local communities respond quickly and efficiently to real-time water quality issues and protect drinking water for their residents,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Working with other federal agencies, we are leveraging our scientific expertise, technology and data to create a mobile app to help water quality managers make important decisions to reduce negative impacts related to harmful algal blooms, which have been increasingly affecting our water bodies due to climate change.” 

The project also includes a research component to improve understanding of the environmental causes and health impacts of cyanobacteria and phytoplankton blooms across the United States. Blooms in lakes and estuaries are produced when aquatic plants receive excess nutrients under suitable environmental conditions. Various land uses, such as urbanization and agricultural practices, change the amount of nutrients and sediment delivered in watersheds, which can influence cyanobacterial growth. 

Researchers will compare the new freshwater algal blooms data with satellite records of land cover changes over time to identify specific land-use activities that may have caused environmental changes linked to the frequency and intensity of blooms. The results will help to develop better forecasts of bloom events. 

“Algal blooms pose an expensive, unpredictable public health threat that can affect millions of people,” said Sarah Ryker, USGS Deputy Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change. “By using satellite-based science instruments to assess conditions in water and on adjacent land, we hope to improve detection of these blooms and to better understand the conditions under which they occur.”  

The Landsat satellite series, a joint effort of USGS and NASA, has provided a continuous dataset of land use and land cover conditions since 1972. The latest satellite, Landsat 8, has demonstrated promising new capabilities for water quality assessment.

Seeing into Water in New Ways: The Visualizing Nutrients Challenge

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 09:59
Summary: The U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Blue Legacy International (a nonprofit organization) announce the Visualizing Nutrients Challenge, an innovation competition with $15,000 in cash prizes. 

Contact Information:

Nate Booth ( Phone: 703-648-5014 ); Jon Campbell ( Phone: 703-648-4180 );



The U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Blue Legacy International (a nonprofit organization) announce the Visualizing Nutrients Challenge, an innovation competition with $15,000 in cash prizes. 

Harnessing the competitive instinct for the public good, this contest focuses on inventive ways to organize and analyze existing data of nutrient levels in water. Participants will tap open government data sources to create compelling visualizations that inform citizens, communities, and resource managers about conditions of nitrogen and phosphorus in the nation’s waters. The outcomes of this tournament of ideas are expected to help educate and inspire action to address algal blooms, hypoxia, and other nutrient-related water quality issues. 

First Place will receive $10,000, and a People’s Choice Award will receive $5,000. Both winners will have special opportunities to highlight their work in a number of important forums. The competition starts today and will stay open through 11:59 p.m. on June 8, 2015.  

Visualizing Nutrients builds on the activities of the Open Water Data Initiative that seeks to further integrate existing water datasets and make them more accessible to innovation and decision making. The Open Water Data Initiative works in conjunction with the President's Climate Data Initiative

This prize competition is also part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, as well as the broader work of the Challenging Nutrients Coalition. Under the directive of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the coalition was organized with the goal of bringing innovative approaches to the issue of nutrient pollution. The group consists of federal agencies, universities, and non-profits. 

For additional information and to submit a solution, visit the prize competition website.

Quick-Action Helps Maintain Key Mining Industries during Ebola Outbreak

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 09:07
Summary: The important mining industries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were able to largely maintain their operations during the deadly 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey

Contact Information:

Steven M.  Fortier ( Phone: 703-648-4920 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 );



The important mining industries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were able to largely maintain their operations during the deadly 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition, quick, coordinated actions on the part of the mining companies operating in all three countries helped surrounding communities and national health organizations in their efforts to contain the virus.

In this outbreak, the first laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola was reported by the Ministry of Health in Guinea on March 21, 2014, and, as of January 18, 2015, nearly 22,000 cumulative cases had been reported. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were the three countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak.

“Although the mining industry continued to operate throughout the Ebola crisis, the effects of the crisis and changing market conditions could substantially reduce prospects for growth and planned investments in the mineral sector of these three countries in the future,” said Steven M. Fortier, Director of the USGS National Minerals Information Center. 

The mineral industries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are important sectors to these countries’ economies. In 2013 alone, the estimated contribution of the mineral sector to GDP in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone was about 13, 11, and 23 percent, respectively.

Mineral development projects were the underpinnings for the World Bank’s forecasts of GDP increases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone through 2017. In 2012, it was estimated that for Guinea the development of these projects had the potential to double the country’s real GDP by 2015 and to greatly enhance the prospects for future GDP growth through 2017.

Uncertainty regarding the status of mining and mineral exploration operations in the three countries following the onset of the Ebola outbreak and changes in mineral market conditions raised questions regarding the prospects for such growth and future foreign direct investment in the region.

However, mining companies in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone acted quickly to help their staff and ensure the mines stayed open. They secured the perimeter of the mining operations; established health and preventative screening to prevent the spread of Ebola; and provided safety training to staff in and around mining facilities and nearby communities.

In addition, a group of mining companies created an advocacy group to coordinate their efforts to address the Ebola outbreak and work with the United Nations.

The new report is entitled “The Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak and the Mineral Sectors of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone,” and can be accessed online.

The USGS National Minerals Information Center collects, analyzes, and disseminates information on the domestic and international supply of and demand for minerals and mineral materials essential to the U.S. economy and national security. Learn more by visiting our website or by following us on Twitter @USGSMinerals.

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.

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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.

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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.”

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Categories: Federal News