LINCROFT, N.J. -- The restoration of businesses hit hard by Superstorm Sandy was essential to beginning New Jersey’s recovery. But with almost four months to go before the end of this hurricane season, businesses without disaster plans are skating on thin ice.
“History has proven the sooner local businesses recover following a disaster, the faster the community begins recovering,” said Gracia Szczech FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for New Jersey recovery. “Which is why having an emergency, or disaster operations plan is crucial.”Language English
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 Wisconsin.
Assistance for the State, Tribal, and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:Language English
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 Wisconsin to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, flooding, and mudslides during the period of June 20-28, 2013.Language English
LINCROFT, N.J. -- When Superstorm Sandy barreled through New Jersey last October, she left behind the kind of wreckage often dreamed up by Hollywood for big-screen disaster films.
The largest tropical storm ever to form in the mid-Atlantic basin tore up utility lines, flooded sewage treatment facilities, disrupted transportation links, downed trees, washed out roads and bridges and pushed hundreds of shorefront homes into the ocean.Language English
AURORA, IL – Though registration ends this week—Aug. 8—for federal assistance to recover from severe weather and flooding of April 16-May 5, there is a right to appeal a FEMA decision within 60 days of the determination letter’s date.
One may appeal any decision. If an applicant does not agree with an inspection report, with the amount of assistance, or with a denial letter from FEMA, an appeal can be made for review of the case.Language English
<p style="margin: 0in 0in 11.35pt;"><font size="3"><font color="#000000"><font face="Times New Roman"><span style="white-space: pre-wrap;">OAKLAND, Calif. — The U.S.Language English
LINCROFT, N.J. -- FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides important assistance to local, state and tribal governments following a major disaster declaration, both speeding recovery and protecting life and property from future disasters.
With the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides funds to the state to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during recovery from a disaster.Language English
Kansas City, Mo. –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII office announced today the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station public meeting and emergency response exercise, scheduled to take place this week near Fort Calhoun, Nebraska has been postponed until further notice. High wind speeds reaching approximately 90 mph were reported during a severe thunderstorm this morning, and power was lost. The power has since been restored and there are no safety concerns.Language English
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With several areas throughout Kansas and Missouri experiencing bouts of late-summer flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging residents to stay informed about the potential hazards of flooding.Language English
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Scotland County is now eligible for federal assistance from the severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding that occurred during the period of May 29, 2013, to June 10, 2013.
Scotland County joins the 27 previously declared Missouri counties eligible for FEMA Public Assistance, which may include assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.Language English
OAKLAND, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to assist the state of California combat the Falls Fire currently burning in Riverside County.
On August 5, 2013, the state of California submitted a request for a fire management assistance declaration for the Falls Fire. The authorization of that request makes FEMA funding available to reimburse 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire.
AURORA, Ill. – Federal assistance continues to flow to Illinois as the state recovers from storms and flooding that occurred April 16 through May 5. More than $148 million has now been distributed among more than 83,000 individuals and households.
The latest summary of federal assistance includes:Language English
NEW YORK – The Federal Emergency Management Agency, at the request of the State of New York, has approved an extension to the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, which allows eligible Hurricane Sandy survivors who cannot return to their homes to stay in participating hotels.
Based on extensive applicant casework, two extensions were granted on a case-by-case basis.
Some applicants will be extended until Aug. 16, 2013. A second group of households will be extended until Sept. 1, 2013.Language English
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The State/Federal Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Galena and Fairbanks will close August 9 and transition to weekly visits to Galena and Fairbanks by FEMA caseworkers to meet the disaster-assistance needs of survivors of the 2013 Spring Floods.
Both Disaster Recovery Centers will cease operations at noon Friday, Aug. 9, 2013.
Until then, the centers will continue to provide face-to-face help from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.Language English
LINCROFT, N.J. -- Disaster assistance to New Jersey survivors of Superstorm Sandy by the numbers as of August 5:
Total Federal Assistance: $5.5 billionLanguage English
Key factors have been identified that help determine the vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination. A new USGS report describes these factors, providing insight into which contaminants in an aquifer might reach a well and when, how and at what concentration they might arrive.
About one-third of the U.S. population gets their drinking water from public-supply wells.
"Improving the understanding of the vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination is needed to safeguard public health and prevent future contamination," said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director. "By examining ten different aquifers across the nation, we have a more thorough and robust understanding of the complexities and factors affecting water quality in our public supplies."
The study explored factors affecting public-supply-well vulnerability to contamination in ten study areas across the Nation. The study areas include Modesto, Calif., Woodbury, Conn., near Tampa, Fla., York, Nebr., near Carson City and Sparks, Nev., Glassboro, N. J., Albuquerque, N. Mex., Dayton, Ohio, San Antonio, Tex., and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Measures that are crucial for understanding public-supply-well vulnerability include: 1) the sources of the water and contaminants in the water that infiltrate the ground and are drawn into a well; 2) the geochemical conditions encountered by the groundwater; and 3) the range of ages of the groundwater that enters a well.
"Common sense might say that wells located near known contaminant sources would be the most vulnerable, but this study found that even where contaminant sources are similar, there are differences in public-supply-well vulnerability to contamination," said Sandra Eberts, the study team leader.
The study found that conditions in some aquifers enable contaminants to remain in the groundwater longer or travel more rapidly to wells than conditions in other aquifers. Direct pathways, such as fractures in rock aquifers or wellbores of non-pumping wells, frequently affect groundwater and contaminant movement, making it difficult to identify which areas at land surface are the most important to protect from contamination. An unexpected finding is that human-induced changes in recharge and groundwater flow caused by irrigation and high-volume pumping for public supply changed aquifer geochemical conditions in numerous study areas. Changes in geochemical conditions often release naturally occurring drinking-water contaminants such as arsenic and uranium into the groundwater, increasing concentrations in public-supply wells.
Knowledge of how human activities change aquifer conditions that control which contaminants are released to groundwater and how persistent those contaminants are once in the groundwater can be used by water managers to anticipate future water quality and associated treatment costs.
The quality of drinking water from the Nation's public water systems is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The USGS studies are intended to complement drinking water monitoring required by federal, state and local programs.
This new report, Factors affecting public-supply-well vulnerability to contamination: understanding observed water quality and anticipating future water quality, was done by the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program. NAWQA conducts regional and national assessments of the Nation's water quality to provide an understanding of water-quality conditions, where conditions are getting better or worse over time, and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions.
Learn more about the transport of contaminants to public-supply wells:
About 4,000 people are expected to attend the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Minneapolis from Aug. 4 to 9, 2013. The theme of this year’s conference is Sustainable Pathways: Learning from the Past and Shaping the Future.
Forest Drought Stress in Southwest May Exceed Most Severe Droughts in Last Thousand Years: Severe wildfires and drought-induced tree deaths have increased greatly over the past two decades in the southwestern United States. Historical ecological sources about Southwest fire regimes and forest patterns over the past 10,000 years provide context for recent fire and vegetation trends. Specifically, these sources show that regional forest landscapes are greatly affected by interactive changes among human land management, climate and disturbances. Such linkages are further emphasized through the newly developed forest drought-stress index (FDSI) for the Southwest, which uses extremely robust relationships among historical tree-ring growth, warm-season temperature and cold-season precipitation to reconstruct the FDSI back to AD 1000 from a massive archive of tree-ring growth data. This research by USGS, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of Arizona, and other university partners shows very strong relationships between FDSI and regional forest productivity, tree mortality, bark-beetle outbreaks and wildfire. Moving forward, if temperatures increase as projected, background levels of southwestern forest drought-stress by the 2050s will exceed that of the most severe droughts in the past 1,000 years, which almost certainly means imminent changes in forest structure and composition. Overall, interactions among climate, land-use history and disturbance processes are driving the current pulse of major forest transitions in the Southwest. In the face of such rapid changes, it is imperative to explore adaptation strategies to foster ecosystem resilience. This work is addressed in two presentations: 1) Land cover change in the Southwest: wildfire risk, drought-induced tree mortality, and the convergence of climate, land management, and disturbance trends in regional forests and woodlands, will be in room 101c on Aug. 9 at 8:40 a.m. Contact Craig Allen, email@example.com, 505-795-1571; and 2) A forest is not a pan of water: temperature and vapor-pressure deficit as potent drivers of regional forest drought stress, will be in room 101A on Aug. 6 at 9:50 a.m. Contact Park Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-667-6551.
Response of North American Desert Plants to Climate Change: Forecasts for Management and Planning: Forecasted climate warming and changes in precipitation patterns in North American deserts can have a strong impact on plant species already stressed by low water availability. Accurate forecasts of climate-induced changes to desert plant assemblages are needed by managers because dryland ecosystems are prone to abrupt and potentially irreversible degradation and reductions in productivity. To help managers mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts, USGS researchers have synthesized over a century (1906-2012) of climate and vegetation monitoring results from more than 1,500 vegetation plots across the Colorado Plateau, and the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave deserts. In all of these deserts, dominant plant species and plant diversity responded to drought and elevated temperature.
On the Colorado Plateau, large declines of cool-season perennial bunchgrasses occurred, primarily driven by high temperatures. In the Sonoran Desert, increases in cacti occurred with hotter temperatures, and decreases in warm-season perennial grasses and sub-shrubs occurred with less annual precipitation. Tree and shrub species in the Sonoran Desert were less responsive to changing climatic conditions than other species, but some woody species were sensitive to warmer temperatures and less winter precipitation, especially on south-facing slopes. In the Chihuahuan Desert, many grasses and forbs had large responses to summer precipitation, whereas most woody vegetation showed small responses to winter precipitation. In the Mojave Desert, winter drought was related to declines of shrubs at some sites. USGS research also highlights “climate pivot points” that mark important shifts from increases to decreases in plant abundance along climatic gradients. These results are being used to assist with management decisions, improve monitoring protocols and inform climate change vulnerability assessments for land managers. This presentation (OOS 16-4), Regional signatures of plant response to climate across North American deserts: Forecasts for management and planning, will take place in room 101B on Aug. 7 at 9 a.m. Contact Seth Munson, email@example.com, work cell, 303-810-4896.
Large, Invasive Rodents: Are They Heading Your Way? The nutria is a large, prolific and water-loving invasive rodent that has become established in many parts of the world after being introduced for the fur industry, including in the Southeast and the Pacific Northwest regions of the United States. In the Southeast and elsewhere, they wreak havoc in coastal marshes and bald cypress swamps by feeding on the tender roots of plants, seedlings and saplings, completely stripping vegetation in areas where the animals are concentrated. Historically nutria ranges have expanded regionally northward following milder winters and contracted southward following more severe winters. This USGS study examined the current and potential distribution of nutria in the Pacific Northwest. Due to a string of relatively mild winters nutria populations have been expanding northward in the United States, suggesting that nutria populations could extend their range substantially both in the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi Valley and the Eastern Seaboard in the future since climate change models predict milder winter temperatures though the USA. Large-scale management of the species requires knowledge of its current and potential distribution. This presentation, Using a combined hydrologic network-climate model of the invasive nutria (Myocastor coypus) to understand current distributions and range expansion potential under climate change scenarios, will be in room 101H on Aug. 9 at 10:50 a.m. Contact Catherine Jarnevich, firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-226-9439.
In a related study, USGS scientists investigated the activity patterns of urban nutria populations in Lafayette, La., and Portland, Ore., since little is known about this subject. The study found that daily as well as seasonal activity patterns differed in the two geographic areas, leading to current efforts to explore the role that alternative factors might play in the differing activity patterns. This presentation, Comparison of activity patterns of nutria (Myocastor coypus) between urban pond complexes in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA and Portland, Oregon, USA, will be in Room L100B on Aug. 5 at 1:30 p.m. Contact Jacoby Carter, email@example.com, 337-266-8620.
People, Cameras, and Action! Teaming Up to Better Understand Phenology: The implications and impacts of climate change on the earth’s phenology – the timing of plant and animal life-cycle events – are increasingly well documented. Two continental-scale observation networks, PhenoCam and the USA National Phenology Network, which is managed by the USGS, are collaborating with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to develop more refined phenological monitoring processes and to explore new opportunities for collaborative research. While PhenoCam quantifies plant phenology by using high-frequency camera monitoring of plant canopies, the USA-NPN contributes ground-based plant and animal data through its crowd-sourcing phenology program, Nature’s Notebook. Both organizations are collaborating with NEON, a continental-scale ecological observing system, to enhance and codify best practices for phenological data collection and to collect and integrate phenological data across multiple spatial scales. The joint efforts of these programs will bridge major knowledge gaps in the field of phenology: not only will cameras provide new techniques for validating satellite-derived land-surface phenology products, but multi-faceted phenology datasets will aid in investigations of the feedback between ecosystem phenology and carbon/water/energy fluxes between the biosphere and atmosphere. This presentation, Integrating Phenocam and USA National Phenology Network continental-scale approaches into NEON phenology data products, will be in room L100I on Aug. 6 at 4:30 p.m. Contact Jake Weltzin, firstname.lastname@example.org (cell: 703-485-5138) or the lead author Michael Toomey, email@example.com, 860-986-3804.
Crowd-Sourcing Needed to Take the Pulse of Our Planet: The USA National Phenology Network serves science and society by collecting and organizing valuable data on plant and animal activity across the United States, and by setting global standards for integrated monitoring of plant and animal seasonal activity to understand impacts of climate change on ecological systems. Most data entered into the Network’s national database are submitted by citizen scientists through the national-scale, multi-taxa phenology observation program, Nature’s Notebook. With 2,500 active participants and more than 2.3 million contributions since the program went live in 2008, volunteers and professional scientists work side by side to observe and record the important phases in the annual life cycles of plants and animals. This presentation will provide a broad overview of the Network and its partners and participants, but will focus on recent successes embodied in local- to national-scale projects including detection of invasive species, recent and historical trends in phenology, and potential future changes in phenology in the eastern deciduous forest. This presentation, The National Phenology Database: A multi-taxa, continental-scale dataset for scientific inquiry, will be in room LL101 on Aug. 8 at 4 p.m. Contact Jake Weltzin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-485-5138.
Climate Science Centers: Sparking Collaboration through Research & Resource Management: This special session will introduce participants to the Department of Interior Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and their unique position to unite researchers with cultural and natural resource managers to facilitate a full-cycle approach to the use of research in support of management decisions. A panel composed of leaders from the CSCs, members of the University Consortia and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, and other collaborators/clients will provide an overview of the approaches used to support the CSC mission: to serve the scientific needs of managers of fish, wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems as they plan for a changing climate by providing scientific support for climate-adaptation identification and implementation of climate-adaptation strategies across a full range of natural and cultural resources. Participants will benefit from an overview of the CSC support capacities, research solicitation and funding processes with hopes to spark future collaborations. This presentation, Climate Science Centers: now supporting resource management with science at a location near you!, will be in room 101A on Aug. 5 at 10:15 a.m. Contact Stephen Gray (email@example.com), 907-301-7830.
Actionable Climate Change Science Strategically Tying Research to Management and Policy Needs: Prompt access to climate adaptation science for policymakers and managers is vital to effectively plan for climate change in a timely manner. Up until this point, the scientific community has employed a largely ineffective “conveyor-belt” approach to this process, in which managers both define scientific needs and assign projects to scientists. To streamline this process, the Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers have designed a new approach in which this procedure is executed in a more integrated and promptly actionable method. Using strategic decision-based approaches, the CSCs are creating a series of pilot projects that will focus on developing science outcomes that are tied to strategic management decisions. Unlike previous models, these teams, consisting of scientists, managers, decision-makers and stakeholders, will work collaboratively throughout the project to assure science outputs are consistent with management needs. These CSC pilot projects will form the basis for a national science agenda that will support climate adaptation decision-making processes. This presentation, Actionable science in an era of rapid climate change, tying observations and predictions to policies and action, will be in Auditorium room 3 on Aug. 8 at 4:10 p.m. Contact Doug Beard,firstname.lastname@example.org, 571-265-4623
Bridging the Gap between Science and Decisions: Climate-science researchers and resource-management decision-makers inhabit different professional worlds, but those worlds must come together to ensure scientifically informed management decisions. Effective cooperation and interaction between these groups are essential, yet hampered by professional and institutional barriers. Despite these disconnects, numerous case studies exist in which research has been applied effectively to climate-change management decisions. These case studies provide a foundation for identifying best practices for both researchers and decision-makers. These best practices include patient, persistent engagement among relevant parties. If climate-change research is to be used effectively in decision-making, researchers will need to step outside traditional comfort zones, listen carefully to decision-makers, and maintain continuing dialogue. New professional models must be encouraged, in which effective engagement and actionable science become part of the professional reward structure in research institutions. This presentation, Seeking Leopold's Quadrant: how do we foster research that addresses needs of resource-management decision-makers?, will be in room 101C on Aug. 9 at 9:50 a.m. Contact Stephen T. Jackson, email@example.com, 307-760- 0750.
U.S. Engagement in the Global Shift in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is in full swing with 109 member countries; its first IPBES plenary conference took place in Bonn, Germany (also the site of its Secretariat), in January 2013. The United States scientific community should be engaged as full participants in the IPDS process. The session speakers will discuss the changing landscape in global environmental science initiatives, present the latest updates in the IPBES process, share current and future opportunities for input, and discuss ways to broadly engage the U.S scientific community and other stakeholders in preparation for the December 2013 second IPBES plenary. This presentation, Biodiversity and ecosystem services on the global stage: IPBES and you, will be in room L100F on Aug. 7 at 8:00 p.m. Contact Doug Beard, firstname.lastname@example.org, 571-265-4623.
SEATTLE, Wash -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Brimstone Fire burning in Josephine County, Oregon.
FEMA Region X Administrator Kenneth D. Murphy approved the state’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) on August 1, 2013 at 11:01 PM PDT.Language English
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:Language English
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 June 25 to July 11, 2013.Language English