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Holiday Hours for Disaster Recovery Centers

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 12/29/2015 - 12:59

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Disaster recovery centers in South Carolina will operate on different schedules around the New Year’s holiday.

All recovery centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and be closed on New Year’s Day. Most of the centers will reopen Jan. 2 and operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm or call 800-621-3362 to find the closest center.

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FEMA Grant to Fund Seawall Project in Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:19

Eatontown, N.J. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently obligated $28,358,886.60 in additional grant funding for the repair of the Hurricane Sandy-damaged seawall in Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach, bringing the total FEMA funding obligated for the project to date to $31,344,834.00

That amount represents 90 percent of the total project cost of $34,827,594.00. The State of New Jersey will fund the remaining 10 percent.

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FEMA Public Assistance Added for 16 Texas Counties

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:36

AUSTIN, Texas—Federal disaster assistance to Texas for the October severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding has been expanded to include 16 counties in Texas for FEMA Public Assistance (PA).

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A Few More Days to Register for FEMA Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:07

COLUMBIA, S.C.  – A few days remain for South Carolina residents affected by Oct. 1-23 storms and flooding to apply for federal disaster assistance.

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Badger State Maps Put TIGER in the Tank

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 12/29/2015 - 09:00
Summary: The USGS US Topo map program has entered its third, three-year cycle of revising and updating the digital US Topo maps Updated US Topo maps for Wisconsin add Census Bureau road data

Contact Information:

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



The USGS US Topo map program has entered its third, three-year cycle of revising and updating the digital US Topo maps. To start this new cycle, the USGS National Geospatial Program is excited to announce the inclusion of U.S. Census Bureau’s Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) roads data for the new US Topo maps, starting with the state of Wisconsin.

"The addition of TIGER’s roads layer into the US Topo maps is a great example of how data from one agency can benefit another agency,” said Timothy Trainor, Chief, Geography Division, U.S. Census Bureau. “The Census Bureau and the USGS have a long history of collaboration and sharing. This is another win for the American public."

The TIGER database is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and was created before the 1990 census to provide over a million unique maps sheets to census enumerators. The TIGER was the basis for the first coast-to-coast digital map to modernize the once-a-decade count. Since 1990, TIGER has evolved into a dynamic mapping system that helped catapult the growth of the geographic information system industry and improve Census Bureau data products.

The TIGER database contains all geographic features — such as roads, railroads, rivers, and legal and statistical geographic boundaries — needed to support the Census Bureau’s data collection and dissemination programs. The TIGER/Line Shapefiles are constantly improving, updated annually, and available for free download.

TIGER’s roads layer includes 6.3 million miles of roads. The original TIGER GIS vector data are available for free download from the TIGER products page. TIGER data are public domain, so using these road data on US Topo removes a previous use restriction from this USGS map product

Other improvements to the new Wisconsin US Topo maps include the addition of the “crowdsourced” trail data from the International Mountain Bike Association, increased parcel land data (PLSS), and most recently, trail data from the U.S. Forest Service.

Additionally, segments of The Ice Age Trail, one of 11 National Scenic Trails, will continue to be featured on select US Topo maps. The USGS partnered with the National Park Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Ice Age Trail Alliance to incorporate the Ice Age Trail onto Wisconsin's maps. The NPS is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

These new US Topo maps replace the second edition US Topo maps and are available for no-cost file download from The National Map, the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website , and 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 the Madison West US Topo quadrangle with orthoimage turned on. (1:24,000 scale) (high resolution image 1.2 MB) Updated 2015 version of the Madison West US Topo quadrangle with orthoimage turned off to better see the improved road network. (1:24,000 scale) (high resolution image 1 MB) Scan of the 1890 legacy topographic map quadrangle of the greater Madison area from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection. (high resolution image 1.7 MB)

Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Liberty County for Texans

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 12/28/2015 - 18:56

AUSTIN, Texas – A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is now open in Liberty County for homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding from Oct. 22 to Oct. 31.

Specialists from the State of Texas, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), nongovernmental organizations and the local community are on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors.

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Public-Private Partnership Conference held in New Orleans

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 12/24/2015 - 11:28

WASHINGTON - This week, the Fifth Annual Building Resilience through Public-Private Partnerships Conference was held in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The conference was hosted this year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and brought together innovators from the private sector, nonprofits, and state, local, and tribal governments to pursue strategies to build a more resilient nation.

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Holiday Hours Posted for DRCs; SBA to Open Loan Center in Hays County

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 12/23/2015 - 17:18

AUSTIN, Texas – Holiday hours for Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) have been announced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In addition, the DRC in Hays County will transition to a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC).

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S.C. Flood Survivors Can Appeal FEMA Aid Determination

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 12/23/2015 - 16:37

COLUMBIA, S.C. South Carolina disaster survivors with questions about the assistance they received from FEMA or their eligibility determinations have the right to appeal the decision. Those who want to appeal should do so in writing within 60 days of the date of the determination letter.

Guidelines for appeals can be found on page 10 of the Applicant’s Guide, which is sent to everyone who registers with FEMA.

In the appeal letter to FEMA, an applicant should:

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Federal Aid Programs for the State of Idaho Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 12/23/2015 - 13:40

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 Idaho.

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

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President Declares Disaster for Idaho

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 12/23/2015 - 13:34

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 Idaho to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe storm and straight-line winds on November 17, 2015

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Help Remains Available After Disaster Recovery Center Closes in St. Matthews

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 12/22/2015 - 15:38

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One disaster recovery center will close Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.:

  • John Ford Community Center at 304 Agnes St. in St. Matthews

Applicants in St. Matthews may still visit other recovery centers to ask disaster assistance questions. They can locate their closest center by visiting asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm.

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Help Remains Available After Disaster Recovery Center Closes in Charleston

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 12/22/2015 - 15:34

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One disaster recovery center will close Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m.:

  • Bees Landing Recreation Center, 1580 Ashley Gardens Blvd. in Charleston

Applicants in Charleston may still visit other recovery centers to ask disaster assistance questions. They can locate their closest center by visiting asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm.

Two other disaster recovery centers remain open in the Charleston area. They are:

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Normal Weather Drives Salt Marsh Erosion

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 12/21/2015 - 16:31
Summary: For salt marshes, hurricanes are just another day at the beach Waves from moderate storms, rather than violent events such as hurricanes, inflict the most loss on coastal wetlands.

Contact Information:

Neil  Ganju ( Phone: 508-457-2252 ); Kira Jastive ( Phone: 617-358-1240 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 );



For salt marshes, hurricanes are just another day at the beach.

These coastal wetlands are in retreat in many locations around the globe—raising deep concerns about damage to the wildlife that the marshes nourish and the loss of their ability to protect against violent storms. The biggest cause of their erosion is waves driven by moderate storms, not occasional major events such as Hurricane Sandy, researchers from Boston University and the United States Geological Survey now have shown.

“Waves are very powerful because they attack the marsh in its weakest part,” says Nicoletta Leonardi, a Ph.D. candidate at BU’s Department of Earth & Environment and lead author on a paper published today in the journal PNAS. “Generally, the more a salt marsh is exposed to waves, the faster it is eroding.”

Analyzing eight salt marsh locations in Australia, Italy and the United States, “we found that the behavior of salt marshes is very predictable,” says Leonardi, with a constant relationship between wave energy and the speed of marsh erosion.

In fact, the work shows that hurricanes and other violent storms contribute less than 1 percent of salt marsh deterioration in those marshes, says Sergio Fagherazzi, BU Earth & Environment associate professor and co-author on the paper.

Along the New England coast, for example, the moderate northeast storms that may hit every few months strip away far more from the marshes than the hurricanes that may sweep through a few times a decade. “Salt marshes survive for thousands of years, which means they know how to cope against hurricane waves,” he says.

In a major storm, “beaches or dunes on a beach just collapse all at once,” Fagherazzi adds. “Marshes don’t, which is a major advantage if you are serious about using them for hazard mitigation and coast protection.”

“While hurricanes are catastrophic events, the salt marsh doesn’t respond catastrophically,” says Neil Kamal Ganju, a co-author and research oceanographer with USGS in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In addition to the infrequency of hurricanes, that may be because a hurricane’s surge brings up water level so high over a marsh that waves have relatively little effect, he suggests.

Improved knowledge about salt marsh erosion brings an important new tool to those responsible for management and restoration of wetlands. “You can take the geography of a salt marsh and the estuary around it, and if you understand the wind climate and the wave climate, using historical data, you now can predict the marsh erosion,” says Ganju.

Globally, salt marshes are being lost to waves, changes in land use, higher sea levels, loss of sediment from upstream dams and other factors. This puts at risk “a lot of ecosystem services that we need to preserve,” Leonardi emphasizes. Many initiatives around the world now seek to protect and rebuild salt marshes. Evidence also suggests that, at least in some coastal environments, marshes can adapt to rising sea levels.

In the United States, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and many cities want to manage salt marshes as “living shorelines” that act as buffers between coastal communities and the ocean, Fagherazzi says. Such efforts kicked off in New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and around New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The effect of waves on salt marsh erosion, part of a USGS project to examine the response of estuaries to Hurricane Sandy, is being integrated into a USGS numerical model called COAWST (Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport). COAWST combines models of ocean, atmosphere, waves and sediment transport for analysis of coastal change.

Better understanding of marsh erosion also may help in modeling carbon storage as it relates to climate change, the scientists say.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research.  With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.  BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission.  In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

Applied For Disaster Assistance? Texans Should ‘Stay in Touch’ with FEMA

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 12/21/2015 - 16:30

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas homeowners and renters who have registered for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are encouraged by recovery officials to “stay in touch.”

If survivors change their address or phone numbers they should update that information with FEMA. Missing or erroneous information could result in delays getting a home inspection or in receiving assistance.

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Carbon in Water must be Accounted for in Projections of Future Climate

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 12/21/2015 - 16:00
Summary: USGS scientists have documented that the carbon that moves through or accumulates in lakes, rivers, and streams has not been adequately incorporated into current models of carbon cycling used to track and project climate change

Contact Information:

Jon Campbell ( Phone: 571-230-6831 ); Rob Striegl ( Phone: 720 539-1282 );



Aerial view of Beaver Creek, Alaska. Credit: Mark Dornblaser, USGS. (high resolution image)

USGS scientists have documented that the carbon that moves through or accumulates in lakes, rivers, and streams has not been adequately incorporated into current models of carbon cycling used to track and project climate change. The research, conducted in partnership with the University of Washington, has been published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Earth’s carbon cycle is determined by physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur in and among the atmosphere (carbon dioxide and methane), the biosphere (living and dead things), and the geosphere (soil, rocks, and water). Understanding how these processes interact globally and projecting their future effects on climate requires complex computer models that track carbon at regional and continental scales, commonly known as Terrestrial Biosphere Models (TBMs).

Current estimates of the accumulation of carbon in natural environments indicate that forest and other terrestrial ecosystems have annual net gains in storing carbon — a beneficial effect for reducing greenhouse gases. However, even though all of life and most processes involving carbon movement or transformation require water, TBMs have not conventionally included aquatic ecosystems — lakes, reservoirs, streams, and rivers — in their calculations. Once inland waters are included in carbon cycle models, the nationwide importance of aquatic ecosystems in the carbon cycle is evident.

Speaking quantifiably, inland water ecosystems in the conterminous U.S. transport or store more than 220 billion pounds of carbon (100 Tg-C) annually to coastal regions, the atmosphere, and the sediments of lakes and reservoirs. Comparing the results of this study to the output of a suite of standard TBMs, the authors suggest that, within the current modelling framework, carbon storage by forests, other plants, and soils (in scientific terms: Net Ecosystem Production, when defined as terrestrial only) may be over-estimated by as much as 27 percent. 

The study highlights the need for additional research to accurately determine the sources of aquatic carbon and to reconcile the exchange of carbon between terrestrial and aquatic environments.