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USGS Seismologist Lucy Jones to Receive Prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 16:51
Summary: To honor groundbreaking earthquake research by U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Dr. Lucile “Lucy” Jones, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will present Jones with the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammies) at an awards ceremony this evening at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium Secretary Jewell will present award at ceremony tonight

Contact Information:

Arlene Compher ( Phone: 703-648-4282 );



To honor groundbreaking earthquake research by U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Dr. Lucile “Lucy” Jones, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will present Jones with the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammies) at an awards ceremony this evening at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.

South Carolina Storm Survivors Urged To Register For Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 16:05

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the recent flooding in South Carolina can now register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster assistance.

The presidential disaster declaration of Oct. 5 makes federal assistance available to eligible individuals and business owners in Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg counties.

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Categories: Federal News

Three More South Carolina Counties Designated for Federal Assistance after Flooding

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 15:37

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has amended the disaster declaration for the recent flooding in order to make survivors in Berkeley, Clarendon and Sumter counties eligible for its Individual Assistance program.

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Categories: Federal News

Sewer Authority Mitigation Plan Reduces Risk of Environmental Disaster

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 09:43

EATONTOWN, N.J. - Among the most devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey was the storm’s impact on sewage treatment facilities along the coast.

During and after the storm, sewage plants and pump stations were inundated by flood waters and without power for as long as three days, resulting in the discharge of some two billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage into New Jersey waterways (New York Daily News, 4/30/2013).

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Categories: Federal News

Cal OES/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Middletown Changes Hours

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 10/06/2015 - 20:04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Lake County Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Middletown, CA is changing its hours. The DRC is operated by the California Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the county and local agencies. 

DRC Location:

The Lake County Disaster Recovery Center in Middletown

21256 Washington St., Middletown, CA 95461

Hours of operation will be:

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Categories: Federal News

USGS Estimates 21 Million Barrels of Oil and 27 Billion Cubic Feet of Gas in the Monterey Formation of the San Joaquin Basin, California

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 10/06/2015 - 12:00
Summary: The Monterey Formation in the deepest parts of California’s San Joaquin Basin contains an estimated mean volumes of 21 million barrels of oil, 27 billion cubic feet of gas, and 1 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to the first USGS assessment of continuous (unconventional), technically recoverable resources in the Monterey Formation

Contact Information:

Alex Demas ( Phone: 703-648-4421 ); Chris Schenk ( Phone: 303-236-5796 );



The Monterey Formation in the deepest parts of California’s San Joaquin Basin contains an estimated mean volumes of 21 million barrels of oil, 27 billion cubic feet of gas, and 1 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to the first USGS assessment of continuous (unconventional), technically recoverable resources in the Monterey Formation.

“Understanding our domestic oil and gas resource potential is important for many reasons, including helping policy makers to make informed decisions about energy policy, leasing of federal lands, and impact on other resources such as water,” said Vito Nuccio, Acting USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator. “That’s why the USGS maintains a strong oil and gas assessment team whose goal is to assess new domestic and global areas and continually update previous assessments as warranted.”

The volume estimated in the new study is small, compared to previous USGS estimates of conventionally trapped recoverable oil in the Monterey Formation in the San Joaquin Basin. Those earlier estimates were for oil that could come either from producing more Monterey oil from existing fields, or from discovering new conventional resources in the Monterey Formation.

The area of the potential continuous accumulation assessed in this study is limited to where the Monterey Formation is deeply buried, thermally mature, and thought to be generating oil.

The assessment team concluded that most of the petroleum that has originated from shale of the Monterey Formation in the assessment area has migrated from the source rock, so there is probably relatively little recoverable oil or gas remaining there, and most exploratory wells in the deep basin are unlikely to be successful.  

Geological data from more than 80 older wells that penetrated the deep Monterey Formation indicate that retention of oil or gas in the Monterey Formation shale source rock is poor, probably because of natural fracturing, faulting, and folding.

The oil and gas readily migrates from the deep Monterey Formation to fill the many shallower conventional reservoirs in the basin, including some in fractured Monterey Formation shale, and accounts for the prolific production there.

Although the data suggest that there is apparently not a large volume of unconventional oil and gas resources in the Monterey in the deep part of the basin, there are still substantial volumes of additional conventional oil and gas resources oil in the Monterey Formation in the shallower conventional traps in the San Joaquin Basin, as indicated by earlier assessments.

In 2003, USGS conducted an assessment of conventional oil and gas in the San Joaquin Basin, estimating a mean of 121 million barrels of oil recoverable from the Monterey. In addition, in 2012, USGS assessed the potential volume of oil that could be added to reserves in the San Joaquin Basin from increasing recovery in existing fields. The results of that study suggested that a mean of about 3 billion barrels of oil might eventually be added to reserves from Monterey reservoirs in conventional traps, mostly from a type of rock in the Monterey called diatomite, which has recently been producing over 20 million barrels of oil per year.

The estimate of undiscovered continuous oil in the deep Monterey ranges from 3 million to 53 million barrels (95 percent to 5 percent probability, respectively). The estimate of natural gas ranges from 5 to 72 billion cubic feet (95 percent to 5 percent probability, respectively), and the estimate of natural gas liquids ranges from 0 to 3 million barrels (95 percent to 5 percent probability, respectively).

These new estimates are for technically recoverable oil and gas resources, which are those quantities of oil and gas producible using currently available technology and industry practices, regardless of economic or accessibility considerations.

USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources of onshore lands and offshore state waters. The USGS Monterey Formation assessment was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol.

The new assessment of the Monterey Formation in the San Joaquin Basin may be found online. To find out more about USGS energy assessments and other energy research, please visit the USGS Energy Resources Program website, sign up for our Newsletter, and follow us on Twitter.

A map showing the extent of the San Joaquin Basin, as well as the location of the two assessment units of the Monterey Formation that were included. (High resolution image)

Federal Aid Programs for the State of South Carolina

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 10/05/2015 - 20:27

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 South Carolina.

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for South Carolina

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 10/05/2015 - 20:23

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 South Carolina to supplement state, local and tribal recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding on October 1, 2015 and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, and Williamsburg counties.

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Categories: Federal News

Fire Prevention Week: Learn the Dos & Don’ts of House Fire Safety

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 10/05/2015 - 12:53

CHICAGO –October 4 – 10, 2015 marks Fire Prevention Week, a commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 and an opportunity to emphasize fire safety and preparedness.

Remember these dos and don’ts to help you and your family protect against the dangers of a house fire:

• DO keep a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Half of home fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Stay safe with smoke alarms outside of every bedroom and each separate sleeping area.

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Categories: Federal News

Even if You Have Insurance, Register with FEMA

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 10/05/2015 - 12:46

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – If you live in Calaveras or Lake counties and were affected by the recent wildfires and are insured, you may still be eligible for FEMA assistance.

By law, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance or other benefits. However, FEMA may be able to help survivors with uninsured or underinsured losses or if their insurance settlement is delayed. Applicants should notify FEMA of their situation and provide insurance company documentation.

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Categories: Federal News

Chain of Wetlands Project Reduces Flood Risks in City of Dallas

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 10/05/2015 - 11:31

FEMA and the state of Texas are highlighting Texas communities that have taken steps to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property.

DALLAS – After years of serious flooding, Dallas officials made a decision to reduce flood risk by redesigning an important ecosystem located in the heart of the city. The outcome not only solved a major problem, it resulted in a beautiful outdoor recreation area.

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Categories: Federal News

Kentucky Storm Survivors Have One Week Left to Register With FEMA

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 10/05/2015 - 10:31

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Survivors of Kentucky’s July storms have until Oct. 12, 2015, to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance.

Survivors who suffered losses during the severe storms in July in Breathitt, Carter, Fleming, Johnson, Leslie, Perry, Rowan and Trimble counties who have delayed registering for any reason should apply for potential assistance that could include:

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of South Carolina Emergency Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Sat, 10/03/2015 - 17:21

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's emergency disaster declaration issued for the State of South Carolina.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Obama Signs Emergency Declaration for South Carolina

FEMA Press Releases - Sat, 10/03/2015 - 17:14

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the State of South Carolina to supplement state, local, and tribal response efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and flooding beginning on October 1, 2015, and continuing.

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Categories: Federal News

Atlantic Beaches Still Likely to be Affected by Hurricane Joaquin

USGS Newsroom - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 18:16
Summary: As the path of Hurricane Joaquin continues to move farther offshore, making landfall in the U.S. less likely, U.S. Geological Survey coastal change experts say there’s still a high probability of dune erosion along parts of the Atlantic coast, from the North Carolina Outer Banks to Cape Cod

Contact Information:

Nathaniel Plant ( Phone: 727-502-8072 ); Hannah  Hamilton ( Phone: 703-314-1601 );



USGS coastal scientists visit Nags Head in the Outer Banks to examine coastal erosion impacts that occurred from Hurricane Isabel in 2003. (High resolution image)

As the path of Hurricane Joaquin continues to move farther offshore, making landfall in the U.S. less likely, U.S. Geological Survey coastal change experts say there’s still a high probability of dune erosion along parts of the Atlantic coast, from the North Carolina Outer Banks to Cape Cod.

“The storm’s winds are generating ocean swells capable of causing coastal erosion along the Outer banks, Virginia, and Maryland, as well as areas of the New England, most likely to see the effects,” said Nathaniel Plant, a USGS research oceanographer. “Isolated locations along the New Jersey and New York coast, areas that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, could also experience dune erosion.”

As the hurricane’s track has shifted farther offshore, overwash due to wave runup overtopping the dunes is not currently expected to occur, except at isolated locations where dunes are relatively low.

The USGS coastal-change forecasts, which integrate information produced by both the USGS and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its National Hurricane Center, will continue to be updated daily and results will be posted to the Coastal Change Hazards Portal. The portal provides a wealth of information for coastal residents, emergency managers and community leaders. To access current forecasts, click on the Portal’s ‘Active Storm’ tab located on the upper right corner of the portal’s web page.

“We are collaborating with NOAA to explain what weather and storm conditions mean for coastal communities. Combining weather data with coastal process information enables us to make detailed predictions of the runup of waves along the coast” said Plant. “We are also developing a time series forecast of predicted high water levels, which we can use to forecast the timing and likelihood that storm waves will erode beaches, damage dunes, overtop the dunes and inundate the land with seawater or open breaches in barrier islands. The expected storm impacts from Joaquin are particularly interesting because high water levels are primarily due to Joaquin’s waves rather than storm surge.”

The researchers indicate that Joaquin is a perfect storm to test the accuracy of the coastal erosion forecasts.  Within the USGS, water scientists who are collecting wave and storm surge data from sensors developed using supplemental funding following Hurricane Sandy, along with scientists from the coastal-change hazards team, will be working together to evaluate and improve the accuracy of future coastal-change forecasts. 

The forecasts and updated information collected from Joaquin will better position the USGS to support emergency managers, coastal planners and community leaders, who can combine the information found on the portal with other data to identify where hazards pose the greatest risks to their communities, thereby allowing them to develop specific plans of action before a storm’s impacts threaten homes, schools, businesses and critical habitats.

Screenshot of portal entry page. (high resolution image) Forecast probability of overwash is reduced. (high resolution image) Forecast probability of dune erosion is still high in many areas from Outer Banks to Cape Cod. (high resolution image)

New State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Lake County

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 16:00

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Lake County Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Clearlake is open to help survivors impacted by the Valley Fire. Disaster Recovery Centers are operated by the California Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the county and local agencies. 

DRC Location:

The Lake County Disaster Recovery Center in Clearlake

Old Apria Health Care

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Eligibility Letter May Not Be Last Word on Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 20:59

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – If you applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and received a letter or text message saying you were not eligible for disaster aid, you should know that the first communication may not be the last word.  While applicants may be ineligible for FEMA disaster grants, they may receive assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). 

And there may be an easy-to-resolve reason why some wildfire survivors received a notice stating that they are ineligible for assistance. 

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Categories: Federal News

Media Advisory: USGS Deploys Crews in Advance of Hurricane Joaquin in Virginia

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 19:02
Summary: USGS field crews will be out deploying storm tide sensors along the Virginia coast near Virginia Beach, along the Western Chesapeake Bay, and on the Eastern Shore ahead of Hurricane Joaquin Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS crew as they prepare for flooding associated with Hurricane Joaquin? Please contact Shaun Wicklein or Hannah Hamilton.

Contact Information:

Shaun Wicklein ( Phone: 804-399-9929 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-314-1601 );



USGS scientist Carlos Rodriguez, deploying a sensor at Newmarket Creek at Mercury Boulevard in Hampton, VA. Credit: USGS(High resolution image)

USGS field crews will be out deploying storm tide sensors along the Virginia coast near Virginia Beach, along the Western Chesapeake Bay, and on the Eastern Shore ahead of Hurricane Joaquin. Storm tide sensors measure the tidal fluctuations and height of the tide relative to land surface.

Currently, Hurricane Joaquin’s track remains uncertain, and the National Hurricane Center is providing updates on potential future movement.

USGS is deploying storm tide sensors along the Virginia coast in an effort to measure storm-tides, which are expected to be above normal even if Hurricane Joaquin does not make landfall. The information these sensors collect is important to future models of coastal impacts from storms.

These sensors are part of a relatively new USGS mobile network of rapidly deployable, experimental instruments that are used to observe and document hurricane-induced storm-surge, waves and tides as they make landfall and interact with coastal features.

This network, known as USGS SWATH, consists of water-level and barometric-pressure monitoring devices that are deployed in the days and hours just prior to a potential widespread storm-surge event, and then retrieved shortly after event occurrence. The network also includes a smaller number of Rapid Deployment Gauges, which are temporary water-stage sensors with autonomous data-transmission capacity. RDGs are set up in advance of an event to provide short-term water-level and meteorological data during the event for areas that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of storm surge.

The SWATH Network was supported by Congressional funding provided to the Department of the Interior post superstorm Sandy (2012).

WHO: USGS field crews

WHAT:  Reporters are invited to join USGS field crews deploying tidal sensors in advance of Hurricane Joaquin.

WHEN: Friday, October 2, 2015

WHERE: Virginia Beach, along the Western Chesapeake Bay, and on the Eastern Shore

Many Atolls May be Uninhabitable Within Decades Due to Climate Change

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 16:30
Summary: A new study shows that the combined effect of storm-induced wave-driven flooding and sea level rise on island atolls may be more severe and happen sooner than previous estimates of inundation predicted by passive “bathtub” modeling for low-lying atoll islands, and especially at higher sea levels forecasted for the future due to climate change

Contact Information:

Leslie  Gordon, USGS ( Phone: 650-329-4006 ); Mariska  van Gelderen, Deltares ( Phone: +31 (0)6 13 67 13 70 );



Photograph showing the impact of a large wave at the south shore of Laysan Island, with endangered Laysan teal in the foreground. (High resolution image)

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — A new study shows that the combined effect of storm-induced wave-driven flooding and sea level rise on island atolls may be more severe and happen sooner than previous estimates of inundation predicted by passive “bathtub” modeling for low-lying atoll islands, and especially at higher sea levels forecasted for the future due to climate change. More than half a million people live on atolls throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and although the modeling was based on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the results from the study apply to almost all atolls.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their colleagues at the Deltares Institute in the Netherlands, and the Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit at University of Hawaii, Hilo report that numerical modeling reveals waves will synergistically interact with sea level rise, causing twice as much land forecast to be flooded for a given future sea level than currently predicted by models that do not take wave-driven water levels into account.

Observations show global sea level is rising due to climate change, with the highest rates in the tropical Pacific Ocean where many of the world’s low-lying atolls are located. Sea level rise is particularly critical for low-lying coral reef-lined atoll islands; these islands have limited land and water available for human habitation, limited food sources and ecosystems that are vulnerable to inundation from sea level rise. Sea level rise will result in larger waves and higher wave-driven water levels along atoll islands’ shorelines than at present.

“Many atoll islands will be flooded annually, contaminating the limited freshwater resources with saltwater, and likely forcing inhabitants to abandon their islands in decades, not centuries, as previously thought,” said USGS geologist and lead author of the study, Curt Storlazzi.

The study explored the combined effect of storm-induced wave-driven flooding and sea level rise on atoll islands within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, including Laysan and Midway Islands, which are home to many threatened and endangered endemic species. The same modeling approach is applicable to most populated atolls around the world.

The study, “Many Atolls May Be Uninhabitable Within Decades Due to Climate Change,” was recently published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal, and is available online.