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Arkansas Awarded More Than $2.7 Million for the Replacement of the Bella Vista Lake Dam

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 16:45

DENTON, Texas – The state of Arkansas has been awarded more than $2.7 million for the replacement of the Bella Vista Lake Dam in Bentonville. This comes in the aftermath of the 2011 severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.

The storms and ensuing flooding overtopped the entire length of the Bella Vista Lake Dam resulting in extensive erosion; a loss of support beneath the dam’s concrete slope cover; and damage to much of the structure’s other sections of concrete.

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Washington Wildfire Survivors Urged to Act Now on Flood Insurance

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 15:55

SEATTLE – Flood risk is higher this year as a direct consequence of the wildfires that burned thousands of acres in eastern and central Washington. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging residents in areas affected by the wildfires to consider purchasing flood insurance now.

When fire burns away trees and other vegetation, healthy roots that soak up rainwater are lost. Heavy rains on burn scars can cause flash flooding or debris flows that can severely damage homes and businesses.

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National PrepareAthon! Day: Take Action and Be Disaster Ready

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 15:40

CHICAGO –Join National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30 and take action to improve your family’s emergency preparedness and resilience to potential disasters.

“Disaster risks in the Midwest can range from severely cold temperatures, to high heat, severe storms and flooding. It’s important to understand each of these risks and what you and your family will need to do to stay safe,” said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. “Be proactive, and engage your family, friends and neighbors in one of the many simple ways to prepare for emergencies.”

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Kentucky Storm and Flood Survivors Urged to Beware of Frauds and Scams

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 13:49

FRANKFORT, Ky – Kentuckians recovering and rebuilding from recent storms and flooding are urged to watch for and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud.

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Texas Receives More Than $2.2 Million in FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 16:37

DENTON, Texas — Fire departments and cities in Texas have received more than $2.2 million in preparedness grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Since August, the grants have been awarded in 16 counties across the state, paying for everything from firefighting equipment to fire vehicles. Here’s how the grants break down by county:

Anderson County:
•    City of Palestine Fire Department – firefighting equipment - $170,667

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FEMA Announces Grant Awards for Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security National Training Program/Continuing Training Grants Program

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 15:51

WASHINGTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency today announced the award of five training grants for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Homeland Security National Training Program (HSNTP) Continuing Training Grants (CTG) totaling $11,521,000. These awards will provide additional FEMA certified training and certification for first responders, emergency managers, technical specialists, local government and community leaders, preparing them for all types of emergencies. The period of performance for the FY 2015 CTG program is 36 months. 

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Storms after Wildfire Lead to Impaired Water Quality

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 12:41
Summary: Water quality can be substantially diminished for several years after wildfire in response to relatively common local thunderstorms, according to a recent USGS study

Contact Information:

Sheila  Murphy ( Phone: 303-541-3023 ); Jon Campbell ( Phone: 703-648-4180 );



Water quality can be substantially diminished for several years after wildfire in response to relatively common local thunderstorms, according to a recent USGS study

USGS scientists led by research hydrologist Sheila Murphy collected extensive streamflow and water-quality data for three years after the Fourmile Canyon Fire, Colo., in a geographic setting typical of the American southwest. They then correlated the results with data from a high-density rain gage network. 

“Unfortunately, wildfires have become a common occurrence in the western United States,” said William Werkheiser, USGS Associate Director for Water. “We need to better understand the drivers of post-wildfire water quality and find ways to adjust to this challenge.” 

About half of the water supply in the southwestern U.S. is supplied by water conveyed from forests, which generally yield higher quality water than any other land use. However, forests are vulnerable to wildfire; more than 12 million acres of land, including important forested water-supply watersheds, have burned in the southwestern U.S. in the past 30 years. Wildfires increase susceptibility of watersheds to both flooding and erosion, and thus can impair water supplies. 

The USGS investigators found that hydrologic and water-quality responses downstream of the burned area were primarily driven by small, brief convective storms that had relatively high, but not unusual, rainfall intensity. Suspended sediment, dissolved organic carbon, nitrate, and manganese concentrations were 10-156 times higher downstream of the burned area compared to upstream, and reached concentrations that could impair the ability of water-treatment plants to effectively treat water for human consumption. 

Results from this study quantitatively demonstrate that water quality can be altered for several years after wildfire, even in a watershed that was only 23% burned. Because wildfire frequency and size, and possibly storm frequency and intensity, are projected to increase in the southwestern U.S. in the future, post-wildfire water-quality impacts may become more common, compounding water supply and quality problems related to projected decreases in runoff and continued population growth. 

Recently published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study suggests potential adaptation strategies to avoid the introduction of problematic constituents into water-treatment facilities or reservoirs after wildfire. 

Declines and Slow Recovery in Little Brown Bat Populations Predicted

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 12:30
Summary: Populations of bats diminished by white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease of hibernating bats, are unlikely to return to healthy levels in the near future, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research Highlights Severity of White-Nose Syndrome and Critical Research Needs

Contact Information:

Marisa Lubeck ( Phone: 303-202-4765 ); Gail Moede Rogall ( Phone: 608-270-2438 );



Populations of bats diminished by white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease of hibernating bats, are unlikely to return to healthy levels in the near future, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research

USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists recently evaluated the potential for populations of little brown bats in the eastern United States that survive WNS outbreaks to repopulate. The scientists estimated that between 2016 and 2018, little brown bat populations that once contained millions of bats could decrease to lower than 100,000 animals. Also, some populations may not begin to increase again until around 2023. Populations east of the 100th meridian, the designation between the drier western and wetter eastern states, would likely consist of sparse remnant communities, some of which may be less than 1.5 percent of their original sizes. 

This scarcity of surviving bats can negatively affect reproduction rates and make survivors more vulnerable to threats.

“With so few surviving animals, little brown bats could cease to be a dominant bat species in the eastern United States,” said USGS scientist Robin Russell, the lead author of the report. “These small bat population sizes are problematic because they are more likely to be wiped out by events such as poor weather conditions and landscape development.” 

Animals in small communities could also have trouble finding mates. Female bats gathering in maternity roosts during the summer can include several hundred bats, and the inability to form these colonies due to reduced populations may negatively impact overall reproduction rates. 

Bats pollinate plants, spread seeds and save us billions of dollars in pest control each year by eating harmful insects. WNS, caused by the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus, can cause up to 100 percent mortality in some little brown bat populations. It has already killed millions of hibernating bats in North America and continues to spread.

As part of a coordinated response to WNS, scientists from around the world are working to further understand the disease and conserve bat species affected by it. The USGS and USFWS are among numerous state, federal, tribal, private and university partners engaged in WNS research and response. Members of this community are pursuing multiple approaches to manage the disease, with treatment strategies to both reduce impacts of the disease and to improve the potential for bat populations to survive and eventually recover. This new study emphasizes the importance of continuing research on bat species affected by WNS to finding a solution for managing the disease. 

For more information about USGS WNS research, please visit the USGS National Wildlife Health Center website.

FEMA Encourages Families and Communities to Participate in National PrepareAthon! Day

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 11:38

WASHINGTON –Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging individuals, families, workplaces, schools, and organizations across the nation to take part in National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30th, 2015. Extreme weather is occurring more often across the United States, which is increasing the costs of natural disasters. According to a recent survey conducted by FEMA, fewer than half of Americans have discussed and developed an emergency plan with their household.

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FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Calaveras County

FEMA Press Releases - Sun, 09/27/2015 - 19:47

SACRAMENTO – The Calaveras County Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in San Andreas is opening Monday September 28 at noon, to help survivors impacted by the Butte Fire. Regular hours will begin Tuesday September 29.  The DRCs 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:
Calaveras County Government Center
891 Mountain Ranch Road San Andreas, CA 95249
Hours of operation until further notice:

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FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Lake County

FEMA Press Releases - Sun, 09/27/2015 - 19:43

SACRAMENTO – The Lake County Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Middletown will be open Monday September 28, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., to help survivors impacted by the Valley Fire. Regular hours will begin Tuesday September 29. The DRCs 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:
Middletown Senior Center
21256 Washington St., Middletown, CA 95461
Hours of operation until further notice:
Tuesday - Tuesday 8 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

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Categories: Federal News