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 Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families 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 Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides during the period of July 11-20, 2015.Language English
The results are in. And the public clearly wins.
In April 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Blue Legacy International (a nonprofit organization) challenged solvers to use open government data sources to create compelling visualizations that would inform individuals and communities about nutrient pollution (high-levels of nitrogen and phosphorous that cause excessive growth of algae).
Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems. It degrades the nation’s waterways, municipal and industrial water resources, wildlife, recreation, and fishing. Nutrient pollution is far reaching and affects more than 100,000 miles of rivers and streams, close to 2.5 million acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds, and more than 800 square miles of bays and estuaries in the United States.
The ultimate goal for the visualization challenge is to inspire citizens to take action at the local watershed level to reduce nutrient pollution and thus help to prevent algal blooms and hypoxia.
Here are the results of the 2015 Visualizing Nutrients Challenge.
A Resource Out of Place: The Story of Phosphorus, Lake Erie, and Toxic Algal Blooms
This visualization, created by Matthew Seibert, Benjamin Wellington, and Eric Roy, of Landscape Metrics, uses USGS monitoring data to inform individuals and communities about phosphorus runoff to Lake Erie. The authors sought to “inspire multiple stakeholders to strive toward both better resource management and improved environmental quality.”
Demonstrating creative use of open water data and effective storytelling, the following visualization submissions warranted special recognition.
Short film illustrating nutrient levels on the Los Angeles River using a digital elevation model.
Catherine Griffiths, Isohale
How does increasing nutrients affect you?
Animated illustration and interactive nitrogen concentration tool.
Dr. Zofia Taranu
Interactive chart illustrating water quality results on the Loxahatchee River.
The Silent Predator of the Deep Blue: Hypoxia
Infographic explaining hypoxia.
Kayla Brady - Computer Aid, Inc.
Sathya Ram - Computer Aid, Inc.
Michael Ruiz - Computer Aid, Inc.
Matthew Peters - Computer Aid, Inc.
Thaumas Mathew - Computer Aid, Inc.
VizNut48: Nutrient Pollution in the US Surface Waters and Management Actions
ArcGIS map of US surface water plotting nutrient pollution results.
Visualizing Water Pollution Data Using Beck-Style Flow Path Maps
Illustration of water systems and site results modeled after public transit maps
Prof. Edward Aboufadel
Department of Mathematics, Grand Valley State University
Daniel P. Huffman
* These Challenge submissions can be viewed online.
First Place will receive $10,000. Both the Challenge Winner and Runners Up visualizations will be highlighted in a number of important forums, including a showcase at the Nutrient Sensor Summit in Washington, DC on August 12, 2015.
The Visualizing Nutrients Challenge is part of the broader work of the Challenging Nutrients Coalition. The coalition was formed in 2013 when the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy convened a group of federal agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations to seek innovative ways to address nutrient pollution.
This Challenge marks the starting point for further discussion and application of data visualization tools to help tell the stories of our water. Blue Legacy International, a water advocacy organization championed by global explorer Alexandra Cousteau, will promote the results of the Challenge across a variety of digital platforms, where anyone can join the discussion to advance three critical areas of data visualization for public awareness:
- Reliable and accurate use of water data,
- Effective and clear communication of water issues supported by data, and
- Transformation of complex water issue into relatable, tangible stories that inspire and activate the public.
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.
For additional information, visit the prize competition website.The results of the 2015 Visualizing Nutrients Challenge can be viewed online
Advice on Preventing Damage from Future Storms Offered at Home Improvement Store in Hays County, Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – As Texans rebuild or repair their homes damaged by the May 4 through June 22 storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local home improvement stores have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.
FEMA specialists will be on hand in Hays County at in-store information centers to answer questions and offer home improvement tips and proven methods to prevent and lessen damage from future disasters. Most of the information is geared for do-it-yourself work and general contractors.Language English
Advice on Preventing Damage from Future Storms Offered at Home Improvement Store in Denton County, Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – As Texans rebuild or repair their homes damaged by the May 4 through
June 22 storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local home improvement stores have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.Language English
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the May 5 through June 22 storms have less than two weeks to register for state and federal disaster assistance.
Homeowners, renters and businesses in 45 counties approved for Individual Assistance have until August 26 to seek assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).Language English
AUSTIN, Texas –A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will open on Thursday, Aug. 13, at 10 a.m. in Ellis County for homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from May 4 to June 22.Language English
OKLAHOMA CITY – Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Carter, McCurtain and Pontotoc Counties set up to help people in Oklahoma affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes will close on Friday, August 14.
The locations are listed below:
Convention Center (Conference Rooms 3 & 4)
2401 N. Rockford Road
Ardmore, OK 73401
Hours: Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closes on Friday, August 14 at 7 p.m.
AUSTIN, Texas –A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is now open in Hays County at a new location in San Marcos, Texas, for homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from May 4 to June 22.Language English
CHEYENNE, WYO. – Starting this Saturday (August 15), the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) located in Lusk will be closed on weekends. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on Saturday and Sunday.
The DRC is located at:
Niobrara County Fairgrounds
Shooting Sports Multiplex Complex
310 West US HWY 20
Lusk, WY 82225Language English
SEATTLE - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Krauss Lane Fire in Josephine County, Oregon.
FEMA Region X Regional Administrator Kenneth D. Murphy determined that the fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. Murphy approved the state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) at 11:34 p.m. PDT on Aug. 8, 2015.Language English
Six Months Remain Before Flood Maps Become Final in Travis, Williamson and Bastrop Counties, Texas
DENTON, Texas ––In six months, new flood maps for parts of Travis, Williamson and Bastrop counties in Texas will become effective. This includes the following cities and communities: Austin; Cedar Park; Creedmoor; Mustang Ridge; Rollingwood; Webberville; West Lake Hills; and unincorporated areas of Travis and Bastrop counties.Language English
Charleston, W.Va. - State and federal officials say that more than $31 million in combined state and federal disaster assistance has been delivered to the State of West Virginia to help cover the costs of the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in March and April that damaged infrastructure across the State.Language English
Charleston, W.Va. - State and federal officials say that more than $31 million in combined state and federal disaster assistance has been delivered to the State of West Virginia to help cover the costs of the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in March and April that damaged infrastructure across the State.Language English
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In the 20th century, Baranof Island in Southeastern Alaska has drawn attention for its gold, chrome and nickel deposits, timber industry, potential activity of the dormant Mount Edgecumbe volcano, and for numerous commercially developed hot springs. In addition, Baranof Island is known for its outstanding scenic fjords, pristine rainforests, and prolific fishing grounds.
A new map from the U.S. Geological Survey updates the geology of Baranof Island based on field studies, petrographic analyses of minerals, fossil ages, and isotopic ages for igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. These new data provide constraints on ages of rock units and the structures that separate them, as well as insights on the regional tectonic processes that affected the rocks on Baranof Island. This work provides stratigraphic, geochemical, and structural evidence that ties Baranof Island geologically to Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii rather than other islands in southeast Alaska.
"This report is a modern synthesis of new work and many years of topical investigations," said USGS geologist Susan Karl. "Pulling together all of this information in one product is a benefit to scientists working on similar or related studies, and is of interest to the general public for explanations of local geologic features such as the Mount Edgecumbe volcano, the Fairweather, Chatham Strait, and Peril Strait Faults, gold deposits, and hot springs."
A pamphlet complements the map and includes a geologic overview of the results of USGS studies and detailed rock unit descriptions. The map is available at the USGS Alaska Science Center website.
BALTIMORE -- Forests worldwide are vulnerable to growing risks of drought- and heat-induced tree mortality and forest die-off because of a rapidly warming Earth, according to just-published research in the scientific journal Ecosphere. The paper is an invited “ESA Centennial Paper” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Ecological Society of America.
Researchers from the USGS, University of Arizona, and Los Alamos National Laboratory assessed more than 400 research studies on forest mortality to help answer the question about whether forests will be more or less vulnerable to projected climate change in the future, a subject of significant scientific debate.
Their in-depth assessment of diverse results from observational, experimental and modeling studies concludes that forest die-off events to date represent only the beginning of an increasing phenomenon of such mortality episodes. These tree mortality events will result primarily because of the combination of droughts with warmer temperatures due to projected climate change.
The researchers use the term “hotter drought” to indicate the integrated effects of drought and warmer temperatures associated with climate change. Despite numerous compensatory processes that commonly allow trees to survive drought stress, during hotter droughts, warmer temperatures increase stress and mortality risk for trees both directly through many physiological impacts and indirectly through higher risks from pests and disease.
“This synthesis leads us to conclude that the future broad-scale vulnerability of forests globally is being widely underestimated, including the vulnerability of forests in wetter regions,” said Craig D. Allen, a USGS forest expert and lead author of the research.
The scientists emphasize that their research is not saying that forests globally will collapse concurrently or that most forests in existence today are at risk of disappearing during this century. Instead they anticipate major reorganizations in forest ecosystems due to more tree mortality in coming decades from increasingly extreme hotter droughts.
“We expect to see widespread declines in forest productivity, changes in the species composition and dominance patterns of forest trees, a shift to smaller-sized trees, and reductions in forest extent in some regions,” Allen said.
The authors note that even when amplified tree mortality does not cause species range changes or shifts in forest biome boundaries, broad-scale tree mortality fundamentally affects a diverse suite of environmental processes and ecosystem services, including forest community and ecosystem dynamics, the diversity of species, radiation fluxes, biogeochemical processes and associated carbon sequestration, and global earth system consequences and feedbacks.
The paper, On underestimation of global vulnerability to tree mortality and forest die-off from hotter drought in the Anthropocene, was published in Ecosphere, and authored by Craig D. Allen, USGS; David D. Breshears, University of Arizona, Tucson; and Nate G. McDowell, Los Alamos National Laboratory. Breshears and Allen are presenting results from this paper at the ESA Annual Conference this week.
BALTIMORE -- This year, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will present their research at the 100th annual Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting from Aug. 9-14, 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland. The theme is "Ecological Science at the Frontier: Celebrating ESA’s Centennial." ESA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of scientists founded in 1915 to promote ecological science.
This USGS tipsheet presents a select few of our exciting presentations at the ESA meeting. Please visit the 2015 ESA meeting website for a complete listing of USGS-related presentations.
Research Conducted by the Department of the Interior’s Climate Science Centers
USGS manages the Department of the Interior’s eight climate science centers, and about 20 ESA presentations and posters center around CSC research. These and other CSC studies focus on providing scientific information to help natural resource manager respond effectively to climate change.
Projecting Responses to Climate Change: The Importance of Nonclimatic Factors
If the past is any indication of the future, the conifer forests of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) will be shaped not solely by climate change, but also by interactions occurring between climate and nonclimatic factors, including fire. Reconstructing early postglacial GYE conifer dynamics following the last glacial-interglacial transition (20,000 to 8000 cal yr BP), a period of rapid environmental change, offers new insights into how climate change, fire, and other factors interact to shape conifer forests. In this presentation of climate science supported by Interior Department’s Southwest Climate Science Center, USGS scientist Teresa Krause will discuss the importance of considering nonclimatic factors in making projections of conifer species response to future climate change. (Monday, Aug. 10, 2015: 1:30 p.m. / 337, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Protecting Amphibians from Climate Change
In many areas the distinctive calls of frogs and toads is a familiar marker of the changing seasons. But rising temperatures and changes to hydrologic regimes are combining with altered disease dynamics to threaten the persistence of amphibian populations globally. Maureen Ryan of the University of Washington, whose research was supported by the Interior Department’s Northwest Climate Science Center, will outline the primary threats that climate change poses to amphibians and the most urgent conservation research needs. She will also provide two case studies of amphibian research that draw on remote sensing, hydroclimatic modeling, and ecological modeling. (Monday, Aug. 10, 2015: 4:30-6:30 p.m. / Exhibit Hall, Baltimore Convention Center/ Online Paper / email@example.com)
Can Grass Phenology in the Western U.S. Track Climate Change?
Grasslands are important sources of biodiversity and productivity, but may be vulnerable to climate change. Shallow-rooted, short-lived grass species generally react quickly to the changes in their environment. Their ability to shift life cycle events can be an important indicator of their ability to persist under climate change. USGS scientist Lexine Long will highlight research she and lead USGS scientist Seth Munson conducted on how long-term records of grass reproductive phenology, dating back to the late 1800s, can help determine how grasses in the western United States have shifted their phenology in response to climate. Phenology is the timing of when plants and animals conduct their life events, such as reproduction. For the study, multiple species in the western U.S. were assessed for their phenological responses to climate, where responses were most pronounced and which aspects of climate were associated with phenological shifts. (Monday, Aug. 10, 2015: 4:30-6:30 p.m. / Exhibit Hall, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com)
Avian Response to Forest Disturbance Associated with Marcellus Shale Gas Development: A Long-term Case Study of Impacts on Area-sensitive Species
The Marcellus shale has been a hotspot for extracting natural gas in the last decade. The extraction has been significant in the central Appalachians, a region that is home to the largest expanses of deciduous forest remaining in the eastern United States. Many Neotropical migrants and several species of conservation concern rely on these forests as breeding habitat. Laura Farwell, a Ph.D. student with the USGS West Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, will share findings on the impacts of shale gas development on breeding forest songbird abundance in the region. Surveys were conducted annually during 2008 through 2014 at 142 different survey stations in a 4,500-hectare study area of primarily mature hardwood forest in northwestern West Virginia. Our results suggest that Marcellus shale gas development has the potential to affect regional forests and area-sensitive avian species, at multiple spatial scales. (Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015: 9:20 a.m. / 337, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Navajo Tribal Elder Observations of Climate Change Impacts: Validating Local Knowledge and Informing Adaptation
People living on Native lands rely on an intimate knowledge of the ecosystem around them in order to maintain their traditional lifestyles. Some Indigenous communities have engaged in studies that combine this knowledge and conventional scientific data. These studies have led to an increase in local awareness of climate change impacts, spurring community action and increasing adaptive capacity. USGS scientist Margaret Hiza-Redsteer discusses one such example that incorporates the observations of 73 Navajo elders, together with long-term meteorological records and historical documentation from the region to examine impacts from climate change and drought. (Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015: 1:50 p.m. / 327, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / email@example.com)
Same Shift, Different Disturbance: Experimental Warming, Altered Precipitation and Physical Disturbance Lead to a Similar Alternate State in Biological Soil Crust Communities
In drylands worldwide, where plant cover is sparse, large amounts of the ground surface are covered by specialized bacteria, mosses and lichens that form biological soil crusts, called biocrusts. These biocrusts fix carbon and nitrogen, stabilize soils and influence dryland hydrology. Extensive physical disturbance from livestock/human trampling and off-road vehicles is known to rapidly destroy biocrusts with dramatic consequences for ecosystem function. Recent work indicates that climate change can also affect biocrust communities. Contrary to expectations, experimental climate change and physical disturbance had strikingly similar impacts on biocrust communities, with both causing a shift toward highly degraded states. These results herald ecological state transitions in drylands as global temperatures rise. Ecologist Scott Ferrenberg will explain how ongoing global change pressures will affect biocrusts. Ferrenberg analyzed long-term data sets from the Colorado Plateau to compare the effects of experimental warming, altered precipitation and physical disturbance on biological soil crust community structure. (Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015: 2:50 p.m. / 320, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s an Unmanned Aircraft System! UAS Applications in the Department of the Interior
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) come in all different sizes, shapes and configurations while serving various purposes. The USGS uses UASs for a variety of research activities from analyzing the impacts of climate change, responding to natural hazards, understanding landscape change rates and consequences, conducting wildlife inventories and supporting related land management activities. The systems have become an integral part of the Department of the Interior’s science sphere, making a particularly significant impact on earth science research. The USGS is a key player in conducting operational tests and evaluations of the UAS to see how this evolving technology can support the USGS and the DOI mission. Bruce Quirk, scientist and UAS liaison, will discuss how the UAS technology and infrastructure is being employed, pilot application projects already accomplished, lessons learned and the future of UAS within the DOI. (Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015: 4:30-6:30 p.m. / Exhibit Hall, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / email@example.com)
Revealing and Translating Phenological Patterns and Predictions at the National Scale
Phenology is the study of seasonal life-cycle events such as leafing, flowering, reproduction and migration. The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) is a national-scale science and monitoring initiative focused on phenology as a tool to understand the response to biodiversity to environmental variation and change. The USA-NPN provides a national monitoring framework that enables other organizations to leverage the capacity of the network for their own applications. Executive Director and USGS ecologist Jake Weltzin will discuss the development of phenology indicators in the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment as an example of how phenological information can be integrated, interpreted and translated as an indication of the impacts of climate change for a variety of stakeholders ranging from researchers, resource managers and the public. (Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015: 4:30-6:30 p.m. / Exhibit Hall, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Climate and Wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico
Hot and dry to cool and wet: the northern Gulf of Mexico spans a wide spectrum of climate conditions. These regional conditions could be affecting the important plants – mangrove trees and salt marsh grasses included -- who call tidal wetlands home. Chris Gabler shares how he and USGS researchers traveled from Texas to Florida to collect information from 70 study areas in estuaries ranging in temperature and rainfall to determine how regional climate conditions affect the presence and performance of these important plants, and why this is important for future management and restoration efforts for wetlands. (Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015: 8:40 a.m. / 310, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mangrove Forests Versus Salt Marshes in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Climate Change Influencing the Competition
Climate change is expected to lead to the northward expansion of black mangroves at the expense of some salt marshes in the tidal wetlands of the northern Gulf of Mexico. This change would alter the ecosystem’s properties and some of the current benefits it provides, so a better understanding is needed on how changing winter air temperatures will affect mangrove-marsh interactions. Scientists studied a transition zone in Louisiana to determine landscape positions where black mangrove forests are most resistant and resilient to winter climate extremes, which could lead to their dominance in those areas. USGS National Wetlands Research Center research ecologist Michael Osland will present details about this study that improves the understanding of current and potential future distribution of black mangrove forests and salt marshes in Louisiana and other parts of the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. (Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015: 9:00 a.m. / 310, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / email@example.com)
Small Mammals Have a Big Impact on Landscapes Changed by Global Warming
This is the power of global warming: it can transform a tranquil alpine meadow into a busy woodland. Yet some very small creatures may have a pronounced effect on just how far global warming can take this transformation. USGS Western Ecological Research Center ecologist Robert Klinger discusses the hypothesis that small mammals, such as the yellow-bellied marmot, Belding's ground squirrel, golden-mantled ground squirrel, and American pika, can have big impacts on their changing habitat simply by eating seeds and seedlings. (Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015: 3:10 p.m. / 307, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Identifying Areas Protected from Climate Change
With drought and heat hitting the western U.S. hard, wildlife managers with limited resources are looking to identify places they can focus their conservation efforts. USGS research ecologist Toni Lyn Morelli, currently based at the Northeast Climate Science Center, will present her work on how to identify climate change refugia, places buffered from increasing temperatures and changing precipitation. Using a century of survey data plus recent genetic analyses, she not only mapped refugia but also tested whether they were protecting a montane meadow specialist, the Belding's ground squirrel, a species that in turn might help to mitigate California's drought - come find out how. (Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015: 4:10 p.m. / 307, Baltimore Convention Center/ Online Paper / email@example.com)
Factors Affecting Avian Fatality at Onshore Wind Turbines in the Contiguous United States
The wind energy industry is one of the fastest-growing sources of electricity in the United States, offering a renewable source of energy that does not produce greenhouse gas emissions. However, birds and bats sometimes fly into trouble as they collide with wind turbines. Mortality rates have varied among different facilities and turbines. Research ecologist Julie Beston will discuss her analysis and modeling of fatality records from 125 wind energy facilities in the United States and Canada. Such research can better understand and determine whether environmental variables are correlated with the number of fatalities caused by turbines. (Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015: 8:40 a.m. / 316, Baltimore Convention Center/ Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ravens as a Roadblock to Sage-Grouse Conservation
Greater sage-grouse are currently at the center of one of the nation’s greatest conservation concerns. However, transmission lines and other tall structures continue to spread into their habitat as the demand for wind, solar, and geothermal energy intensifies. These structures present tempting roosting spots for sage-grouse predators like common ravens, which prey on other birds’ eggs. USGS Western Ecological Research Center research biologist Peter Coates talks about the potential threats that ravens pose to sage-grouse populations as a result of spreading energy lines and other power structures. (Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015: 10:50 a.m. / 316, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / email@example.com)
Population Growth Effects on Wildfires in Southern California
Humans are responsible for nearly all wildfires in southern California, and the spiraling increase in population growth is likely to be a bigger factor in future fire damage than global warming. USGS Western Ecological Research Center fire ecologist Jon Keeley describes how a doubling of population size in the 21st century will impact wildfire losses of both property and natural resources in the region. (Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015: 10:50 a.m. / 340, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Climate Change, Conservation Planning, and Renewable Energy Development in the Mojave Desert
Renewable energy development in the desert southwest has raised concerns about potential impacts to sensitive biological resources. This research developed analytical approaches, decision support tools, and geospatial data to aid conservation planning for renewable energy development in the California deserts. As a part of the study, a model was created to map the relative degree of compatibility of new solar energy projects with current biological conservation values. Additionally, species distribution models were produced for 65 animal and plant species of potential conservation significance to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan process. Research geographer Jason Kreitler will highlight how these models were applied to map both historical and projected future habitat suitability. The data and models created in this project support conservation decision-making to offset siting and the potential cumulative impacts of multiple solar energy projects given background climate and land use change. (Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015: 11:10 a.m. / 316, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / email@example.com)
Response of Louisiana Waterthrush to Shale Gas Development
(Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015: 3:20 p.m. / 347, Baltimore Convention Center / Link / E-mail)
The effects of shale gas well and infrastructure development on the Louisiana waterthrush, a songbird that lives in streamside forests, was examined at the Lewis Wetzel Wildlife Management Area in West Virginia. Mack Frantz, a Ph.D. student at the USGS West Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, quantified waterthrush nesting survival, territory density and return rates on headwater streams from 2009 to 2014. The study found that habitat quality and territory density have declined and cowbird parasitism of nests has increased as shale gas development has increased on the study area. Macroinvertebrate sampling in 2011 suggests shale gas development affected bottom-dwelling communities, which are home to the primary prey of waterthrush. Preliminary results suggest differences in individuals from impacted and unimpacted streams that have the potential to affect survival and fitness. (Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015: 3:20 p.m. / 347, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chasing the Tail: The Importance of Extremes in a Changing Climate
Resource managers, policymakers, and conservation planners need robust frameworks for anticipating weather and climate extremes under global change. Climate extremes, ranging from heat waves and cold snaps to floods and multi-year droughts, have an outsized influence on natural systems, and they offer substantial challenges to forecasters and researchers trying to represent their behavior in climate models. USGS Southwest Climate Science Center principal investigator Alexander Gershunov will explore approaches to understanding extremes in a changing climate. (Friday, Aug. 14, 2015: 8:00 a.m. / 328, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / email@example.com)
Underestimating Global Vulnerability to Tree Mortality and Forest Die-off from Hotter Drought in the Anthropocene
A characteristic of the Anthropocene – today’s increasingly human-altered world – is “hotter drought,” the combination of drought with warmer temperatures. The ability of forests to adapt to projected much warmer temperatures globally this century has been subject to significant debate and a lack of scientific consensus, as diverse results from observational, experimental and modeling studies provide evidence supporting both lesser and greater vulnerability perspectives. A new synthetic assessment of over 400 studies across the broad spectrum of tree mortality research, just released as a commissioned ESA Centennial Paper (Ecosphere 6(8): Online Abstract), concludes that across the globe, forests increasingly are vulnerable to mortality from hotter droughts –– despite numerous compensatory processes. Study co-author David D. Breshears, along with lead author Craig D. Allen of USGS, will summarize key findings of this work, highlighting contrasting evidence and perspectives between those implying lesser versus greater levels of forest vulnerability to tree mortality from hotter drought. (Friday, Aug. 14, 2015: 8:20 a.m. / 328, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sea Level Rise and Wetlands
Flooding reduction, storm surge protection and nutrient cycling are a few of the services that tidal wetlands provide for people, and yet they are one of the most vulnerable habitats to rising sea level and changes to the surrounding landscape. With changes in sea level, river flow and land use, tidal freshwater forested wetlands will move inland, change to marsh, or disappear. Such changes affect the balance of carbon storage and movement in coastal landscapes. This presentation by USGS scientist Ken Krauss discusses how differences in salinity can affect habitat productivity, soil surface elevation and carbon sequestration, and nutrient cycling in wetlands. (Friday, Aug. 14, 2015: 9:50 a.m. / 317, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / email@example.com)
Broadscale Disturbance and the Use of Near-term Climatic Predictability to Improve Treatments and Successional Outcomes
For at least the next couple of decades, climate variability may be more important than climate change at the regional level. Forecasting ecological consequences while optimizing management decisions could be more accurate/reliable with faster advances in predicting climate variability. There are numerous ecological disturbances that occur in forests, such as fire, insect and pathogen outbreaks and drought-induced tree mortality. The success of post-disturbance treatments often is contingent on climatic conditions in the ensuing months and years, hence the value of long-lead forecasts. Senior USGS scientist Julio L Betancourt will discuss the current prospects and limitations for near-term climate predictability, where significant advances might occur and to what degree ecologists and managers are taking full advantage of currently available forecasting. (Friday, Aug. 14, 2005: 10:30 a.m. / 328, Baltimore Convention Center / Online Paper / firstname.lastname@example.org)
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Residents of nine Arkansas counties who suffered damage from the severe storms of May 7 through June 15, 2015, have only about two weeks’ left to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The deadline to register for disaster assistance is Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015.Language English
The first payments are being made to policyholders taking part in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hurricane Sandy Claims Review, the agency announced today.
The payments represent additional funds owed to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders who filed flood insurance claims after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.Language English