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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. 

FEMA Awards $63.6 million to New Mexico for Road Repairs in Eddy County

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 12/21/2015 - 11:00

DENTON, Texas — The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently awarded more than $63.6 million to the state of New Mexico for road repairs and hazard mitigation as a result of severe storms and flooding in September 2014. A federal disaster declaration (DR-4199-NM) designated eight counties eligible for Public Assistance grants.

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Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Cameron County for Texans

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 12/18/2015 - 18:18

AUSTIN, Texas – A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is now open in Cameron 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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Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Caldwell County for Texans

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 12/18/2015 - 18:16

AUSTIN, Texas – A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is now open in Caldwell 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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Help Remains Available After Disaster Recovery Center Closes in Bamberg

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 12/18/2015 - 15:28

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

  • Department of Social Services building, 374 Log Branch Road in Bamberg

Applicants in Bamberg 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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Noncitizens May Apply for Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 12/18/2015 - 13:34

 

AUSTIN, Texas—Noncitizens affected by the October storms may apply for federal disaster assistance, which may include grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

To be considered, at least one person in the household must be a US. Citizen, Qualified Alien or noncitizen national with a Social Security number. Disaster assistance may be available to a household if a parent or guardian applies on behalf of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen or a Qualified Alien. The adult should provide the Social Security number of the minor child.

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Lake County Receives $883,000 Federal Grant for Flood Control

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 12/17/2015 - 20:02

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Lake County has been approved to receive $883,110 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a culvert project that will reduce localized flooding and debris flow at selected sites burned by the Valley wildfire, which began Sept. 12, 2015.

FEMA covers 75 percent of the eligible costs with the county paying the remaining 25 percent, for a projected total cost of $1.1 million.

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Texas Disaster Recovery Centers to Close for Holiday; Phone Lines Remain Open

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 12/17/2015 - 18:46

AUSTIN, Texas – State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in seven Texas counties will be closed Dec. 23 to Dec. 27 for the holiday. Disaster survivors who have questions may call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Helpline (800-621-3362), which will remain open throughout the holiday.

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State, Federal Assistance for California Wildfire Survivors Tops $30 Million

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 12/17/2015 - 14:06

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have approved more than $30 million in disaster recovery grants and loans for survivors of the Butte and Valley wildfires.

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USGS Estimates 53 Trillion Cubic Feet of Gas Resources in Barnett Shale

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 12/17/2015 - 11:00
Summary: The Barnett Shale contains estimated mean volumes of 53 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas, 172 million barrels of shale oil and 176 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an updated assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey This estimate is double the 2003 USGS assessment of the Barnett

Contact Information:

Kristen  Marra ( Phone: 303-236-7756 ); Alex Demas ( Phone: 571-335-6535 );



The Barnett Shale contains estimated mean volumes of 53 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas, 172 million barrels of shale oil and 176 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an updated assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey. This estimate is for undiscovered, technically recoverable resources.

The previous USGS assessment of the Barnett Shale, which is located in Texas, was released in 2003 as part of an assessment of conventional and unconventional (continuous) reservoirs of the Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin Province. That assessment estimated a mean of 26.2 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas and 1.0 billion barrels of undiscovered natural gas liquids within the Barnett Shale. Potential oil resources were not quantitatively assessed for the Barnett at that time.

“We decided to reassess the Barnett Shale following the successful introduction of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, setting the stage for the current shale gas boom,” said USGS scientist Kristen Marra, who led the assessment. “In addition, the newly revised assessment incorporates estimates for both gas and oil resources within the Barnett.”

The substantial increase in potential resources is largely due to the oil and gas industry’s switch to primarily horizontal drilling within the Barnett, paired with hydraulic fracturing. The 2003 USGS assessment relied solely on vertical drilling. Since 2003, more than 16,000 horizontal wells have been drilled into the formation. Those wells have helped produce more than 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 59 million barrels of oil in the Barnett since the 2003 assessment.

The Barnett Shale is a significant source of potential natural gas resources. For comparison, in 2011, USGS estimated that the Marcellus Shale contained a mean of 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas. The Marcellus has helped fuel the shale gas boom in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Horizontal drilling is the practice of angling the well bore to travel along the rock layer, instead of drilling vertically through the formation. It is often paired with the practice of hydraulic fracturing to develop continuous oil and gas.

The Barnett Shale is not the only formation that USGS has reassessed as technology and geologic understanding have advanced. In 2013, USGS released an updated assessment of the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, and the 2011 assessment of the Marcellus Shale was itself an update from an earlier assessment.

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 Barnett Shale assessment was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol.

The new assessment of the Barnett Shale may be found online. The 2003 Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin assessment, which included the Barnett Shale, can also 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 Barnett Shale assessment area in east Texas. (High resolution image)

Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Harris County

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 12/17/2015 - 10:10

AUSTIN, Texas – A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is now open in Harris 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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