BATON ROUGE, La. – Nearly a decade after hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated Louisiana, hard-hit communities are coming back stronger than ever. To date, assistance to Louisiana’s residents and communities from the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency totals more than $19.6 billion.Language English
AUSTIN, Texas – Seven Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Caldwell, Harris, Hays, Jim Wells and Nueces counties will close Aug. 27. That also is the final day for survivors of the May 4 to June 22 storms and flooding to register for FEMA recovery assistance or a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The following DRCs will cease operations at 6 p.m. that Thursday:
Caldwell County: Martindale Baptist Church, 12351 Highway 142, Martindale, TX 78655.Language English
AUSTIN, Texas – If you are among the thousands of Texans who filed insurance claims for damage related to the May 4 to June 22 storms, you may be eligible for additional state-federal assistance. The key is to register with FEMA before the Aug. 27 deadline. Filing a claim under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is different than registering for a FEMA disaster assistance grant.Language English
Drought- and bark-beetle-induced mortality in high- elevation whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) forests, northern Warner Mountains (Drake Peak), Oregon. (High resolution image)
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON, Calif. — A new paper published today in Science magazine has synthesized existing studies on the health of temperate forests across the globe and found a sobering diagnosis. Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening some of these forests with transformation. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.
“While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease these conversions,” said Constance Millar, lead author and forest ecologist with the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station.
Many forests are remarkably resilient, re-growing after years of logging. Yet, the researchers note from review of the enormous body of work on the subject, climate change and rising global temperatures are giving rise to “hotter” droughts — droughts that exhibit a level of severity beyond that witnessed in the past century. During a hotter drought, high air temperatures overheat leaves and also increase the stress on trees by drawing the moisture from their tissues at faster rates than normal. Snow that would normally act as emergency water storage for trees during the dry season instead falls as rain.
Combined, these factors may cause abnormally high levels of forest mortality during hotter droughts.
“Some temperate forests already appear to be showing chronic effects of warming temperatures, such as slow increases in tree deaths,” said Nathan Stephenson, coauthor and ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “But the emergence of megadisturbances, forest diebacks beyond the range of what we’ve normally seen over the last century, could be a game-changer for how we plan for the future.”
Chronic stress from drought and warming temperatures also expose temperate forests to insect and disease outbreaks. And as temperatures rise in many regions, fires grow in frequency and severity causing losses in private property, natural resources and lives.
Losing temperate forests to worsening droughts, megafires and insect and disease outbreaks could lead to widespread losses of forest ecosystem services like national park recreational areas, the researchers caution. Forests also play an important role in storing atmospheric carbon dioxide and watershed protection, for example. The scientists encourage future studies identifying forests most vulnerable to the effects of mega-disturbances. In some cases, forest managers may be able to preserve ecosystem services like carbon storage as temperate forests transition to new ecological states.
The paper “Temperate Forest Health in an Era of Emerging Megadisturbance” was released in the journal Science.
The Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, headquartered in Albany, Calif., develops and communicates science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to society. It has research facilities in California, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.
BILOXI, Miss. -- More than $3.2 billion in FEMA funding has been allocated to Mississippi for Public Assistance after Hurricane Katrina. FEMA’s Public Assistance program includes grants for the repair and rebuilding of public infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, schools, hospitals and sewer treatment facilities. The PA program also provides funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, such as search and rescue operations, temporary roads and overtime for other emergency workers, including police and firefighters.Language English
SEATTLE - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Renner Fire in Ferry and Stevens County, Washington.Language English
SAIPAN - Following Typhoon Soudelor, FEMA called upon the expertise of our federal partners to help support the response. This included mission assigning the Navy and the Marine Corps to help provide relief to the island. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) was conducting regularly scheduled training in the vicinity of the Mariana Islands when they were redirected to support the relief efforts.Language English
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 Washington.
Assistance for the State, Tribal and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:Language English
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 Washington to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts in the area affected by wildfires beginning on August 13, 2015, and continuing.Language English
AUSTIN, Texas— Texans have received nearly $50 million in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help recover from losses caused by the flooding and severe storms from May 4 through June 22. While the assistance is tax free and the grants do not have to be repaid, survivors are reminded to use their funds wisely and solely for recovery.Language English
FEMA Continues to Make Additional Payments to Eligible Policyholders
Over 11,000 National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders who filed claims for damage are in the Hurricane Sandy Claims Review process, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today. FEMA has already validated and begun providing additional funds to policyholders taking part in the Hurricane Sandy Claims Review.Language English
Flood insurance can save Texas homeowners and renters thousands of dollars in repairs. It also can provide peace of mind considering that flooding is the most frequent natural disaster in the United States.
Flood Insurance in Texas:Language English
Spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) are omnivores, often feeding on fruits and insects. (High resolution image)
In a paper released today in Science, a new model presents a common mathematical structure that underlies the full range of feeding strategies of plants and animals: from familiar parasites, predators, and scavengers to more obscure parasitic castrators and decomposers. Now ecologists can view all food-web interactions through the same lens using a common language to understand the natural world.
“Physicists use ‘string theory’ to decipher the universe, economists use complex regression methods to model the global economy, but what about the animals and plants that supply our food and that clean and produce the air we breathe?” said co-author Andrew Dobson, a professor in Princeton University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
The model captures the structure of all the consumer-resource links, plants capturing sunlight, predators eating prey, and parasites eating hosts, that connect species in food webs. “It rolls a century’s worth of food-web mathematics into a single model,” said U.S. Geological Survey Ecologist and lead author Kevin Lafferty.
Although ecologists have previously assumed that different food web links had different structure, for example lions eating zebras operate in different ways than viruses causing disease, this new research finds that they share a common structure, but with distinct characteristics. Insights from past ecological research as well as new ecological models can now be viewed through a common framework akin to physics or chemistry. Co-author Armand Kuris of University of California Santa Barbara considers this “the first development of a unifying theory for ecology. With this approach we can now see the entire elephant, not just some of its parts.”
“Ecologists have long used mathematical equations to study how predators and diseases affect plant, animal and human populations,” said co-author Cheryl Briggs of UC Santa Barbara, “But these approaches have been idiosyncratic, limited in scope and full of hidden assumptions.”
The model emerged from a National Science Foundation sponsored working group organized by Lafferty and Dobson at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a think tank at UC Santa Barbara where ecologists tackle big problems about the environment. The group first set out to reveal the hidden role of parasites in food webs. Early discussions took the group down the same road travelled by others - trying to find different functions to fit different types of parasites and predators.
After several years, the group realized that there was a consistent mathematical backbone underlying their efforts. Out of a jumble of seemingly unrelated and complicated mathematical expressions, they found a simple solution that generalized across a comprehensive range of ecological reactions and revealed previously unobserved similarities and hidden assumptions in classic ecological models. The solution provides a general mathematical framework for food-webs. Ecologists can use this general model to develop a deeper understanding of how the world functions ecologically; this will have profound implications for infectious diseases, fisheries, conservation and humans manage natural ecosystems.
The team anticipates their work will lead to a new generation of food web models that examine ecological structure more acutely and how that structure is responding to global change.
The paper “A General Consumer-Resource Population Model” published today in Science included authors from UC Santa Barbara, Stanford University, University of Bristol, Princeton University and the Santa Fe Institute.
BILOXI, Miss.-- In the last 10 years, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has obligated more than $159 million from Hurricane Katrina recovery to build community safe rooms throughout Mississippi to protect people during storms. HMGP provides grants to state, local and tribal governments to implement long-term mitigation measures to reduce the loss of life and property from a disaster.Language English
SAIPAN – Individuals affected by Typhoon Soudelor that occurred August 1-3, 2015 are urged to begin cleaning up their homes and personal property as soon as possible. Officials from the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emphasize that it is not necessary to wait for a housing inspection before beginning this process.Language English
SAIPAN-- Disaster assistance payments are bringing some much needed financial help to survivors affected by Typhoon Soudelor. But those payments come with some words of advice from commonwealth and federal officials: Be cautious, use them wisely.Language English
Major Disaster Declaration for CNMI (FEMA-4235-DR) amended to include the Islands of Saipan and Tinian for Public Assistance Categories C-G.
SAIPAN – On August 18, 2015, the Major Disaster Declaration for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (FEMA-4235-DR) as a result of damages occurred August 1-3 by Typhoon Soudelor, was amended to include the Islands of Saipan and Tinian for Public Assistance [Categories C-G].Language English
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