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Federal News

FEDERAL ASSISTANCE TO NEW YORK TOPS $8.7 BILLION FOR SANDY RECOVERY

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 12:23

NEW YORK – In 18 months since Hurricane Sandy, federal assistance to New York totals nearly $8.7 billion. FEMA continues to assist the state in its recovery and with its resiliency plans so that it will be better able to withstand future storms.

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Categories: Federal News

New Yorkers: Prepare for severe weather before it strikes

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 12:18

NEW YORK – New Yorkers know about severe weather. After Hurricane Sandy, 2013 brought 15 significant weather events to New York, including winter snow and ice storms, a tornado, extreme heat, brush fires, heavy rains and flooding. Two of those events resulted in major disaster declarations for the state.

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Categories: Federal News

Don’t Forget That Date; Appeals Must be Submitted to FEMA Within 60 Days

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 11:38

Those who received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency should take note of the date the letter was written. Appeals or submission of missing documents must be made within 60 days of that date.

Disaster survivors may request an appeal to review their cases regarding the amount or type of federal disaster assistance available.

The appeal must be in writing and explain why you disagree with a decision. Attach any new or additional documents supporting the appeal.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Registration Deadline Extended for Disaster Survivors in Florida

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 09:40

PENSACOLA, Fla. – At the request of the state of Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a 14-day extension for storm and flood survivors to register for disaster assistance.

The deadline to register is now Monday, July 21.

Residents affected by the storms and flooding from April 28 to May 6 can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or on a smartphone at m.fema.gov.  

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Categories: Federal News

Training International Volcano Scientists and Saving Lives Worldwide

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 18:00
Summary: Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in 11 countries are visiting the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory this week to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes

Contact Information:

Janet Babb, USGS ( Phone: 808-967-8844 ); Darcy Bevens, CSAV ( Phone: 808-430-0612 );



HAWAII ISLAND, Hawaiʻi — Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in 11 countries are visiting the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory this week to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes.

The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist scientists from other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions. Field exercises on Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes allow students to observe and operate a variety of instruments, and classroom instruction at the Observatory provides students the opportunity to interpret data, as well as plan a monitoring network for their home volcanoes. U.S. scientists are providing training on monitoring methods, data analysis and interpretation, and volcanic hazard assessment, and participants are taught about the use and maintenance of volcano monitoring instruments. Participants learn about forecasting events, responding rapidly during volcanic crises, and how to work with governing officials and the news media to save lives and property.

Organized by the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, with support from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and the joint USGS-U.S. Agency for International Development Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, the annual program has been training foreign scientists for 24 years. This year’s class includes 16 volcano scientists from Chile, Colombia Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

“Hawaiian volcanoes offer an excellent teaching opportunity because our volcanoes are relatively accessible, they're active, and USGS staff scientists can teach while actually monitoring volcanic activity," said the USGS’s HVO Scientist-in-Charge, Jim Kauahikaua. “The small investment we make in training international scientists now goes a long way toward mitigating large volcanic disasters in the future.”

“Providing training in volcano hazards assessment and monitoring is by far the most cost effective strategy for reducing losses and saving lives for those developing nations exposed to high volcanic hazards risks,” said CSAV Director Donald Thomas. “The goal of our course is to provide our trainees with an understanding of the technologies that can be applied to an assessment of volcanic threats as well as how to interface with their respective communities to increase awareness of how to respond to those threats.”

“The training program directly benefits the United States, through international exchange of knowledge concerning volcanic eruptions, and it serves as an important element in our country’s humanitarian assistance and science diplomacy programs around the world,” said the USGS’s VDAP Chief, John Pallister. 

The international participants are learning to use both traditional geological tools and the latest technology. To anticipate the future behavior of a volcano, basic geologic mapping brings an understanding of what a volcano is capable of doing, how frequently it has erupted in the past, and what kind of rocks, and ash it produces. Using Geographic Information Systems, the students learn to predict lava flow paths, conduct a vulnerability assessment, and tabulate the predicted costs associated with the damage from a lava flow. Participants are trained in the emerging field of infrasound monitoring, which is critical for rapidly detecting volcanic explosions and/or rift zone eruptions, as well as basic seismological fundamentals, and a survey of pre-eruptive seismic swarms at various volcanoes around the world. Monitoring and modeling deformation of a volcano focuses on different techniques from traditional leveling methods to GPS and satellite-based radar.

Providing critical training to international scientists began at HVO, leading to the creation of CSAV to continue the legacy. Since 1990, almost 200 scientists and civil workers from 29 countries have received training in volcano monitoring methods through CSAV. USGS’s HVO continues to provide instructors and field experiences for the courses, and VDAP has a long-term partnership with CSAV, providing instructors and co-sponsoring participants from countries around the world. 

FEMA Continues To Urge Preparedness Ahead Of Tropical Storm Arthur; Residents and Visitors Urged to Follow Direction of Local Officials

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 15:54

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its National Watch Center in Washington and its regional offices in Atlanta and Philadelphia and in coordination with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, is continuing to monitor the conditions of Tropical Storm Arthur off the east coast of Florida. FEMA remains in close contact with state emergency management partners in potentially affected states.

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FEMA Funding Continues to Flow to New York for Sandy Recovery

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 15:47

NEW YORK – Area parks and beaches that Hurricane Sandy left in shambles are opening, heralding another summer season. They also serve as tangible signs that New York is steadily recovering from the historic storm. Federal aid continues to flow to the state to help rebuild; FEMA Public Assistance grants total nearly $2.6 billion.

Recent awards include:

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Categories: Federal News

California to Receive FEMA Funding for the Butts Fire in Napa County

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 14:48

For Immediate Release:  July 2, 2014
Media Contact:  Paul Laustsen, paul.laustsen@associates.fema.dhs.gov, 510-627-7006

 

OAKLAND, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to assist the state of California combat the Butts Fire currently burning in Napa County.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA to Evaluate Readiness of Virginia

FEMA Region III News Releases - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 14:42

Emergency preparedness exercise scheduled for the North Anna Power Station

PHILADELPHIA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate a Biennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the North Anna Power Station.  The exercise will occur during the week of July 7th to assess the ability of the Commonwealth of Virginia to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility.

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FEMA to Evaluate Readiness of Virginia

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 14:42

Emergency preparedness exercise scheduled for the North Anna Power Station

PHILADELPHIA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate a Biennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the North Anna Power Station.  The exercise will occur during the week of July 7th to assess the ability of the Commonwealth of Virginia to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility.

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Categories: Federal News

Ahead of Tropical Storm Arthur, FEMA Urges Residents to Take Steps to Prepare, Listen to Local Officials

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 22:24

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its National Watch Center in Washington and its regional office in Atlanta, and in coordination with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, is monitoring the conditions of Tropical Storm Arthur off the east coast of Florida. FEMA remains in close contact with state emergency management partners in potentially affected states.

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Categories: Federal News

Two Months After Alabama Storms, Disaster Recovery Efforts Continue

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 16:53

Two Months After Alabama Storms, Disaster Recovery Efforts Continue

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – As America celebrates the anniversary of its birth, many Alabama residents are still picking up the pieces of their lives, homes and businesses from spring storms.

This year’s holiday marks the two-month anniversary of the devastating severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that raked the state from April 28 through May 5.

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Categories: Federal News

Don’t Delay, Register Today

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 16:23

Don’t Delay, Register Today

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley requested and FEMA approved on Friday, June 27, to extend the deadline to apply for disaster assistance in the nine counties affected by the April 28 to May 5 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding. The new deadline is Tuesday, July 15.

Counties approved for FEMA assistance through the Individuals and Households Program include Baldwin, Blount, DeKalb, Etowah, Jefferson, Lee, Limestone, Mobile and Tuscaloosa.

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Disaster Assistance Helpline Available After Close of Registration

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:22

JACKSON, Miss. – The deadline to register for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance in Mississippi has closed; however, applicants who have registered may still call the FEMA helpline to check on the status of their application, appeal a decision, update contact information, or ask questions about the process. Call 800-621-3362. Disaster survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability can call TTY 800-462-7585.

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FEMA Rebuilding Specialists to Provide Advice in Brandon and Vicksburg

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 12:15

JACKSON, Miss. –Rebuilding or repairing property damaged from the recent severe storms?  Residents in the Brandon and Vicksburg areas can get advice on building safer and smarter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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FEMA Rebuilding Specialists to Provide Advice in Tupelo-Saltillo Area

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 12:13

JACKSON, Miss. – Rebuilding or repairing property damaged from the recent severe storms?  Residents in the Tupelo-Saltillo area can get advice on building safer and smarter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mitigation specialists from FEMA will be at Home Depot in Saltillo to offer information on rebuilding after a disaster. The advisors can answer questions about protecting homes from future disaster-related damage and offer tips to build hazard-resistant homes.

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Carbon Storage in U.S. Eastern Ecosystems Helps Counter Greenhouse Gas Emissions Contributing to Climate Change

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 16:33
Summary: On the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released a new report showing that forests, wetlands and farms in the eastern United States naturally store 300 million tons of carbon a year (1,100 million tons of CO2 equivalent), which is nearly 15 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions EPA estimates the country emits each year or an amount that exceeds and offsets yearly U.S. car emissions Interior Releases Report on Anniversary of President’s Climate Action Plan; New Visualization Tool Helps Land Managers Make Smart, Informed Landscape-Level Decisions

Contact Information:

Jon Campbell ( Phone: 703-648-4180 ); Anne-Berry Wade ( Phone: 703-648-4483 );



WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released a new report showing that forests, wetlands and farms in the eastern United States naturally store 300 million tons of carbon a year (1,100 million tons of CO2 equivalent), which is nearly 15 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions EPA estimates the country emits each year or an amount that exceeds and offsets yearly U.S. car emissions. 

In conjunction with the national assessment, today USGS also released a new web tool, which allows users to see the land and water carbon storage and change in their ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states.  This tool was called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan.  

“Today we are taking another step forward in our ongoing effort to bring sound science to bear as we seek to tackle a central challenge of the 21st century – a changing climate,” said Secretary Jewell.  “This landmark study by the U.S. Geological Survey provides yet another reason for being good stewards of our natural landscapes, as ecosystems play a critical role in removing harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that contributes to climate change.” 

With today’s report on the eastern United States, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has completed the national biological carbon assessment for ecosystems in the lower 48 states – a national inventory of the capacity of land-based and aquatic ecosystems to naturally store, or sequester, carbon, which was called for by Congress in 2007. 

Together, the ecosystems across the lower 48 states sequester about 474 million tons of carbon a year (1,738 million tons of CO2 equivalent), comparable to counter-balancing nearly two years of U.S. car emissions, or more than 20 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions EPA estimates the country emits each year.

The assessment shows that the East stores more carbon than all of the rest of the lower 48 states combined even though it has fewer than 40 percent of the land base.  Under some scenarios, USGS scientists found that the rate of sequestration for the lower 48 states is projected to decline by more than 25 percent by 2050, due to disturbances such as wildfires, urban development and increased demand for timber products.

“What this means for the future is that ecosystems could store less carbon each year,” said USGS Acting Director Suzette Kimball. “Biological sequestration may not be able to offset greenhouse gas emissions nearly as effectively when these ecosystems are impaired.”

Forests accounted for more than 80 percent of the estimated carbon sequestered in the East annually, confirming the critical role of forests highlighted in the Administration’s climate action initiative.

USGS scientists have been building the national assessment since a 2007 congressional mandate in the Energy Independence and Security Act.  The first report, on the Great Plains, was released in 2011, the second report, on the Western United States, was released in 2012.  Reports on Alaska and Hawaii are expected to be completed in 2015.   

Biological carbon storage – also known as carbon sequestration – is the process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in vegetation, soils and sediment.  The USGS inventory estimates the ability of different ecosystems to store carbon now and in the future, providing vital information for land-use and land-management decisions.  Management of carbon stored in our ecosystems and agricultural areas is relevant both for mitigation of climate change and for adaptation to such changes.

The area studied for the eastern U.S. carbon assessment was defined by similarities in ecology and land cover. The study area extends eastward from the western edge of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi floodplains, across the Appalachian Mountains, to the coastal plains of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The major ecosystems USGS researchers evaluated were terrestrial (forests, wetlands, agricultural lands, shrublands and grasslands), and aquatic (rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters).

MAJOR FINDINGS ON BIOLOGICAL CARBON STORAGE

IN THE EASTERN UNITED STATES

 U.S. Geological Survey, June 2014

Major Findings: Current Eastern Carbon Storage (between 2001 and 2005)

●     The eastern U.S., with just under 40 percent of the land in the lower 48 states, stores more carbon than the rest of the conterminous United States.

●     Forests, which occupy about half the land in the East, accounted for more than 80 percent of the region’s estimated carbon sequestered annually. They are the largest carbon-storing pools, and have the highest rate of sequestration of the different ecosystem types.

●     Wetlands, including coastal ones, which comprise only about 9 percent of the land cover in the region studied, account for nearly 13 percent of the region’s estimated annual carbon storage. They also have the second-highest rate of sequestration of all ecosystem types. Nutrients and sediments in rivers and streams flowing from terrestrial environments contribute significantly to the storage of carbon in eastern coastal sediments and deep ocean waters.

●     In contrast, carbon dioxide is emitted from the surface of inland water bodies (rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs), equal to about 18 percent of the recent annual carbon sequestration rate of terrestrial ecosystems in the East.

●     Agricultural areas cover about 31 percent of the East, and account for only 4 percent of the region’s annually sequestered carbon.  

●     Grasslands and shrublands, as well as other types of land, contained just 1.1 percent or less of the region’s carbon.

Major Findings: Projected Changes in Eastern Carbon by 2050

●     The eastern United States is projected to continue to be a carbon sink (absorbs more carbon than it emits) through 2050, increasing the carbon stored by as much as 37 percent.  However, the rate of sequestration is projected to slow by up to 20 percent, primarily because of decreases in the amount of forest cover.

●     Land use is projected to continue to change in the future; landscape changes are projected to be between 17 and 23 percent by 2050 under different scenarios. These changes, primarily the result of demands for forest products, urban development and agriculture, could affect the future potential storage capacity of the region’s ecosystems and other lands because future carbon stocks are inextricably linked to land-use practices and changes.  

●     The area projected to experience the most change – about 30 percent -- is the southeastern United States, primarily because of conversion of land from forests to agricultural and urban land.

●     By 2050, coastal carbon storage could increase by 18 to 56 percent.  Land-use changes could increase nutrient and sediment flow from urban and agricultural lands (which presents a separate challenge), but this would also increase the amount of carbon stored in coastal areas.                                                                

For more information on the assessment, visit HERE. Watch a short video on the assessment HERE.

Visit the web tool HERE. Watch a tutorial on how to use the web tool HERE.

Read some FAQs on the Eastern Carbon Report

Visualize This: Carbon Storage Tool for Now and the Future

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 11:00
Summary: Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan (310 KB PDF; page 16 - Providing a Toolkit for Climage Resilience), a new “Land Carbon Viewer” allows users to see the land carbon storage and change in their ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states

Contact Information:

Jon Campbell ( Phone: 703-648-4180 ); Brad Reed ( Phone: 703-648-4564 );



NOTE TO REPORTERS: A step-by-step video demonstration on using the tool is available online.

RESTON, Va.— Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan (310 KB PDF; page 16 - Providing a Toolkit for Climage Resilience), a new “Land Carbon Viewer” allows users to see the land carbon storage and change in their ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states.

The Land Carbon Viewer Website, developed by U.S. Geological Survey in collaboration with the University of California-Berkeley, is based on the national biological carbon assessment for ecosystems, completing the carbon inventory for the lower 48.

The new Land Carbon Viewer will give the public access to the national inventory of the capacity of land-based ecosystems to naturally store, or sequester, carbon. Researchers used the data on ecosystem carbon storage, or sequestration, in the national assessment to build maps, graphs and text for the land carbon viewer.

The resulting products will help land and resource planners and policy makers easily see how much carbon is sequestered in the different land types in their regions now, and up to 2050, under various land-use and climate scenarios. The tool also allows users to download data in their particular areas or ecosystems of interest.

“The new Land Carbon Viewer demonstrates how the Interior Department can significantly contribute to the U.S. effort to establish a national carbon inventory and tracking system as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan,” said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS director.  “USGS is committed to taking the next step, which is to make this approach useful for specific sites and situations.  Incorporating carbon science directly into management planning is critical to ensure sound land use and land management decisions that will affect future generations.”

The USGS mapped how much carbon is sequestered in ecosystems using streamgage, soil and natural-resource inventory data, remote sensing techniques, and computer models. Based on the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s ecoregion map, the USGS Land Carbon Viewer shows the lower 48 divided into 16 ecoregions defined by similarities in ecology and land cover. The ecosystems examined are terrestrial (forests, wetlands, agricultural lands, shrublands and grasslands), and aquatic (rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters).

For example, the Southeastern USA Plains Ecoregion is the largest ecoregion in the eastern United States, and users can explore the baseline (2001-2005) and future (2006-2050) carbon storage in different kinds of ecosystems using three different IPCC carbon emission scenarios combined with economic models:

●      Moderate population growth, high economic growth, rapid technical innovation and balanced energy use,

●      Continuous population growth, uneven economic and technical growth, and carbon emissions triple through the 21st century, and

●      High economic growth, a population that peaks by mid-century and then declines, a rapid shift toward clean energy technologies, and a CO2 concentration that approximately doubles by 2100.

“The new USGS Land Carbon Viewer allows decision-makers to view and explore various ecoregions, and download data over their area of interest,” said Suzette Kimball.  “The resulting products will help land and resource planners and policy makers easily see how much carbon is sequestered in the different land types in their regions now, and up to 2050, under various land-use and climate scenarios.”

Among the many benefits of ecosystems and farmlands to society, these areas also store, or sequester, biological carbon. Biological carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in vegetation, soils and sediment. Such storage reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Since a 2007 congressional mandate in the Energy Independence and Security Act, USGS scientists have been building a national inventory of the capacity of land-based ecosystems to store carbon naturally, information vital for science-based land use and land management decisions are expected to be completed in 2015.

NOAA, Partners Predict an Average 'Dead Zone' for Gulf of Mexico; Slightly Above-average Hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 14:05
Summary: Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and slightly above-average hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay

Contact Information:

Ben Sherman ( Phone: 202-253-5256 ); Michael Woodside ( Phone: 615-837-4706 ); Ethan Alpern ( Phone: 703-648-4406 );



NOTE:  Link to the Maryland Department of Natural Resourses was changed in the 10th paragraph. (6/25/14)

Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and slightly above-average hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay.  

NOAA-supported modeling is forecasting this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to cover an area ranging from about 4,633 to 5,708 square miles (12,000 to 14,785 square kilometers) or about the size of the state of Connecticut.

While close to averages since the late 1990s, these hypoxic zones are many times larger than what research has shown them to be prior to the significant human influences that greatly expanded their sizes and effects.  

The Gulf of Mexico prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored modeling teams and individual researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Geological Survey,  and relies on nutrient loading estimates from the USGS. The models also account for the influence of variable weather and oceanographic conditions, and predict that these can affect the dead zone area by as much as 38 percent.  

A second NOAA-funded forecast, for the Chesapeake Bay, predicts a slightly larger than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary. The forecast predicts a mid-summer low-oxygen hypoxic zone of 1.97 cubic miles, an early-summer oxygen-free anoxic zone of 0.51 cubic miles, with the late-summer oxygen-free anoxic area predicted to be 0.32 cubic miles. Because of the shallow nature of large areas of the estuary the focus is on water volume or cubic miles, instead of square mileage as used in the Gulf.

The Chesapeake Bay prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, University of Michigan, and again relies on nutrient loading estimates from USGS.

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico affects nationally important commercial and recreational fisheries and threatens the region's economy. The Chesapeake Bay dead zones, which have been highly variable in recent years, threaten a multi-year effort to restore the water and habitat quality to enhance its production of crabs, oysters, and other important fisheries.

Hypoxic (very low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excessive nutrient pollution, primarily from human activities such as agriculture and wastewater, which results in insufficient oxygen to support most marine life and habitats in near-bottom waters. Aspects of weather, including wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and temperature, also affect the size of dead zones.

"We are making progress at reducing the pollution in our nation's waters that leads to 'dead zones,' but there is more work to be done," said Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "These ecological forecasts are good examples of the critical environmental intelligence products and tools that NOAA provides to interagency management bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay Program and Gulf Hypoxia Task Force.  With this information, we can work collectively on ways to reduce pollution and protect our marine environments for future generations."

Later this year, researchers will measure oxygen levels in both bodies of water. The confirmed size of the 2014 Gulf hypoxic zone will be released in late July or early August, following a mid-July monitoring survey led by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. The final measurement in the Chesapeake will come in October following surveys by the Chesapeake Bay Program's partners from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

USGS nutrient-loading estimates for the Mississippi River and Chesapeake Bay are used in the hypoxia forecasts for the Gulf and Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake data are funded with a cooperative agreement between USGS and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. USGS also operates more than 65 real-time nitrate sensors in these two watersheds to track how nutrient conditions are changing over time.

For the Gulf of Mexico USGS estimates that 101,000 metric tons of nitrate flowed down the Mississippi River into the northern gulf in May 2014, which is less than the 182,000 metric tons in last May when stream flows were above average. In the Chesapeake Bay USGS estimates that 44,000 metric tons of nitrogen entered the bay from the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers between January and May of 2014, which is higher than the 36,600 metric tons delivered to the Bay during the same period in 2013.

"The USGS continues to conduct long-term nutrient monitoring and modeling" said William Werkheiser, USGS associate director for water. "This effort is key to tracking how nutrient conditions are changing in response to floods and droughts and nutrient management actions."

The research programs supporting this work are authorized under the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, known as HABHRCA, which was recently amended and reauthorized earlier this month through 2018.