NECEDAH, Wis. – Four whooping crane chicks raised in captivity began their integration into the wild Saturday as part of the continuing effort to increase the wild population of this endangered species.
The cranes, hatched and raised by their parents at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland, were released on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
The chicks, about six-months old, are part of an experimental rearing and release method referred to as “parent-rearing.” The parent-reared whooping crane chicks were hatched and raised by captive adult whooping cranes. This method relies entirely on the expertise of captive parents, who care for, exercise, and feed the chicks.
These chicks will join a flock of about 95 cranes that inhabit wetlands on the refuge and elsewhere in central Wisconsin during the spring and summer. The flock is composed of cranes reintroduced into the wild in order to establish a migratory flock of whooping cranes in the eastern United States. The Eastern Migratory Flock flies south to wetlands in the Southeast United States for the winter. The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center also raises chicks for release into a newly established non-migratory flock in the wetlands of Southwest Louisiana.
“Over the past 13 years, USGS biologists – dressed in costumes to avoid having the birds “imprint” on people -- have raised between five and 20 whooping crane chicks annually that have been released into the Eastern Migratory Flock,” said John French, leader of the USGS whooping crane project at Patuxent. “This new method of allowing captive adult cranes rear the chicks prior to release into the wild is intended to evaluate the effects of rearing by humans in costume, which is obviously an odd condition. Parent rearing may result in the chicks learning behavior important to their survival and reproduction.”
While the parent-rearing method has been used previously with sandhill cranes in Mississippi and whooping cranes in Florida, this is only the second year it has been attempted with a migratory population.
“Our refuge has a long history of helping with the successful reintroduction of endangered or threatened bird species to the area,” said Doug Staller, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge manager. “Necedah is the summer home for the bulk of the Eastern Migratory Flock of whooping cranes, some of which are breeding, and provides a unique and important opportunity to learn more about these endangered birds. It was only natural for us to be involved in the parent rearing effort.”
The parent-reared chicks arrived at Necedah NWR Saturday, where they were housed in separate predator resistant enclosures to provide them a safe place for chicks to roost while they acclimated to their new surroundings near other free-ranging whooping cranes.
The pens are located in the vicinity of pairs of adult whooping cranes without chicks of their own. Such pairs have a tendency to adopt other chicks, and when adopted, will lead them south during migration, which begins at the end of October.
In addition to the four parent-reared chicks released at Necedah NWR, seven costumed-reared whooping crane chicks will join the eastern migratory flock this year as well. The chicks were raised in captivity by costumed handlers and have been imprinted on an ultralight aircraft. They will earn the migration route by following the ultralight from White River Marsh in Wisconsin to the Gulf Coast of Florida. More information on the migration will be available when it begins in October.
All of the releases of whooping cranes in Wisconsin add to the Eastern Migratory Flock, a reintroduction project undertaken by a broad coalition of Federal, state, and NGO partners belonging to the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.
At one point in the past, researchers believe the Whooping crane population dropped to fewer than two-dozen birds. Today the population is estimated to be approximately 425 in the wild, with another 125 in captivity.
Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas Receive More Than $1.6 Million in FEMA Preparedness Grants
DENTON, Texas — Emergency management agencies in five states – Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas – have been awarded more than $1.6 million in preparedness grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In Arkansas, the grants total $149,515 and cover:Language English
DENTON, Texas – Homeowners, renters and business owners in Aransas and San Patricio counties in Texas are encouraged to look over newly-released preliminary flood maps in order to determine their flood risks and make informed decisions.Language English
Celebrate the third annual Geologic Map Day! On October 17, as a part of the Earth Science Week 2014 activities, join leading geoscience organizations in promoting awareness of the importance of geologic mapping to society.
Geologic maps are vital to education, science, business, and public policy concerns. Geologic Map Day will focus the attention of students, teachers, and the general public on the study, uses, and significance of these tools, by engaging audiences through educational activities, print materials, online resources, and public outreach opportunities.
Be sure to check out the Geologic Map Day poster included in this year’s Earth Science Week Toolkit. The poster and other materials in the kit show how geologic maps can be used to understand natural hazards as well as providing step-by-step instructions for a related classroom activity focusing on the Grand Canyon. Additional resources for learning about geologic maps can be found on the Geologic Map Day web page.
Geologic Map Day partners include the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the Association of American State Geologists, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, the Geological Society of America, and Esri.
For more information, go to: http://www.earthsciweek.org/geologicmap/Geologic map of the conterminous United States at 1:2,500,000 scale. (High resolution image)
Pharmaceuticals from Treated Municipal Wastewater Can Contaminate Shallow Groundwater Following Release to Streams
Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants from treated municipal wastewater can travel into shallow groundwater following their release to streams, according to a recent USGS study. The research was conducted at Fourmile Creek, a small, wastewater-dominated stream near Des Moines, Iowa.
“Water level measurements obtained during this study clearly show that stream levels drive daily trends in groundwater levels. Combined with the detection of pharmaceuticals in groundwater collected several meters away from the stream, these results demonstrate that addition of wastewater to this stream results in unintentional, directed transport of pharmaceuticals into shallow groundwater,” said Paul Bradley, the study’s lead author.
Samples for the study were taken from Fourmile Creek during the months of October and December of 2012. In October, the wastewater made up about 99 percent of the stream’s flow, whereas in December, the wastewater made up about 71 percent of the stream’s flow. During both months, Fourmile Creek experienced persistent dry conditions.
Pharmaceuticals and other wastewater contaminants are most likely to contaminate adjacent shallow groundwater systems during dry conditions when wastewater contributes the greatest proportion to streamflow.
The samples from the stream and groundwater were analyzed for 110 pharmaceutical compounds, as well as other chemicals like personal care products and hormones. These compounds are able to move into the groundwater systems because they remain dissolved in the water, rather than attaching themselves to the sediments that filter other chemicals out of the water as it moves from the stream into adjacent groundwater. There were no sources of these pharmaceuticals to groundwater in the study reach other than municipal wastewater in the stream.
This study found that 48 and 61 different pharmaceuticals were present in the stream downstream of the wastewater discharge point during the two periods of study, with concentrations as high as 7,810 parts-per-trillion (specifically the chemical metformin, an anti-diabetic pharmaceutical). Correspondingly, between 7 and 18 pharmaceuticals were present in groundwater at a distance of about 65 feet (20 meters) from the stream bank, with concentrations as high as 87 parts-per-trillion (specifically fexofenadine, an antihistamine pharmaceutical).
“This research has important implications for the application of bank filtration for indirect water reuse,” said Bradley. Bank filtration is the engineered movement of water between surface water bodies and wells located a short distance away on the streambank. Bank filtration is routinely used to pretreat surface-water for drinking water supply (raw surface water moves from the stream to a shallow groundwater extraction well), or as a final polishing step for the release of treated wastewater (treated wastewater moves from infiltration wells or lagoons through the bank to the stream).
This study is part of a long-term effort to determine the fate and effects of contaminants of emerging concern and to provide water-resource managers with objective information that assists in the development of effective water management practices.
The paper is entitled “Riverbank filtration potential of pharmaceuticals in a wastewater-impacted stream” and has been published in Environmental Pollution. More information on this study and other studies on contaminants of emerging concern can be found here. To learn more about USGS environmental health science, please visit the USGS Environmental Health website and sign up for our GeoHealth Newsletter or our Environmental Health Headlines.
The sixth of a series of handbooks on technologies for management of metal mining influenced water is now available online from the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc.
“This volume was prepared through the Acid Drainage Technology Initiative–Metal Mining Sector (ADTI-MMS), which includes USGS mine drainage expertise, other federal and state agencies, industry, and academia, to develop a handbook with an approach for environmental sampling and characterization throughout the mine life cycle,” said Kathy Smith, U.S. Geological Survey research geologist and co-editor of the new publication.
This handbook supplements and enhances current environmental mine sampling and monitoring literature and provides an awareness of the specialized approach necessary for environmental sampling and monitoring at mining sites. It differs from most information sources by providing an approach to address mining influenced water and other sampling media throughout the mine life cycle.
Sampling and Monitoring for the Mine Life Cycle is organized into a main text and six appendices, including an appendix containing technical summaries written by subject-matter experts that describes various analytical, measurement and collection procedures. Sidebars and illustrations are included to provide additional detail about important concepts, to present examples and brief case studies and to suggest resources for further information. Extensive references are included.
For more information about USGS minerals research, please visit the website.
Eatontown, N.J.-- When an incident reaches the point that it’s unsafe for people to remain in the immediate area, getting everyone evacuated as safely and quickly as possible becomes crucial. One of the most – if not the most – important part of an evacuation is figuring out how to get out of the affected area.Language English
Federal Funding Also Offers Upgrades in Training
New York, NY -- An award from the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program will outfit 46 volunteer firefighters in Secaucus, New Jersey with personal protective equipment, in addition to funding advanced firefighter training.Language English
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that the first public meeting of the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC) is scheduled for September 30 to October 1, 2014, at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Auditorium in Reston, Virginia.Language English
Hydrograph showing stream flow in cubic feet per second on USGS streamgage on Sonoma Creek near Agua Caliente, from about August 23 - September 13, 2014. The sharp rise starting on August 24 reflects an increased streamflow due to the South Napa Earthquake. (High resolution image) Hydrograph showing stream flow in cubic feet per second on USGS streamgage on Sonoma Creek near Agua Caliente, from April 1 - mid-September, 2014. The steady decline in streamflow reflects current drought conditions in California. The sharp decrease and increase aroundAugust 1 is a regional trend, reflecting an upstream irrigation diversion.The sharp rise starting on August 24 reflects an increased streamflow due to the South Napa Earthquake. (High resolution image) Hydrograph showing an increase of gage-height in feet (.01 increments) at the Sonoma Creek at Agua Caliente gage, in the early morning of August 24, 2014. The sharp rise in water level between 4:15 - 4:30 a.m. reflects an increased streamflow due to the South Napa Earthquake an hour earlier. (High resolution image)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — While the national streamflow database is documenting evidence of California’s historic drought, the database is also confirming another recently seen hydrologic phenomenon: earthquake-induced increases in streamflow.
Rivers and streams across California are flowing at record lows. Streamflow data from 182 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages in California with at least 30 years of record, currently show that 62 percent of streamgages are recording flows less 25 percent of normal, and 44 percent are recording flows less than 10 percent of normal. At several streamgage sites, scientists have had to extend measurement scales and rating formulas that help calculate accurate streamflow, because of record low water flows.Increased flow over rock riffle in Sonoma Creek seen after South Napa Earthquake of August 24, 2014. (High resolution image)
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the August 24 magnitude 6.0 South Napa Earthquake in California, water has begun to flow again in some previously-dry surrounding creeks, rivers and streams prompting many nearby residents to scratch their heads.
Hydrogeologic responses to earthquakes have been known by scientists for decades. In the case of the South Napa Earthquake, the discharge of springs and groundwater to some streams has increased. Based on experience in previous earthquakes, stream and spring flows are expected to decline again over the next several months, assuming that the Napa region does not get significant rainfall over that time period.
Post-earthquake changes in streamflow were recorded at a USGS streamgage on Sonoma Creek, near the city of Sonoma where measured increases in streamflow began after 4:15 a.m. on August 24, about an hour after the earthquake occurred. Streamflow has increased intermittently since the earthquake from 0.1 cubic feet per second to nearly 3 cfs on September 12. The median historical streamflow for this time period is about 0.5 cfs. Scientists theorize that this increase in streamflow is due to groundwater flow entering the river, and the intermittent nature of the streamflow is due to the non-uniform release of groundwater across the basin.
Related Links and Resources
- U.S. Drought Monitor.
- The California Drought
- Hydrologic responses to earthquakes, USGS Fact Sheet 096-03, “Earthquakes—Rattling the Earth’s Plumbing System.”
- Current information for streamflow along the Sonoma Creek at Agua Caliente.
- Information about the August 24 South Napa Earthquake.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation experts will be available this week at home improvement stores in Moses Lake and next week in Yakima to provide information about ways to rebuild or remodel that can reduce the risk of damages from wildfire, flooding, flash flooding, and other disasters.
They will also be there to answer questions about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.Language English
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency today announced it is expanding disaster assistance to Kittitas County.
The disaster aid helps the county pay for repair, restoration, reconstruction or replacement of public facilities, roads and bridges, water facilities and other infrastructure damaged or destroyed by wildfires that occurred between July 9 and Aug. 5.
Kittitas County has been added to the major disaster declaration of Aug. 11, which provided assistance to Okanogan County and the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation.Language English
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation experts will be available this week at home improvement stores in Wenatchee and next week in Moses Lake to provide information about ways to rebuild or remodel that can reduce the risk of damages from wildfire, flooding, flash flooding, and other disasters.
They will also be there to answer questions about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.Language English
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation experts are on hand this week at Home Depot and the Big-R store in Omak to provide information about ways to rebuild or remodel that can reduce the risk of damages from wildfire, flooding, flash flooding, and other disasters.
They also will be there to answer questions about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
Rebuilding or repairing a home after a disaster can be a daunting task – but, with the right information, homeowners can build back safer, smarter and stronger.Language English
Media Advisory: USGS to Host Congressional Briefing: #StrongAfterSandy--The Science Supporting the Department of the Interior's Response
Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 (work) 703-314-1601 (cell) );
Department of the Interior scientists are generating and sharing critical information to aid the recovery of the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, helping to protect our valuable coastal resources and to make communities more resilient against future extreme storms. Moving forward DOI is positioned to help answer questions such as: What locations along the coast are forecasted to be the most vulnerable to future hurricanes? What were the storm impacts to ecosystems, habitats, fish and wildlife? What is being learned about the importance of undeveloped land? Come learn how the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners are working to assemble and apply better data to keep citizens safe.
- Neil K. Ganju – Research Oceanographer, U.S. Geological Survey
- Mary Foley – Regional Chief Scientist, Northeast Region, National Park Service
- Eric Schrading – New Jersey Field Office Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Emcee:Claude Gascon, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Where:Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2325, Washington, D.C.
When:Friday, September 19, 2014 – 11:00 a.m.
Host:Refreshments provided courtesy of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
To learn how USGS is combining interdisciplinary science with state-of-the-art technologies to achieve a comprehensive understanding of coastal change caused by Hurricane Sandy, read our new fact sheet: Using Science to Strengthen our Nation’s Resilience to Tomorrow’s Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts.
Newly released US Topo maps for Oregon now feature segments of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Several of the 1,835 new US Topo quadrangles for the state now display parts of the Trail along with other improved data layers.
“Having the Pacific Crest NST finally show up on Oregon US Topo maps is significant for all of the recreational users of the wild spaces the trail traverses,” said Tom Carlson, Geospatial Liaison for the Pacific Northwest. “Hiking the trail provides commanding views of the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range as well as the verdant forests of the western side of the mountains and down into the farmlands of the Willamette Valley. You also see parts of the open Ponderosa Pine forest and high desert on the eastern slopes of the mountains.”
The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail is a treasured pathway through some of the most scenic terrain in the nation. Beginning in southern California at the Mexican border, the PCT travels a total distance of 2,650 miles through California, Oregon, and Washington until reaching the Canadian border. The PCT is one of the original National Scenic Trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act and fifty-four percent of the trail lies within designated wilderness.
The USGS partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to incorporate the trail onto the Oregon US Topo maps. This NST joins the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and the North Country National Scenic Trail as being featured on the new US Topo quads. The USGS hopes to eventually include all National Scenic Trails in The National Map products.
Another important addition to the new Oregon US Topo maps in the inclusion of Public Land Survey System. PLSS is a way of subdividing and describing land in the US. All lands in the public domain are subject to subdivision by this rectangular system of surveys, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
To compare change over time, scans of legacy USGS topo maps, some dating back to the late 1800s, can be downloaded from the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection
To download US Topo maps: http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/The National Trails System was established by Act of Congress in 1968. The Act grants the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture authority over the National Trails System. The Act defines four types of trails. Two of these types, the National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails, can only be designated by Act of Congress. National scenic trails are extended trails located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, and cultural qualities of the area through which such trails may pass.
There are 11 National Scenic Trails:
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
- Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
- North Country National Scenic Trail
- Ice Age National Scenic Trail
- Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
- Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
- Florida National Scenic Trail
- Arizona National Scenic Trail
- New England National Scenic Trail
- Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail
Eatontown, N.J. -- Hurricane season officially begins each year on June 1, but unlike firemen’s fairs, cookouts and fun at the beach, the season for hurricanes doesn’t end along with the summer.
As a new school year begins, now may be a good time to check your stock of batteries, bottled water and other emergency supplies that may be needed should New Jersey experience an autumn hurricane.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 disaster declaration issued for the State of Hawaii.
Assistance for the State 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 announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Hawaii to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Tropical Storm Iselle during the period of August 7-9, 2014.Language English
FEMA, West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Announce a Statewide Test of the Public Alert and Warning System in West Virginia
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the West Virginia Broadcasters Association, and others will conduct a statewide test of the Public Alert and Warning System on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. The test will begin at approximately 2:00 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and will last approximately two minutes.Language English