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Federal News

Crisis Counseling Available to Massac, Tazewell County Tornado Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/21/2014 - 18:01

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – While Massac and Tazewell county residents are working to recover following the Nov. 17 tornadoes, many of them also need to recover emotionally.

Free help is available for tornado survivors who feel mentally overwhelmed, exhausted or unable to cope.

The Illinois Strong Crisis Counselor Program is a FEMA funded initiative that provides emotional support, recovery education, recovery resource information and coping tips for Massac and Tazewell county survivors.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Disaster Assistance is Available for Illinois Tornado Survivors but Deadline to Register Less Than a Week Away

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/21/2014 - 13:26

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Nov. 17 tornado survivors have less than a week to register for federal disaster assistance.

Survivors must register by Monday, Jan. 27, to be considered for FEMA grants and SBA low-interest disaster loans to help cover eligible disaster-related expenses, including:

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FEMA Seeks Applicants for Youth Preparedness Council

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 01/17/2014 - 12:07

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking applicants for its Youth Preparedness Council.

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Web Resources and Social Media Focus on Colorado Recovery

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 18:23

DENVER – Those following Colorado’s recovery from severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides can draw upon a variety of Web and social media resources from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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FEMA Provides Federal Funding to Combat Colby Fire in Los Angeles County, California

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 17:47

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 Colby Fire currently burning in Los Angeles County.

On January 16, 2014, the State of California submitted a request for a fire management assistance declaration for the Colby Fire.  The authorization makes FEMA funding available to reimburse up to 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire.

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Tornado Survivors Have Until Jan. 25 to Visit East Peoria Disaster Recovery Center: FEMA Helpline remains available seven days a week to assist survivors.

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 16:57

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois tornado survivors have until 6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, to visit the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center at the Festival of Lights Building on East Washington Street in East Peoria.  

After that date, survivors of the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes can still get help by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Survivors who use TTY can call 800-462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Alaska Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 16:14

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 Alaska.

Assistance for the State, Tribal, and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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President Declares Disaster for Alaska

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 16:11

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 Alaska and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by flooding during the period of October 27-28, 2013.

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Many Good Reasons to Apply to SBA

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 13:01

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Nov. 17 tornado survivors who fail to return completed Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loan applications may be saying no to federal assistance.                         

Some survivors may be counting on a future insurance settlement to cover all the costs of rebuilding. Maybe they don’t want a disaster loan or fear they cannot afford one. Or maybe they need assistance completing the SBA disaster loan application.

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Categories: Federal News

Streamflow Alteration Impacts Fish Diversity in Local Rivers

USGS Newsroom Technical - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 10:00
Summary: A new USGS study quantifies change in fish diversity in response to streamflow alteration in the Tennessee River basin.

Contact Information:

Rodney  Knight ( Phone: 615-837-4731 ); Christian Quintero ( Phone: 813-498-5019 );



A new USGS study quantifies change in fish diversity in response to streamflow alteration in the Tennessee River basin.

The USGS study highlights the importance of the timing, magnitude, and variability of low streamflows and the frequency and magnitude of high streamflows as key characteristics critical to assessing how fish communities change in response to streamflow alteration. This study was completed using fish community data collected by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and predictions of streamflow characteristics at more than 600 locations.

The Tennessee River basin is one of the richest areas of aquatic diversity in the country, if not the world.  However, expanding urban development, more than 600 privately held small dams on medium to small streams, and withdrawal of more than 700 million gallons of water each day threaten this diversity.  Understanding the effect of streamflow alteration on aquatic ecology is increasingly important as change in land use and human population are projected. 

One of the examples from the study shows that as maximum October streamflow deviates outside reference conditions by approximately 6 cubic feet per second per square mile, fish diversity may decline by almost nine species in the Blue Ridge ecoregion of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.  Results such as this were identified across the Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Interior Plateau ecoregions for 11 categories of fish and will help resource managers identify when streamflow alteration may result in too much ecological degradation.

“Managing river flows to meet the needs of our growing communities and economies will become increasingly challenging in the future”, said Sally Palmer, director of science for The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. “Maintaining our rivers to support an abundance of natural wildlife, including our native fish, is an important goal as well. Studies like these give us better information to make management decisions which more effectively balance all the demands placed on our river resources.”

The National Park Service, responsible for the protection and management of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Obed Wild and Scenic River in Tennessee, has a need to assess potential impacts to the resources they are charged with protecting.  “This research enhances our ability to respond to current development pressures and serves as the foundation to develop a decision support tool to address future water resource issues” said Jeff Hughes, hydrologist with the NPS.

Additional information regarding environmental flows research in the Tennessee River basin can be found online. This work was completed as part of the USGS Cooperative Water Program in collaboration with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and The Nature Conservancy.

Large Old Trees Grow Fastest, Storing More Carbon

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 01/15/2014 - 13:00

Contact Information:

Ben Young  Young Landis ( Phone: 916-616-9468 ); Nathan Stephenson ( Phone: 559-565-3176 );



THREE RIVERS, Calif, — Trees do not slow in their growth rate as they get older and larger — instead, their growth keeps accelerating, according to a study published today in the journal Nature.

"This finding contradicts the usual assumption that tree growth eventually declines as trees get older and bigger," says Nate Stephenson, the study's lead author and a forest ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "It also means that big, old trees are better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere than has been commonly assumed."

An international team of researchers compiled growth measurements of 673,046 trees belonging to 403 tree species from tropical, subtropical and temperate regions across six continents, calculating the mass growth rates for each species and then analyzing for trends across the 403 species. The results showed that for most tree species, mass growth rate increases continuously with tree size — in some cases, large trees appear to be adding the carbon mass equivalent of an entire smaller tree each year.

"In human terms, it is as if our growth just keeps accelerating after adolescence, instead of slowing down," explains Stephenson. "By that measure, humans could weigh half a ton by middle age, and well over a ton at retirement."

This continuously increasing growth rate means that on an individual basis, large, old trees are better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon that is absorbed or "sequestered" through natural processes reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and can help counter-balance the amount of CO2 people generate.

However, the researchers are careful to note that the rapid absorption rate of individual trees does not necessarily translate into a net increase in carbon storage for an entire forest.

"Old trees, after all, can die and lose carbon back into the atmosphere as they decompose," says Adrian Das, a USGS coauthor. "But our findings do suggest that while they are alive, large old trees play a disproportionately important role within a forest’s carbon dynamics. It is as if the star players on your favorite sports team were a bunch of 90-year-olds."

The study was a collaboration of 38 researchers from research universities, government agencies and non-governmental organizations from the United States, Panama, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, Thailand, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain. The study was initiated by Stephenson and Das through the USGS Western Mountain Initiative and the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis.

Accompanying Information for Press Release 

Grundy County Tornado Survivors Urged to Register with FEMA

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 16:20

SPRINGFIELD, IL – FEMA urges people in Grundy County who sustained damage during the Nov. 17 tornadoes to register for federal disaster assistance before the Jan. 27 deadline even if they have insurance coverage. Assistance will continue after Jan. 27, but applicants must register by that date to be considered.

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Categories: Federal News

Tornado Survivors Have Until Saturday to Visit Brookport Disaster Recovery Center: FEMA Helpline remains available seven days a week to assist survivors.

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 14:11

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois tornado survivors have until 6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18, to visit the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center at the Brookport Library on U.S. Hwy. 45 in Brookport.  

After that date, survivors of the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes can still get help by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Survivors who use TTY can call 800-462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Disaster Aid for Colorado Flooding Tops $245 Million

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 13:08

Federal Disaster Aid for Colorado Flooding Tops $245 Million

(Editor: Cuts of disaster response and recovery are available at

www.flickr.com/photos/coemergency or www.go.usa.gov/DeK9.)

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Continues to Support Response Efforts in West Virginia

FEMA Region III News Releases - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:24

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on site in Charleston, W.Va., and through its regional office in Philadelphia, Pa., continues to work in close coordination with the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to support state and local efforts to ensure public health and safety, in response to emergency conditions resulting from a chemical spill in Charleston on Thursday.

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FEMA Continues to Support Response Efforts in West Virginia

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 09:24

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on site in Charleston, W.Va., and through its regional office in Philadelphia, Pa., continues to work in close coordination with the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to support state and local efforts to ensure public health and safety, in response to emergency conditions resulting from a chemical spill in Charleston on Thursday.

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Categories: Federal News

Two Weeks Remain to Register for Federal Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 01/13/2014 - 18:15

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – While nearly $12 million in federal disaster assistance has been approved for Nov. 17 Illinois tornado survivors, the deadline to register for help is approaching.

Survivors must register by Monday, Jan. 27 to be considered for federal disaster assistance.

No applications can be accepted after the deadline, but FEMA will continue to approve disaster assistance for eligible survivors who applied in time.

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FEMA Aids Mental Health Groups during Sandy

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 01/13/2014 - 17:16

LINCROFT, N.J. -- When a disaster strikes, the damage is not limited to property and nature. The fallout from severe storms and flooding can cause significant emotional stress on top of the physical and financial demands of dealing with the aftermath. Since Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey in October 2013, the counselors and volunteers of New Jersey Hope and Healing have been helping affected residents cope.

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Categories: Federal News

New USGS Data Portal Provides Access to More Than a Century of Sediment Data

USGS Newsroom Technical - Mon, 01/13/2014 - 14:00
Summary: A new online, interactive sediment data portal represents the best available compendium of suspended sediment data for streams and rivers across the Nation

Contact Information:

Casey Lee ( Phone: 785-832-3515 ); Jon Campbell ( Phone: 703-648-4180 );



A new online, interactive sediment data portal represents the best available compendium of suspended sediment data for streams and rivers across the Nation.

Watershed managers, policy-makers, researchers, and the public can use the portal to access suspended sediment information at over 4,900 sites.

Ever since sediment samples were first collected in 1889 by pioneering engineer Frederick Newell and 14 of his colleagues on the Rio Grande River at Embudo, N.M., the U.S. Geological Survey has continued to collect and record information on sediment transport in streams and rivers across the Nation.

Too much sediment can harm aquatic life and reduce the storage capacity of reservoirs affecting water supply and flood storage. In some instances, too little sediment can also be an issue.  For example, decreased amounts of sediment in the lower Mississippi Basin have been identified as the primary reason for the loss of thousands of square miles of wetlands off the Louisiana coast.   

The portal provides easy access to valuable long-term data sets that can be useful in assessing how landscape modifications are affecting sediment transport in streams and rivers. Information on sediment concentrations and grain size can help identify appropriate and cost-effective sediment monitoring methods. Sediment data and ancillary data on streamflow condition, sediment grain size, sampling method, and landscape condition are also available for download within the portal.

USGS Data Series Report DS776 describes the methods used to recover, quality control, and summarize USGS suspended-sediment data in the portal through 2010.  In addition to daily and discrete suspended sediment sampling, the USGS, in cooperation with numerous local, state, and other federal agencies, currently operates 424 real-time turbidity sensors across the Nation. These data are available at USGS Water-Quality Watch.

Sediment monitoring and real-time turbidity monitoring is supported by the USGS National Stream Quality Accounting Network, Cooperative Water Program, and the National Water-Quality Assessment Program. The USGS also continuously monitors streamflow at over 8,000 of the nation's streams on a real-time basis. These data are available at USGS Current Streamflow Conditions.

Nearly $12 Million Approved for Nov. 17 Tornado Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 01/13/2014 - 11:12

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Less than two months after tornadoes swept across Illinois, nearly $12 million in federal disaster assistance from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration has been approved to help survivors recover.

The following is a snapshot of the disaster recovery effort as of Jan. 9:

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Categories: Federal News