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Federal News

FEMA Releases Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Ocean County

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 15:00

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Friday, March 28, 2014, released Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Ocean County that reflect the latest refinements to the ongoing analysis of flood hazards. This release is the next step in the coastal Flood Insurance Study update. The Preliminary FIRMs replace the Preliminary Work Maps for Ocean County that were released in June of 2013 as an interim product.

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Categories: Federal News

New York State Fire Training Facility Granted New, Fully Equipped Truck

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 14:32

Replaces 39-Year Old Vehicle Used to Train NYS Firefighters

New York, NY -- The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) has received a federal grant to purchase a new, well outfitted fire truck that will be used in the training of New York State’s firefighters that attend training at the New York State Academy of Fire Science, FEMA’s Ms. Dale McShine announced here today.

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Palm Beach County Residents Invited To See Preliminary Flood Maps

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 13:00

Attend Open House and Learn about Flood Risks in Your Community

ATLANTA – People who live in Palm Beach County and its municipalities are invited to look at newly revised preliminary digital flood insurance rate maps for the county at four public open houses during the week of September 8th, 2014. Flood maps show the extent to which areas are at risk for flooding, and are used to help determine flood insurance and building requirements.

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Be Disaster Aware. Take Action To Prepare

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:57

ATLANTA – September is National Preparedness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages everyone to make disaster preparedness a priority.

“National Preparedness Month reminds us that we all need to be ready for disasters and emergencies,” said FEMA Region IV Acting Regional Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. “September is also the height of hurricane season, so preparing now is even more critical for families and businesses in the Southeast.”

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Temporary Housing Assistance One Year After the 2013 Colorado Floods

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:12

DENVER – It’s been one full year since historic flooding forced many Colorado residents from their homes. As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues partnering with the State of Colorado on recovery, here is an overview of temporary housing assistance that is still in progress while survivors get back on their feet.

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Digital Disaster Prep: Are You Ready?

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:47

CHICAGO – Smartphones offer a world of knowledge and information at your fingertips. Keeping your phone at hand is second nature, so why not take the time to turn it into a life-saving device in times of emergencies? 

Disaster preparedness begins with knowing your risks, making a communications plan and having an emergency supply kit with essentials such as water, food, flashlights and medications. Go beyond the basics to enhance your readiness with the following digital tools and tips:

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2013 Colorado Floods: Individual Assistance Fact Sheet

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 10:31
FEMA Individual Assistance Program Overview (as of August 25, 2014)

Individual Assistance Programs

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Public Assistance Tops $3.8 Billion

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 09:59

NEW YORK – With the obligation of more than $982 million to New York University’s Langone Medical Center along with many other projects, disaster assistance funding from FEMA’s Public Assistance program to help rebuild New York after Hurricane Sandy now exceeds $3.8 billion.

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2013 Colorado Floods: By The Numbers

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 23:52

1                      Joint Field Office established to coordinate recovery efforts (located in Centennial)

11                    Number of counties designated for FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program.

15                    Applicants FEMA has provided funding for stream clearance

18                    Number of counties designated for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.

20                    Total households that are licensed into Manufactured Housing Units

21                    Communities that hosted federal/state Disaster Recovery Centers

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Media Advisory: Earthquake 101: Resources for Reporting on Earthquakes

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 17:32
Summary: The U.S. Geological Survey will host an educational event for the news media focused on earthquakes on Wednesday September 24, 2014

Contact Information:

Susan  Garcia ( Phone: 650-346-0998 ); Leslie  Gordon ( Phone: 650-329-4006 );



Media Advisory – Save the Date

MENLO PARK, Calif. — The U.S. Geological Survey will host an educational event for the news media focused on earthquakes on Wednesday September 24, 2014. The goal of the event is to provide the press an opportunity to work with USGS staff to build knowledge about and confidence in our information delivery systems and people to create more timely and accurate reporting of earthquakes.

At this event, USGS scientists and public affairs staff will lead sessions in which journalists can refresh knowledge about basic principles about earthquakes, how to improve scientific accuracy when reporting on earthquakes, and about USGS resources to make your job easier. Find out about USGS public domain maps, images, and graphics that can be quickly and freely downloaded and reused following an earthquake.

Who:

USGS geologists, geophysicists, and public affairs. See list below.


What:

30-minute plenary session with presentations on reporting on earthquakes and relevant USGS resources, followed by concurrent small group discussions with USGS researchers on various aspects of earthquake science. Subjects will include:

  • Earthquake Early Warning vs. Earthquake Prediction, by Doug Given, Geophysicist
  • Natural vs. Induced Seismicity, by Justin Rubinstein, Geophysicist
  • Emerging New Technology: GPS, InSAR, LiDAR, by Ben Brooks, Geologist
  • Shaking Intensity versus Earthquake Magnitude, by Brad Aagaard, Geophysicist
  • Liquefaction, Landslides, & Fault Rupture, by Tom Holzer, Engineering Geologist
  • USGS Real-time Online Earthquake Products, by David Wald, Geophysicist
  • Is the Number of Large Earthquakes Increasing? by Jeanne Hardebeck, Geophysicist
  • Earthquake Resources on the Web, by Lisa Wald, Geophysicist/Web Content Manager, Webmaster
  • Foreshocks, Main Shocks, and Aftershocks, by Andrea Llenos, Geophysicist and Ruth Harris, Geophysicist
  • Who/how/when and where to go for an interview concerning an earthquake, by Leslie Gordon, Public Affairs Specialist and Susan Garcia, Outreach Coordinator 

When:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. PDT


Registration:  

Please register online to participate in the workshop.


Where:

U.S. Geological Survey
Main Auditorium, Bldg. 3, 2nd floor
345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, Calif.


Online:

The first 30 minutes of the event will be live video-streamed over the web, and archived online for later viewing.

FEMA Authorizes Funds to Fight Utah Anaconda Fire

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 17:01

DENVER - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Anaconda Fire in Tooele County.

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FEMA Announces Next Meeting of National Advisory Council

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 14:02

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be holding the next National Advisory Council (NAC) public meeting in Los Angeles, CA from September 17 - 18, 2014.

WHAT:

   National Advisory Council (NAC) Meeting

WHERE:

 

   Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center
   500 E. Temple St.
   Los Angeles, CA  90012

WHEN:
 

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Categories: Federal News

Pollutant Risk Changes When Bugs Take Flight

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 13:55
Summary: Insects feed fish and wildlife higher on the food chain, but they can also transfer harmful contaminants to their predators according to new research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in Environmental Science and Technology

Contact Information:

Heidi  Koontz ( Phone: 303-202-4763 );



Insects feed fish and wildlife higher on the food chain, but they can also transfer harmful contaminants to their predators according to new research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in Environmental Science and Technology.

Because insects can transform from sedentary juveniles (larvae) to winged adults, contaminants accumulated as larvae can be carried to different locations potentially far from the pollution source.

The paper documents critical changes in insect contaminant concentrations and chemical tracers used to estimate position on the food chain during this transformation (a.k.a. metamorphosis).

“Most metals are lost during metamorphosis and are in higher concentrations in larvae than adults. Contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are retained during metamorphosis and are in higher concentrations in adults than larvae,” said Johanna Kraus, a USGS scientist based in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and lead author of the ES&T paper. “As a result, the animals that eat insects, like bats, birds and fish may be exposed to higher contaminant concentrations depending on the contaminants and whether they are eating larval or adult insects.”  

These results have large implications for managing and studying how far and how long it takes for contaminants to spread, and their effects on food webs across ecosystem boundaries. Metabolic regulation of contaminants generally predicts whether contaminants are excreted or concentrated in insect bodies during metamorphosis. Pollutants that magnify up the food chain tend to be retained and concentrated during metamorphosis. 

This is the first paper to synthesize the general patterns and variation in contaminant transfer during a major developmental and habitat shift (e.g., water to land, ground to aerial) in animals with complex life cycles, as well as the first compilation of effects of metamorphosis on isotopic tracers used to estimate food web structure. The article was also selected as the American Chemical Society’s Editors' Choice paper (Sept. 2, 2014). 

National Scenic Trails Added to Revised Michigan Maps

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 09:00
Summary: Newly released US Topo maps for Michigan now feature segments of the North Country National Scenic Trail. Several of the 1,290 new US Topo quadrangles for the state now display parts of the Trail along with other improved data layers.

Contact Information:

Mark Newell, APR ( Phone: 573-308-3850 ); Larry  Moore ( Phone: 303-202-4019 ); Mark Weaver, National Park Service ( Phone: 616-430-3495 );



Newly released US Topo maps for Michigan now feature segments of the North Country National Scenic Trail. Several of the 1,290 new US Topo quadrangles for the state now display parts of the Trail along with other improved data layers.

"USGS maps are excellent planning and navigation tools for hikers and other trail users” said Mark Weaver, Superintendent of the Trail.  “The North Country Trail is a truly special recreational resource and we are quite thrilled to have the trail incorporated onto the maps.”

The North Country Trail is one of the 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S.  It is the longest national scenic trail, extending over seven states and 168 distinct land management units, from the vicinity of Crown Point State Park New York, to Lake Sakakawea State Park on the Missouri River in North Dakota, to the route of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.  Plans are underway to expand the trail to include the Arrowhead region of northern Minnesota, and extend the eastern terminus to the Appalachian Trail in Vermont, eventually bringing the trail to approximately 4,600 miles long.

"The North Country Trail tells the unique story of the people and the places in America's northern heartlands- the hardship of an unforgiving landscape, the joys of recreating in the Great North Woods and the challenges of making a living from the land without destroying it,” explained Bruce Matthews, Executive Director of the North Country Trail Association. “Being present on the USGS maps mean more people will become more deeply engaged with this story and with the North Country Trail.”                                   

The USGS partnered with the National Park Service to incorporate the trail onto the Michigan US Topo maps. This NST joins the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail as being featured on the new Topo maps. The USGS hopes to eventually include all National Scenic Trails in The National Map products.

These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for Michigan and are available for free download from The National Map and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website.

Another important addition to the new Michigan 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.

“The inclusion of a layer for the PLSS with township, range, and section information on the new US Topo maps for Michigan is a valuable addition,” said Charley Hickman, Geospatial Liaison to Ohio and Michigan. “Many of the stakeholder groups in Michigan who use USGS topographic maps and data have noted the importance of PLSS as a key reference layer.  Thanks to the Bureau of Land Management and the State of Michigan for making this data available.”

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: US Topo Quadrangles — Maps for America

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.(Larger image) The North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) stretches 875 miles from New York to North Dakota. The trail enters Michigan near Morenci in the southeastern corner of the state. From there it heads northwest through both urban and rural settings toward certified trail segments in Manistee National Forest. It then takes a decided turn northward through the Jordan Valley and Wilderness State Park to cross the Straits of Mackinac. The Upper Peninsula segment of the trail system goes east to west starting in Hiawatha National Forest. It passes Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and parts of Ottawa National Forest before it exits Michigan at the town of Ironwood. Special attractions: A complete look at urban and rural Michigan, including Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac Island, Tahquamenon Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Porcupine Mountains. Click here for more info (Larger image)

FEMA Honors Achievement in Community Preparedness

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 18:02

2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Award Winners Announced

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced the winners of the 2014 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards, recognizing the outstanding efforts of individuals, programs and organizations throughout the country working to prepare their communities for emergencies.

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Media Advisory: Washington Governor Jay Inslee to Speak About Building Resilience at the Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 07:36
Summary: As part of the Planning Committee for the Fifth Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference, the Department of the Interior’s Northwest Climate Science Center is pleased to invite you to join more than 250 scientists and practitioners from the Northwest to learn the latest on Pacific Northwest climate science and adaptation, including presentations on landslides, wildfires, sea level rise, extreme weather events, natural resource and infrastructure vulnerability, human health and cultural impacts.

Contact Information:

Chris  Trent ( Phone: 703-648-4451 ); Lisa  Hayward Watts ( Phone: 206-616-5347 (o) );



As part of the Planning Committee for the Fifth Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference, the Department of the Interior’s Northwest Climate Science Center is pleased to invite you to join more than 250 scientists and practitioners from the Northwest to learn the latest on Pacific Northwest climate science and adaptation, including presentations on landslides, wildfires, sea level rise, extreme weather events, natural resource and infrastructure vulnerability, human health and cultural impacts.

At 1:30 PM on Wednesday Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, will give a Keynote Address on increasing resilience in Washington State and the Northwest. 

Who: Scientists, managers and administrators addressing climate change across a range of sectors. Plenary by Washington Governor, Jay Inslee. 

When: The conference will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, September 9-10, 2014

Where: Kane Hall on the University of Washington Seattle campus. Click here for directions.

Members of news organizations and of science writers' associations are encouraged to attend the conference. To learn more and to RSVP contact Lisa Hayward Watts at lhayward@uw.edu or 206-795-8843.

Avian Flu in Seals Could Infect People

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 05:00
Summary: The avian flu virus that caused widespread harbor seal deaths in 2011 can easily spread to and infect other mammals and potentially humans

Contact Information:

Gail Moede Rogall ( Phone: 608-270-2438 ); Heidi Koontz ( Phone: 303-202-4763 ); Marisa Lubeck ( Phone: 303-526-6694 );



The avian flu virus that caused widespread harbor seal deaths in 2011 can easily spread to and infect other mammals and potentially humans.

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital shows that the avian influenza H3N8 strain that infected New England harbor seals could be transmitted to other mammals through the air without physical contact. Transmission by respiratory droplets through coughing, for example, is the main way influenza viruses spread among people. The study also showed that current seasonal flu vaccines do not protect against this seal virus, meaning a new vaccine would be necessary if there ever was an outbreak in humans.

"The ability to transmit through the air is an important step in the path toward any influenza virus becoming pandemic," said USGS scientist Hon Ip. "The lack of protection against the seal virus from the annual seasonal vaccine highlights the risks posed by this H3N8 group of viruses."

The article, led by St. Jude in collaboration with the USGS and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was published today in the journal Nature Communications and is available online.

The scientists tested a sample of the influenza virus taken from an infected harbor seal in New Hampshire in 2011, and found that the virus was closely related to influenza viruses from wild birds. However, the H3N8 virus isolated from the seal contained mutations that allowed it to reproduce efficiently in human lung cells, cause disease in mice and infect ferrets through the air.

"Findings from this study highlight the need for continued surveillance and study of avian influenza genetics, particularly in areas like coastal regions where wild birds, wild mammals and human populations come into contact with each other,” said USGS scientist Jeff Hall.

H3N8 viruses, common in wild birds, have been associated with ongoing outbreaks in dogs and horses and have also been detected in pigs, donkeys and now seals. Beginning in September 2011, more than 160 young harbor seals were found dead or dying along the New England coast as a result of this infection. In previous H3N8 mortality events, up to 20 percent of the local seal population died.

For more information on zoonotic diseases, or diseases that spread between animals and humans, please visit the USGS National Wildlife Health Center website.

Race the Wave 5K fun run/walk to practice tsunami evacuation routes.

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:41

September 2, 2014
News Release

 

Race the Wave 5K fun run/walk to practice tsunami evacuation routes.

Cannon Beach, OR – September is National Preparedness Month and Pacific Northwest coastal communities are leading by example. Cannon Beach, Oregon will host Race the Wave, their first hazard-themed fun run designed to blend awareness and action into a single activity.

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Categories: Federal News

Media Advisory: Officials, Scientists to Dedicate Showcase Gage on Rapid Creek

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:15
Summary: A U.S. Geological Survey streamgage will be dedicated by Congressional and city officials on September 3 in Rapid City

Contact Information:

Marisa Lubeck ( Phone: 303-526-6694 ); Mark Anderson ( Phone: 605-394-3220 );



Reporters: A photograph of the showcase gage is available online.   

A U.S. Geological Survey streamgage will be dedicated by Congressional and city officials on September 3 in Rapid City. This showcase streamgage is located on Rapid Creek at Rapid City in Founders Park and will provide visitors with critical information about how streamflow is measured and other water-resource issues related to floods, droughts, water supply and recreation.

What: Media and public are invited to attend a dedication ceremony and open house for the historical USGS showcase streamgage on Rapid Creek at Rapid City.

Who: U.S. Senator John Thune (invited) or representative
Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker
Mark Anderson, Director, USGS South Dakota Water Science Center
Dave Carpenter, National Weather Service
Other agencies and users of streamflow information

When: Wednesday, September 3, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Please gather on-site at 9:30 a.m.; comments will be at 10 a.m., followed by open house.

Where: North side of Rapid Creek across the footbridge in Founders Park (map of streamgage location)
Rapid City, S.D.  

The Rapid Creek at Rapid City streamgage has one of the longest periods of record in South Dakota, with continuous discharge since July 1942.  The new showcase gage has an outreach or public education purpose in addition to measuring flow. The gage house was designed to fit in and be part of Founder's Park.

The streamgage features three display windows that can be changed and updated over time. Current displays explain how a streamgage operates, describes the history of flooding along Rapid Creek, and provides a summary of the efforts by the City of Rapid City to improve water quality of urban runoff.  A graph of the historical flows is provided with a QR code that will allow visitors to rapidly learn the current gage height and streamflow discharge from a smartphone or other mobile device.

The largest peak discharge at this location was estimated as 50,000 cubic feet per second during the historic 1972 flood. This flash flood took 238 lives and was among the deadliest flash floods in U.S. history.

The streamgage is operated in cooperation with the City of Rapid City and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. The information is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring floods and droughts, bridge and road design, determination of flood risk and for many recreational activities. 

Be Disaster Aware. Take Action to Prepare. National Preparedness Month Launches September 1

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 14:45

CHICAGO –September is National Preparedness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages everyone to make disaster preparedness a priority.

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Categories: Federal News