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Federal News

FEMA Region 6 Urges You to “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 17:11

DENTON, Texas — September is National Preparedness Month, so the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 6 office is urging you to “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,” especially if you live along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast.

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Categories: Federal News

When You See the Yellow School Bus, Think Preparedness

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 15:18

Eatontown, N.J. --  September is the time of year when those big yellow school buses start making their rounds, offering safe passage to school for millions of kids across the nation.

For parents, teachers and school administrators, keeping children safe and protected is a priority.

That’s why it’s important to let your children know that life may throw some surprises their way, but with a little planning and support, we can handle them.

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Categories: Federal News

2013 Colorado Floods Federal Assistance Fact Sheet

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 13:45
 

 

FEDERAL AGENCY ASSISTANCE OVERVIEW

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Categories: Federal News

Research Shows Historic Decline in Pacific Walrus Population

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 13:00
Summary: The Pacific walrus population roughly halved between 1981 and 1999, the last year for which demographic data are available. A recent study by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey quantifies this historic population decline

Contact Information:

Rebecca Taylor ( Phone: 907-786-7004 ); Chris Trent ( Phone: 703-648-4451 );



ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Pacific walrus population roughly halved between 1981 and 1999, the last year for which demographic data are available. A recent study by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey quantifies this historic population decline. The 18 year decline identified by the study was not steady across that period. The decline was most severe in the mid-1980s, and then moderated in the 1990s. 

If the moderating trend has continued up to the present time then the population might be stabilized. That, however, cannot be determined until more recent data are collected and analyzed. USGS is working to obtain the data needed to close the gap from collection of the last demographic data to the present day. This information will be vital because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is expected to determine whether the Pacific walrus should be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2017. Population dynamics, such as those investigated in this USGS study, will be a critical factor in the decision.

“We integrated data from many sources,” said lead author of the study research statistician Rebecca Taylor, with the USGS Alaska Science Center in Anchorage. “These included annual harvest records, 6 age structure surveys and 5 population size surveys conducted at various times over the 32 year study. The age structure data—collected between 1981 and 1999—were particularly informative, and enabled us to quantify the population decline and the birth and death rates that caused it.”

Scientists think past walrus population dynamics were affected mainly by harvest. Previous work suggests the population probably increased rapidly in the 1960s due to reduced hunting and reached or exceeded the size that could be supported by food resources in the late 1970s to early 1980s.  The decline quantified by the USGS analysis was probably initiated by this overabundance of walruses and exacerbated by a return to the relatively high harvests of the 1980s.

“The decline probably was prompted by these historical reasons, but we can’t rule out other possible contributing factors,” said Taylor. “The environment isn’t static, and food may have become less available to walruses over time, possibly because of sea ice loss.”  Sea ice is important to walruses because they rest on it between dives to the ocean floor to eat clams and other invertebrates.

Taylor’s analytical approach allows the incorporation of new data to understand more recent population dynamics.  In 2013 and 2014, the USGS, USFWS and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game jointly surveyed walruses in Bering Strait and the Chukchi Sea to estimate current age structures and test a new method of estimating population size using a genetic mark-and-recapture approach. Another survey is planned for 2015.

In 2011, due to the combined threats of harvest and sea ice loss, the USFWS determined that listing of the population as threatened under the Endangered Species Act was warranted but was precluded by higher priorities. The agency is under a court order to make a listing decision in 2017.

This research effort is part of the USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative. The results of this new study were published in the online journal Marine Mammal Science on September 5, 2014. 

For further information:

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2013 Colorado Floods Public Assistance Fact Sheet

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 12:45
FEMA Public Assistance Program Overview (as of August 25, 2014)

The FEMA Public Assistance program provides funding for emergency actions undertaken by communities as well as aid to repair or replace damaged public infrastructure.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA’S GIS Team Uses High-Tech Tools to Help People

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 12:35

DENVER – When Colorado’s historic rains fell last September, help came quickly.

Resources went to areas that needed it most thanks, in part, to the innovative work of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region VIII Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) unit in Denver.

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Categories: Federal News

One Year After Historic Colorado Flooding: Disaster Unified Review Team Expedites Environmental Recovery

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 12:22

DENVER – One year after devastating historic flooding, a team of specialized recovery partners is working together in a unified approach to environmental and historic preservation. The top objective of the team is to help expedite long-term recovery in the Centennial State – and in ways that will also benefit recovery after future disasters.

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FEMA Hires Local Residents During Colorado floods

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 11:34

In the aftermath of the 2013 Colorado floods, FEMA and other agencies brought in personnel from all over the country to assist.   At the other end of the spectrum were 54 local residents that FEMA hired to support response and recovery efforts.  Following a disaster declaration, FEMA frequently hires local residents to work in various positions, augmenting existing staff.  By hiring locals, the agency gets a unique perspective and critical local knowledge.

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Categories: Federal News

Arkansas and Louisiana Receive Nearly $2.5 Million in FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 10:47

DENTON, Texas — Fire departments in Arkansas and Louisiana and been awarded more than $2.49 million in preparedness grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In Arkansas, the grants total more than $1.3 million and cover a variety of items including:

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Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas Receive More Than $2.5 Million in FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 10:43

DENTON, Texas — Emergency management agencies in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas have been awarded more than $2.5 million in preparedness grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In Oklahoma, the grants total more than $1million and cover a variety of items such as:

• Firefighting equipment for the Blanchard Fire Department, the city of Ponca City, the Frederick Fire Department, the Hanna Rural Fire Association, the Marble City Volunteer Fire Association and the Grady County Fire Department;

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Endocrine Disruption May Make Fish More Prone to Disease

USGS Newsroom Technical - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:57
Summary: New USGS-led research suggests that fish exposed to estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals may have increased susceptibility to infectious disease

Contact Information:

Luke  Iwanowicz ( Phone: 304-724-4550 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 );



LEETOWN, W.Va. -- New USGS-led research suggests that fish exposed to estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals may have increased susceptibility to infectious disease.

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can affect the reproductive system and cause the development of characteristics of the opposite sex, such as eggs in the testes of male fish. Wild- caught fish affected by endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been found in locations across the county.  Estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals are derived from a variety of sources from natural estrogens to synthetic pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals that enter the waterways.

In this study, researchers discovered that cellular receptors for estrogen were present in cells of the channel catfish immune system, which alters the immune system response. These cellular receptors are similar to “on-off switches” that require a lock and key for activation. The study looked at channel catfish because of their well-researched leukocyte cell lines. Leukocytes are immune system cells involved in defending the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders.

Estrogens have been shown to modify immune system responses in mammals and a diverse group of ray-finned fishes that include tunas, halibut, herring and catfish. Most fish species are members of this group, called teleosts. Prior to this research few studies looked at how estrogen receptors in fish leukocytes function. 

The study also marks the first time the dynamics of estrogen receptor gene behavior has been evaluated in activated immune cells. Immune cells are either activated or not, much like a dimmable light, there are degrees of activation.   The researchers found that all cells of the immune system are not likely to be equally affected. 

“We found that B-cells that produce antibodies, T-cells that regulate and coordinate immune responses and destroy virus-infected cells, and macrophages that gobble up invaders, have different arrays of estrogen receptors,” said lead author, USGS research biologist Luke Iwanowicz. “It is likely that these cells are instructed by estrogens differently.”

Iwanowicz noted that this work moves researchers one step closer to better understanding the consequences of exposure to estrogenic substances on the immune function in fish.  “This new research not only means that endocrine disruptors may make fish more prone to disease, but it also provides the context and baseline data to enhance our ability to conduct similar work in wild-caught fishes and investigate relationships between disease in the aquatic environments and endocrine disruptors.”

Based on these findings, future research would explore age-related differences as well as seasonal differences in fish and estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure.

The journal article, “Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) leukocytes express estrogen receptor isoforms ERα and ERβ2 and are functionally modulated by estrogens,” by L.R. Iwanowicz, J.L. Stafford, R. Patino, E. Bengten, N.W. Millerand V.S. Blazer, is available online in Fish & Shellfish Immunology.

Grant to Replace Obsolete Firefighting Equipment in New Jersey's Upper Deerfield Township

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 16:16

New York, NY, August 7, 2014 – Thirty-six self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs) will replace outmoded equipment used by three regional fire companies in Upper Deerfield Township, in New Jersey’s northern Cumberland County, it was announced here today by Ms. Dale McShine, Director of Grants for Region II of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

The life-saving equipment will be provided through a grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), a FEMA program.  The federal grant’s value was $243,948; the local share was $12,197.

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Changing Weather in the Northeast Calls for Greater Local Preparation

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 16:00

FEMA and Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management Improve Community Disaster Resiliency through America’s PrepareAthon!

New York, NY – New York and New Jersey have seen their share of weather disasters in recent years. Based on recent experience and on current assessments of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the region is likely to endure continuing shifts in weather patterns, prompting a need for emergency management expertise, as well as community preparedness for severe weather.

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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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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