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Federal News

Misconceptions May Hinder Survivor Recovery

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 09:44

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Some survivors of the recent Alabama storms may not have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance because of misconceptions or lack of accurate information. Here are some examples:

I didn't know there was assistance available.
FEMA tries to let everyone know about disaster assistance, but some people miss the message. Please be sure to spread the word among your co-workers, neighbors and friends.

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Categories: Federal News

Alabamians Can Go To Home Depot, Lowes For FEMA Advice On Rebuilding Stronger

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 09:41

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – As recovery continues from the April 28 to May 5 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that hit Alabama, federal officials are offering help on how to rebuild “stronger and safer” for the next disaster.

Specialists with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be at Home Depot and Lowe’s home improvement stores around Alabama to offer residents information about rebuilding their flood- and wind-damaged homes to make them better able to withstand future disasters.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Rebuilding Experts to Provide Advice in Laurel

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 15:22

JACKSON, Miss. – Residents in the Laurel area can learn how to build or rebuild to reduce the likelihood of damage the next time severe storms, tornadoes or floods hit. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mitigation specialists know how and they are sharing their knowledge.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be at Lowe’s in Laurel for five days this week to discuss specific methods with anyone who stops by. They will have free booklets and pamphlets with additional details.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Nebraska Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:25

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 Nebraska.

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

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Categories: Federal News

Recovery Centers Have Closed but FEMA Still Here to Help Alabama

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:22

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Closure of the FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Centers in Alabama does not mean FEMA has left Alabama.

All the assistance services available at the Recovery Centers are easily accessible online and by phone.   There also is a FEMA representative at the SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers, many of which are in the same location of the Recovery Centers.

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Nebraska

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:22

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 Nebraska to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of May 11-12, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA to Evaluate Readiness of Pennsylvania and West Virginia

FEMA Region III News Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:14
Emergency preparedness exercise scheduled for the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station

PHILADELPHIA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate a Biennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station. The exercise will occur during the week of June 16th, 2014 to assess the ability of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of West Virginia to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility.

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FEMA to Evaluate Readiness of Pennsylvania and West Virginia

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:14
Emergency preparedness exercise scheduled for the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station

PHILADELPHIA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate a Biennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station. The exercise will occur during the week of June 16th, 2014 to assess the ability of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of West Virginia to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility.

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Categories: Federal News

Two Weeks Left To Register For Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:03

Montgomery, Ala. – Alabamians who had damage from the April 28 to May 5 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding have just two more weeks to register for FEMA assistance.

The deadline to register with FEMA is Tuesday, July 1. To register:

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Categories: Federal News

Six Weeks After Disaster, Federal Aid for Alabama Totals More Than $27 Million

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 11:45

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- More than $17 million has been approved through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved nearly $10 million through its low-interest disaster loan program.

The following numbers, compiled June 12, provide a snapshot of the Alabama/FEMA disaster recovery to date:

Funds approved

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Categories: Federal News

Use Caution When Hiring A Contractor

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 11:42

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – For Alabama storm survivors, hiring the right rebuilding contractor is a key step down the road to recovery.

Consumers who need repair work done quickly following a natural disaster are sometimes targets of unscrupulous business practices.

“Homeowners should look for a contractor with a proven track record who readily offers client references. Most service providers in the building industry are honest, but it’s sad to say that disasters sometimes attract scam artists,” officials say.

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Categories: Federal News

Two Disaster Recovery Centers Closing, But Assistance Is Still Available

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 13:51

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Survivors have until 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, 2014, to visit two joint state/federal disaster recovery centers in Okaloosa and Walton counties, but assistance is still available and only a phone call away.

It is not necessary for those affected by the disaster to visit a center in order to register for or receive disaster assistance. In fact, people with storm-related losses are encouraged to register with FEMA before visiting a center.

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Categories: Federal News

Reservoirs Affect the Movement of Carbon in Large Rivers of the Central and Western United States

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 12:47
Summary: A recent study conducted by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences found that a combination of climate and human activities (diversion and reservoirs) controls the movement of carbon in two large western river basins, the Colorado and the Missouri Rivers

Contact Information:

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



A recent study conducted by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences found that a combination of climate and human activities (diversion and reservoirs) controls the movement of carbon in two large western river basins, the Colorado and the Missouri Rivers. 

Rivers move large amounts of carbon downstream to the oceans. Developing a better understanding of the factors that control the transport of carbon in rivers is an important component of global carbon cycling research. 

The study is a product of the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis and the USGS Land Carbon program. 

Different downstream patterns were found between the two river systems. The amount of carbon steadily increased down the Missouri River from headwaters to its confluence with the Mississippi River, but decreased in the lower Colorado River. The differences were attributed to less precipitation, greater evaporation, and the diversion of water for human activities on the Colorado River.

For upstream/headwater sites on both rivers, carbon fluxes varied along with seasonal precipitation and temperature changes. There was also greater variability in the amount of carbon at upstream sites, likely because of seasonal inputs of organic material to the rivers. Reservoirs disrupted the connection between the watershed and the river, causing carbon amounts downstream of dams to be less variable in time and less responsive to seasonal temperature and precipitation changes. 

The study presents estimates of changes in the amount of carbon moving down the Colorado and Missouri Rivers and provides new insights into aquatic carbon cycling in arid and semi-arid regions of the central and western U.S, where freshwater carbon cycling studies have been less common. This work is part of an ongoing effort to directly address the importance of freshwater ecosystems in the context of the broader carbon cycle. In the future, changing hydrology and warming temperatures will increase the importance of reservoirs in carbon cycling, and may lead to an increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions that contribute to global warming, but may also increase the amount of carbon buried in sediments.  

FEMA Offers Rebuilding Advice at Area Home Improvement Stores

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 11:25

PENSACOLA, Fla. – People who are repairing or rebuilding damaged property can get advice from a Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation specialist at two Pensacola home improvement stores.

Hazard mitigation specialists who are knowledgeable about property cleanup and rebuilding safer and smarter will be offering advice and guidance Tuesday, June 17, through Thursday, June 26.

Specialists will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays at the following locations:

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Categories: Federal News

Austin Coal-Tar Sealant Ban Leads to Decline in PAHs

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 11:00
Summary: The 2006 prohibition on the use of coal-tar-based pavement sealants in Austin, Texas, has resulted in a substantial reduction in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey

Contact Information:

Peter Van Metre ( Phone: 512-927-3506 ); Jennifer LaVista ( Phone: 303-202-4764 );



The 2006 prohibition on the use of coal-tar-based pavement sealants in Austin, Texas, has resulted in a substantial reduction in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Pavement sealant is a black, shiny substance sprayed or painted on the asphalt pavement of parking lots, driveways and playgrounds to increase the longevity of the underlying asphalt pavement and enhance its appearance. Pavement sealants that contain coal tar have extremely high levels of PAHs compared to asphalt-based pavement sealants and other urban PAH sources such as vehicle emissions, used motor oil and tire particles. PAHs are an environmental health concern because several are probable human carcinogens and they are toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

In 2006, Austin became the first jurisdiction in the United States to ban the use of coal-tar sealants. USGS scientists evaluated the effect of the ban on PAH concentrations in lake sediments by analyzing trends in PAHs in sediment cores and surficial bottom sediments collected in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2012 and 2014 from Lady Bird Lake, a reservoir on the Colorado River in central Austin. Average PAH concentrations in the lower part of the lake have declined 58 percent since the ban, reversing a 40-year upward trend. The full study, reported in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology, is available online.

“Identifying contaminant trends in water and sediment is key to evaluating the effect of environmental regulations, and provides vital information for resource managers and the public,” said lead USGS scientist Dr. Peter Van Metre.

Results of the USGS study support the conclusions of previous studies that coal-tar sealants are a major source of PAHs to Lady Bird Lake and to other lakes in commercial and residential settings. A sediment core collected by the USGS from Lady Bird Lake in 1998 was part of a study of 40 lakes from across the United States that used chemical fingerprinting to determine that coal-tar sealants were, on average, the largest contributor of PAH to the lakes studied. Chemical fingerprinting of sediment collected for the new study indicates that coal-tar-based sealant continues to be the largest source of PAHs to Lady Bird Lake sediment, implying that PAH concentrations should continue to decrease as existing coal-tar-sealant stocks are depleted.

To learn more, visit the USGS website on PAHs and sealcoat.

FEMA Urges Preparedness ahead of Severe Weather; Residents Encouraged to Monitor Conditions and Follow Direction of Local Officials

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 10:04

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—through its regional offices in Chicago, Kansas City and Denton (Texas)—is monitoring the possibility of tornadoes and large hail Saturday afternoon and evening across much of Nebraska, Kansas, and western Iowa. Residents in potentially affected areas should take the time now to prepare for severe weather and to monitor conditions via NOAA Weather Radio and local media.

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Categories: Federal News

Human Activities Increase Salt Content in Many of the Nation's Streams

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 09:18
Summary: Concentrations of dissolved solids, a measure of the salt content in water, are elevated in many of the Nations streams as a result of human activities, according to a new USGS study

Contact Information:

Ethan Alpern ( Phone: 703-648-4406 ); David Anning ( Phone: 928-556-7139 );



Concentrations of dissolved solids, a measure of the salt content in water, are elevated in many of the Nations streams as a result of human activities, according to a new USGS study. Excessive dissolved-solids concentrations in water can have adverse effects on the environment and on agricultural, domestic, municipal, and industrial water users.

Results from this study provide a nation-wide picture of where dissolved-solids concentrations are likely to be of concern, as well as the sources leading to such conditions.

“This study provides the most comprehensive national-scale assessment to date of dissolved solids in our streams,” said William Werkheiser, USGS Associate Director for Water. “For years we have known that activities, such as road de-icing, irrigation, and other activities in urban and agricultural lands increase the dissolved solids concentrations above natural levels caused by rock weathering, and now we have improved science-based information on the primary sources of dissolved-solids in the nation’s streams.”

The highest concentrations are found in streams in an area that extends from west Texas to North Dakota. Widespread occurrences of moderate concentrations are found in streams extending in an arc from eastern Texas to northern Minnesota to eastern Ohio. Low concentrations are found in many states along the Atlantic coast and in the Pacific Northwest.

The total amount of dissolved solids delivered to all of the Nation’s streams is about 270 million metric tons annually, of which about 71% comes from weathering of rocks and soil, 14% comes from application of road deicers, 10% comes from activities on agricultural lands, and 5% comes from activities on urban lands.

All water naturally contains dissolved solids as a result of weathering processes in rocks and soils. Some amount of dissolved solids is necessary for agricultural, domestic, and industrial water uses and for plant and animal growth, and many of the major ions are essential to life and provide vital nutritional functions. Elevated concentrations, however, can cause environmental and economic damages. For instance, estimated damages related to excess salinity in the Colorado River Basin exceed $330 million annually.

“This study applied statistical modeling to understand the sources and transport processes leading to dissolved-solids concentrations observed in field measurements at over 2,500 water-quality monitoring sites across the Nation,” said David Anning, USGS lead scientist for the study. “This new information was then used to estimate contributions from different dissolved-solids sources and the resulting concentrations in unmonitored streams, thereby providing a complete assessment of the Nation’s streams.”

The study determined that in about 13 percent of the Nation’s streams, concentrations of dissolved solids likely exceed 500 mg/L, which is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s secondary, non-enforceable drinking water standard. Many of these streams are found in a north-south oriented band stretching from west Texas to North Dakota.

While this standard provides a benchmark for evaluating predicted concentrations in the context of drinking-water supplies, it should be noted that it only applies to drinking water actually served to customers by water utilities.

An online, interactive decision support system provides easy access to the national-scale model describing how streams receive and transport dissolved solids from human sources and weathering of geologic materials. The decision support system can used to evaluate combinations of reduction scenarios that target one or multiple sources and see the change in the amount of dissolved solids transported downstream waters.

The dissolved-solids model was developed by the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program, which provides information about water-quality conditions and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Information on modeling applications, data, and documentation can be accessed online.

Nearly $16.5 Million Approved for Mississippi Disaster Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 15:05

JACKSON, Miss. Federal assistance approved for disaster survivors in 12 Mississippi counties has reached almost $16.5 million.

Here is a summary through Thursday, June 12, of all federal assistance to individuals and households in the 12 counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance. The severe storms, tornadoes and flooding occurred from April 28 through May 3, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

Mayflower Disaster Recovery Center Transitions to SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:46

Little Rock, Ark. – To meet the needs of Arkansans affected by the April 27 severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, the state/federal Disaster Recovery Center in Mayflower will transition into a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Outreach Center on Monday, June 16.

The center’s hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center will close Thursday, June 26, at 6 p.m.

Address:

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Categories: Federal News

Last Chance to Visit FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Arkansas

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:39

Little Rock, Ark. – Survivors of the April 27 severe storms, tornadoes and floods have until      2 p.m. Saturday, June 14, to visit the Disaster Recovery Centers in Mayflower and Vilonia.

The state and FEMA have closely monitored visitor traffic at the centers in Arkansas. Traffic to these centers has significantly decreased, indicating the information needs of survivors in the area have been met. 

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Categories: Federal News