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Help Remains After Benton, Marshall, Quitman Recovery Centers Close

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 16:41

OXFORD, Miss. – The disaster recovery centers operated by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Benton, Marshall and Quitman counties will close permanently Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. However, disaster survivor assistance teams continue to canvass these areas with information on available assistance.

Many services available at disaster recovery centers are also available by calling the FEMA helpline. Survivors of the December storms, tornadoes and flooding can get help by calling 800-621-3362 or

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Commonly Asked Questions about Federal Disaster Aid

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 18:34

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After the severe storms and flooding that occurred in Missouri between December 23, 2015 and January 9, 2016, residents in the 33 declared counties became eligible for federal assistance. People who suffered losses and damage in the wake of the disaster are urged to seek help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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Be Sure to Read Any Correspondence from FEMA Carefully

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 18:30

OXFORD, Miss. – If you applied for disaster assistance after the severe storms which affected Mississippi in December, you may have received a letter or other correspondence from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The most common reason applicants are considered ineligible is the lack of an insurance document. An applicant may only need to provide FEMA with a copy of an insurance determination letter to complete the application and continue the assistance process. Other reasons for a determination of ineligibility include:

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Process Changes for Reporting Sightings of Asian Carp, other Non-Native Aquatic Species

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 16:02
Summary: Boaters, swimmers or other members of the public who see Lionfish, Asian carp, Zebra mussels or any other invasive or non-native plant or animal species have two options to report sightings.    USGS and State Agencies Collecting Information

Contact Information:

Pam  Fuller ( Phone: 352-264-3481 ); Gabrielle  Bodin ( Phone: 337-266-8655 );



Boaters, swimmers or other members of the public who see Lionfish, Asian carp, Zebra mussels or any other invasive or non-native plant or animal species have two options to report sightings.   

Sightings nationwide should now be reported online to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program, called the NAS, or directly to state government natural resource agencies

The public has been able to report sightings to the USGS and state agencies for some time, but with the discontinuation of a federal reporting Aquatic Nuisance Species hotline late last year researchers are trying to get the word out on the updated reporting system and the continued importance of reporting sightings.

“Sixty-seven percent of the invasive species alerts in the past five years have been based on information reported by the public,” said Pam Fuller, a fish biologist with USGS and the leader of the NAS Program. “We rely on the public to gather much of our data on aquatic invasive species. We depend on them to be our ‘early detectors.’ When you combine the information we receive from reported sightings with information we pull from other sources, we’re able to provide a national picture of species distribution.”

For 19 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force operated a 24-hour phone hotline available to report sightings. In recent years, the line was seldom used, with sightings being more often than not reported via email, prompting the change in process. Scientists say reporting sightings is still very important, and very easy.

“New occurrences of non-native aquatic species are occurring more frequently than people think,” said Fuller. “In the past 12 months, we’ve seen 110 new occurrences. This includes both new species, as well as species we’ve already seen that are just in new locations. Identifying where these species are being seen can help us predict which regions may be susceptible to invasion, and can help prioritize management needs.”

The nearly four-decade old NAS database monitors, analyzes, and records non-native aquatic animals, including mussels, snails, crayfish, turtles, frogs, and fish, and now, aquatic plants, to give a more comprehensive understanding of the occurrence of non-native and invasive species in the United States. The database is freely accessible to the public, allowing users to view current distributions, search for particular regions and species, and report sightings of non-native and invasive aquatic species. Information from the data is used to generate scientific reports, real-time online queries, spatial data sets, regional contact lists, fact sheets and occurrence alerts.

In 2004, an alert function was added to the system to send out alerts to users anytime a new species was introduced into an area. The system offers timely information to environmental managers to help them prioritize and initiate monitoring and management actions.  

The NAS program monitors nonindigenous species, also known as non-native species or species not historically found in an area, as well as invasive species. A non-native species is not necessarily invasive; however, once a population is able to sustain itself it is considered invasive.  

The NAS program works with state and federal natural resource agencies to gather information on non-native and invasive aquatic species, and works with other partners to develop tools, including integrated reporting and filtered website views.

“There have been numerous instances when a species was reported to us and we notified the state biologists who went out to investigate,” said Fuller. “Sometimes the reports turn out to be new introductions, and sometimes they are misidentifications. But when in doubt – report it.”

To report the sighting of an invasive or non-native aquatic species, please visit: www.usgs.gov/stopans

Value of U.S. Mineral Production Decreased in 2015 with Lower Metal Prices

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 14:20
Summary: In 2015, United States mines produced an estimated $78.3 billion of mineral raw materials—down 3percent from $80.8 billion in 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey announced today in its Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016.

Contact Information:

Steven Fortier ( Phone: 703-648-4920 ); Elizabeth Sangine ( Phone: 703-648-7720 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 );



In 2015, United States mines produced an estimated $78.3 billion of mineral raw materials—down 3percent from $80.8 billion in 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey announced today in its Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016.

“Decision-makers and policy-makers in the private and public sectors rely on the Mineral Commodity Summaries and other USGS minerals information publications as unbiased sources of information to make business decisions and national policy,” said Steven M. Fortier, Director of the USGS National Minerals Information Center. 

Rare-earth elements (REEs) are used in the components of many devices used daily in our modern society, such as: the screens of smart phones, computers, and flat panel televisions; the motors of computer drives; batteries of hybrid and electric cars; and new generation light bulbs. Lanthanum-based catalysts are employed in petroleum refining. Large wind turbines use generators that contain strong permanent magnets composed of neodymium-iron-boron. Photographs used with permission from PHOTOS.com.

This annual report from the USGS is the earliest comprehensive source of 2015 mineral production data for the world. It includes statistics on about 90 mineral commodities that are essential to the U.S. economy and national security, and addresses events, trends, and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries. Industries consuming such processed non-fuel mineral materials—such as cement, steel, brick, and fertilizer, et cetera—added $2.49 trillion or 14 percent to the total U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

In 2015, the U.S. was 100 percent import reliant on 19 mineral commodities, including rare earths, manganese, and bauxite, which are among a suite of materials often designated as “critical” or “strategic” because they are essential to the economy and their supply may be disrupted. Though the U.S. was also 100 percent import reliant on 19 mineral commodities in 2014, this number has risen from just 7 commodities in 1978.

“This dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals illustrates both the interdependency of the global community and a growing concern about the adequacy of mineral resources supplies for future generations.  Will our children’s children have the resources they need to live the lives that we all want?” asked Larry Meinert, MRP program coordinator.

A reduction in construction activity began with the 2008-09 recession and continued through 2011. However, construction spending continued to increase in 2015—more than 10 percent compared to 2014, which benefitted the industrial minerals and aggregates sectors.

Production of 14 mineral commodities was worth more than $1 billion each in the United States in 2015, the same as in 2014. The estimated value of U.S. industrial minerals  production in 2015 was $51.7 billion, 4 percent more than that of 2014.

Declining demand for metals—especially in China, reduced investment demand, and increase global inventories resulted in decreasing prices and production for most metals.  In fact, several U.S. metal mines idled in 2015, including the only U.S. rare earth mine at Mountain Pass, California. Rare earths are vital components in modern technologies like smart phones, light-emitting-diode (LED) lights, and flat screen televisions, as well as clean energy and defense technologies.

The estimated value of U.S. metal mine production in 2015 was $26.6 billion, 15 percent less than that of 2014. These raw materials and domestically recycled materials were used to process mineral materials worth $630 billion, a 4 percent decrease from $659 billion in 2014. 

In 2015, 14 states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. These states were, in descending order of value—Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Alaska, Utah, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, Wyoming, and Illinois. Wisconsin and Illinois are new to the list in 2015.

The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral resource potential, production, consumption, and how minerals interact with the environment. The USGS National Minerals Information Center collects, analyzes, and disseminates current information on the supply of and the demand for minerals and materials in the United States and about 180 other countries. This information is essential in planning for and mitigating impacts of potential disruptions to mineral commodity supply due to both natural hazard and man-made events.

The USGS report Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016 is available online (http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals). Hardcopies will be available later in the year from the Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents. For ordering information, please call (202) 512-1800 or (866) 512-1800 or go online (http://bookstore.gpo.gov). 

For more information on this report and individual mineral commodities, please visit the USGS National Minerals Information Center (http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals).  To keep up-to-date on USGS mineral research, follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/usgsminerals).

FEMA Applicant Service Centers in Amory, Booneville Closing Friday

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 13:04

OXFORD, Miss. – December storm survivors in Monroe and Prentiss counties have until Friday, Jan. 29, to visit the applicant service centers in Amory and Booneville.

The centers are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the following locations: 

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Franklin and Jefferson County Centers Open to Help Missouri Flood Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:44

JEFERSON CITY, Mo. – FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers are opening Friday in Franklin County and Saturday in Jefferson County. The centers offer in-person support to individuals and businesses in any of the 33 Missouri counties included in the January 21, 2016, Missouri federal disaster declaration. The declaration covers losses caused by flooding and severe storms between December 23, 2015, and January 9, 2016.

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Revised Preliminary Flood Maps for Jim Wells County, Texas, Available for Review

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 18:50

DENTON, Texas – Homeowners, renters and business owners are encouraged to review revised preliminary flood maps for Jim Wells County, Texas. These maps help homeowners and businesses decide about purchasing flood insurance. By knowing the risks, individuals and community leaders can make informed decisions about building and development. 

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Get Advice on Rebuilding Stronger and Safer This Week in Ashland and Holly Springs

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 18:28

OXFORD, Miss. – Home and business owners looking for information on how to rebuild safer and stronger following the destructive December storms will find help this week at local hardware stores in Ashland and Holly Springs.

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Hidalgo DRC Transitions to Loan Center; Two Others to Close

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 17:46

AUSTIN, Texas—The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), operated by the State of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the Porter P. Doss Memorial Library in Hidalgo County will transition to a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) beginning Monday, Feb. 1.

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Helpline Still Available After Remaining Disaster Recovery Centers Close in South Carolina

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 14:34

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The three remaining disaster recovery centers in South Carolina will close Friday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m.:

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Disaster Aid Does Not Affect Income Tax or Government Benefits for Mississippi Disaster Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 12:45

OXFORD, Miss. – As the income tax season nears, December storm survivors don’t have to worry that the disaster assistance they received from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency or from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will boost their tax bill or reduce their Social Security checks or any other federal benefits.

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There Are Many Ways for Mississippi December Storms Survivors to Get Help

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 17:45

OXFORD, Miss. — In addition to causing physical damage, the December storms in Mississippi affected people’s jobs, emotional state or left them needing legal help. There are programs available to help survivors with these issues as they recover.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

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Help Remains Available After Disaster Recovery Center Closes in Georgetown

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 13:42

FEMA-DR-4241-SC NR 075

South Carolina EMD: 803-737-8500

FEMA News Desk: 803-714-5894

News Release

Help Remains Available After Disaster Recovery Center Closes in Georgetown                                                                                                

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A disaster recovery center in Georgetown County will close Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m.:

  • Beck Recreation Center, 2030 West Church St., Georgetown

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Help Remains After Coahoma, Tippah Recovery Centers Close

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 12:46

OXFORD, Miss. – The disaster recovery centers operated by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Coahoma and Tippah counties will close permanently Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Assistance Teams Helping Mississippi Storm Survivors in Three Newly Designated Counties

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 12:38

OXFORD, Miss. – State and federal disaster survivor assistance teams are now working in three more Mississippi counties, helping residents recover from destructive tornadoes, severe storms and flooding in late December.

The teams are made up of disaster specialists from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are canvassing neighborhoods in Monroe, Panola and Prentiss counties, which were designated for disaster assistance last week.

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FEMA Seeks Applicants for Youth Preparedness Council

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:41

Washington – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking applicants for its Youth Preparedness Council. FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council was formed in 2012 to bring together leaders from across the country who are interested and engaged in advocating youth preparedness. Council members are selected based on their dedication to public service, their efforts in making a difference in their communities, and their potential to expand their impact as national advocates for youth preparedness.

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New Heartland Maps for the New Year

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 09:30
Summary: New US Topo maps for Iowa and Kansas are now available in the USGS Store for free download. The new maps of these Midwestern states feature the inclusion of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) road data. Updated US Topo maps for Iowa and Kansas released; add Census Bureau road data and PLSS

Contact Information:

Mark Newell, APR ( Phone: 573-308-3850 ); Larry Moore ( Phone: 303-202-4019 );



New US Topo maps for Iowa and Kansas are now available in the USGS Store for free download. The new maps of these Midwestern states feature the inclusion of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) road data.

"The addition of TIGER’s roads layer into the US Topo maps is a great example of how data from one agency can benefit another agency,” said Timothy Trainor, Chief, Geography Division, U.S. Census Bureau. “The Census Bureau and the USGS have a long history of collaboration and sharing. This is another win for the American public."

The USGS recently released Wisconsin US Topo maps which were the first to feature TIGER data.

Another important addition to the new US Topo maps for Iowa and Kansas is the inclusion of Public Land Survey System data. 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, Bureau of Land Management.

Other improvements include the insertion of “crowdsourced” trail data from the International Mountain Bike Association, and most recently, trail data from the U.S. Forest Service.

The US Topo map improvement program has entered its third, three-year cycle of revising and updating digital US Topo quadrangles. These new US Topo maps replace the second edition US Topo maps and are available for no-cost file download from The National Map, the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website , and several other USGS applications.

The TIGER database is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and was created before the 1990 census to provide over a million unique maps sheets to census enumerators. The TIGER was the basis for the first coast-to-coast digital map to modernize the once-a-decade count. Since 1990, TIGER has evolved into a dynamic mapping system that helped catapult the growth of the geographic information system industry and improve Census Bureau data products.

The TIGER database contains all geographic features — such as roads, railroads, rivers, and legal and statistical geographic boundaries — needed to support the Census Bureau’s data collection and dissemination programs. The TIGER/Line Shapefiles are constantly improving, updated annually, and available for free download.

TIGER’s roads layer includes 6.3 million miles of roads. The original TIGER GIS vector data are available for free download from the TIGER products page. TIGER data are public domain, so using these road data on US Topo removes a previous use restriction from this USGS map product

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.

For more information on US Topo maps: http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/.

Updated 2016 version of the Des Moines SE US Topo quadrangle with orthoimage turned on. (1:24,000 scale)

 

Updated 2016 version of the Des Moines SE US Topo quadrangle with orthoimage turned off to better see the improved road network. (1:24,000 scale)

 

 

Scan of the 1905 legacy topographic map quadrangle of the greater Des Moines area from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection.

 

New Invasive Annual Grass Book Addresses Critical Questions for the Western U.S.

USGS Newsroom Technical - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 08:46
Summary: Cheatgrass in the Santa Rosa Range, Nevada. Photographer credit: Photo courtesy of Nolan Preece.  

Contact Information:

Susan Kemp, USGS ( Phone: 541-750-1047 ); Cass Cairns, USFS ( Phone: 970-498-1370 );



Cheatgrass in the Santa Rosa Range, Nevada. Photographer credit: Photo courtesy of Nolan Preece.

 

^_BOISE, Idaho — Bromus species – such as cheatgrass – are exotic annual grasses that have become the dominant annual grasses in the western hemisphere. Their spread and impacts across the western U.S. continue despite the many attempts by land managers to control these species. A new book edited by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State University was released today and answers critical research, planning and management questions about these species.

Sagebrush habitat is essential for the survival of the greater sage-grouse and other wildlife species as well as for economic activities, such as ranching and recreation.  The Department of Interior Secretarial Order 3336 on Rangeland Fire Prevention, Management and Restoration directly addresses the need for additional science and research to unlock the key to controlling invasive exotic Bromus grasses and developing tools to protect and support resistant and resilient sagebrush landscapes in the United States.

“There are nearly 150 species of Bromus globally,” said Matthew Germino, USGS ecologist and lead editor of the new book. “Despite extensive research on the grass species that have invaded the western U.S., land managers still face challenges in controlling the spread and impact of these grasses across the landscape.”

The book titled “Exotic Brome-Grasses in Arid and Semiarid Ecosystems of the Western U.S.: Causes, Consequences, and Management Implications,” synthesizes available literature on the biology, ecology, sociology and economics of Bromus grasses to develop a more complete picture of the factors that influence their invasiveness, impacts and management in the western U.S.

The synthesis helps to answer questions on:

  • The effects of environmental factors on Bromus species distributions
  • Arid and semiarid ecosystem attributes and processes that influence resistance to invasion by Bromus
  • Traits of Bromus species that contribute to their invasiveness
  • Impacts of Bromus invasions on ecosystems
  • Effects of pathogens on Bromus invasions and their potential for biocontrol
  • Effects of land uses on Bromus invasions
  • Management options for exotic annual Bromus and their application
  • Socioeconomic drivers and patterns of human response to Bromus invasion

“The risks and problems associated with Bromus have been known in the U.S. for decades, but much of the past research was done to answer questions at local scales and focused on only a few causal factors,” said Jeanne Chambers, USFS research ecologist with the Rocky Mountain Research Station and co-editor. “Today, Bromus grass impacts are large scale and influenced by many interacting factors requiring a more holistic approach.”

The book is the result of funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Research, Extension, and Education Network – or REEnet – which brought together a diverse range of public agency and university specialists from around the United States to generate and refine ideas on Bromus grasses. Lessons learned from this synthesis can be used to address impacts of species like cheatgrass on the sagebrush-steppe, a habitat that supports over 350 wildlife species, including greater sage-grouse.

Greater sage-grouse occur in parts of 11 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces in western North America.  Implementation of effective management actions for the benefit of sage-grouse continues to be a focus of Department of the Interior agencies following the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the species is not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

The Rocky Mountain Research Station is one of five regional units that make up the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development organization – the most extensive natural resources research organization in the world. The Station maintains 12 field laboratories throughout a 12-state territory encompassing the Great Basin, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and parts of the Great Plains, and administers and conducts research on 14 experimental forests, ranges, and watersheds, while maintaining long-term databases for these areas. RMRS research is broken into eight science program areas that serve the Forest Service as well as other federal and state agencies, international organizations, private groups and individuals. To find out more about the RMRS go to www.fs.fed.us/rmrs. You can also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usfs_rmrs

FEMA Representatives Visit Missouri Neighborhoods

FEMA Press Releases - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 17:21

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Residents of 33 Missouri counties who have been affected by the recent severe storms and flooding may soon see Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams and home inspectors in their neighborhoods.

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