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Assessing Nutrient Inputs to the Nation's Estuaries and Great Lakes

USGS Newsroom Technical - Tue, 02/25/2014 - 12:58
Summary: Nutrient enrichment of our nation's streams, lakes, and estuaries is widespread and can contribute to harmful algal blooms, increasing costs for drinking water and causing declines in ecosystem health.

Contact Information:

Ethan Alpern ( Phone: 703-648-4406 ); Steve Preston ( Phone: 302-734-2506 ext 230 );



Nutrient enrichment of our nation's streams, lakes, and estuaries is widespread and can contribute to harmful algal blooms, increasing costs for drinking water and causing declines in ecosystem health.

Maps and tables describing the major sources and watershed inputs of nutrients to the Great Lakes and estuaries along the Atlantic coast, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest are now available online. These new maps and the data tables highlight the major sources of nutrients and the areas within a watershed that contribute the largest amounts of nutrients to 115 estuaries along the coastal areas and from 160 watersheds draining into the Great Lakes.

The data can serve further uses. For instance, water resource managers interested in a particular stream or estuary can use the online, interactive decision support tool to estimate how changes in nutrient inputs (source, type, and amount) affect nutrient loads at a downstream location.

A new reporting feature within the tool provides summary information on the amount and source of nutrients from upstream states or major hydrologic regions. For instance, output from the new tool shows the amount of nitrogen contributed from each of the 31 states that drain from the Mississippi River Basin into the Gulf of Mexico.

"This innovative combination of national maps and an online decision support tool provides unparalleled access to water-quality modeling information," said Jerad Bales, USGS acting associate director for Water. "It can be used to improve nutrient reduction strategies and inform nutrient policies across the nation."

These maps and data tables were produced using the USGS Spatially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) nutrient models to explain spatial patterns in stream nutrient loads in relation to human nutrient inputs and natural processes and sources.

Successful management of our nation's waters requires an integrated approach that includes both monitoring and modeling to understand the affect, source type, input amounts, and performance of management activities on nutrients in local streams and ultimately in our Nation’s estuaries

Additional information on USGS nutrient monitoring and modeling activities by the National Water-Quality Assessment Program is available online.

Snow Now Means Water Later: Are You Ready?

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 02/24/2014 - 12:54

CHICAGO – Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your home. A flood insurance policy could protect you from the devastating out-of-pocket expenses caused by flooding.  

Don’t wait until it’s too late. A policy takes 30 days from application and payment to go into effect. And a typical homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover floods.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Awards $2,576,475 Grant to Village of Hinsdale: Hazard mitigation funds will be used to floodproof Graue Mill Condominium Complex

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 02/24/2014 - 12:46

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released $2,576,475 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the Village of Hinsdale, Ill., for the proposed Graue Mill Condominium Complex stormwater improvement project. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />

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Barred Owls Ousting Spotted Owls in the Pacific Northwest

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 02/24/2014 - 11:25
Summary: An increase in the barred owl population is contributing to the decline of threatened Northern spotted owls, according to models developed by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service scientists

Contact Information:

Charles Yackulic ( Phone: 928-556-7379 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 );



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – An increase in the barred owl population is contributing to the decline of threatened Northern spotted owls, according to models developed by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service scientists.

The larger barred owl is considered to be a more aggressive competitor, with higher reproductive capacity as well as a more diverse diet and use of habitat. In the face of increasing barred owl populations and declining habitat, the medium size Northern spotted owl, which lives in old growth forests of northern California and the Pacific Northwest of the United States, is declining.

Using 22 years of detection data from a 1000 square kilometer site in Oregon, researchers found that both species are more likely to abandon an area when the other species is present.

"While both species feel the effects of competition, spotted owls are far more sensitive," said Charles Yackulic, a USGS research statistician and lead author of the study. "As a result, spotted owls at this site, and in many other areas, are declining while barred owl numbers steadily increase."

The authors simulated future population dynamics and found that barred owls are likely to drive down spotted owls to low numbers over the next few decades.

"Scientists in other parts of the Pacific northwest have suggested that differences in the habitat preferences of the barred owl and spotted owl might allow them to coexist. While the two species showed different habitat preferences in this study site, there is still substantial overlap in habitat use," said Yackulic.  "As a result, in recent years, barred owls have frequently excluded spotted owls from habitat that they would otherwise prefer."

Some of the spotted owls forced to leave a territory in response to barred owl invasions may establish territories in another area. However, the areas that are available for colonization often contain less suitable habitat and this may lead to a lowered probability of successfully producing young, further contributing to population decline. While habitat differences in this site are unlikely to allow for coexistence, it is unknown whether habitat preferences of barred and spotted owls at sites elsewhere in the spotted owl range are sufficiently different for barred owls and spotted owls to coexist.

"The results of the model show that should the barred owl population be reduced to about a quarter of its current size through management actions, it would minimize the costs associated with managing barred owl populations indefinitely, while also providing substantial benefits to the spotted owl population," said Yackulic. 

Janice Reid, U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist and study coauthor, commented on the importance of long term management. "It is important that long term management plans include protection of currently occupied and reproductively successful spotted owl territories from habitat degradation if we are to have any hope of slowing the spotted owl population decline in the face of the increasing barred owl population."  

"The roles of competition and habit in the dynamics of populations and species distributions" by C.B. Yackulic, J. Reid, J.D. Nichols, J.E. Hines, R. Davis and E. Forsman in the journal Ecology, is available online.

DNREC seeks volunteers for osprey monitoring project

DNREC News - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 17:45
DOVER (Feb. 21, 2014) – The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife is seeking volunteers to help monitor the state’s osprey population. These majestic raptors with their distinctive stick-built nests on tall poles or platforms can be seen along many Delaware waterways, especially Sussex County’s Inland Bays.

PAH Levels in Runoff from Coal-Tar Sealcoated Pavement Remain Elevated for Months After Application

USGS Newsroom Technical - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
Summary: Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealcoat remain elevated for months following sealcoat application, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Contact Information:

Barbara Mahler ( Phone: 512-927-3566 ); Jennifer LaVista ( Phone: 303-202-4764 );



Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealcoat remain elevated for months following sealcoat application, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

PAHs are an environmental health concern because they are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. A 2012 human health-risk analysis found that people living near pavement sealed with coal-tar-based products have an elevated risk of cancer.

USGS scientists evaluated concentrations of PAHs and azaarenes (chemicals similar in structure to PAHs but containing a nitrogen atom in the place of a carbon atom) in runoff from test plots sealed with either coal-tar-based or asphalt-based sealcoat starting five hours after sealcoat application and continuing for as long as three months after application.  The full report, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, is available online.

Concentrations of PAHs and azaarenes in runoff from the coal-tar-sealcoated pavement were about 20 times higher than in runoff from the asphalt-sealcoated pavement, and about 40 times higher than in runoff from unsealed asphalt. Concentrations and assemblages of PAHs indicated that the asphalt-based sealcoat might have contained a small amount (5-10%) of coal-tar-based sealcoat.

Although the total concentration of PAHs varied relatively little over the three months following application, the concentration of high molecular weight (large) PAHs increased and the concentration of low molecular weight (small) PAHs decreased. The low molecular weight PAHs are acutely toxic to aquatic life, but the high molecular weight PAHs are more likely to cause mutations, birth defects, and cancer. The high molecular weight PAHs in the runoff were mostly in the form of particles.

This study is the first to investigate concentrations of azaarenes associated with sealcoat runoff. Sources of azaarenes include coal-tar and oil-shale processing, wood preserving, and chemical manufacturing.  In samples of runoff collected just hours after sealcoat application, concentrations of the azaarene carbazole exceeded those of any other PAH or azaarene measured. Azaarenes have a large range of ecotoxicological effects, including acute toxicity, but have been less well studied than PAHs.

Sealcoat products are widely used in the United States, both commercially and by homeowners. The products are commonly applied to commercial parking lots (including strip malls, schools, churches and shopping centers), residential driveways, apartment complexes and playgrounds.

To learn more, visit the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program website on PAHs and sealcoat

DuPont achieves second LEED Gold Building Certification at Wilmington area campus

DNREC News - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 17:29
WILMINGTON (Feb. 20, 2014) – DuPont today announced that a four-story, 170,000 square foot office building at its Chestnut Run Plaza facility has achieved LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at the Gold level. This is the second Gold level LEED certification that DuPont achieved for new construction projects in the Wilmington area.

Water Infrastructure Advisory Council to meet Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Dover

DNREC News - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 17:18
DOVER (Feb. 20, 2014) – The Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council (WIAC) will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 at the Kent County Administrative Complex, 555 S. Bay Road, Dover, Conference Room 220.

Community Involvement Advisory Council to meet Monday, Feb. 24

DNREC News - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 11:36
SMYRNA (Feb. 20, 2014) – The Community Involvement Advisory Council (CIAC) will hold a meeting from 9:30 a.m. until noon, Monday, Feb. 24 at the Smyrna State Service Center Conference Room, 200 S. DuPont Highway, Smyrna, DE 19977

Media Advisory: USGS to Host Congressional Briefing: Earthquake Science and Remaining Mysteries

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 11:20
Summary: Come learn about the great leaps in research over the last 50 years, and the research still underway to understand the remaining mysteries of earthquake hazards

Contact Information:

Jessica Robertson ( Phone: 703-648-6624 ); Kathleen Gohn ( Phone: 703-648-4242 );



@USGSLive (Twitter account) will be live-tweeting this event

It's 1964 in Alaska. Imagine 4.5 minutes of powerful ground shaking underneath you from a magnitude 9.2 earthquake. You and your loved ones are then faced with resulting landslides and a devastating tsunami. You just experienced the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America. In that moment, scientists did not know how or why it occurred.

That event marked a turning point for earthquake science. Come learn about the great leaps in research over the last 50 years, and the research still underway to understand the remaining mysteries of earthquake hazards.

It is essential to start with science, because we can't plan if we don’t know what we are planning for.

What:

The USGS and the Hazards Caucus Alliance invite you to a congressional briefing on exploring earthquakes, focusing on analysis of the past and essential science still needed to protect lives and property.

When:

 Friday, February 28, 2014
10:00 a.m.

Where:

Rayburn House Office Building
Room 2325
Washington, D.C.

Who:

David Applegate, U.S. Geological Survey
Peter Haeussler, U.S. Geological Survey
Tom Jordan, Seismological Society of America
John Schelling, Washington State Military Department's Emergency Management Division

Hosts:

American Geosciences Institute
American Geophysical Union
Geological Society of America
Seismological Society of America

RSVP:

Please send your RSVP to Jessica Robertson at jrobertson@usgs.gov if you plan to attend.

Refreshments will be provided courtesy of the Seismological Society of America.

FEMA, Arizona Host Leadership Conference to Discuss Emerging Trends in Emergency Management, Collaborate with Public, Private Sector before Next Disaster; Microsoft, Verizon, Facebook to Attend along with Many More

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 11:58

For Immediate Release:  February 19, 2014

Media Contact:  Mary Simms, mary.simms@fema.dhs.gov

 

FEMA, Arizona Host Leadership Conference to Discuss Emerging Trends in Emergency Management, Collaborate with Public, Private Sector before Next Disaster
Microsoft, Verizon, Facebook to Attend along with Many More

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Categories: Federal News

State of Delaware and University of Delaware partner to create electric vehicle charging station network

DNREC News - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 11:57
NEWARK (Feb. 19, 2014) – Charging stations for electric vehicles will be strategically placed at key locations in Delaware to enable long trips in the state by next year, through a new collaborative research agreement between the University of Delaware (UD) and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

Linking U.S. and Canadian Border Waters

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 09:00
Summary: Clearer views of waters along the U.S. and Canadian border are now possible with new seamless digital maps. These maps make it easier to solve complex water issues that require a thorough understanding of drainage systems on both sides of the International Boundary Seamless digital maps of surface waters completed along the Canada and United States International Boundary

Contact Information:

Mark Newell, APR ( Phone: 573-308-3850 ); Peter Steeves ( Phone: 508-490-5068 ); Katrina  Burke ( Phone: 703-648-5155 );



Clearer views of waters along the U.S. and Canadian border are now possible with new seamless digital maps. These maps make it easier to solve complex water issues that require a thorough understanding of drainage systems on both sides of the International Boundary.

 "In the past, cross-border maps were not always accurate, but now these new digital maps are fully linked across the entire U.S. and Canadian border," said Peter Steeves, physical scientist with the USGS. "This cooperative project allows scientists on either side to look at the water just as nature does, irrespective of the artificial line separating the two nations."

Developed cooperatively by both countries, the digital maps make tackling difficult issues more effective. For example, levels of phosphorous flowing from Lake Champlain in Vermont into Quebec can now be better understood; flooding in the Red River Valley (which flows north from Minnesota and the Dakotas into Manitoba) can be traced; salmon fisheries in the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest can be efficiently restored; and understanding localized water use and water availability all along the border is now improved.

"The USA/Canada coordinated mapping efforts along the International Border have opened doors to joint scientific analysis that rely on hydrography integration", said David Harvey, National Manager with the Environment Service of Canada. "Water quality and quantity modelling are already being developed on top of this enriched database."

The advent of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) over the past 20 years has allowed for advancements in the analysis potential of digitally mapped water features to a degree hardly imagined when the USGS started mapping in the 19th century.  As technology improves in the years to come, even more progress will be made, such as in the use of lasers to map the earth, new techniques to analyze information, and faster computers to process the data.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has provided accurate maps of the nation's surface waters. During the last two decades this mapping has become digital, using computers and new technologies to provide unprecedented knowledge of water resources. This data is stored in the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD).

The principle agencies involved in this effort are the USGS and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), with oversight by the International Joint Commission (IJC).  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Agricultural Foods Canada, Environment Canada along with many provincial and in-state partners participated throughout the process.  

Additional information on the NHD and WBD can be found at http://nhd.usgs.gov/.

Digital Surface Watersheds along the U.S. and Candian International Boundary.  (Larger image) U.S. and Canadian harmonized international sub-basins displaying Canadian 5-digit and U.S. 8-digit hydrologic unit codes; now available within the Watershed Boundary Dataset.  (Larger image, 6.7 MB)

FEMA Awards $1.1 Million to Arkansas for 2012 Christmas Day Storm

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:52

DENTON, Texas – More than $1.1 million is being awarded to the state of Arkansas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse Saline County for debris removal costs from a 2012 Christmas Day winter storm.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Seeks Applicants for National Advisory Council

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:18

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is requesting individuals who are interested in serving on the National Advisory Council (NAC) to apply for appointment.  The NAC is an advisory council established to ensure effective and ongoing coordination of federal preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation for natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

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Categories: Federal News

DNREC Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Blotter Feb. 4 to 10

DNREC News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 10:45
DOVER (Feb. 14, 2014) – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Natural Resources Police, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Agents between Feb. 4-10 made 400 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 14 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded issued 24 citations.

More volunteers needed for beach grass planting at Delaware Seashore State Park on March 22

DNREC News - Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:58
SUSSEX COUNTY (Feb. 17, 2014) – More volunteers are needed at Delaware Seashore State Park for Delaware’s annual beach grass planting event set for 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 22. The event, now in its 25th year, helps protect Delaware shorelines by planting Cape American beach grass on sand dunes at beaches along the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean.

DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announces spring 2014 trout stocking plans for downstate ponds

DNREC News - Fri, 02/14/2014 - 17:19
DOVER (Feb. 14, 2014) – The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife today announced that its spring 2014 downstate trout season will begin Saturday, March 1 with the opening of two downstate ponds stocked with rainbow trout. On that date, Tidbury Pond near Dover in Kent County and Newton Pond outside of Greenwood in Sussex County will open for trout fishing beginning at 7 a.m.

New York University, NYU Langone Medical Center, SUS-Mental Health receive FEMA grants

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 02/14/2014 - 13:56

NEW YORK – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved Public Assistance grants to New York University, NYU Langone Medical Center and Services for the UnderServed (SUS)-Mental Health Program to reimburse costs for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

New York University has been awarded more than $1 million in funding. The grant covered a variety of needs including ensuring students’ safety, protection of campus data, temporary generators and a fuel oil tank.

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Categories: Federal News

$2.4 billion in FEMA Public Assistance grants for Hurricane Sandy recovery

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 02/14/2014 - 13:48

NEW YORK — Since Hurricane Sandy struck New York, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved more than $2.4 billion in Public Assistance grants to reimburse local, state and tribal governments and eligible private nonprofits for costs associated with emergency response, debris removal and repairing or rebuilding public facilities.

Recently approved grants include:

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Categories: Federal News