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New Tool Available to Help Track Spilled Oil

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 02/06/2014 - 13:30
Computer model can help with current, future clean-up efforts

Contact Information:

P. Soupy  Dalyander ( Phone: 727-502-8124 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-648-4356 );



St. Petersburg, Fla. – A newly developed computer model holds the promise of helping scientists track and predict where oil will go after a spill, sometimes years later.  U.S. Geological Survey scientists developed the model as a way of tracking the movement of sand and oil found along the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The new tool can help guide clean-up efforts, and be used to aid the response to future oil spills. 

Following the Deepwater Horizon spill, denser-than-water conglomerates of sand and oil have been found in the surf zone, ranging in size from less than a millimeter to mats up to a few meters in size.  The surf zone is where waves break as they approach the shore. The USGS study looked at conglomerates several centimeters thick – known as "surface residual balls," or "SRBs", which continue to emerge in some beach locations more than three years after the first oil reached the shoreline.

Applying the model to movement of SRBs along the coast of Alabama and western Florida showed that normal wave conditions, less than 1.5 to 2 meters, will not move centimeter-sized SRBs alongshore.  However, tropical storms, or winter storms can mobilize and redistribute these SRBs alongshore.

The numerical model indicated that inlets trap SRBs, where they could accumulate over time. The model also suggests that when larger SRBs are found they are more likely to have been formed locally when the oil came ashore, rather than being transported from a different location along the coast.  

Published this week in Marine Pollution Bulletin, the report also shows that SRBs are likely to be covered and uncovered by sand that is relatively easily moved by waves and currents in the surf zone.  

"SRBs are dense enough to rest on the seafloor, rather than floating.  Because sand grains are smaller and more mobile than the larger SRBs, under non-storm conditions when the SRBs themselves are not moving, they can be buried and exhumed by mobilized sand," said P. Soupy Dalyander, a research oceanographer and lead author of the study.

In addition to providing guidance for the Deepwater Horizon clean-up effort, the USGS methodology has broader potential application.

"The techniques developed here can be applied to evaluate the potential alongshore movement of SRBs in other locations or from any future spill where large quantities of oil and sand mix in the surf zone", said Dalyander.

DNREC Watershed Assessment Section, DelDOT sponsor youth artist rain barrel-painting contest

DNREC News - Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:07
DOVER (Feb. 6, 2014) – DNREC’s Watershed Assessment Section and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) are sponsoring a contest to educate the state’s young people on the benefits of using rain barrels to reduce rainwater runoff and improve water quality.

Fun February at Cape Henlopen State Park

DNREC News - Tue, 02/04/2014 - 17:06
LEWES (Feb. 4, 2014) – It may be February, but there’s plenty of fun to be had for all ages at Cape Henlopen State Park. Three to five-year olds are invited to learn about nature through stories, games, crafts, and outdoor adventures at the monthly Guppy Club program on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 10:30 a.m. This month’s topic will be Loving Sea Shells. Kids will discover how different animals make shells, and why they love to carry them wherever they go. The program costs $3 per child. Children must be accompanie

Review and Update Your Insurance Policies In New Year

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 02/04/2014 - 16:53

LINCROFT, N.J. -- With a new year upon us, now is an ideal time for people to review their insurance policies. Understanding the details of what specific policies cover and what the policyholder is responsible for after a disaster is important as both clients’ needs and insurance companies’ rules change.

Insurers’ decisions and legislative changes have the biggest effect on changes in policies. Consumers should make themselves aware of possible changes in these areas and know what to look for while reviewing their policies.

What’s Covered

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Tornado Assistance to Illinois Tops $21 Million

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 02/04/2014 - 10:33

SPRINGFIELD, IL – FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration report federal disaster assistance to Illinois tornado survivors affected by the November storms has surpassed $21 million. 

Language English
Categories: Federal News

FEMA Awards $441,750 Grant to City of Chicago: Hazard Mitigation funds will be used to make flood retrofits to River City Condominium

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 02/04/2014 - 10:30

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $441,750 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the City of Chicago, Ill., for the proposed structural retrofits to the River City Condominium building. The project includes the elevation of an existing marina wall and the installation of a sewer backflow preventer. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Releases Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Middlesex and Monmouth Counties

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 16:43

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today released Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Middlesex and Monmouth Counties 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 Middlesex and Monmouth Counties that were released in June/July of 2013 as an interim product.

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Categories: Federal News

Fish and Wildlife Enforcement cautions public to keep off of melting ice on ponds waterways

DNREC News - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:54
DOVER (Feb. 3, 2014) – DNREC Natural Resources Police, Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Section, urges the public to use extreme caution if considering walking on ice, ice fishing, skating or taking any type of vehicle onto seemingly-solid ice formed by the recent extreme cold over many Delaware ponds, lakes and smaller waterways.

DNREC Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Blotter Jan 21 to 27

DNREC News - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 09:48
DOVER (Jan. 31, 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 Jan. 21-27 made 714 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 18 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents issued 35 citations.

Nutrient Ratios Could Affect Microcystin Occurrence

USGS Newsroom Technical - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 09:00
Summary: Evaluations of water nutrient ratios suggest that concentrations of a class of cyanobacteria toxins (cyanotoxins), called microcystins, tended to decrease as the total nitrogen to total phosphorus (TN:TP) ratio increased. 

Contact Information:

Donita Turk ( Phone: 785-832-3570 );



Evaluations of water nutrient ratios suggest that concentrations of a class of cyanobacteria toxins (cyanotoxins), called microcystins, tended to decrease as the total nitrogen to total phosphorus (TN:TP) ratio increased. 

Nitrogen addition and phosphorus removal treatments were used to control nutrient ratios in confined experimental chambers in Willow Creek Reservoir, Ore., over two consecutive summers.  

Two scientific articles on this research, recently published in the scholarly journal Lake and Reservoir Management, were completed as a joint partnership between the University of Idaho and the U.S. Geological Survey. The study supports previous work done on nutrient ratios and microcystins.  The articles, entitled "Experimental manipulation of TN:TP ratios suppress cyanobacterial biovolume and microcystin concentration in large-scale in situ mesocosms," and "Experimental additions of aluminum sulfate and ammonium nitrate to in situ mesocosms to reduce cyanobacterial biovolume and microcystin concentration," are available online.  

"This does not necessarily mean that increasing nitrogen in a lake will decrease cyanotoxins," said USGS scientist Ted Harris. "This was a study done in one location, and warrants further research."

This case study suggested that a TN:TP ratio of 75:1 or larger resulted in the growth of green algae instead of toxic cyanobacteria. Toxic cyanobacteria can produce toxins such as microcystins which can be harmful to aquatic life, terrestrial animals, and humans. Cyanotoxin exposure has led to illness in wildlife, livestock, and humans and can result in death in severe exposure cases.

Results from this research could help manage cyanobacteria toxin production; however these approaches need to be studied more extensively in whole-lake settings to fully understand the implications of using these approaches to control cyanobacteria toxin production balanced against other potential environmental harm and socio-economic conditions. 

For more information:

New coyote hunting season remains open through Feb 28

DNREC News - Fri, 01/31/2014 - 16:56
DOVER (Jan. 31, 2014) – The Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters that Delaware’s first coyote hunting season remains open through the end of February. The coyote hunting season opened on Jan. 11 with the adoption of new wildlife regulations that include a coyote hunting season from Sept. 1 through the last day of February. The regulations also established a coyote trapping season from Dec. 1 through March 10.

Heritage Park’s First Saturday celebrates African-American History Month

DNREC News - Fri, 01/31/2014 - 11:23
DOVER (Jan. 31, 2014) – On Saturday, Feb. 1, The First State Heritage Park kicks off its celebration of African-American history month with a variety of programs for the First Saturday in the First State.

2014 Delaware Fishing Guide is now available statewide and online

DNREC News - Fri, 01/31/2014 - 09:34
DOVER (Jan. 31, 2014) – The Division of Fish and Wildlife’s new 2014 Delaware Fishing Guide has arrived with a colorful splash and is being distributed to fishing license dealers throughout the state, including sporting goods, bait & tackle and hardware stores. Anglers also can pick up a copy of the guide, along with their fishing license and trout stamp, at the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife’s main office in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and can check it out online too

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Oklahoma Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/30/2014 - 17:31

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 Oklahoma.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Oklahoma

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 01/30/2014 - 17:29

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 Oklahoma to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm during the period of December 5-6, 2013.

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Categories: Federal News

Delaware Climate Report projects increasing temperatures heavy precipitation

DNREC News - Thu, 01/30/2014 - 10:03
DOVER (Jan. 30, 2014) – A new statewide report produced at the direction of DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and DNREC’s Division of Energy and Climate, “Climate Change Projections and Indicators for Delaware,” projects increasing temperatures, more extreme heat days, and more frequent heavy rain events through the year 2100.

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Vermont Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 20:51

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 Vermont.

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

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Vermont

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 20:47

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 Vermont to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe winter storms during the period of December 20-26, 2013.

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Categories: Federal News

Heels & Wheels: Delaware Walk & Bike Summit set for March 21

DNREC News - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 15:01
DOVER (Jan. 29, 2014) – DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation and its partners have announced a date for the upcoming Heels & Wheels: Delaware Walk & Bike Summit. The summit, designed to bring walkers, hikers, bicycle and mountain bike riders, and runners together for an educational conference, is scheduled for Friday, March 21, at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall in Newark, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is free and will open Saturday, Feb. 1.

Feb 8 designated waterfowl hunting day for youth disabled hunters

DNREC News - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:31
DOVER (Jan. 29, 2014) – To promote and provide additional hunting opportunities, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife has designated Saturday, Feb. 8 as the second of two special waterfowl hunting days for youth hunters ages 10 to 15 and non-ambulatory disabled hunters on both public and private lands statewide.