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Free FEMA Advice Available at Local Home Improvement Store in Hattiesburg

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 17:27

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Are you repairing or rebuilding damaged property? Have questions about flood insurance? Want to protect your property from potential loss or damage from future disasters? FEMA mitigation specialists will be available in Hattiesburg to answer questions on building stronger.

Advisers will be available April 21-26 at the following location:

  • Lowe’s Home Improvement, 6004 U.S. Highway 98, Hattiesburg, MS 39402

The hours are: Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; Friday through Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Categories: Federal News

Free FEMA Advice Available at Local Home Improvement Stores

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 17:24

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Are you repairing or rebuilding damaged property? Have questions about flood insurance? Want to protect your property from potential loss or damage from future disasters? FEMA mitigation specialists will be available in Oxford and Southaven to answer questions on building stronger.

Advisers will be available April 21-April 26 at the following locations:

  • Home Depot, 201 Home Depot Drive, Oxford, MS 38655

  • Lowe’s Home Improvement, 178 Goodman Road West, Southaven, MS 38671.       

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Recovery Centers Stress Accessibility for All

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 17:21

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Natural disasters are equal-opportunity when they pick their targets. In assisting survivors, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency/Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery centers are just as impartial.

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Categories: Federal News

Governors 2016 Agricultural and Urban Conservation Award winners honored today

DNREC News - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 16:33
DOVER (April 20, 2016) – The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village was the setting for today’s Stewardship Week proclamation presentation of the annual Governor’s Agricultural and Urban Conservation Awards. Governor Jack Markell, along with DNREC Deputy Secretary Kara Coats, Delaware Association of Conservation Districts President Robert Emerson and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Kasey Taylor, led a ceremony recognizing this year’s honorees.

President Amends Iowa and Nebraska Disaster Declarations

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 14:10

WASHINGTON –The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the President has made additional disaster assistance available by authorizing an increase in the level of Federal funding for Public Assistance projects undertaken by the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa as a result of flooding during the period of May 24 to August 1, 2011 in Iowa and during the period of May 25 to August 1, 2011 in Nebraska.

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Categories: Federal News

Most Wind Towers in Southern Great Plains Are Low Risk to Sandhill Cranes

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 13:47
Summary: Sandhill Cranes fly in close proximity to wind turbines near Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in east-central Wisconsin, but to date no crane mortality has been associated with turbines in this area. Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) The current placement of wind energy towers in the central and southern Great Plains may have relatively few negative effects on sandhill cranes wintering in the region, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today.

Contact Information:

Marisa Lubeck ( Phone: 303-526-6694 );



Sandhill Cranes fly in close proximity to wind turbines near Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in east-central Wisconsin, but to date no crane mortality has been associated with turbines in this area. Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

The current placement of wind energy towers in the central and southern Great Plains may have relatively few negative effects on sandhill cranes wintering in the region, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today.

Midcontinental sandhill cranes are important to sporting and tourism industries in the Great Plains, an area where wind energy development recently surged. Scientists with the USGS compared crane location data from the winters of 1998-2007 with current wind tower sites in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico prairies. Findings showed only a seven percent overlap between cranes and towers, and that most towers have been placed in areas not often used by cranes during the winter.

“Great Plains wetlands are critical to preserving valuable sandhill crane populations,” said USGS scientist Aaron Pearse, the study’s lead author. “Our findings can help managers minimize risks of future wind energy development to cranes by highlighting potentially hazardous locations.”

Using data from cranes tagged with satellite transmitters, the scientists estimated wintering crane distributions and habitat selection behaviors prior to and during wind tower construction, which began in 1999 but surged from 2004-2013. They then compared the early estimates with post-construction bird behaviors and current tower locations.

“Although about 50 percent of cranes in our study used locations that had wind towers nearby – within 10 kilometers, or about 6.2 miles – there were few instances in which high densities of cranes and high densities of towers coincided,” Pearse said.

The study further showed: 

  • A modest seven percent overlap between study areas visited by cranes during the winters of 1998-2004 and areas with wind towers constructed during 1999-2013;
  • When they spent time near wind towers, the wintering cranes maintained an average distance of 6.5 kilometers, or about four miles, from the towers;
  • Only five percent of wind towers in the Texas High Plains have been constructed in locations identified as highly preferred crane winter habitat; and
  • Wintering cranes generally selected wetlands or upland areas near wetland basins.

Eighty percent of the midcontinent sandhill crane population resides in the central and southern Great Plains for up to half of the year. Potential threats of wind towers to cranes include collisions and avoidance of areas near towers, which reduces available roosting and foraging habitat.

For more information about USGS sandhill crane research, please visit the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center website

How Climate Change Might Affect Polar Bears' Bodies

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 13:00
Summary: PORTLAND, Ore. — You really are what you eat. That’s the taking-off point for a new polar bear study, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey researchers with an assist from the Oregon Zoo — and published this week in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. Zoo polar bears help scientists understand effects of Arctic bears' shifting diets

Contact Information:

Paul  Laustsen, USGS ( Phone: 650-329-4046 ); Hova Najarian, Oregon Zoo ( Phone: 503-220-5714 );



PORTLAND, Ore. — You really are what you eat. That’s the taking-off point for a new polar bear study, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey researchers with an assist from the Oregon Zoo — and published this week in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

As sea ice shifts in the Arctic, scientists have noted a corresponding shift in polar bears’ diets. In Western Hudson Bay, for example, sea-ice loss has been associated with declines in the consumption of benthic-feeding prey, such as bearded seals. In East Greenland, polar bears have increased consumption of hooded seals and decreased consumption of their more typical prey, ringed seals. 

The degree to which these types of changes are common throughout polar bear populations, and their implications on bear health, are not well understood. To determine whether bears are changing their diet in these remote Arctic regions, scientists are gathering baseline data from a couple of animals closer to home — Tasul and Conrad, two resident polar bears at the Oregon Zoo. 

“Science can sometimes be a slow process,” said Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s North America and marine life areas. “And climate change is happening rapidly. Anything we can do to quickly gain information about how polar bears respond will help managers make critical decisions for protecting them in the wild.” 

Using a handy chemical tool called “stable isotopes” — which include the carbon and nitrogen atoms that exist in every living thing — researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey are revealing how polar bears, which currently boast the highest-fat diets of all the animal kingdom, process different types of meals. 

“This new tool is allowing us to use hair and blood samples to discover whether polar bear diets have changed since the ’80s, when we began keeping records,” said Dr. Karyn Rode, the USGS wildlife biologist who led the study. 

This is possible, Rode says, because when a polar bear eats a meal of seal, whale or walrus, it takes on that organism’s isotope load as well. 

These chemical markers can then be detected in the bears’ own tissue samples, such as their blood or hair, which grows at a predictable rate and reveals the bear’s past “dietary signature” — or what and where their meals were eaten, she says. 

But it’s not quite that simple. 

“It’s not just that a 50 percent salmon diet shows up as 50 percent salmon in the body,” Rode said. “Some gets routed toward body fat, some gets stored and some is transformed directly to energy. I need to understand how the bear body processes food before I can understand how different diets may affect them.” 

During data collection, the zoo bears participated in what zoo staff dubbed a “surf and turf” experiment — switching between marine and terrestrial foods. By comparing this new data to USGS archive samples from the Chukchi and Southern Beaufort Sea bear populations over the past 25 years, Rode and her team may reveal the effects of this new meal diversity on polar bears.

“We’re hoping to study their diets over time to explain potential changes in resource use as a result of climate-related changes in this sensitive Arctic ecosystem,” said USGS research biologist Craig Stricker. 

This project, conducted by the USGS Polar Bear Team, is part of the USGS’s Changing Arctic Ecosystems research on the effects of climate change on polar bears.

The zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects focused on saving animals from extinction include studies on Asian elephants, polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs. 

Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.

The zoo opens at 9 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Call TriMet Customer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit trimet.org for fare and route information.

Mystery Solved: Traits Identified for Why Certain Chemicals Reach Toxic Levels in Food Webs

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 10:00
Summary: This model provides a new global tool for screening existing and new organic chemicals for their biomagnification potential. Hot colors (red, orange and yellow) indicate a high probability of biomagnification and cool colors (greens, blues) indicate a low probability of biomagnification.(USGS) Researchers have figured out what makes certain chemicals accumulate to toxic levels in aquatic food webs. And, scientists have developed a screening technique to determine which chemicals pose the greatest risk to the environment.

Contact Information:

Catherine Puckett ( Phone: 352-377-2469 ); Heidi Koontz ( Phone: 303-202-4763 );



This model provides a new global tool for screening existing and new organic chemicals for their biomagnification potential. Hot colors (red, orange and yellow) indicate a high probability of biomagnification and cool colors (greens, blues) indicate a low probability of biomagnification.(USGS)

Researchers have figured out what makes certain chemicals accumulate to toxic levels in aquatic food webs. And, scientists have developed a screening technique to determine which chemicals pose the greatest risk to the environment.

According to the study led by the U.S. Geological Survey, two traits were identified that indicate how chemicals can build up and reach toxic levels:  how easily a chemical is broken down or metabolized by an organism and the chemical’s ability to dissolve in water.

These traits account for how most chemicals concentrate, or biomagnify, in ever-higher levels as one goes up the food chain from its base to its top predators, such as fish, people, or polar bears. Chemicals that have the ability to biomagnify, such as DDT, can have adverse effects on human and wildlife health and the environment. 

“Chemical manufacturers and regulators can use this information to reduce the risks of harmful chemical exposures to ecosystems and the fish, wildlife and people who live in them,” said David Walters, a USGS research ecologist and lead author of the study. “By screening for these two characteristics, we can identify chemicals that pose the greatest risk of the thousands that are on the market and for new ones being developed.”

The study found that poorly metabolized compounds tend to remain in animal tissues and are passed up the food chain in higher, more toxic amounts as one animal is eaten by another and so on.  Likewise, compounds that don’t dissolve well in water accumulate in animal fats, ultimately exponentially increasing in top predators.

Beyond these chemical properties, the researchers found that certain ecosystems and food webs are more vulnerable to biomagnification than others. For example, extremely high biomagnification occurred in ocean food webs that include birds and mammals. The authors noted this may be in part due to longer food chains in these ecosystems  that is, many levels and kinds of predators - and because warm-blooded animals need to consume more food than do cold-blooded animals like fish. 

Building upon these results, the researchers developed a model of biomagnification based upon how chemicals metabolize and dissolve in water. The likelihood that a chemical would biomagnify was highest – nearly 100 percent -- for slowly metabolized compounds such as chlorinated flame retardants and PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, regardless of their solubility in water.

We need to learn from our previous mistakes and have more informed and responsible design and use of chemicals in the environment,” said Karen Kidd, a Canada Research Chair at University of New Brunswick Saint John and co-author of the study. “Our global review provides a straightforward approach for reducing the use of chemicals with the properties to concentrate through food webs.  This is a critical step for decreasing risks for humans and wildlife from potentially harmful chemical exposures in foods.”

Since the emergence of DDT as a global problem for wildlife in the 1950s and 60s, science has kept a close watch on the behavior of persistent organic pollutants, especially chemicals that may concentrate through food webs to potentially toxic levels in wildlife and humans. Many are resistant to environmental degradation and remain in the environment for decades. While biomagnification can be measured in the laboratory, said Walters, it is best determined by measuring how much the chemical increases with each step in the food chain in wild animal populations.

USGS research partners in this study, “Trophic Magnification of Organic Chemicals: A Global Synthesis,” include the Toxicology Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. The study is published in Environmental Science and Technology.

This research was supported by the USGS Ecosystems and Environmental Health Mission Areas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Research Initiative, and the Canada Research Chair and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada programs.

26 Mississippi Counties Approved for Infrastructure Disaster Aid

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 16:10

RIDGELAND, Miss. – The state of Mississippi, local governments and certain private nonprofits in 26 Mississippi counties are now eligible to receive federal assistance to help cover expenses and repair damage associated with the severe storms and flooding that occurred March 9-29, 2016, according to state and federal officials.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA to Evaluate Readiness of Maryland and Pennsylvania

FEMA Region III News Releases - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 14:11

PHILADELPHIA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate a biennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station. The exercise will occur during the week of April 25th, 2016 to assess the ability of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility.

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FEMA to Evaluate Readiness of Maryland and Pennsylvania

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 14:11

PHILADELPHIA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate a biennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station. The exercise will occur during the week of April 25th, 2016 to assess the ability of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility.

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Categories: Federal News

Pearl River County Disaster Recovery Center Open Today Through Saturday

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 13:10

RIDGELAND, Miss. – A disaster recovery center will open at noon Tuesday, April 19, and remain open through 6 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in Pearl River County to provide assistance to survivors of the severe storms and flooding that occurred from March 9-29, 2016.

Recovery centers are run jointly by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Representatives of state, federal and voluntary agencies are available in the centers to explain the various programs designed to help survivors recover.

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Categories: Federal News

Help Remains After Coahoma County Disaster Recovery Center Closes

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 13:02

RIDGELAND, Miss. –The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today that the Coahoma County Disaster Recovery Center at the Clarksdale Civic Center in Clarksdale will close permanently Thursday, April 21, at 6 p.m. However, disaster survivor assistance teams continue to canvass the area with information on available assistance.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA, State Grants Will Not Affect Other Federal Benefits

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 10:48

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Disaster assistance for temporary housing, essential home repairs, replacement of personal property or for other serious needs does not count as taxable income.

Therefore, Mississippians affected by the severe storms and flooding who receive federal assistance will not lose Social Security or Medicare benefits, will not pay additional taxes, or give up income-based benefit programs.

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Categories: Federal News

Help Available After Disaster Recovery Centers Close

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 10:42

RIDGELAND, Miss.  – When disaster recovery centers operated by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency close, help for survivors remains available.

  • Survivors may visit any of the remaining disaster recovery centers where they can speak with specialists who can help with appeals, answer questions, review applications and accept required documents.

Language English
Categories: Federal News