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Disaster Recovery Centers Open in Pineville, Rapides Parish and Many, Sabine Parish for Louisiana Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 15:28

 

BATON ROUGE, La. – Disaster recovery centers will open Wednesday, April 6, in Pineville, Rapides Parish and Many, Sabine Parish to help Louisiana flood survivors. The centers are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays until further notice.

The disaster recovery centers are located at the following addresses:

The Old Cleco Bldg
201 Cleco Drive
Pineville, La.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

DNRECs Division of Energy & Climate opens registration for Fueling the Future clean transportation event May 24 in Dover

DNREC News - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 12:56
DOVER (April 6, 2016) – DNREC’s Division of Energy & Climate invites fleet managers, businesses, public organizations and transportation professionals to attend Fueling the Future: Clean Transportation for a Greener Delaware

Delaware Waterfowl and Trout Stamp contests set for April 14

DNREC News - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 12:54
DOVER (April 6, 2016) – Wildlife art enthusiasts, stamp and print collectors, waterfowl hunters, anglers, birdwatchers and wetland conservationists will gather at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 14 at the Dover Public Library

Citizens Source Water Protection Committee to meet May 4 in Dover

DNREC News - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 12:51
DOVER (April 6, 2016) – The Source Water Protection Citizens and Technical Advisory Committee (CTAC) of the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program will meet from 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 4, in Conference Room 220 A&B of the Kent County Administrative Offices at 555 South Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901.

Mississippi Disaster Survivors: Don’t Be Victimized by Fraudulent Contractors or Disaster Workers

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 12:14

PEARL, Miss. – Mississippians whose homes were damaged in the recent storms and flooding may encounter people attempting to cheat them by posing as inspectors, government officials, volunteers or contractors. These people may try to obtain personal information or collect payment for disaster assistance or repairs.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Four Additional Texas Counties May Now Apply for Disaster Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 04/06/2016 - 11:08

AUSTIN, Texas – At the request of the state of Texas, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has added Henderson, Limestone, Shelby and Tyler to the federal disaster declaration of March 19. They join the nine counties already approved for both Individual Assistance and Public Assistance: Erath, Gregg, Harrison, Hood, Jasper, Marion, Newton, Orange and Parker.  

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Quitman County Disaster Recovery Center Opens for Disaster Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 17:23

PEARL, Miss. – A disaster recovery center is now open in Quitman County to provide assistance to survivors of the severe storms and flooding that began March 9, 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 set up in the center to explain the various programs designed to help survivors recover.

The Quitman County center is located at the Marks Fire Department, 108 W. Main St,

Marks, MS 38646.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Two Mississippi Counties Added to Federal Disaster Declaration for March Severe Storms and Floods

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 17:21

PEARL, Miss. – At the request of Governor Phil Bryant, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has amended a recent disaster declaration for severe storms and flooding that began March 9, 2016. Survivors in George and Pearl River counties can now register with FEMA for disaster assistance through the Individual Assistance program.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Volunteers Needed in Louisiana for Disaster Recovery

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 17:02

BATON ROUGE, La. – In the wake of a disaster, the people of Louisiana have always come together with compassion and courage to ask how they can help survivors.

Soon after a disaster people come forward to assist those in need. However, people often don’t realize there is still a great need a few weeks after the disaster. Currently, there is a shortage of volunteers, particularly in northern Louisiana.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

More Louisiana Residents May Be Eligible for Federal Disaster Assistance, Urged to Register

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 16:49

Baton Rouge, La. – Louisiana disaster survivors in Catahoula, East Carroll, Franklin, Lincoln and St. Helena parishes may now be eligible for federal disaster assistance.
        
Their first step is to register with FEMA.

Individuals in the designated parishes who had storm damage may apply for federal disaster assistance three ways:

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Delaware fourth graders Make a Splash and learn about protecting water resources

DNREC News - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 16:37
DOVER (April 5, 2016) – More than 720 fourth-grade students from seven elementary schools participated in today’s Make a Splash festival, an event that educates students on the diversity of estuary life and the importance of Delaware’s water resources.

Louisiana Survivors: Share Disaster Recovery Information with Friends and Neighbors

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 12:36

Baton Rouge, La. – Word of mouth is a powerful way to spread news. Amazing as it may seem, some people are so busy with their recovery from the March severe storms and floods, they may not have heard about federal help. Spread the word that the first step toward getting recovery assistance is to register with FEMA.

You could be the one to bring this important message to someone you know, perhaps a friend, neighbor, coworker, family member or acquaintance. Affected individuals, households and communities in Louisiana will be able to recover faster and stronger.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Alaska Still a Likely Portal for Avian Influenza

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 12:00
Summary: ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Geological Survey released additional evidence that western Alaska remains a hot spot for avian influenza to enter North America. The new report announces that while no highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses have been found in Alaska, the state remains an important area to monitor due to migratory bird flyways from North America and Eurasia that overlap the region.

Contact Information:

Andrew Ramey ( Phone: 907-786-7174 ); Paul  Laustsen ( Phone: 650-329-4046 );



ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Geological Survey released additional evidence that western Alaska remains a hot spot for avian influenza to enter North America. The new report announces that while no highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses have been found in Alaska, the state remains an important area to monitor due to migratory bird flyways from North America and Eurasia that overlap the region.

“Our past research in western Alaska has shown that while we have not detected the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, up to 70 percent of the other avian influenza viruses isolated in this area were found to contain genetic material from Eurasia, providing evidence for high levels of intercontinental viral exchange,” said Andy Ramey, a scientist with the USGS and lead author of the recent report. “This is because Asian and North American migratory flyways overlap in western Alaska.”

The designation of low or highly pathogenic avian influenza refers to the potential for these viruses to cause disease or kill chickens. The designation of “low pathogenic" or “highly pathogenic" does not refer to how infectious the viruses may be to humans, other mammals or other species of birds. Most strains of avian influenza are not highly pathogenic and cause few signs of disease in infected wild birds. However, in poultry, some low-pathogenic strains can mutate into highly pathogenic avian influenza strains that cause contagious and severe illness or death among poultry, and sometimes among wild birds as well.

Past research by the USGS, found low pathogenic H9N2 viruses in an Emperor Goose and a Northern Pintail. Both viruses were nearly identical genetically to viruses found in wild bird samples from Lake Dongting, China and Cheon-su Bay, South Korea. 

“These H9N2 viruses are low pathogenic and not known to infect humans, but similar viruses have been implicated in disease outbreaks in domestic poultry in Asia,” said Ramey. 

In the new report, the USGS collaborated with the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Bethel, Alaska, and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia to obtain and test bird samples from Alaska Native subsistence hunters during spring of 2015. Hunters provided researchers with over 1,000 swabs from harvested water birds, the primary hosts of avian influenza viruses. 

Last year, the USGS published an article describing the introduction of highly pathogenic avian influenza into North America at the end of 2014, likely via migratory birds that migrated through Alaska. However, highly pathogenic avian influenza was never documented in Alaska. The highly pathogenic viruses spread throughout parts of the western and Midwestern U.S., impacting approximately 50 million poultry. However, those highly pathogenic viruses have now not been detected in North America since July 2015. 

This fall, the USGS will sample wild birds at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Most of those samples will come from sport hunters. 

The new report is entitled, “Surveillance for Eurasian-origin and intercontinental reassortant highly pathogenic influenza A viruses in Alaska, spring and summer 2015” and is published in Virology Journal.

Additional information about avian influenza can be found at the following websites: 

USGS Alaska Science Center

USGS National Wildlife Health Center USGS National Wildlife Health Center

Ecosystem Restoration Projects Generate Jobs and Business Activity in Local, Regional, and National Economies

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 10:00
Summary: Riparian planting in the Powell River watershed in Lee County, Virginia. Part of the Lone Mountain NRDAR restoration. Photo credit: Upper Tennessee River Roundtable. Clearing of juniper in the Burley Landscape in Idaho. Photo credit: BLM. FORT COLLINS, Colo. – From restoring the sagebrush sea to rejuvenating watersheds and landscapes after fires, ecosystem restoration can bear substantial economic fruit for local, state and national economies, according to a USGS study published today.

Contact Information:

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



Riparian planting in the Powell River watershed in Lee County, Virginia. Part of the Lone Mountain NRDAR restoration. Photo credit: Upper Tennessee River Roundtable. Clearing of juniper in the Burley Landscape in Idaho. Photo credit: BLM.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – From restoring the sagebrush sea to rejuvenating watersheds and landscapes after fires, ecosystem restoration can bear substantial economic fruit for local, state and national economies, according to a USGS study published today.

USGS economists evaluated 21 Department of the Interior restoration projects and found that for each dollar invested in ecosystem restoration, there was a two- to three-fold return in economic activity that rippled through local, regional and national economies. Case study projects include restoration activities associated with Natural Resource Damage Assessment sites and Bureau of Land Management sagebrush and sage-grouse habitat restoration, fuels reduction and post-fire restoration projects. 

“Based on case study results, we found that for every $1 million invested in ecosystem restoration, between $2.2 and $3.4 million flow through to the U.S. economy, demonstrating how such investments support jobs and livelihoods, small businesses and rural economies,” said USGS economist and lead author Catherine Cullinane Thomas. 

The report quantified methods to provide economic impact analyses focused on the jobs and business activity generated through money spent on ecosystem restoration activities.  The research was a joint project among the USGS, the DOI Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program, the DOI Office of Policy Analysis, and the BLM Socioeconomics Program.

"This report highlights the importance of restoration activities not only for the benefit of natural resources impacted by oil spills or hazardous chemicals, but also for the economic well-being of human communities," said Steve Glomb, director of the DOI Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment.

"The study shows that these collaborative projects sustain our local economies in addition to restoring our nation's public lands and resources," said Josh Sidon, a BLM economist and study co-author.

All 21 case studies can be found at https://www.fort.usgs.gov/economic-impacts-restoration.

Economic impacts are reported as job-years, a measure of the total number of annualized full and part-time jobs accumulated over the duration of the restoration project.  Labor income is a measure of the wages and salaries earned through the jobs supported by project expenditures. Value added is a measure of the contribution to Gross Domestic Product. Economic output is a measure of the total value of the production of goods and services supported by project expenditures.

 

Highlighted Case Studies:

Sagebrush Steppe Restoration in South Beaver Area, Utah -

Through Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative, the BLM and other federal, state and local agencies and organizations teamed up to help restore and manage high-priority ecosystems in Utah, including portions of Colorado Plateau and Great Basin. WRI partners are providing better wildlife habitat, restoring critical watersheds and reducing the risk of wildfire to urban communities. To date, WRI partners have restored more than 1.1 million acres in Utah. Sagebrush restoration in the South Beaver area is one of many WRI projects. This area is crucial mule deer winter habitat, contains important elk habitat and historic sage-grouse habitat. Restoration in this area is ongoing and encompasses 145,000 acres.

 

Total cost of restoration:  $3.5 million, an estimated 72 percent spent locally in Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington counties in Utah.

Local economic impacts:

Labor income: $1.9 million

Local economic output: $4.2 million

Contribution to GDP:  $2.5 million

Job-years: 37

Regional economic impacts:

Labor income: $3.5 million

Regional economic output: $8 million

Regional contribution to GDP: $4.6 million

Job-years: 59

Burley Landscape Sage-Grouse Habitat Restoration

The area surrounding the BLM’s Burley Field Office in Idaho is home to a variety of species, such as the greater sage-grouse, mule deer, antelope, bighorn sheep and pygmy rabbit. In the late 1800’s, with the settlement of the west, this landscape began to shift from a sagebrush steppe ecosystem to woodlands dominated by Utah juniper and conifers, decreasing available habitat for sagebrush-dependent species such as the sage-grouse and mule deer.

Total cost of restoration: $1.4 million

 

Local economic impacts:

Labor income: $300,000

Local economic output: $450,000

Contribution to GDP: more than $310,000

Job-years: 8

Regional economic impacts:

Labor income: $1.6 million

Regional economic output: $3.1 million

Contribution to GDP: $1.9 million

Job-years: 42

 Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR): Wastewater Treatment Plant Remediation and Restoration -

The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in southern Illinois has a unique history of industry, employment and restoration. During World War II, the War Department established the Illinois Ordnance Plant on the site to manufacture ammunition and bombs. Following the war, the land was transferred into the National Wildlife Refuge System. In 1987, because of extensive environmental contamination from the ordnance plant and other industrial tenants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated the industrial complex as a Superfund site. The wastewater treatment plant on the Crab Orchard NWR is one of 21 sites on the refuge that have been remediated.

Total cost of restoration of wastewater treatment plant: $9 million, more than a third spent in local economy

Local economic impacts:

Labor income: $1.8 million

Local economic output: nearly $5 million

Contribution to GDP: contributed $3 million

Job-years: 32

National economic impacts:

Labor income: nearly $9 million

National economic output: $22 million

Contribution to GDP: more than $13 million

Job-years: 139

For more information on the other case studies in this report please see the accompanying website at https://www.fort.usgs.gov/economic-impacts-restoration. The USGS Open-File Report, Estimating the economic impacts of ecosystem restoration—methods and case studies, was authored by Catherine Cullinane Thomas, USGS; Christopher Huber, USGS; Kristin Skrabis, DOI; and Joshua Sidon, BLM. 

Recycling Public Advisory Council to meet Wednesday, April 13 in Dover

DNREC News - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:59
DOVER (Apr. 4, 2016) – The Recycling Public Advisory Council (RPAC) will meet from 1:30 - 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, at Grotto Pizza’s Dover location, 1159 N. Dupont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901.

Open house on proposed Tri-Valley Trail in White Clay Creek State Park will be held April 4

DNREC News - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:24
DOVER (March 30, 2016) – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation will host a public open house on the proposed Tri-Valley Trail in the Possum Hill Area of White Clay Creek State Park. The Open House will be held 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 4,

Cold Mountain Streams Offer Climate Refuge:

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:15
Summary: A new study offers hope for cold-water species in the face of climate change. The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding paradox between predictions of widespread extinctions of cold-water species and a general lack of evidence for those extinctions despite decades of recent climate change Future Holds Hope for Biodiversity

Contact Information:

Leslie  Gordon, USGS ( Phone: 650-329-4006 ); Jennifer  Hayes, USFS ( Phone: 970-498-1365 ); Beth Gavrilles, UGA ( Phone: 706-542-7247 );



Additional Contact: Debra Nowland, QUT, d.nowland@qut.edu.au; Maggie Mooney-Seus, NOAA, 206-526-4348 or 774-392-4865, Marjorie.Mooney-Seus@noaa.gov

A new study offers hope for cold-water species in the face of climate change. The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding paradox between predictions of widespread extinctions of cold-water species and a general lack of evidence for those extinctions despite decades of recent climate change.

The paper resulted from collaborative research led by the U.S. Forest Service with partners including the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, University of Georgia and the Queensland University of Technology. The research team drew information from huge stream-temperature and biological databases contributed by over 100 agencies and a USGS-run regional climate model to describe warming trends throughout 222,000 kilometers (138,000 miles) of streams in the northwestern United States.

The scientists found that over the last 40 years, stream temperatures warmed at the average rate of 0.10 degrees Celsius (0.18 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade. This translates to thermal habitats shifting upstream at a rate of only 300-500 meters (0.18-0.31 miles) per decade in headwater mountain streams where many sensitive cold-water species currently live. The authors are quick to point out that climate change is still detrimentally affecting the habitats of those species, but at a much slower rate than dozens of previous studies forecast. The results of this study indicate that many populations of cold-water species will continue to persist this century and mountain landscapes will play an increasingly important role in that preservation. 

“The great irony is that the cold headwater streams that were believed to be most vulnerable to climate change appear to be the least vulnerable. Equally ironic is that we arrived at that insight simply by amassing, organizing and carefully analyzing large existing databases, rather than collecting new data that would have been far more expensive,” said Dr. Daniel Isaak, lead author on the study with the U.S. Forest Service.

The results also indicate that resource managers will have sufficient time to complete extensive biological surveys of ecological communities in mountain streams so that conservation planning strategies can adequately address all species.

“One of the great complexities of restoring trout and salmon under a rapidly changing climate is understanding how this change plays out across the landscape. Dr. Isaak and his colleagues show that many mountain streams may be more resistant to temperature change than our models suggest and that is very good news. This provides us more time to effect the changes we need for long-term persistence of these populations,” said Dr. Jack Williams, senior scientist for Trout Unlimited. 

This study is complementary and builds upon the Cold-Water Climate Shield. This new study is unique as it describes current trends rather than relying on future model projections and addresses a broad scope of aquatic biodiversity in headwater streams (e.g., amphibians, sculpin and trout). In addition, the data density and geographic extent of this study is far greater than most previous studies because over 16,000 stream temperature sites were used with thousands of biological survey locations to provide precise information at scales relevant to land managers and conservationists.

The study, entitled “Slow climate velocities of mountain streams portends their role as refugia for cold-water biodiversity” was conducted by Daniel Isaak, lead author from the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station; Michael Young, Charles Luce, Dona Horan, Matt Groce and David Nagel of the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station; Steven Hostetler, U.S. Geological Survey; Seth Wenger, University of Georgia; Erin Peterson, Queensland University of Technology; and Jay Ver Hoef, U.S. NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Additional funding for this research was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Northern and North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.

States covered by this study are Idaho, Oregon, Washington, western Montana, as well as small portions of western Wyoming, northern Nevada, northern Utah and northern California.

Bull trout, a popular fish species of conservation concern, that find shelter in mountain stream climate refugia. Photographer: Bart Gamett, U.S. Forest Service

 

Miniature temperature sensors used to record hourly measurements in rivers and streams at thousands of sites where data were used to develop stream temperature climate scenarios. Photographer: Dan Isaak, U.S. Forest Service, disaak@fs.fed.us Northwest United States temperature and climate map developed from data at more than 16,000 sites that was used to highlight climate refugia for mountain stream species. Photographer: Dan Isaak, U.S. Forest Service, disaak@fs.fed.us Typical headwater mountain stream that will provide cold-water species climate refugia this century. Photographer: Dona Horan, U.S. Forest Service

Nominations sought for Delawares 2016 Wetland Warrior and youth Wetland Apprentice Awards

DNREC News - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 10:04
DOVER (April 4, 2016) – DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship is seeking nominations for the 2016 Delaware Wetland Warrior Award and the program’s new youth award, Wetland Apprentice. These awards recognize exemplary efforts to study, protect and preserve wetlands and the critical services they provide to all Delawareans.

Despite Long-Lasting Pollutants, Ospreys Thrive in US' Largest Estuary

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 09:44
Summary: The world's largest breeding population of ospreys is coping well with the long-lasting residues of toxic chemicals that were banned decades ago but remain in the Chesapeake Bay food chain at varying levels, such as the pesticide DDT and insulating chemicals known as PCBs Up to 10,000 pairs are nesting now in Chesapeake Bay,

Contact Information:

Barnett  Rattner ( Phone: 301-497-5671 ); Heather Dewar ( Phone: 443-498-5584 );



The world's largest breeding population of ospreys is coping well with the long-lasting residues of toxic chemicals that were banned decades ago but remain in the Chesapeake Bay food chain at varying levels, such as the pesticide DDT and insulating chemicals known as PCBs. The resilient fish hawks are also showing few effects from two other groups of chemicals that have become widespread in the estuary—flame retardant PBDEs and pharmaceuticals intended for human use. Those are key findings of a three-year study led by US Geological Survey scientists, which follows up on a wide-ranging USGS survey conducted in 2001 of persistent chemical pollutants in the fish and fish hawks of the Chesapeake Bay, the United States' biggest estuary.

These osprey chicks in a nest on the James River in Virginia are just a few days old. Nestlings in industrial areas carry traces of toxic chemicals in their blood plasma, but osprey parents successfully raised chicks at almost all sites, says USGS scientist Rebecca Lazarus, lead author of 3 research papers on the ospreys' Chesapeake Bay food chain. Photo credit: Rebecca Lazarus, USGS.

 

The researchers tested fish, osprey eggs and the blood plasma of osprey chicks in the Chesapeake Bay's tidal waters. In the ospreys' eggs they found high levels of PCBs at some locations. They also found residues of DDT and a related compound, p,p'-DDE, but at levels much lower than the ones that caused osprey and bald eagle population declines in the late 20th century. Both PCBs and DDT were banned in the 1970s. Further, the researchers found that young ospreys are being exposed to PBDEs, which are considered potentially toxic to wildlife. Yet these residues had no discernible effect on the big raptors' success in the Chesapeake region, where as many as 10,000 breeding pairs are expected to nest this season. 

"Osprey populations are thriving almost everywhere in the Chesapeake," said Rebecca Lazarus, a researcher at the USGS' Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and the lead author of a report on the study's latest findings, published April 1 in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. "We found them nesting in some of the most highly contaminated areas in the Bay and we did not find any relationship between contaminants and their nests' productivity."

The scientists found one cautionary sign: the osprey nestlings' blood carried low levels of a biological marker for genetic damage. Levels of the marker were highest in one of the bay's most polluted areas, near Baltimore's Back River wastewater treatment plant, and osprey nests near that plant did poorly at raising chicks to adulthood. Baywide, the damage is not enough to affect the birds' overall ability to reproduce, but it may be having subtle, undetected effects, and warrants more research, Lazarus said.

USGS researcher Rebecca Lazarus prepares to take a blood sample from an osprey fledgling in a nest on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Delaware Bay in 2015. Lazarus and colleagues did similar sampling of 48 chicks on Chesapeake Bay in 2011-2013. All the Chesapeake Bay nestlings' blood plasma had traces of a human medication to fight hypertension, diltiazem, and biomarkers of low-grade genetic damage, with no discernible effects on the ospreys' reproductive success. Photo credit: USGS.

 

Ospreys have just returned from winter homes in South America to Chesapeake Bay, the estuary one writer called "the osprey garden of the world." The bay's shallow waters and abundant fish attract roughly one-quarter of the Lower 48 States’ ospreys. The fish hawks usually return to the nests they used the year before. In March the males in each of the Bay's breeding pairs began gathering sticks to mend their nests. By mid-April most females will be brooding two or three eggs.

These charismatic fish hawks are one of the world's most widely distributed birds, found on every continent but Antarctica, and one of its most distinctive, with golden eyes, six-foot wingspans, and barbed talons adapted to hold wet, wriggling fish. Their global range, all-fish diet, and their role as a top predator make them ideal subjects for studies of water pollutants' paths through the aquatic food chain. The USGS research is the one of the world's most comprehensive studies of ospreys' exposure to toxic chemicals; a similar study on Pacific Northwest ospreys was published in 2008.

In the 1960s and 1970s scientists found the pesticide DDT was biomagnifying, becoming concentrated in ospreys and other fish-eating birds and causing females to lay eggs so fragile that they cracked under the parents' weight. The bay's osprey population fell to fewer than 1,500 pairs before DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972. In 1979 Congress also banned PCBs, which can cause reproductive failure in animals. PBDEs, which were introduced as replacements for PCBs, are being phased out because of concerns about potential toxicity.

The EPA classifies more than 70 percent of Chesapeake Bay tidal waters as impaired by toxic chemicals. To track these toxics and their effects on bay ospreys, Lazarus and her colleagues collected fish, osprey eggs, and blood samples from 48 osprey chicks along Chesapeake Bay tributaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Working during the spring and summer nesting season from 2011 through 2013, they included several sites the EPA considers pollution "regions of concern"  – Baltimore's Harbor and Patapsco River; Washington, DC's Anacostia and Potomac rivers; and the Elizabeth River at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

In the first set of study findings, published in 2015 in the journal Environmental Pollution, the researchers found that in these heavily industrial, urban regions of concern, levels of the DDT breakdown byproduct were 80% lower than in the 2001 study, but PCB levels barely declined at all. Osprey eggs from developed areas had PCB levels three to four times higher than at nests on an island in the open bay.

"In fact the levels of PCBs have not changed significantly in the past 35 years, which tells you how persistent these chemicals are," said USGS ecotoxicologist Barnett Rattner, an expert on toxics in bay ospreys who led the 2000-2001 study and worked with Lazarus on the latest research. "Yet the birds are doing well. They're exposed to these toxic chemicals, which are biomagnified up the food chain, yet fortunately we do not see any really serious effects in ospreys."

In the next phase of the work, the researchers reported finding numerous human medications in Chesapeake Bay water samples, but only one in osprey chicks. Pharmaceutical compounds pass through humans' waste into wastewater treatment plants and septic systems, which discharge them into waterways. The scientists looked for 23 pharmaceutical compounds and an artificial sweetener and found 18 of them in bay waters and seven in fish. The drug diltiazem, used to treat hypertension in people, was found in all 48 chicks' blood samples, though at levels below those known to cause adverse effects in wildlife.

"Some of these chemicals are in the wastewater stream, but they do not seem to be biomagnifying in ospreys," Rattner said. Those results were published in 2015 in the journal Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management.

For more information on USGS science being used to help restore the Chesapeake Bay, visit http://chesapeake.usgs.gov/

Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter March 21 thru 27

DNREC News - Fri, 04/01/2016 - 20:46
DOVER (April 1, 2016) – 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, DNR