Little Rock, Ark. – For many Arkansans in Faulkner County affected by the April 27 tornadoes, cleanup is well underway. That means residents may have questions regarding the types of debris that can be left at the curb for collection and how to handle debris when a homeowner hires a contractor.
DEBRIS PLACED ON RIGHT OF WAYLanguage English
DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announces changes in summer flounder and black sea bass regulations
Marisa Lubeck ( Phone: 303-202-4765 );
The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased by about 50 percent since October 2013, significantly increasing the chance for a damaging quake in central Oklahoma.
In a new joint statement by the U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey, the agencies reported that 183 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater occurred in Oklahoma from October 2013 through April 14, 2014. This compares with a long-term average from 1978 to 2008 of only two magnitude 3.0 or larger earthquakes per year. As a result of the increased number of small and moderate shocks, the likelihood of future, damaging earthquakes has increased for central and north-central Oklahoma.
“We hope that this new advisory of increased hazard will become a crucial consideration in earthquake preparedness for residents, schools and businesses in the central Oklahoma area,” said Dr. Bill Leith, USGS Senior Science Advisor for Earthquakes and Geologic Hazards. “Building owners and government officials should have a special concern for older, unreinforced brick structures, which are vulnerable to serious damage during sufficient shaking.”
The joint statement indicates that a likely contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes is wastewater disposal by injection into deep geologic formations. The water injection can increase underground pressures, lubricate faults and cause earthquakes – a process known as injection-induced seismicity. Much of this wastewater is a byproduct of oil and gas production and is routinely disposed of by injection into wells specifically designed and approved for this purpose. The recent earthquake rate changes are not due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates.
Oklahoma’s heightened earthquake activity since 2009 includes 20 magnitude 4.0 to 4.8 quakes, plus one of the two largest recorded earthquakes in Oklahoma’s history – a magnitude 5.6 earthquake that occurred near Prague on Nov. 5, 2011, which damaged a number of homes and the historic Benedictine Hall at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee.
As a result of the increased seismicity, the Oklahoma Geological Survey has increased the number of monitoring stations and now operates a seismograph network of 15 permanent stations and 17 temporary stations. Both agencies are actively involved in research to determine the cause of the increased earthquake rate and to quantify the increased hazard in central Oklahoma.
Rachel Pawlitz ( Phone: 352-264-3554 );
DAVIE, Fla.-- The diverse patterns on the diamondback terrapins’ intricately grooved shell may be their claim to fame, but a newly published U.S. Geological Survey study of the genetic variation underneath their shell holds one key to rescuing these coastal turtles.
Listed as an endangered species in Rhode Island and deemed threatened in Massachusetts, the terrapin is the only turtle in North America that spends its entire life in coastal marshes and mangroves. Seven different subspecies of terrapins are currently recognized by scientists based on external traits, such as their skin color and the shape of their shells. Each subspecies occupies a strip of the eastern seaboard or Gulf of Mexico coastline, from as far north as Massachusetts to as far west as Texas.
Many of the coastal states where terrapins are found have designated it a species of special concern, and the states are looking to address the issues the terrapins face due to fragmentation of their coastal habitats. An increasingly patchy swath of isolated coastal marshes makes it harder for terrapins to find each other and continue interbreeding as they have in the past.
“Before now, it was not clear how terrapin genetics varied across the range,” said Kristen Hart, a USGS research ecologist and lead author of the study. “Understanding this variation across the landscape helps land managers develop conservation plans. For example, they may pinpoint areas where habitat protection can be supplemented with migration corridors.”
Agencies often maintain migration corridors to help wildlife continue to breed based on their historic patterns. These are areas where habitat restoration, regulatory policies, or other means are used to ensure animals can pass safely between two or more prime areas of habitat. Well-placed corridors could maintain the terrapins’ existing natural diversity and keep their overall population numbers robust, explained Hart.
“Diversity loss can be a silent threat to many species,” explained Maggie Hunter, a USGS research geneticist and co-author of the study. “The threat to long-term survival of terrapins occurs if they become separated into isolated groups. Isolation can affect their overall survival several generations down the line.”
To support a healthy mix of genetic diversity, however, managers must first understand the existing genetic variation.
“Healthy interbreeding doesn’t mean that turtles from Maine have to interbreed with those from Texas,” explained Hunter. “Once managers know where ‘natural breaks’ in populations occur, they can focus on keeping terrapin populations healthy by enabling reproduction within each of those distinct groups.”
To identify those natural genetic breaks, Hart teamed up with Hunter and USGS research geneticist Tim King to study their breeding patterns using DNA from the blood samples of nearly a thousand terrapins. Based on their variation in 12 genetic markers -- strands of DNA that King had decoded for comparative purposes -- the terrapins were assigned into genetically similar groups.
They found only 4 genetically distinct populations, which came as a surprise, given there are 7 recognized terrapin subspecies. This means the ‘natural breaks’ in breeding don’t correspond to the ranges of those subspecies.
The results of the genetic study offer one more benefit. During the 1920s, terrapins were considered a delicacy and hunted for their meat, and they still occasionally turn up as food in markets around the country. Now, wildlife agencies can use a DNA test to determine where these turtles came from, so they can return rescued turtles back to their original habitat.
The study, “Regional differentiation among populations of the Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)” was recently published in the journal Conservation Genetics.
PEARL, Miss. – Specialists with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are reaching out to survivors in Mississippi’s storm-ravaged communities to help individuals register for assistance. Survivors may meet a specialist in their neighborhood or speak to one on the phone.Language English
State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers Open in Louisville and Tupelo
PEARL, Miss. – Mississippi residents affected by the recent series of storms, tornadoes and flooding can now visit disaster recovery centers in Louisville and Tupelo if they have questions about disaster assistance. Additional recovery centers are being planned for the other declared counties.
The disaster recovery centers will be open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are located at:
Winston CountyLanguage English
Ozone Season kick-off held at Dover Days; Delawareans encouraged to follow air quality forecasts and take actions to help make air cleaner and healthier
Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for Alabama.
Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:
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 Alabama and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding on April 28, 2014 and continuing.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Baldwin, Jefferson, Lee, and Limestone counties.Language English
PEARL, Miss. – Homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in Mississippi are urged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as they may be eligible for disaster assistance.
The presidential disaster declaration of April 30 makes federal assistance available to eligible individuals and business owners in Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne and Winston counties.Language English
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife to hold May 21 public hearing on proposed shellfish aquaculture regulations
DENTON, Texas - Federal funding totaling more than $1.2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been approved for eligible city, county and state government agencies in central Texas following last year’s Halloween floods.
The grant money reimburses eligible entities for costs incurred during the Oct. 30-31, 2013 flooding in Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Freestone counties for their response activities and repairs to flood-damaged infrastructure.Language English
Little Rock, Ark.– Specialists from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are canvassing neighborhoods in hard-hit Faulkner County to help survivors register for disaster assistance.
In addition to Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) going door to door, Mobile Registration Intake Centers (MRICs) are also set up in Vilonia and Mayflower, Arkansas to provide immediate registration assistance and answer questions residents may have concerning available FEMA assistance.Language English
Disaster Assistance for SR530 Slide Expanded to Include More Funding for Public Facilities and Infrastructure
EVERETT, Wash. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington Emergency Management Division today announced that more financial assistance for local and state agencies and certain nonprofit organizations has been approved for eligible public facilities affected by the SR530 Slide. The new provisions for public facilities expand the funding that is already available for eligible costs of debris removal and emergency measures.
The additional assistance is for repair and replacement of:Language English
Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for Mississippi.
Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:Language English