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President Declares Disaster for District of Columbia

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 03/04/2016 - 16:25

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 District of Columbia to supplement local recovery efforts in the area affected by a snowstorm during the period of January 22-23, 2016.

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Categories: Federal News

March 6 Deadline to Request Public Assistance Funding for Severe Storm Damage

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 03/04/2016 - 14:33

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — State and local officials, county agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations in 32 Arkansas counties have only a few days remaining to submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) for federal funds to support the recovery from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding and tornadoes, Dec. 26 – Jan. 22, 2016.

The deadline to submit the one-page RPA is Sunday, March 6, 2016.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Officials Urge Applicants for Aid to ‘Stay in Touch,’ get answers, resolve issues

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 15:23

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas residents who have registered with FEMA for disaster aid are urged by recovery officials to “stay in touch.” It’s the best way to get answers and resolve potential issues that might result in assistance being denied.

“Putting your life back together after a disaster is difficult,” said John Long, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. “While the process of getting help from FEMA is intended to be simple, it’s easy to understand how sometimes providing important information is overlooked or missed.”

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USGS Assesses Baseline Conditions Prior to Uranium Mining near Grand Canyon National Park

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 14:00
Summary: Scientists have collected and analyzed 84 environmental samples to establish baseline data prior to any active uranium mining activities at the Canyon Uranium Mine, located south of Grand Canyon National Park.  This baseline information will play an important role in assessing if contaminants escape from the mine site and how they would move through the environment once mining operations begin.

Contact Information:

Alex Demas ( Phone: 703-648-4421 ); Mike Focazio ( Phone: 703-648-6808 );



Scientists have collected and analyzed 84 environmental samples to establish baseline data prior to any active uranium mining activities at the Canyon Uranium Mine, located south of Grand Canyon National Park.  This baseline information will play an important role in assessing if contaminants escape from the mine site and how they would move through the environment once mining operations begin.

Canyon Mine is currently not producing any uranium ore. The mine is located within the public lands acreage in northern Arizona that the Department of the Interior withdrew in 2012 from consideration for new uranium mining claims for 20 years. However, Canyon Mine can still produce uranium ore, because it is one of four pre-existing mines that were permitted before the 2012 decision.

“A key factor in Interior’s 2012 decision was the limited amount of scientific data available to assess potential uranium extraction effects on the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas,” said USGS director Suzette Kimball. “Fortunately, the USGS has expertise across the country in collecting baseline data and analyzing samples for water and sediment quality.”

USGS scientists have worked with the mine owners to collect samples for the baseline data study.

“Getting into the Canyon Mine area before any ore is extracted has provided an excellent opportunity to get high-quality baseline data,” said USGS scientist Katie Walton-Day, who leads the research team on this project. “That data are necessary to quantitatively assess off-site migration, if any, of mine-related contaminants resulting from future ore extraction activities at the Canyon Mine.”

Baseline data from the study includes analysis of 33 contaminants in the 84 samples, including uranium, arsenic, molybdenum and vanadium. The following chart provides some of the results:

Chemical constituent

   Inside mine perimeter (n = 3)

         Low         Mean        High

 Outside mine perimeter (n = 72)

       Low         Mean          High

Uranium

          3.3            5.6            9.9

        1.4            2.0              6.2

Arsenic

        23             35             58

        7.1          10               18

Molybdenum

          1.4            2.1            3.2

         0.75         1.1              2.4

Vanadium

        43             52             57

       29             45              59

 

In addition to establishing the baseline in soils and stream sediments around the mine site, USGS scientists are studying the plant and animal life in the area to determine which species to monitor once mining begins.

“Biologists are looking at what types of species live here, how many of each species there are, and even what levels of contaminants are already in their tissues,” said USGS scientist David Naftz, lead author of the study. “When combined with the soil and sediment samples, we’ll have a really clear snapshot of what conditions are like here before any uranium ore is extracted.”

The results of the study were published this week in the journal Geoderma Regional. More information about the study can be found here. The approach and baseline data are part of a long-term comprehensive study designed by USGS to establish radiological and chemical baselines and environmental pathways of exposure within and surrounding the Canyon Uranium Mine, in northern Arizona prior to ore extraction.

The USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program and Environmental Health Mission Area provide objective scientific information on environmental contamination to improve characterization and management of contaminated sites, to protect human and environmental health, and to reduce potential future contamination problems.

It’s fee season in Delaware State Parks

DNREC News - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 10:54
DOVER (March 3, 2016) – DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation reminds visitors to Delaware’s state parks that entrance fees are being collected through Nov.30, 2016.

FEMA offers free rebuilding advice at Springfield and Branson hardware stores

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 17:47

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and several local home improvement store are teaming up to provide Springfield and Branson residents with free information, tips and literature to prevent and lessen damage from disasters.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be available between Thursday, March 3 and Tuesday, March 8 to answer questions and offer home improvement tips on making homes stronger and safer. Most of the information is geared toward do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

Locations:

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Categories: Federal News

St. Louis-area hardware stores offer free FEMA rebuilding advice

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 17:45

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and several local home improvement store are teaming up to provide St. Louis, Jefferson and Franklin county residents with free information, tips and literature to prevent and lessen damage from disasters.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be available between Thursday, March 3 and Tuesday, March 8 to answer questions and offer home improvement tips on making homes stronger and safer. Most of the information is geared toward do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

Locations:

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Experts Offer Ideas to Lessen Impact of Disaster Damage

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 15:42

NORTH LITTLE ROCK –Teams of specialists from FEMA will offer tips and techniques to lessen the impact of future disaster-related property damage at building supply stores in three Arkansas locations Thursday, March 3 – 8, 2016.

The teams will be at these stores:

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Cattle Increase Occurrence of Ravens That Prey on Sage Grouse

USGS Newsroom Technical - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 10:00
Summary: DIXON, Calif. – Ravens are almost fifty percent more likely to inhabit areas in sagebrush landscapes if cattle are present, and preferentially select sites near greater sage-grouse breeding grounds.

Contact Information:

Catherine Puckett ( Phone: 352-377-2469 );



DIXON, Calif. – Ravens are almost fifty percent more likely to inhabit areas in sagebrush landscapes if cattle are present, and preferentially select sites near greater sage-grouse breeding grounds.

These findings have implications for greater sage-grouse management practices aimed at reducing raven predation on sage-grouse nests, according to research published in Ecosphere.

Raven abundance in the sagebrush-steppe of the American West has increased three-fold during the last four decades, mostly as a result of unintended food and water subsidies from human land-use practices. Predation is the primary source of sage-grouse nest failure, and reducing ravens access to food and water subsidies could assist with conservation efforts. While removal of ravens may reduce their local abundance in the short term, removing subsidies that promote ravens will likely be more effective for long-term control of raven predation.

U.S. Geological Survey and Idaho State University scientists examined the influence of livestock on common ravens in about 400 square miles of sagebrush-steppe ecosystem in southeastern Idaho. Grazing by livestock in these systems is common practice on many public lands, but potential influences of livestock on ravens are poorly understood.

“Common ravens are a known predator of numerous species including the greater sage-grouse,” said lead author and USGS scientist Peter Coates. “This study provides information to help rangeland resource managers develop conservation actions that focus on increasing the reproductive success of greater sage-grouse. For example, limiting raven access to livestock resources, such as water troughs, and adjusting the timing of livestock access to sage-grouse breeding areas during the spring, would likely reduce raven predation on sage-grouse eggs.”

Research findings include:

  • The probability of raven occurrence increased by 45.8 percent in areas where cattle were present.
  • Ravens preferentially selected areas near sage-grouse breeding grounds, called leks, especially at sites where cattle were present.
  • Landscape characteristics also influenced raven occurrence. For example, ravens selected relatively open (fewer trees) low elevation areas, specifically those with cropland, wet meadow and urbanization. 

The study was a partnership of the USGS, Idaho State University, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The journal article is available here. Additional project information can be found at the USGS Western Ecological Research Center website.

About Greater Sage-Grouse and the Great Basin

The Great Basin comprises more than 72.7 million hectares (more than 179 million acres) across five states: Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and California. Wildfire has been identified as a primary disturbance in the Great Basin.

Greater sage-grouse occur in parts of 11 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces in western North America. Implementation of effective management actions for the benefit of sage-grouse continues to be a focus of Department of the Interior agencies following the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the species is not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act. 

Snake Fungal Disease Found in Louisiana

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 03/01/2016 - 21:36
Summary: Snake fungal disease, or SFD, a disease causing high mortality rates in some species of snakes, has been found in Louisiana for the first time, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. SFD now has been confirmed in at least 16 states in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Disease now confirmed in at least 16 states

Contact Information:

Brad  Glorioso ( Phone: 337-266-8836 ); Gabrielle  Bodin ( Phone: 337-266-8655 );



Snake fungal disease, or SFD, a disease causing high mortality rates in some species of snakes, has been found in Louisiana for the first time, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. SFD now has been confirmed in at least 16 states in the Eastern and Midwestern United States.

Wild snakes play important roles in ecosystems as both predator and prey. They provide direct benefits to humans such as consuming crop-destroying pests. Snakes are efficient predators upon various rodents, which may damage property, ruin crops and spread disease. In addition, snake venom research has provided several medicines that are used to halt heart attacks and prevent blood clots and continues to show promise in other areas of medicine.

“Snakes may not be everyone’s favorite animal, but they are undeniably important in a well-balanced ecosystem,” said USGS Ecologist Brad “Bones” Glorioso, lead author of the study. “They deserve our respect and understanding.”

SFD is characterized by scabs or crusty scales, nodules below the skin, cloudy eyes, abnormal molting, and areas of thickened skin. Snakes infected with SFD, besides being lethargic and lacking an appetite, will attempt to bask in the sun to raise their body temperatures despite unsuitable conditions. This behavior, in addition to the fact that infected snakes are often in poor body condition, makes them more vulnerable to predators.

“SFD is an emerging threat to wild snake populations particularly in the eastern United States,” Glorioso added. “We don’t know yet how the disease affects various species, but in at least one species, an estimated 80 to 90 percent of infected snakes die from the disease.”

In Louisiana, the first confirmed case of the disease was in a juvenile snake from the Cypress Island Preserve near Lafayette. It is one of the few documented cases in the US of the disease in a juvenile snake.

“Finding the disease in a juvenile snake is of particular concern. If younger snakes die from the disease before reaching reproductive age, it could have devastating effects on snake populations,” said Glorioso.

Since completing the initial study, the researchers have confirmed the presence of the disease in snakes from other locations in the state.

In the last two decades, fungal and fungal-like diseases, including chytridiomycosis in amphibians, white-nose syndrome in bats, and colony collapse disorder in bees, have caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever observed in wild species.

USGS scientists recently identified the specific fungus responsible for causing snake fungal disease.

The disease was implicated in recent die-offs and declines in populations of two protected species of pit viper in the Midwest and Northeast. In Midwest populations of the massasauga, a candidate for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act, infected snakes have an estimated 80 percent to 90 percent mortality rate. Mortality rates of infected timber rattlesnakes in the Northeast are estimated between 30 percent and 70 percent.

To date, the disease has been confirmed in at least 14 snake species including the northern water snake; racer; rat snake; timber rattlesnake; massasauga; pygmy rattlesnake; milk snake; plains garter snake; mud snake and southern water snake. It is believed to be more widespread than is currently documented as snakes showing signs of infection have been reported in other states and in other species.

The authors have begun a more detailed capture-mark-recapture study on snakes at Palmetto Island State Park that includes taking swabs of all snakes, including those that appear healthy, to be tested for the presence of the fungus that causes SFD. This protocol will allow them to model survival probability based on whether the snake was positive or negative for the fungus, and to determine population trends.

The study, “First Documented Case of Snake Fungal Disease in a Free-ranging Wild Snake in Louisiana,” was published in Southeastern Naturalist.

 

A juvenile Broad-banded Watersnake that tested positive for snake fungal disease (SFD) exhibiting ulceration of the skin on the head from St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. SFD has proven lethal in many snakes, and the disease is recognized as an emerging threat to wild snake populations.

FEMA Awards $1.4 Million to Chelan County Public Utility District for Wildfire Assistance

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 03/01/2016 - 19:03

DUPONT, Wash. – More than $1.4 million has been awarded to the Chelan County Public Utility District No. 1 to help reimburse the utility for costs to restore power to thousands of residents during the summer 2015 wildfires, according to officials from the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Recovery Center Open in Jackson County

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 03/01/2016 - 18:07

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – A joint federal/state disaster recovery center is open in Jackson County to help those whose homes or businesses were affected by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding Dec. 26, 2015 – Jan. 22, 2016.

Representatives from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies are at the center to explain disaster assistance programs and help survivors apply for aid.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Assistance Tops $1 Million for Arkansas Recovery

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 03/01/2016 - 17:53

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – More than $1 million in aid to date is helping the residents of 11 Arkansas counties recover from the severe storms, Dec. 26 – Jan. 22, 2016.

Aid is still available to residents of Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Faulkner, Jackson, Jefferson, Lee, Little River, Perry, Sebastian and Sevier counties who suffered disaster-related damage. They are encouraged to register for assistance with FEMA before the April 5, 2016 deadline.

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Categories: Federal News

With storm damage repairs almost complete, DNREC plans to reopen southern section of Gordons Pond Trail this week

DNREC News - Tue, 03/01/2016 - 15:40
DOVER (March 1, 2016) – Repairs are nearly complete on a 2.5-mile section of the Gordons Pond Trail in Cape Henlopen State Park that had been closed last month due to damage associated with the Jan. 22-24 winter storm that struck Delaware’s coast.

DNREC issues Secretary's Order and penalty notice to Oakwood Village at Lewes LLC for sediment and stormwater violations

DNREC News - Tue, 03/01/2016 - 12:43
DOVER (March 1, 2016) – DNREC Secretary David Small has issued a Notice of Administrative Penalty Assessment and Secretary’s Order to Oakwood Village at Lewes LLC (Oakwood Village) for violations of Delaware’s sediment and stormwater regulations, and Regulations Governing the Control of Water Pollution.

Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers Open in Jackson, Little River Counties

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 02/29/2016 - 17:40

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Joint federal/state disaster recovery centers will open Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Jackson and Little River counties to help those whose homes or businesses were affected by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding Dec. 26, 2015 – Jan. 22, 2016.

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Categories: Federal News

December Storm Survivors in Mississippi Have Until Friday to Register With FEMA

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 02/29/2016 - 17:18

OXFORD, Miss. – Survivors of the late December storms, tornadoes and flooding in Mississippi have until March 4, 2016, to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance.

Survivors in Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Monroe, Panola, Prentiss, Quitman and Tippah counties who suffered losses and have delayed registering for any reason should apply for potential assistance that could include:

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Categories: Federal News

2016 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award Application Period Now Open

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 02/29/2016 - 15:18

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce that the application period for the 2016 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards is open. The awards highlight innovative local practices and achievements by individuals and organizations that made outstanding contributions toward making their communities safer, better prepared, and more resilient.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Georgia Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 02/26/2016 - 22:15

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 Georgia.

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

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for State of Georgia

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 02/26/2016 - 22:04

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Georgia to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding during the period of December 22, 2015 to January 13, 2016.

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Categories: Federal News