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 Alaska.
Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:Language English
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 Alaska to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe storm during the period of December 12-15, 2015.Language English
Nanticoke Creekwatchers volunteer training and kickoff event through Reclaim Our River Program set for March 12
Heidi Koontz ( Phone: 303-202-4763 );
The ongoing resource, climate, hazards and environmental issues of the United States are addressed in a new U.S. Geological Survey product, providing an overview of the USGS Mineral Resources Program's multidisciplinary science.
The report highlights more than 50 selected activities that were conducted within the Integrated Methods Development Project, an interdisciplinary project designed to develop new tools and conduct innovative research integrating geologic, geophysical, geochemical, and remote-sensing expertise.
“This new product showcases the breadth and diversity of the USGS Mineral Resources Program and its ability to undertake complex research topics spanning from microscopic to planetary scales,” said USGS scientist emeritus Kathy Smith, the report’s lead editor.
The report includes studies that address the location, quantity and quality of mineral resources and the potential environmental consequences of resource development. In addition, a number of field and laboratory capabilities and interpretative methodologies are highlighted.
“These capabilities have applications to resource studies as well as to studies related to ecosystem health, human health, disaster and hazard assessment, and planetary science,” said Smith.
New tools developed within the IMDP have been applied to an extensive array of projects and research areas. For example, geophysical equipment and techniques developed in-house are now used in a variety of traditional and nontraditional mineral, energy and water resource studies, military applications and environmental investigations. Several geophysical applications include studies on climate change, volcanic hazards, geologic mapping and monitoring capabilities. Diverse applied geochemistry activities provide a process-level understanding of transport and bioavailability of metals in a variety of environmental settings.
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansans in Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Faulkner, Jackson, Jefferson, Lee, Little River, Perry, Sebastian, and Sevier counties who sustained uninsured or underinsured damage by the late winter storms, winds, and flooding can now apply for assistance from the state of Arkansas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).Language English
USGS scientists have detected toxins known as microcystins produced by various forms of algae in 39 percent of the small streams assessed throughout the southeastern United States. Their recent study looked at 75 streams in portions of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
“This is the first systematic stream survey of algal toxins in the southeastern United States,” said Keith Loftin, the USGS research chemist who led the study. “It’s important, because it provides a better understanding of the occurrence of these microcystins in aquatic ecosystems with flowing waters.”
Microcystins are a well-known public health concern. Public health practitioners and medical researchers have observed a range of symptoms in humans after exposure to microcystins. Symptoms can include nausea, dermatitis and, in severe cases, liver failure. Toxicity issues have been reported for humans, companion animals, livestock and wildlife.
Although the maximum microcystin concentration measured in this study (3.2 µg/L) did not exceed World Health Organization moderate risk thresholds (10 µg/L) in the streams sampled, further research is needed to understand the potential effects on water quality and related environmental health concerns in downstream aquatic ecosystems, lakes and drinking water reservoirs.
Previous research indicated that cyanobacteria, a form of algae capable of producing microcystins, were found in 74 percent of the streams assessed throughout the southeastern United States. However, that research did not include the study of microcystins.
This is the first of several regional assessments of algal toxins, which will provide context for the design of future environmental health studies. These studies will investigate land-use and other factors that may influence or create new environmental pathways of exposures to cyanobacteria and associated toxins. Ongoing work by the USGS in the Pacific Northwest and planned work in the northeastern United States and California will expand our understanding of cyanobacteria and toxins in a wider variety of aquatic ecosystems.
Two recent USGS investigations have measured sedimentation rates along the barely perceptible slope of rivers as they empty into estuaries. The findings of these studies have important implications for the restoration of estuaries — for example, the Chesapeake Bay — and their resilience in the face of sea level rise.
The studies compared the sedimentation rates found in upriver tidal freshwater swamps (located at the furthest inland reach of tides) to the rate found in brackish water marshes downstream at the lowest reaches of the rivers.Areas like this tidal freshwater swamp, along the Pocomoke River in Maryland, provide important ecosystem services including improving water quality by trapping watershed sediment before it reaches the Chesapeake Bay. However, a sediment shadow along tidal rivers may limit their resilience to the impacts of sea level rise. Photo: Scott Ensign, USGS.
“Sediment trapping in tidal freshwater wetlands is critical for protecting the water quality of estuaries and enhancing the resilience of those wetlands to sea level rise,” said Scott Phillips, USGS science coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay. “These wetlands help reduce nutrients and contaminants from reaching the Bay and also provide critical habitat for waterfowl.”
A study by Ensign et al demonstrated sediment transport bottlenecks in tidal rivers of Maryland. The bottleneck occurs where watershed sediment is trapped by tidal freshwater swamps at the head-of-tide and where estuarine sediment transported upriver by tidal action is trapped by brackish wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay.
This process leaves minimal sediment availability to tidal freshwater wetlands just below the head-of-tide, producing a “sediment shadow” that reduces the resilience of wetlands to the impacts of sea level rise. The shadow of reduced sediment accumulation also means that Atlantic Coastal Plain watersheds have very little of their watershed sediment delivered to estuaries and the coastal zone.
Research by Noe et al found a difference in the basic chemistry of sediment deposited in tidal freshwater swamps compared to brackish wetlands in South Carolina and Georgia, a determination that further supports the conclusion that watershed sediment is trapped out by tidal freshwater wetlands while estuarine sediment is delivered upstream to brackish wetlands.
Moreover, the Noe study found, sediment accumulation rates have changed over time. Historically, even more sediment was trapped by the upriver tidal freshwater wetlands. The change is likely due to greater availability in the past of “legacy” sediment from post-colonial land use and soil erosion. Modern sediment trapping is greatest overall in downriver brackish wetlands, likely due to sea level rise that has moved the estuarine turbidity maximum upstream.
Together these studies, along with others, show that tidal freshwater wetlands downstream of the head-of-tide have the lowest sediment accumulation rates along river-to-estuarine gradients. Consequently, these areas may have the least resilience to increased rates of sea level rise. In general, sediment trapping helps tidal wetlands increase in elevation to keep pace with rising sea levels. The effect of excessive saltwater exposure on tidal freshwater swamps is easily seen in places where tree death has produced spindly “ghost forests” that eventually convert into brackish marshes.
The sediment shadow also means that little of the watershed sediment and associated nutrient loads in lowland coastal rivers actually reaches estuaries. For example, in the smaller rivers that empty into the Chesapeake Bay (characterized by extensive tidal freshwater wetlands in contrast to minimal tidal freshwater wetlands found in large embayed tributaries), a large portion of the watershed sediment load (and associated phosphorus and nitrogen) is removed by tidal wetlands prior to reaching the bay.
These new insights about the complexity of sediment, carbon, and nutrient transport from watersheds to estuaries can help water quality managers to more accurately forecast the effects of watershed changes on estuarine water quality and improve adaptive management.
During historic 1998 El Niño season that created $550 million in damages, it was not until February that California experienced flooding damage that warranted a federal presidential declaration
ATLANTA -- Newly revised preliminary digital flood insurance rate maps for coastal areas of Volusia County, Fla., will be available for residents to review at a public open house at the Port Orange Regional Library on February 25, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Flood maps show the extent to which areas are at risk for flooding, and when they become effective, updated maps will be used to help determine flood insurance and building requirements.Language English
ATLANTA --Newly revised preliminary digital flood insurance rate maps for coastal areas of Nassau County, Fla., will be available for residents to review at a public open house at the Atlantic Recreation Center Auditorium on February 24, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Flood maps show the extent to which areas are at risk for flooding, and when they become effective, updated maps will be used to help determine flood insurance and building requirements.Language English
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Disaster recovery experts today urged applicants for federal assistance to complete a disaster loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Taking a loan is not required; completing the application can open the door to all federal assistance, including possible additional grants from FEMA.Language English
OXFORD, Miss. – The state of Mississippi and local governments and certain private nonprofits in Chickasaw County are now eligible to receive federal assistance to help cover expenses and repair damage associated with the tornadoes and severe weather that occurred in late December.Language English
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a local home improvement store are teaming up to provide Springfield area residents with free information, tips and literature on making their homes stronger and safer.Language English
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a local home improvement store are teaming up to provide Cape Girardeau area residents with free information, tips and literature on making their homes stronger and safer.Language English
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Two more home improvement stores in St. Louis County are teaming up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over the Presidents Day Weekend to provide Missouri residents with free information, tips, flyers and brochures on making their homes stronger and safer against future disasters.Language English
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a local home improvement store are teaming up to provide Joplin area residents with free information, tips and literature on making their homes stronger and safer.Language English