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President Declares Disaster for Texas

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 14:04

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 Texas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe winter storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of December 26, 2015 to January 21, 2016.

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Categories: Federal News

President's 2017 Budget Proposes $1.2 Billion for the USGS

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 14:00
Summary: WASHINGTON—The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey reflects the USGS's vital role in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century by advancing scientific discovery and innovation. The $1.2 billion FY 2017 request supports USGS' ability to maintain the diversity of its scientific expertise so it can continue the large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations it is uniquely qualified to carry out and provide impartial science to resource managers and planners. Reflects the ongoing commitment to scientific discovery and innovation to support decision making for critical societal needs

Contact Information:

Diane Noserale ( Phone: 703-648-4333 ); Catherine Puckett ( Phone: 352-278-0165 ); Cynthia Lodge ( Phone: 571-524-2289 );



WASHINGTON—The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey reflects the USGS's vital role in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century by advancing scientific discovery and innovation. The $1.2 billion FY 2017 request supports USGS' ability to maintain the diversity of its scientific expertise so it can continue the large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations it is uniquely qualified to carry out and provide impartial science to resource managers and planners.

“This is a smart, innovative and forward-looking budget that invests in Interior’s key missions – now and in the future – so we can continue to serve the American people,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “The President’s budget provides targeted investments to create economic opportunities by growing our domestic energy portfolio, building climate resilient communities, and revitalizing America’s national parks as we mark their 100th anniversary. Consistent with the President’s abiding commitment to Indian Country, this budget provides critical support for Tribal self-determination and economic advancement, including a historic transformation of the Bureau of Indian Education school system to help improve education for Indian children.”

“Our diversity of scientific expertise uniquely positions the USGS to help address today's critical natural resource issues,” said Suzette Kimball, USGS Director. “From earthquakes to invasive species, from water quality to critical minerals, USGS science plays a pivotal role and this budget request supports that important mission." 

The FY 2017 budget request allows the USGS to advance priorities set forth in the USGS Science Strategy Plans, such as: developing the ground system for Landsat 9; informing the management of water for the 21st century; understanding climate and land-use change; investigating new and emerging invasive species and disease; improving science for rapid disaster response and prevention; developing enhanced mapping tools and products; advancing landscape-level sciences; conducting critical mineral and energy resources research; and pursuing studies that protect environmental health.

This budget is also designed to keep core USGS science programs intact. These programs provide valuable services to the Nation and include science that helps decision makers minimize loss of life and property, manage natural resources, and protect and enhance our quality of life.

Key increases in the FY 2017 budget are summarized below. For more detailed information on the President’s FY 2017 budget, visit the USGS Budget, Planning, and Integration website.

Water Resources

The FY 2017 USGS budget request provides an increase of $17.3 million above the FY2016 enacted level for Water Resources research for a total of $228 million. The budget requests $60.2 million for Water Resources programs to use in matching State, municipality, and Tribal contributions for cooperative water efforts. This includes a $4 million increase under the Water Availability and Use Science Program to develop a near real-time assessment of regional and national water-use trends during drought periods. Other increases totaling $8.1 million would integrate water information from multiple agencies, provide state water resource agencies with the necessary base data at the resolution needed for decision making, and would develop better methods for sampling, estimating, aggregating, and presenting water use data. This increase also supports efforts to assess water budgets across snow-dominated regions of the Nation; including assessing systems, anticipating future changes, and extrapolating from monitored to unmonitored locations across critical landscapes in the Arctic.

The USGS budget also includes a $1.4 million increase for the Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program to expand the use of flood inundation mapping and rapidly deployable streamgages, which provide crucial data to help manage flood response. In addition, the increase will also target the use of enhanced streamflow information to help decision makers support tribal water needs.

The National Water Quality Program increase of $3.5 million will enhance long-term surface- and groundwater-quality monitoring in Cycle 3 of the Program. This increase will further support cooperative and urban-waters activities by providing streamflow and water-quality data to state and local partners. The data are used to plan economic revitalization and restore urban waters. Additionally, the NWQP increase funds research to understand the effects of unconventional oil and gas extraction on streams and groundwater.

Natural Hazards

The FY 2017 USGS budget request for Natural Hazards includes a $10.7 million increase above the FY 2016 enacted level for a total of $149.7 million. It funds science to help protect the Nation’s safety, security, and economic well-being, to make the United States more resilient to natural hazards, and to develop user driven tools to make communities safer.

The Earthquake Hazards Program increase of $1.7 million would fund induced seismicity research related to unconventional oil and gas production and improve earthquake monitoring by assuming long-term operations of about 160 seismographs in the Central and Eastern U.S. An additional $860,000 would fund sensors at select Global Seismographic Network sites. The budget continues funding of $8.2 million to implement a limited earthquake early warning system on the West Coast by expanding seismometer coverage outward around major urban areas, integrating fault slip data into the system, developing and testing the system to improve reliability, and end-user education efforts on how to understand and use alerts.

The Natural Hazards budget increase includes a Coastal and Marine Geology Program increase of $5.8 million, which would benefit coastal communities, including those in the Arctic, dealing with sea-level rise, severe storms, and melting permafrost. The increase would also fund research and modeling to apply findings from Hurricane Sandy to other parts of the U.S. coastline.

An increase of $1.7 million for the Geomagnetism Program would enhance USGS monitoring of electrical currents in the Earth’s crust, and improve global magnetic field data. This monitoring by USGS is an integral component of the National Space Weather Strategy to protect against the harmful effects of magnetic storms. The Sun is always emitting a wind of electrically charged particles, but when a large sunspot emerges on the face of the Sun, there is an increased chance for abrupt emission of strong solar wind and a magnetic storm. An intense magnetic storm can affect many technological systems. In particular, storms can overload and interfere with the operation of electric-power grids on the Earth, sometimes causing blackouts.

In addition, an increase of $0.5 million in the Landslide Hazards Program would expand post-wildfire debris-flow hazard assessments and bolster the USGS capacity to respond to landslide crises.

Energy and Minerals Resources, and Environmental Health

The FY 2017 budget request for Energy and Minerals Resources, and Environmental Health (EMEH) is $5 million above the FY 2016 enacted level, for a total of $99.5 million. This includes a $1.6 million increase to the Mineral Resources Program for identifying and evaluating new sources of critical minerals and for new science and tools to reduce the impacts of minerals extraction, production, and recycling on the global environment and human health. The Energy Resources Program’s proposed $1.4 million increase includes funds for unconventional oil and gas (UOG) research and assessments, evaluation of waters produced during UOG development, and assessments of undiscovered UOG on Alaska’s North Slope. It funds scientific data-gathering needed for other domestic assessments of shale and tight oil and gas, geothermal energy research to support land management decisions about alternative energy permitting on Federal lands, and the application of an ecosystem services approach to enhance resilience of coastal infrastructure and evaluate green infrastructure investments. These increases are partially offset by reductions to lower priority programs.

The increase includes an additional $3.1 million for Environmental Health research, with $1.3 million under the Contaminant Biology Program and $1.8 million under the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program. This research will assess potential biological effects of UOG on living organisms, including humans; study environmental contamination from spills and other releases of liquid and solid wastes from UOG development in West Virginia and North Dakota; and establish real-time water-quality monitoring along the northeast U.S. coast. These studies also will examine mercury and pesticide contamination in the Columbia River basin, and assess impacts of uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region. This research will inform decisions on new uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region.

Core Science Systems

The FY 2017 budget request for Core Science Systems is $6.8 million above the FY2016 enacted level, for a total of $118.4 million. Of the increase, $4.9 million would fund elevation data acquisition within the National Geospatial Program. This includes a $1.5 million increase to modernize mapping and collect ifsar (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) elevation data in Alaska. Improved mapping products are urgently needed in Alaska for aircraft navigation, since weather conditions deteriorate quickly and pilots frequently need to fly using only their instruments and GPS. It also includes $2.4 million to acquire lidar data (measuring distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light) and enhance landscape-scale 3-D maps for the Nation. Accelerating national elevation data coverage will also enable decision making to manage infrastructure and construction, provide more accurate and cost effective application of chemicals in farming, help to develop energy resources, and support aviation safety and vehicle navigation. The proposed increase also provides $1 million to collect lidar data along the U.S. coast. These data help to understand and mitigate the effects of coastal erosion and storm surge and support management of the Chesapeake Bay. An additional increase of $1 million would complete the National Hydrography Database at a 1:24,000 scale for the conterminous 48 states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. This achievement would enable full integration of hydrography and elevation data in support of water resource managers throughout the Nation. The overall increase for Core Science Systems also funds research addressing pollinators and drought response.

Ecosystems

The FY 2017 USGS budget request for Ecosystems is $13.7 million above the FY 2016 enacted level for a total of $173.9 million. This includes a $4.9 million increase to the Environments Program for critical landscapes such as sage steppe and the Arctic. The increase for sage steppe supports the priority needs of managers to design conservation and management strategies for greater sage grouse; address changing fire regimes, drought and shifting climates; control the spread of invasive cheatgrass; and restore and manage the sage steppe landscape. The Arctic increase would fund research to inform communities and land managers about changes in the Arctic and how they affect the broader physical environment: altering stream flows, disrupting ocean currents and the fisheries that depend on them, changing ecosystems, and affecting the availability of resources. The Environments Program increase also funds research to support drought and wildfire response.

The Ecosystems budget request includes $3.2 million in new funding for the Fisheries Program to develop decision support tools for water ecology, to assess Great Lakes fisheries, and to process offshore samples that could provide an early warning for harmful algal blooms.

The budget increase for Ecosystems includes an additional $2.5 million under the Invasive Species Program for research on new and emerging invasive species of national concern and to develop and improve tools for early detection and control, such as advanced molecular detection of sea lamprey and other invasive species found at very low densities in the field.

The proposed Ecosystems increase also includes a $1.7 million increase through the Status and Trends Program for research to maintain native pollinators that help the Nation maintain its food supplies.

Climate and Land-Use Change

The FY 2017 USGS budget provides an increase of $31.5 million over the FY 2016 enacted level for Climate and Land-Use Change (CLU) research, for a total of $171.4 million. This includes a $15.4 million increase to develop the Landsat 9 ground system to accelerate the satellite’s launch from 2023 to 2021 and to ensure access to the Nation’s remote sensing data. An increase of $2.2 million would enable access to Sentinel-2 satellite data from the European Space Agency, and an increase of $3 million would allow the development of the computing and online storage resources necessary to rapidly produce and widely disseminate a set of Landsat-based information products.

The CLU increase also provides an additional $4.2 million to better understand patterns and manage the effects of drought. This includes new tools to better manage water nationwide such as near real-time satellite based drought monitoring. Drought impacts on natural and agricultural systems that would be assessed include soil moisture, evapotranspiration rates, vegetation response, and other metrics. The research would help water managers identify the onset and severity of drought events and effectively allocate scarce water resources. The increase includes $1.8 million for new tools to improve water management nationwide and use remote sensing to support additional aspects of the National Water Census.

The budget includes a $1.5 million increase to establish a Great Lakes Climate Science Center to help increase and improve focus on the many climate-related natural resource challenges in the Great Lakes region and a $1.4 million increase would fund work with tribes on climate adaptation. In addition, $2.4 million would go to critical landscape studies in the Arctic to develop predictive models of changes to the environment from the conversion of ice and snow to water and to estimate glacier loss in Alaska and potential changes in freshwater input. A $500,000 increase would fund imagery datasets and analytical tools for improved coastal resource management and planning for resilient coastal landscapes and communities.

The proposed USGS budget is part of the President’s FY 2017 request of $13.4 billion for the Department of the Interior, reflecting his commitment to meet Federal trust responsibilities to Native Americans, conserve vital national landscapes across the Nation, support the next century of our public lands, and allow for responsible management of energy development on public lands and offshore areas. The Budget in Brief is online: www.doi.gov/budget and www.doi.gov/budget/2017/Hilites/toc.html.

The National Map Data Download Enhancements

USGS Newsroom Technical - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 09:30
Summary: The USGS National Map program is transitioning all of its GIS data download capabilities to its new TNM Download client during the week of February 15, 2016. The new launch page will help users easily find the variety of resources available to get National Map data, download GIS data, visualize and analyze data on the web, or access developer tools such as APIs and map services.

Contact Information:

Rob Dollison ( Phone: 703-648-5724 ); Mark Newell ( Phone: 573-308-3850 );



The USGS National Map program is transitioning all of its GIS data download capabilities to its new TNM Download client during the week of February 15, 2016. The new launch page will help users easily find the variety of resources available to get National Map data, download GIS data, visualize and analyze data on the web, or access developer tools such as APIs and map services.

This is not a replacement for all the visualization capabilities in the current National Map Viewer, but rather an application and API to improve and simplify the data download experience. The National Map Viewer will remain available for web-based visualization and analysis of National Map data.

Usage of TNM Download Client combined with staged product files will provide faster, more reliable and larger quantities of data to the geospatial community. The Download Client has an associated API available to developers to take advantage in their own applications.

The National Map released several recent enhancements to the delivery of its data products and map services to include:

TNM Download Client
The new TNM Download Client  will replace the data download function in the older legacy TNM Viewer. It allows the user to easily filter by product, file format, and search for data over their area of interest. Product specific workflows have also been developed such as selecting a particular hydrologic unit and to give users more appropriate results. Several ‘How to Download Data’ tutorial videos (lessons 4a-4d) have been created to take advantage of the new capabilities.

Basic download steps

1) Zoom to your area of interest

2) Select the desired product and file formats

3) Click on the “Find Product’ button to get search results

4) You will then be presented with a .CSV file to directly download or add to a cart if you want additional products

5) You can order multiple National Map products from this client but it is easiest to go through the steps for each product line you want to order, one product at a time. 

Download Manager
Download Manager is a Java-based application that runs on your local computer and enables download of multiple products without requiring the user to click each individual download link.  If you require lots of data, export all the search results into a .CSV file and use the ‘Download Manager’ application for fast behind the scenes data retrieval while working on other activities.

Large Scale Contours are available
The contours created from The National Map US Topo program are now included in a dynamic contours map service. This new service has dynamic layers enabled to allow user-defined custom styling to be applied in Esri® clients.

Dynamic Style Control is enabled on vector map services
Users can take advantage of dynamic style control on The National Map vector web services. This feature enables users to change the color and line weight of our vectors to best meet their mapping and visualization needs, without having to download the actual dataset.

File GeoDatabase 9.3.1 format retired
In addition to these new enhancements, some of the existing file formats and capabilities will be retired over the next few months. File GeoDatabase 9.3.1 format will be retired in mid-February 2016 and the download function in The National Map (TNM) legacy viewer will be removed. Users will be directed to the new TNM Download Client.

To keep current with The National Map downloadable products and map services, visit The National Map Viewer launch page.

Questions or feedback regarding any of these changes can be submitted to tnm_help@usgs.gov.

Screen shot of download enhancements to lidar data availability visualization and file downloads.

 

Screen shot of lidar data downloads.

Food for Billions: Inland Fisheries and World Food Security

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 08:00
Summary: Reporters: A video abstract is available here.

Contact Information:

Abigail Lynch, USGS ( Phone: 703-268-3913 ); Steven  Reid, Carleton University ( Phone: 613-520-3660 ); Sue  Nichols, MSU ( Phone: 517-432-0206 );



Reporters: A video abstract is available here.

Fisherman on the Mekong River, Lao PDR Vientiane fish market, Lao PDR Artisanal Fishing in Lao PDR Pond cultured Pangasius catfish, Lao PDR

 

Reston, VA – Inland capture fisheries are much more crucial to global food security than realized, according to the first global review of the value of inland fish and fisheries.

The article, published today in Environmental Reviews, showed that although aquaculture and inland capture fisheries contribute more than 40 percent of the world’s reported finfish production, their harvest is greatly under-reported and value is often-ignored.

Inland waters, which comprise about 0.01 percent of the earth’s water, are lakes, rivers, streams, canals, reservoirs and other land-locked waters.

Topping the list of the value of inland fish and fisheries is food and economic security: these fisheries provide food for billions of people and livelihoods for millions worldwide. They are a primary animal protein consumed by many of the world’s rural poor, especially those in developing countries.

“Inland capture fisheries and aquaculture are fundamental to food security globally,” said Abigail Lynch, a fisheries research biologist with the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.  “In many areas of the world, these fisheries are a last resort when primary income sources fail due to, for instance, economic shifts, war, natural disasters and water development projects.”

Inland fisheries, the review showed, support at least 21 million fishers, many of whom live in low-income countries and rely on these fisheries for both subsistence and their livelihood.

Other important benefits that inland fisheries and aquaculture provide include recreation, cultural and even spiritual values, and their contribution to species’ and ecosystem diversity. Because sustainable inland aquaculture is more efficient, it is also often “greener” than raising poultry, pigs or cows.

The authors cautioned, however, that inland fisheries are more important than current research is able to document because harvest amounts are vastly underestimated, particularly in remote areas and in developing countries. For example, only one-third of countries with inland fisheries submit catch statistics to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.

“The limitations to valuing the benefits that inland fish and fisheries provide make it difficult to incorporate them into resource planning on a national or global scale, author Carleton University’s Steve Cooke noted. “What is of great concern is that more than half of the inland fisheries’ habitat is moderately or highly threatened, so populations may be lost even before they are documented.”

The article, “The social, economic, and environmental importance of inland fish and fisheries,” was authored by Abigail Lynch, USGS; Steven Cooke, Carleton University; Andrew Deines, Michigan State University, and others. 

 

Conceptual diagram of the importance of inland fishes and fisheries to the individual, society, and the environment. Proportional contribution of global finfish production from marine capture fisheries, marine aquaculture, inland capture fisheries, and inland aquaculture in 2012 (excluding plants, mammals, crustaceans, and mollusks; FAO-FIGIS 2014) with the global proportion of salt and fresh water (note only 0.01% of water is habitable for inland fish; Stiassny 1996).

$29.2 million in hands of flood survivors 18 days after federal aid approved

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 18:55

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – On Jan. 24, just three days after President Obama’s Jan. 21, 2016, disaster declaration for 33 counties in Missouri, disaster survivors began receiving grants from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program.

In the days since storms brought flooding, tornadoes and straight-line winds to Missouri, survivors, equipped with nearly $29.2 million in federal assistance, low-interest loans and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims, are cleaning up,

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Categories: Federal News

Center Opens in Cape Girardeau to Help Missouri Flood Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 17:46

JEFERSON CITY, Mo. – A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is opening Tuesday, February 9, in Cape Girardeau. The center offers in-person support to individuals and businesses in any of the 33 Missouri counties included in the Jan. 21, 2016, Missouri federal disaster declaration.

Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other agencies will be at the center to discuss aid and assist anyone who needs help with an application. The new center is at this location:

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Categories: Federal News

USGS Increases Public Access to Scientific Research

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 06:43
Summary: The U.S. Geological Survey is implementing new measures that will improve public access to USGS-funded science as detailed in its new public access plan. The plan enables the USGS to expand  its current on-line gateways to provide free public access to scholarly research and supporting data produced in full or in part with USGS funding, no matter how it is published.

Contact Information:

Diane Noserale ( Phone: 703-648-4333 ); Keith  Kirk ( Phone: 831-335-4276 );



The U.S. Geological Survey is implementing new measures that will improve public access to USGS-funded science as detailed in its new public access plan. The plan enables the USGS to expand  its current on-line gateways to provide free public access to scholarly research and supporting data produced in full or in part with USGS funding, no matter how it is published.

The USGS plan  “Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey: Scholarly Publications and Digital Data,” stipulates that, beginning October 1, the USGS will require that any research it funds be released from the publisher and  available free to the public no later than 12 months after initial publication. The USGS will also require that data used to support the findings be available free to the public when the associated study is published.

The plan applies to research papers and data authored or co-authored by USGS, contract employees, award or grant recipients, partners and other entities. It includes materials published by any non-USGS entity, including scientific journals, professional society volumes, cooperating agency series, and university or commercial publishers.

Exceptions are permitted only if the USGS agrees that a demonstrated circumstance restricts the data from public release, for example in rare cases where access must be restricted because of security, privacy, confidentiality, or other constraints.

The plan responds to a February 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum that directed federal agencies with annual research and development budgets above $100 million to increase public access to peer-reviewed scientific publications and digital data resulting from federally funded research. On January 8, OSTP approved the USGS plan.

Specifically, this plan requires that an electronic copy of either the accepted manuscript or the final publication of record is available through the USGS Publications Warehouse. Digital data will be available in machine readable form from the USGS Science Data Catalog. The plan will require the inclusion of data management plans in all new research proposals and grants.

Much of the plan refers to requirements or activities that already exist or are being implemented. The mandate to publish data and findings from USGS science activities dates to the Bureau's creation by the signing of the Sundry Civil Bill on March 3, 1879, establishing the USGS. This bill also defined the requirement to report the results of investigations by the USGS to the public.  

The results of USGS research, generally released in the form of publications, maps, data, and models, are used by policymakers at all levels of government and by the private sector to support appropriate decisions about how to respond to natural hazards, manage natural resources, and to spur innovation and economic growth.

This plan builds on existing USGS policy, which requires public access be provided for any scholarly publications and associated data that arise from research conducted directly by USGS or by others using USGS funding, is published by the USGS or externally by USGS scientists or USGS funded scientists. This existing policy requires that data must be made available at the time of publication to support scholarly conclusions.

USGS already has the portals it needs to implement public access. USGS scholarly publications and associated data are discoverable online. Currently, citations for the more than 50,000 USGS series publications are available, and 10,000 of these are also available free to the public as downloadable digital files. In addition, more than 41,000 scholarly publications authored by the USGS but published externally are cataloged in the Publications Warehouse, and links to original published sources are provided.