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FEMA Awards $1,398,396 Grant to Gallatin County: Hazard mitigation funds will be used to acquire 19 flood prone residential structures and raise seven homes

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 14:26

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today released $1,398,396 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to Gallatin County, Ill., to acquire and demolish 19 residential structures as well as raise seven homes above the base flood elevation in the Ohio River floodplain.

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Categories: Federal News

Parasite in Live Asian Swamp Eels May Cause Human Illness

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 16:52
Summary: Raw or undercooked Asian swamp eels could transmit a parasitic infection called gnathostomiasis to consumers

Contact Information:

Gail Moede Rogall ( Phone: 608-270-2438 ); Marisa Lubeck ( Phone: 303-202-4765 );



Raw or undercooked Asian swamp eels could transmit a parasitic infection called gnathostomiasis to consumers.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found parasitic worms known as gnathostomes in Asian swamp eels collected between 2010 and 2012 from ethnic food markets and in Florida waters where the eel species is invasive. If eaten raw or undercooked, these eels could transmit their parasites to people, causing mild to serious disease. Severe cases of the infection can lead to blindness, paralysis or death. The USGS study was published today in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

"Because live Asian swamp eels are commonly imported to the U.S., a person's dietary history and not just travel history should be considered when diagnosing gnathostomiasis," said Rebecca Cole, USGS scientist and lead author of the study.

Swamp eels transported live from Southeast Asia are sold in many urban ethnic food markets in the United States, and have been released into waters in Florida, Georgia and New Jersey. During the USGS study, scientists found gnathostome worms in eels collected from markets in Manhattan, N.Y., Atlanta, Ga., and Orlando, Fla., and in wild eels caught in peninsular Florida. All of the infected eels obtained from markets were imported from Bangladesh.

"Consumers should be aware of the risk of contracting gnathostomiasis from Asian swamp eels if they are eating raw or undercooked eels," Cole said.

Co-author and USGS scientist Leo Nico said it is notable that North American species of gnathostome parasites have infected wild, invasive Asian swamp eels in Florida. Although the North American species found in the wild Florida eels has not been reported as infecting humans, some scientists suggest that all Gnathostoma species can most likely infect people. According to the authors, it is also concerning that this parasite could be transmitted into native fish and wildlife populations and domestic cats or dogs.

Swamp eels are native to Southeast Asia, and wild-caught and domestically-reared eels are widely consumed as food by humans. The eels are a common source of human gnathostomiasis in many parts of Asia. Wild populations of these invasive eels were first found in Florida in 1997, likely the result of the live food trade or aquarium releases. There are five established populations in the continental U.S. — three in Florida, and one each in Georgia and New Jersey. Introduced swamp eels have also been present in Hawaii for many decades. 

The eels, which can reach lengths of about three feet, have the potential to become widespread in the U.S., impacting native aquatic and wetland species. The species has few known predators in the U.S., breathes air and can move across land, and can survive in both hot and cold climates.

For more information on USGS zoonotic, or animal-caused, illnesses, please visit the USGS National Wildlife Health Center website. FAQs on Asian swamp eels are available online.  

   

Federal Aid Programs for the State of South Carolina Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 12:36

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 South Carolina.

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

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for South Carolina

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 12:34

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 South Carolina to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm during the period of February 10-14, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

Flooding Always a Potential Threat

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 01:42

DENVER - As winter comes to a close, communities look forward to the coming of spring and a return to the warm outdoors. But it’s also a time to be aware of the threat of Mother Nature, meaning severe storms and flooding.  Rapid snowmelt or a couple of inches of rainfall can create potential flooding.

FEMA Region VIII Preparedness and Mitigation experts have several recommendations to help people get ready for that threat. Region VIII includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

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Categories: Federal News

There’s More to NFIP than Just the Policy

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 01:38

DENVER – Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States.  Recent years have seen more frequent severe weather events, like Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the East Coast.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that provides flood insurance policies that provide millions of Americans their first line of defense against flooding.  But those flood insurance policies are only one component of the program and just part of the protection NFIP provides to individuals and the American public at large.

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Categories: Federal News

Purchasing -- and MAINTAINING -- Flood Insurance is a Great Investment at Any Time

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 01:34

DENVER – There’s a hidden threat that strikes countless unprepared Americans each year – flooding.  Unlike fire, wind, hail or most other perils, flood damage is not covered by a homeowners’ policy.  An uninsured flood loss can undo a lifetime’s worth of effort and create a mountain of bills.  Fortunately, a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy provides the defense against such losses and can ensure that a flood doesn’t bring financial ruin.

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Categories: Federal News

Asian Carp Eggs Found Near Lynxville, Wisc.

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 15:14
Summary: Asian carp eggs, including late-stage embryos nearly ready to hatch from the egg, were recently identified in samples collected by U.S. Geological Survey scientists in 2013 from the Upper Mississippi River as far north as Lynxville, Wisc

Contact Information:

Cindy Kolar ( Phone: 571-641-7966 ); Marisa Lubeck ( Phone: work: 303-202-4765 cell:303-526-6694 );



Asian carp eggs, including late-stage embryos nearly ready to hatch from the egg, were recently identified in samples collected by U.S. Geological Survey scientists in 2013 from the Upper Mississippi River as far north as Lynxville, Wisc.

"This discovery means that Asian carp spawned much farther north in the Mississippi than previously recorded," said Leon Carl, USGS Midwest Regional Director. "The presence of eggs in the samples indicates that spawning occurred, but we do not know if eggs hatched and survived or whether future spawning events would result in live fish."

The Asian carp eggs and late-stage embryos were discovered two weeks ago while processing samples that were collected in mid-May and mid-June, 2013. The samples were taken as part of a larger research project designed to identify Asian carp spawning habitats. The eggs and late-stage embryos were 250 river miles upstream of previously known reproductive populations in the river. Spawning would have occurred upstream from this site.

Once the scientists visually identified the eggs, they examined other samples taken from the Mississippi River and found Asian carp eggs at seven locations between Pool 19 near Keokuk, Iowa, and Pool 9 of the main channel of the Upper Mississippi River near Lynxville. Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin border the navigation pools where these samples were collected.

The eggs and late-stage embryos were identified as bigheaded carps — either bighead carp or silver carp — through visual analyses of specific features of the eggs and embryos. It is also possible that some eggs could be from grass carp, although no eggs were visually identified as such. The USGS attempted genetic analyses to definitively determine which species of Asian carp the eggs belong to, but the results were inconclusive. Additional steps are being completed to attempt genetic confirmation, and those results are expected in one to two weeks.

The research project that collected these eggs is being coordinated by the USGS in collaboration with Western Illinois University. Scientists plan to collect additional samples from the Mississippi River in 2014 as part of their on-going research project.

"Invasive Asian carp could pose substantial environmental risks and economic impacts to the Upper Mississippi River if they become established," Carl said. "Further research will help us to better understand their habitat requirements and inform integrated control efforts."  

For more information on Asian carp research, please visit the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) website. The ACRCC is a partnership of federal and state agencies, municipalities and other groups, led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. 

Delaware students invited to sign up for unique science and technology experience at annual Junior Solar Sprint on May 14

DNREC News - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:00
DOVER (March 11, 2014) – Middle school students from across Delaware are invited to compete in the 20th annual Delaware Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) Competition on Wednesday, May 14 at Dover International Speedway. Sponsored by DNREC’s Division of Energy & Climate, the competition is open to all seventh and eighth graders attending public or private schools in Delaware.

Amazon Carbon Dynamics: Understanding the Photosynthesis-Climate Link

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:00
Summary: FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, and the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) are collaborating with scientists in Brazil on a three-year research project that investigates a basic yet unanswered question in Earth-system and global carbon-cycle science: What controls the response of photosynthesis in Amazon tropical forests to seasonal variations in climate?

Contact Information:

Leslie Gordon ( Phone: 650-329-4006 );



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, and the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) are collaborating with scientists in Brazil on a three-year research project that investigates a basic yet unanswered question in Earth-system and global carbon-cycle science: What controls the response of photosynthesis in Amazon tropical forests to seasonal variations in climate?

Results of the study will help improve the reliability of global climate forecasts by guiding improvements in the treatment of tropical forest photosynthesis and related water-cycle processes in Earth-system models.

This question of photosynthesis' response to climate variations, despite its seeming simplicity, is the subject of an ongoing scientific puzzle that has so far been remarkably difficult to answer with confidence.  For example, seasonal patterns of photosynthesis simulated by several state-of-the-art, numerical models of the Earth system, and seasonal patterns of vegetation "greenness" as inferred from observations by Earth-observing satellites, disagree with patterns seen in measurements of ecosystem-atmosphere carbon dioxide exchange at monitoring sites in the central Amazon.

"Improving our understanding of how a changing climate affects the fundamental processes that control absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide by tropical forests, can help us improve Earth system models, and help improve the reliability of global climate forecasts," said USGS geographer and project leader, Dennis Dye.

The project is designed to resolve disagreements between the computer models, and actual forest measurements by developing new knowledge and deeper understanding of seasonal climate, photosynthesis, and water relationships in Amazon tropical forests, through the use of advanced remote-sensing techniques and field observations. The project focuses on existing tropical forest study sites near Manaus and Santarem, Brazil.  Scientists will measure physiological properties of leaves and trees, and water flow, and use innovative remote-sensing instruments to monitor the light-reflecting properties of the forest and the effects of clouds and smoke on solar radiation. Scientists will also model the three-dimensional variation in photosynthesis in various forest structures and light levels.

"The ability to monitor the ecohydrologic function of the rainforest at a range of scales – from leaf, to tree, to stand levels – will offer an unprecedented observational support for testing hypotheses and developing new types of forest representation in land-surface models," said University of Michigan Hydrologist Valeriy Ivanov.

The project is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, GOAmazon campaign.

"Ultra Marathon Champion" Bird May Plan Flights Based on Weather Across Pacific

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:00
Summary: A recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study of the bar-tailed godwit, a shorebird known famously as the ultimate marathon champion of bird flight, suggests that these birds can sense broad weather patterns and optimally time their long, nonstop, transoceanic migrations to destinations thousands of miles away

Contact Information:

Robert  Gill ( Phone: 907-947-0379 ); David Douglas ( Phone: 907-364-1576 ); Colleen Handel ( Phone: 907-786-7181 );



ANCHORAGE, Alaska —A recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study of the bar-tailed godwit, a shorebird known famously as the ultimate marathon champion of bird flight, suggests that these birds can sense broad weather patterns and optimally time their long, nonstop, transoceanic migrations to destinations thousands of miles away. 

Like airplane pilots examining weather charts for the course ahead, godwits awaiting to take flight ultimately selected dates of departure that corresponded to the best atmospheric wind conditions possible within a two-week window.  Remarkably, not only were the conditions optimal for take-off, but they almost always provided the best possible conditions for the birds' entire transoceanic flights.

"We think that these behaviors represent a previously unknown cognitive ability that allows bar-tailed godwits to assess changes in weather conditions across widely separated atmospheric regions in different parts of the Pacific Ocean and to time their migration patterns accordingly," said Robert Gill, Jr., an Emeritus Scientist with the USGS and lead author of the study.

These findings are part of a new scientific publication by collaborators from the USGS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the University of Groningen and the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.  The researchers used detailed information on individuals tracked by satellite transmitters, along with data on wind conditions across the Pacific Ocean, to investigate migration patterns along the 18,000 mile annual route of the bar-tailed godwit.  Their study determined that bar-tailed godwits are able to make efficient decisions about when and where to fly during nonstop flights of up to 10 days long between wintering areas in New Zealand and breeding areas in Alaska.

"There are a number of broad-scale prevailing wind patterns through the Pacific Ocean, and the godwits take advantage of these winds to facilitate successful migration between their wintering and breeding areas.  These wind patterns appear to be teleconnected, or linked, across broad expanses of the Pacific Ocean," said Gill.  "Just like airline pilots, birds occasionally have to abort flights or change course drastically when they encounter severe, unexpected weather," noted David Douglas, Research Wildlife Biologist, who like Gill, works out of the USGS Alaska Science Center and is co-author of the study. 

The researchers observed two birds that made abrupt course changes when they encountered rapidly developing cyclones along their flight paths.  In one case, the prolonged flight change resulted in the bird not breeding that season, likely due to energy spent fighting the headwinds of the storm.

The report on this study, entitled "Hemispheric-scale wind selection facilitates bar-tailed godwit circum-migration of the Pacific," was recently published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

Photos of bar-tailed godwits, their migration and habitats, are available from the USGS online

FEMA Awards $2 Million for Jefferson Parish Elevations

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:16

DENTON, Texas — A federal grant totaling more than $2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will help fund the elevation of 16 additional homes in Jefferson Parish.

The grant covers $2,063,418 of the total project costs of $2.7 million. FEMA grants pay the federal share of the eligible costs for the work. Under a cost-sharing formula, FEMA reimburses the state for 75 percent of the total costs, while the state and/or applicant cover the remaining 25 percent.

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Categories: Federal News

Bacteria No Match for Deep Floridan Aquifer

USGS Newsroom Technical - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:00
Summary: ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-- A first of its kind study has the potential to impact future regulatory decisions on disinfection practices for water prior to its recharge or following its storage in the Floridan Aquifer. New USGS study assesses the fate of coliform bacteria in recharged water

Contact Information:

John  Lisle ( Phone: 727-502-8140 ); Christian Quintero ( Phone: 813-498-5019 );



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-- A first of its kind study has the potential to impact future regulatory decisions on disinfection practices for water prior to its recharge or following its storage in the Floridan Aquifer.

The U.S Geological Survey report found that coliform bacteria die off faster in a regional aquifer system than was previously known, though a small percentage survives. One of the state's regulatory criteria for ensuring the quality of recharged water is whether it contains coliform bacteria.

Aquifer storage and recovery facilities have been used in Florida for about 30 years to store large volumes of water over long periods of time, increasing water supply during seasonal and multi-year droughts. Potable water, treated and untreated groundwater, partially treated surface water and reclaimed water is recharged into zones of the Floridan Aquifer and later recovered when needed.

"Although it is commonly believed that bacteria are few in number and mostly inactive in the lower zones of the Floridan aquifer system, we found relatively high numbers of bacteria that are alive and active," said USGS microbiologist, John Lisle. "However, when we looked specifically at coliform bacteria, we found that they died off at higher rates in the aquifer than was previously known." Understanding that coliform bacteria die off faster than previously known has the potential to shape the standards or monitoring requirements that are set.

In addition to the coliform die off data, this study is the first to characterize both the geochemistry and natural microbial ecology of the Floridan Aquifer and how they influence groundwater quality. It provides a baseline that can be used to enhance geochemical models that predict changes in groundwater quality following any type of recharge event.

"Characterization of native bacterial communities in aquifers is important because of the direct connection between some groundwater quality variables and bacterial activities. Groundwater bacteria catalyze geochemical reactions under conditions that can be significantly different within the same aquifer," said June Mirecki, a hydrogeologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "Fundamental studies, like this study, have significant implications for truly understanding the fate of contaminants in aquifers targeted for aquifer storage, carbon sequestration and deep well injection."

The Floridan Aquifer flows southward at between 800-3,000 feet below the ground. It is among the most productive groundwater sources in the U.S. The upper zones of the Floridan aquifer are used as a drinking water source, while the lower zones, like those in this study, have been targeted for the recharge of treated surface water and reclaimed water and carbon sequestration repositories.

The fate of coliform bacteria injected into the lower zones of the Floridan Aquifer was studied as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. The study was done in cooperation with the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The full report "Survival of Bacterial Indicators and the Functional Diversity of Native and Microbial Communities in the Floridan Aquifer, South Florida" by John T. Lisle is available online. 

FEMA Awards $4,106,484 Grant to Pine County: Hazard Mitigation funds will be used to acquire and demolish 32 flood prone homes

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:41

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved $4,106,484 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to Pine County, Minn., for the acquisition and demolition of 32 homes.

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Categories: Federal News

First Annual “Woofstock” to be held at Bellevue State Park

DNREC News - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 15:20
WILMINGTON (March 10, 2014) – Delaware State Parks’ first annual “Woofstock” will be held at Bellevue State Park.

New Mexico Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funds Deadline Approaching

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 15:19

SANTA FE – Officials with the N

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Categories: Federal News

Hiker ends 6,800 mile journey at Cape Henlopen State Park in support of the Envirothon

DNREC News - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 13:57
LEWES (March 10, 2014) – The Delaware Envirothon Planning Committee invites the public to an event welcoming Josh Seehorn, vice chair of the Georgia Envirothon, as he finishes his 6,800 mile hike across the American Discovery Trail – a journey Josh began last March to raise support and awareness for the North American Envirothon. The celebration will be held Saturday, March 15 at 3 p.m.at the Atlantic Ocean trailhead of the American Discovery Trail at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.

Delawareans can help keep state cleaner through new TrashStoppers reporting app

DNREC News - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 12:21
DOVER (March 10, 2014) – Delawareans and frequent visitors to the First State can now report illegal dumping activities directly to state environmental officials using their smartphones. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has launched a new TrashStoppers app

FEMA Awards $7.6 Million to Texas for Relocation of Lone Star Flight Museum

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 12:13

DENTON, Texas – More than $7.6 million is being awarded to the state of Texas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to relocate the Lone Star Flight Museum out of a flood zone in Galveston to Ellington Field in Houston.

The FEMA grant was approved after it was determined that it would be better to relocate and construct a new complex, managed by the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, instead of repairing the Galveston-based museum and replacing damaged aircraft and/or contents.

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Categories: Federal News

Fire Departments in Texas Receive More than $1.2 Million in FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 12:09

DENTON, Texas — Fire departments in Texas have been awarded more than $1.2 million in preparedness grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Lancaster Fire Department received more than $740,640 to boost hiring efforts for firefighters. The Leander Fire Department received $473,375 in funding, which will be used to hire a Volunteer Liaison who will recruit new, diverse volunteers and also work to retain current and future members.

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Categories: Federal News