CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released $2,999,810 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the city of Des Plaines, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of 13 residential structures in the Des Plaines River floodplain.
FRANKFORT, KY – Residents and business owners who applied for federal assistance resulting from the severe storms and flooding in April will hear soon from damage inspectors.
People who suffered losses in Bath, Bourbon, Carter, Elliott, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Rowan, and Scott counties may be eligible for assistance by registering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).Language English
FRANKFORT, KY – Two Disaster Recovery Centers operated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will open at noon Thursday, May 7th in Lawrence and Madison counties.
The centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday. The centers are located at:
Lawrence County Community Center
180 Bulldog Lane
Louisa, KY 41230
Madison County Emergency Management
Joint Information Center
558 S. Keeneland Dr.
Richmond, KY 40475Language English
If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Erie, there would be enough food available for these species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
This information is critical in helping resource managers mitigate effects of an Asian carp invasion. If bighead and silver carp were to populate Lake Erie, they have the potential to damage native fish populations and the Great Lakes economy.
USGS scientists used satellite imagery of Lake Erie showing algae on the surface to determine how much food would be available for Asian carp. Green algae and blue-green algae, specifically floating algal blooms that can be seen on the surface, are a preferred food source for Asian carp. The water temperatures and algal concentrations detected in Lake Erie from 2002-2011 show that the bighead and silver carps could not only live in this environment, but could continue to grow. The full report is available online.
“Remote sensing imagery shows that Lake Erie has huge areas of available food that are often several times more concentrated than necessary for Asian carp growth, particularly in the western basin,” said USGS scientist Karl Anderson.
Food availability and water temperature are the greatest sources of uncertainty for predicting fish growth potential. Water temperature is a big factor in determining how much bighead and silver carps need to eat. Models developed by USGS scientists helped determine how much algae bighead and silver carps need to eat to survive.
For the past 10 years, algal blooms in Lake Erie have been increasing. Remote sensing images showed that the amount of algae doubled, and in some places quadrupled, from 2002-2011. Throughout the lake, algal blooms encompass several hundred to several thousands square kilometers. Specifically, the western part of Lake Erie has algal concentrations that are several times greater than what is needed for bighead or silver carp to survive.
Kansas City, Mo. –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII office announced today the state of Missouri, along with the counties of Callaway, Gasconade, Osage, and Montgomery, will participate in a one-day exercise on May 5, 2015, in support of the Callaway Energy Center located near Reform, Missouri.Language English
FRANKFORT, KY – Residents of 10 Kentucky counties who suffered damage from the severestorms, tornadoes, flooding, landslides and mudslides of April 2-17, 2015 may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) announced jointly that assistance is available to affected individuals in Bath, Bourbon, Carter, Elliott, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Rowan and Scott counties.Language English
Seasonal Habitat Quality and Landscape Characteristics Explain Genetic Differences Between Greater Sage-grouse Populations in Wyoming
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Low-quality nesting and winter seasonal habitats are strong predictors of reduced gene flow between greater sage-grouse breeding locations, according to research just published in Ecology and Evolution and authored by the U.S. Geological Survey and their colleagues at the University of Waterloo.
The study compared the genetic differences between greater sage-grouse breeding areas with seasonal habitat distributions or combinations of landscape factors – such as amount of sagebrush habitat, agriculture fields or roads – to understand how each factor or combination of factors influence effective dispersal of sage-grouse across the state.
Understanding how habitat and landscape features impact the effective dispersal of a species is important for informing management and conservation decisions across large landscapes. Dispersal effectiveness can be measured by gene flow, the rate at which genetic material moves between populations. When populations become small and isolated, a reduction in gene flow can lead to reduced genetic diversity, making those populations potentially less resilient to environmental stressors.
“This research identified which seasonal habitats and individual landscape features facilitate and impede gene flow across the state of Wyoming – which is a stronghold for sage-grouse populations,” said Brad Fedy, one of the authors of the paper and a scientist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
Greater sage-grouse are dependent upon sagebrush, so two populations separated only by sagebrush habitat would be expected to have more individuals moving between them and be more genetically similar than two populations separated by a barrier to sage-grouse movement, such as a mountain range or forest.
Researchers found that the juxtaposition and quality of nesting and winter seasonal habitats were the greatest predictors of gene flow for greater sage-grouse in Wyoming. Furthermore, the combinations of high levels of forest cover and highly rugged (steep and uneven) terrain or low levels of sagebrush cover and highly rugged terrain were correlated with low levels of gene flow among sage-grouse populations.
“Maintaining natural levels of gene flow among populations helps ensure resilience for the species,” said Sara Oyler-McCance, a USGS research geneticist and a co-author on the study. “Ultimately, land managers can use this information to identify habitats that are most important for maintaining effective dispersal between populations and to improve future sage-grouse conservation efforts.”
Greater sage-grouse occur in parts of 11 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces in western North America. These birds rely on sagebrush ecosystems, which constitute the largest single North American shrub ecosystem and provide vital ecological, hydrological, biological, agricultural, and recreational ecosystem services. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is formally reviewing the status of greater sage-grouse to determine if the species is warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
Pedestrian bridge, parking lot for providing access to Alapocas Run State Park will close today at sunset for up to two weeks
RESTON, Va.-- The latest tool designed to help manage the threatened piping plover is only a download away; iPlover is the first smartphone data collection application developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and will help those managing plover populations.
iPlover supports a long-established network of partners working to address ongoing impacts on plover populations, such as habitat gain or loss due to storms.
More importantly, data from the app is used to develop models that address long-term management concerns for habitat availability. It also improves the overall quality of coastal geologic information available to effectively manage this species.
The piping plover is a small shorebird that depends on open coastal beaches to breed and raise its young. Listed as threatened along the Atlantic coast in 1986, the piping plover’s conservation has been mandated by the Endangered Species Act. Although Atlantic Coast piping plover numbers have more than doubled since their listing nearly 30 years ago, they are still at risk. Recent estimates place the population at fewer than 2000 pairs, and climate change has introduced new threats to their coastal habitat.
Coastal beaches are dynamic systems and managing them for beach-dependent species like the piping plover requires collecting data on physical and biological characteristics that will be affected by sea level rise. Given the extensive Atlantic breeding range of the piping plover – spanning from North Carolina to Newfoundland – biologists have a lot of ground to cover.
The iPlover app supports the need for coordinated, synchronized data collection. It is a powerful new tool to help scientists and coastal resource managers consistently measure and assess the birds’ response to changes to their habitat. Rather than compiling data from multiple sources and formats, the app gives trained resource managers an easy-to-use platform where they can collect and instantly share data across a diverse community of field technicians, scientists, and managers. iPlover improves scientists’ data gathering and analysis capabilities by simplifying and facilitating consistent data collection and management that interfaces with models of shoreline change and beach geomorphology.
“The data come in from all of our study sites basically in real-time,” said Rob Thieler, USGS scientist and lead developer of the app. “It's already formatted, so data can be quickly plugged into our research models. This should really shorten the time between collecting the data, doing the science, and turning it into actionable information for management.”
“The USGS worked with diverse project partners to incorporate specific data collection needs and enable important stakeholders and partners to contribute data from hundreds of field observations within the plover’s U.S. Atlantic coastal breeding range,” said Andrew Milliken, coordinator of the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative. “This included getting inputs from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, state agencies and non-governmental organizations.”
“The app highlights the synergies and benefits of interagency and interdisciplinary science that advances conservation,” Milliken added. “The information collected will not only greatly improve our understanding of impacts from sea level rise, storms and beach management on piping plovers but also how managing for plovers can benefit other beach-dependent species, such as the American oystercatcher.”
Funding for iPlover was provided through the Department of Interior North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative as part of its Hurricane Sandy response. The app was developed by the USGS’ Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center and the Center for Integrated Data Analytics.
“iPlover is a great example of the USGS’ ability to build and deliver a variety of science applications that use modern technology,” said Nate Booth, USGS Chief of Office of Water Information and former Lead Architect for the USGS Center for Integrated Data Analytics. “It offers research teams great gains in data collection efficiency so that more time can be spent on analyzing the data rather than managing it."
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 Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families 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 Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, landslides, and mudslides during the period of April 2-17, 2015.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Bath, Bourbon, Carter, Elliott, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Rowan, and Scott counties.Language English
WASHINGTON – Wildfires can occur anywhere in the country with the potential to destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources, and agriculture. Last year, the United States experienced over 63,000 wildfires that burned more than three million acres. National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is Saturday, May 2, and people across the nation will dedicate time to making their communities a safer place should a wildfire occur.Language English
SEATTLE, Wash. — More than 1,000 dams have been removed across the United States because of safety concerns, sediment buildup, inefficiency or having otherwise outlived usefulness. A paper published today in Science finds that rivers are resilient and respond relatively quickly after a dam is removed.
“The apparent success of dam removal as a means of river restoration is reflected in the increasing number of dams coming down, more than 1,000 in the last 40 years,” said lead author of the study Jim O’Connor, geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Rivers quickly erode sediment accumulated in former reservoirs and redistribute it downstream, commonly returning the river to conditions similar to those prior to impoundment.”
Dam removal and the resulting river ecosystem restoration is being studied by scientists from several universities and government agencies, including the USGS and U.S. Forest Service, as part of a national effort to document the effects of removing dams. Studies show that most river channels stabilize within months or years, not decades, particularly when dams are removed rapidly.
“In many cases, fish and other biological aspects of river ecosystems also respond quickly to dam removal,” said co-author of the study Jeff Duda, an ecologist with USGS. “When given the chance, salmon and other migratory fish will move upstream and utilize newly opened habitat.”
The increase in the number of dam removals, both nationally and internationally, has spurred the effort to understand the consequences and help guide future dam removals.
“As existing dams age and outlive usefulness, dam removal is becoming more common, particularly where it can benefit riverine ecosystems,” said Gordon Grant, Forest Service hydrologist. “But it can be a complicated decision with significant economic and ecologic consequences. Better understanding of outcomes enables better decisions about which dams might be good candidates for removal and what the river might look like as a result.”
Sponsored by the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, a working group of 22 scientists compiled a database of research and studies involving more than 125 dam removals. Researchers have determined common patterns and controls affecting how rivers and their ecosystems respond to dam removal. Important factors include the size of the dam, the volume and type of sediment accumulated in the reservoir, and overall watershed characteristics and history.