Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's emergency disaster declaration issued for the State of Washington.
Assistance for the State, Tribal 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 (FEMA) announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the State of Washington to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts in the area affected by wildfires beginning on August 13, 2015, and continuing.Language English
AUSTIN, Texas— Texans have received nearly $50 million in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help recover from losses caused by the flooding and severe storms from May 4 through June 22. While the assistance is tax free and the grants do not have to be repaid, survivors are reminded to use their funds wisely and solely for recovery.Language English
FEMA Continues to Make Additional Payments to Eligible Policyholders
Over 11,000 National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders who filed claims for damage are in the Hurricane Sandy Claims Review process, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today. FEMA has already validated and begun providing additional funds to policyholders taking part in the Hurricane Sandy Claims Review.Language English
Flood insurance can save Texas homeowners and renters thousands of dollars in repairs. It also can provide peace of mind considering that flooding is the most frequent natural disaster in the United States.
Flood Insurance in Texas:Language English
Spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) are omnivores, often feeding on fruits and insects. (High resolution image)
In a paper released today in Science, a new model presents a common mathematical structure that underlies the full range of feeding strategies of plants and animals: from familiar parasites, predators, and scavengers to more obscure parasitic castrators and decomposers. Now ecologists can view all food-web interactions through the same lens using a common language to understand the natural world.
“Physicists use ‘string theory’ to decipher the universe, economists use complex regression methods to model the global economy, but what about the animals and plants that supply our food and that clean and produce the air we breathe?” said co-author Andrew Dobson, a professor in Princeton University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
The model captures the structure of all the consumer-resource links, plants capturing sunlight, predators eating prey, and parasites eating hosts, that connect species in food webs. “It rolls a century’s worth of food-web mathematics into a single model,” said U.S. Geological Survey Ecologist and lead author Kevin Lafferty.
Although ecologists have previously assumed that different food web links had different structure, for example lions eating zebras operate in different ways than viruses causing disease, this new research finds that they share a common structure, but with distinct characteristics. Insights from past ecological research as well as new ecological models can now be viewed through a common framework akin to physics or chemistry. Co-author Armand Kuris of University of California Santa Barbara considers this “the first development of a unifying theory for ecology. With this approach we can now see the entire elephant, not just some of its parts.”
“Ecologists have long used mathematical equations to study how predators and diseases affect plant, animal and human populations,” said co-author Cheryl Briggs of UC Santa Barbara, “But these approaches have been idiosyncratic, limited in scope and full of hidden assumptions.”
The model emerged from a National Science Foundation sponsored working group organized by Lafferty and Dobson at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a think tank at UC Santa Barbara where ecologists tackle big problems about the environment. The group first set out to reveal the hidden role of parasites in food webs. Early discussions took the group down the same road travelled by others - trying to find different functions to fit different types of parasites and predators.
After several years, the group realized that there was a consistent mathematical backbone underlying their efforts. Out of a jumble of seemingly unrelated and complicated mathematical expressions, they found a simple solution that generalized across a comprehensive range of ecological reactions and revealed previously unobserved similarities and hidden assumptions in classic ecological models. The solution provides a general mathematical framework for food-webs. Ecologists can use this general model to develop a deeper understanding of how the world functions ecologically; this will have profound implications for infectious diseases, fisheries, conservation and humans manage natural ecosystems.
The team anticipates their work will lead to a new generation of food web models that examine ecological structure more acutely and how that structure is responding to global change.
The paper “A General Consumer-Resource Population Model” published today in Science included authors from UC Santa Barbara, Stanford University, University of Bristol, Princeton University and the Santa Fe Institute.
BILOXI, Miss.-- In the last 10 years, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has obligated more than $159 million from Hurricane Katrina recovery to build community safe rooms throughout Mississippi to protect people during storms. HMGP provides grants to state, local and tribal governments to implement long-term mitigation measures to reduce the loss of life and property from a disaster.Language English
SAIPAN – Individuals affected by Typhoon Soudelor that occurred August 1-3, 2015 are urged to begin cleaning up their homes and personal property as soon as possible. Officials from the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emphasize that it is not necessary to wait for a housing inspection before beginning this process.Language English
SAIPAN-- Disaster assistance payments are bringing some much needed financial help to survivors affected by Typhoon Soudelor. But those payments come with some words of advice from commonwealth and federal officials: Be cautious, use them wisely.Language English
Major Disaster Declaration for CNMI (FEMA-4235-DR) amended to include the Islands of Saipan and Tinian for Public Assistance Categories C-G.
SAIPAN – On August 18, 2015, the Major Disaster Declaration for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (FEMA-4235-DR) as a result of damages occurred August 1-3 by Typhoon Soudelor, was amended to include the Islands of Saipan and Tinian for Public Assistance [Categories C-G].Language English
AUSTIN, Texas – As Texans rebuild or repair their homes damaged by the May 4 through June 22 storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local home improvement stores have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.Language English
BILOXI, Miss. -- As part of an innovative agreement between federal, state, local and tribal officials, 29 historic properties lost during Katrina have been commemorated with cast aluminum markers.
“We thought it especially important to have sketches of the destroyed buildings on the markers,” said Kenneth P’Pool, deputy state historic preservation officer of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “It gives people an appreciation of what was lost. Some of these illustrations are the last examples of architectural styles on the Coast.”Language English
Heidi Koontz ( Phone: 303-202-4763 );
Although the Grand Canyon segment of the Colorado River features one of the most remote ecosystems in the United States, it is not immune to exposure from toxic chemicals such as mercury according to newly published research in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
The study, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, found that concentrations of mercury and selenium in Colorado River food webs of the Grand Canyon National Park, regularly exceeded risk thresholds for fish and wildlife. These risk thresholds indicate the concentrations of toxins in food that could be harmful if eaten by fish, wildlife and humans. These findings add to a growing body of research demonstrating that remote ecosystems are vulnerable to long-range transport and bioaccumulation of contaminants.
“Managing exposure risks in the Grand Canyon will be a challenge, because sources and transport mechanisms of mercury and selenium extend far beyond Grand Canyon boundaries,” said Dr. David Walters, USGS research ecologist and lead author of the study.
David Uberuaga, superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, added, “studies like this continue to educate the public and highlight the threats that face the park and its resources."
The study examined food webs at six sites along nearly 250 miles of the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park in the summer of 2008. The researchers found that mercury and selenium concentrations in minnows and invertebrates exceeded dietary fish and wildlife toxicity thresholds.
Although the number of samples was relatively low, mercury levels in rainbow trout, the most common species harvested by anglers in the study area, were below the EPA threshold that would trigger advisories for human consumption.
“The good news is that concentrations of mercury in rainbow trout were very low in the popular Glen Canyon sport fishery, and all of the large rainbow trout analyzed from the Grand Canyon were also well below the risk thresholds for humans,” said Dr. Ted Kennedy, USGS researcher and co-author of the study.
“We also found some surprising patterns of mercury in rainbow trout in the Grand Canyon. Biomagnification usually leads to large fish having higher concentrations of mercury than small fish. But we found the opposite pattern, where small, 3-inch rainbow trout in the Grand Canyon had higher concentrations than the larger rainbow trout that anglers target. This inverted pattern likely has something to do with the novel food web structure that has developed in Grand Canyon.”
Airborne transport and deposition -- with much of it coming from outside the country -- is most commonly identified as the mechanism for contaminant introduction to remote ecosystems, and this is a potential pathway for mercury entering the Grand Canyon food web. Also, long-range downstream transport from upstream sources can deliver contaminants to river food webs. This is the case for selenium in this study, where irrigation of selenium-rich soils in the upper Colorado River basin contributes much of the selenium that is present in the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.
Exposure to high levels of selenium and mercury has been linked to lower reproductive success, growth, and survival of fish and wildlife. No human consumption advisories are currently in place for fish harvested from the study area. However, to assess potential risks to humans that may consume fish from Grand Canyon or Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, additional studies are planned.
Research partners in this study include the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Montana State University, and Idaho State University.Map of study area showing sample location relative to Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, Grand Canyon (AZ, USA).
OKLAHOMA CITY –There is only one week left for Oklahomans who sustained damages from the May 5 through June 22 storms to apply for state and federal disaster assistance.
Residents and business owners in the 45 counties approved for Individual Assistance have until August 26 to seek assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).Language English
PINE RIDGE, S.D. – The Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are establishing Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in six locations for individuals who experience damage during the severe storms from May 8-29. The centers will be located at the CAP offices in the following locations:Language English
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A disaster recovery center operated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now open in Carter County.
The center will operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (EDT) Monday through Saturday until further notice. The Carter County center is located at Northeast Kentucky Community Action, 539 Hitchins Ave. in Olive Hill.Language English
DENTON, Texas — Fire departments in Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico have been awarded more than $2.4 million in preparedness grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In Arkansas, the grants total $413,524 and cover firefighting equipment for the Lake Village Fire Department and the Lone Rock Volunteer Fire Department in Norfork.
In Louisiana, the grants total more than $1.8 million and pay for:Language English
“The USGS has expanded an excellent working relationship with the U.S. Forest Service to include adding their recreational trails to the data being integrated into The National Map and on our US Topo maps,” said Kari Craun, director of the USGS National Geospatial Technical Operations Center. “The value of adding trails in areas like Bridger-Teton is high because of the number of people using the trails. We are very excited about taking this first step toward incorporating U.S. Forest Service trails information on US Topo maps nationwide.”
The U.S. Forest Service has provided boundary and road data for the US Topo map series for the past five years, and is now working on a national dataset of recreational trails.
Also, a number of the new Wyoming maps contain segments of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) and other selected public trails. Further substantial upgrades to the new quadrangles include map symbol redesign, enhanced railroad information and new road source data. Some of the data for the trails is provided to the USGS through a nationwide “crowdsourcing” project managed by the International Mountain Biking Association.
The 3,100-mile long CDNST runs from Canada to Mexico through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Crossing the spine of the North American continent numerous times, it traverses some of America's most spectacular and isolated scenery, offering views unlike any other trail in the world.
This NST joins the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail the North Country National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, the Arizona National Scenic Trail, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail and the New England National Scenic Trail as being featured on the new US Topo quads. The USGS hopes to eventually include all National Scenic Trails in The National Map products.
Additionally, the new Wyoming US Topo maps will continue the inclusion and improvement of Public Land Survey System data. Wyoming was one of the first states to display this topographic layer several years ago. PLSS is a way of subdividing and describing land in the US. All lands in the public domain are subject to subdivision by this rectangular system of surveys, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for Wyoming and are available for free download from The National Map, the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website , or several other USGS applications.
To compare change over time, scans of legacy USGS topo maps, some dating back to the late 1800s, can be downloaded from the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection
For more information on US Topo maps: http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/Updated 2015 version of the Green River Lakes quadrangle with orthoimage turned on. (1:24,000 scale) (Larger image) Scan of the 1919 USGS quadrangle of the Fremont Peaks area from the USGS Historic Topographic Map Collection. (1:125,000 scale) (Larger image) Updated 2015 version of the Green River Lakes quadrangle with orthoimage turned off to better see the various trail networks. (1:24,000 scale) (Larger image)
The National Trails System was established by Act of Congress in 1968. The Act grants the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture authority over the National Trails System. The Act defines four types of trails. Two of these types, the National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails, can only be designated by Act of Congress. National scenic trails are extended trails located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, and cultural qualities of the area through which such trails may pass.
There are 11 National Scenic Trails:
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
- Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
- North Country National Scenic Trail
- Ice Age National Scenic Trail
- Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
- Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
- Florida National Scenic Trail
- Arizona National Scenic Trail
- New England National Scenic Trail
- Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail