Several large rivers in the U.S. are less acidic now, due to decreasing acidic inputs, such as industrial waste, acid mine drainage, and atmospheric deposition.
A USGS study showed that alkalinity, a measurement of a river's capacity to neutralize acid inputs, has increased over the past 65 years in 14 of the 23 rivers assessed in the U.S.
Reduced acidity levels were especially common in rivers in the Northeast, such as the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers; the Midwest, such as the Illinois and Ohio Rivers; and the Missouri River in the Great Plains.
"Long-term monitoring of streamflow and water-quality is essential to track how changes in climate and land use are impacting rivers and how riverine inputs may impact valuable commercial and recreational fisheries in estuaries across the Nation," said William Werkheiser, associate director for water. "Increasing alkalinity levels in large rivers across the country since 1945 is a positive trend."
Acidification of U.S. rivers in the early part of the 20th century was mostly associated with these acid inputs, which reduced the alkalinity of some rivers and caused them to become more acidic.
Increased alkalinity concentrations in large rivers draining a variety of climate and land-use types in this country are an indicator of recovery from acidification.
By looking at changes in multiple chemicals, scientists conducting the study found that the alkalinity increases were due to decreasing acidic inputs. The reasons for decreased acidic inputs have been diverse and include greater regulation of industrial emissions and waste treatment and increased use of agricultural lime.
"This study shows us that our cumulative management actions over the last half century have reduced acidity levels in U.S. rivers," said lead author Edward Stets, research ecologist at the USGS. "Acidification of rivers that empty into estuaries can adversely impact shell-bearing organisms such as oysters and crabs."
This study was published in the journal Science for the Total Environment. Information on USGS long-term water-quality monitoring can be accessed at the National Water-Quality Assessment Program page.
FEMA: Preparedness for Hurricane Arthur Still Essential along Northeast Coast; Residents and Visitors Should Follow Direction of Local Officials
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners continue to monitor Hurricane Arthur’s impact and northward track. The agency encourages those in Arthur’s path to listen to their local officials, monitor storm conditions and take steps to be prepared.Language English
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Sixty days after a violent storm system brought massive flooding to Northwest Florida, $66.5 million in disaster assistance has been approved to help homeowners, renters and business owners recover.
Residents affected by the storms and flooding from April 28 to May 6 in Escambia, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties have until Monday, July 21, to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.Language English
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its National Response Coordination Center in Washington and its regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, and in coordination with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, is continuing to monitor Hurricane Arthur.Language English
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – If your household is getting rental assistance from FEMA and repairs to your home are taking longer than expected, don’t forget you have to recertify your need to continue aid.
Alabama households currently receiving rental assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of damage from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding from April 28 through May 5 must provide the necessary paperwork to recertify for continued rental help.Language English
NEW YORK – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded Public Assistance grants for debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent work for Hurricane Sandy recovery projects.
Recent awards include:
• Nearly $12.2 million to Nassau County for waterway debris removal in Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Long Beach, Atlantic Beach, Cedarhurst, Freeport and Island Park.Language English
NEW YORK – The New York and New Jersey Sandy Recovery field offices are supporting a national initiative to maximize resilience and minimize risk. FEMA is encouraging those rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy to join the agency in its recognition of the 34th annual Building Safety Month (BSM) to promote the importance of high building standards, protecting the environment and saving energy.Language English
NEW YORK – FEMA has granted a six-month extension for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders affected by Hurricane Sandy to file proof-of-loss claims.
The deadline is Oct. 29, 2014.
NFIP usually requires policyholders to submit a fully documented, signed and sworn proof-of-loss claim within 60 days from the date of their loss.
The magnitude of the Sandy disaster is the reason for this extension that will give policyholders additional time to file claims. This is the third six-month extension.Language English
NEW YORK – In 18 months since Hurricane Sandy, federal assistance to New York totals nearly $8.7 billion. FEMA continues to assist the state in its recovery and with its resiliency plans so that it will be better able to withstand future storms.Language English
NEW YORK – New Yorkers know about severe weather. After Hurricane Sandy, 2013 brought 15 significant weather events to New York, including winter snow and ice storms, a tornado, extreme heat, brush fires, heavy rains and flooding. Two of those events resulted in major disaster declarations for the state.Language English
Those who received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency should take note of the date the letter was written. Appeals or submission of missing documents must be made within 60 days of that date.
Disaster survivors may request an appeal to review their cases regarding the amount or type of federal disaster assistance available.
The appeal must be in writing and explain why you disagree with a decision. Attach any new or additional documents supporting the appeal.Language English
Small plane makes emergency landing on Cape Henlopen beach; pilot and passenger both safe, plane undamaged
PENSACOLA, Fla. – At the request of the state of Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a 14-day extension for storm and flood survivors to register for disaster assistance.
The deadline to register is now Monday, July 21.
HAWAII ISLAND, Hawaiʻi — Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in 11 countries are visiting the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory this week to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes.
The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist scientists from other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions. Field exercises on Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes allow students to observe and operate a variety of instruments, and classroom instruction at the Observatory provides students the opportunity to interpret data, as well as plan a monitoring network for their home volcanoes. U.S. scientists are providing training on monitoring methods, data analysis and interpretation, and volcanic hazard assessment, and participants are taught about the use and maintenance of volcano monitoring instruments. Participants learn about forecasting events, responding rapidly during volcanic crises, and how to work with governing officials and the news media to save lives and property.
Organized by the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, with support from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and the joint USGS-U.S. Agency for International Development Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, the annual program has been training foreign scientists for 24 years. This year’s class includes 16 volcano scientists from Chile, Colombia Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.
“Hawaiian volcanoes offer an excellent teaching opportunity because our volcanoes are relatively accessible, they're active, and USGS staff scientists can teach while actually monitoring volcanic activity," said the USGS’s HVO Scientist-in-Charge, Jim Kauahikaua. “The small investment we make in training international scientists now goes a long way toward mitigating large volcanic disasters in the future.”
“Providing training in volcano hazards assessment and monitoring is by far the most cost effective strategy for reducing losses and saving lives for those developing nations exposed to high volcanic hazards risks,” said CSAV Director Donald Thomas. “The goal of our course is to provide our trainees with an understanding of the technologies that can be applied to an assessment of volcanic threats as well as how to interface with their respective communities to increase awareness of how to respond to those threats.”
“The training program directly benefits the United States, through international exchange of knowledge concerning volcanic eruptions, and it serves as an important element in our country’s humanitarian assistance and science diplomacy programs around the world,” said the USGS’s VDAP Chief, John Pallister.
The international participants are learning to use both traditional geological tools and the latest technology. To anticipate the future behavior of a volcano, basic geologic mapping brings an understanding of what a volcano is capable of doing, how frequently it has erupted in the past, and what kind of rocks, and ash it produces. Using Geographic Information Systems, the students learn to predict lava flow paths, conduct a vulnerability assessment, and tabulate the predicted costs associated with the damage from a lava flow. Participants are trained in the emerging field of infrasound monitoring, which is critical for rapidly detecting volcanic explosions and/or rift zone eruptions, as well as basic seismological fundamentals, and a survey of pre-eruptive seismic swarms at various volcanoes around the world. Monitoring and modeling deformation of a volcano focuses on different techniques from traditional leveling methods to GPS and satellite-based radar.
Providing critical training to international scientists began at HVO, leading to the creation of CSAV to continue the legacy. Since 1990, almost 200 scientists and civil workers from 29 countries have received training in volcano monitoring methods through CSAV. USGS’s HVO continues to provide instructors and field experiences for the courses, and VDAP has a long-term partnership with CSAV, providing instructors and co-sponsoring participants from countries around the world.