What's New Archive

News from 2009-2010

Public Briefing on Tornadoes: Understanding How They Develop and Providing Early Warning, July 21, 2010

Public Briefing on Hurricanes and Oil Will Mix: Managing Risk Now, June 30 2010

Public Briefing on Drought Policy: Comparision of Australia and the United States, June 30, 2010

Congressional Briefing on Science, Preparation, and Resilience: What we can learn from the Haitian Earthquake of 2010
The American Geophysical Union, in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance and the Congressional Hazards Caucus, invite you to a briefing on "Science, Preparation, and Resilience: What we can learn from the Haitian Earthquake of 2010". The briefing will be held on May 6, 2010 from 10:30 - 12:00 pm in SVC-200, Capitol Visitors Center, and again from 2:00 - 3:30 pm in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building. Contact Elizabeth Landau (elandau@agu.org or 202-777-7535) to RSVP, or for more information.

Congressional Briefing on Reducing Volcano Risks: Progress Since the Cataclysmic Eruption of Mount St. Helens
The Geological Society of America, American Geological Institute, American Geophysical Union, and Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists, in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance and the Congressional Hazards Caucus, invite you to a briefing on "Reducing Volano Risks: Progress Since the Cataclysmic Eruption of Mount St. Helens". The briefing will be held on April 21, 2010 from 10:00 - 11:00 am in G-11 Dirksen Senate Office Building, and again from 3:30 - 4:30 pm in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building. Contact Dr. Craig Schiffries (cschiffries@geosociety.org) to RSVP, or for more information.

Congressional Briefing on Eroding Coastlines: Geological and Societal Impacts of Extreme Storms, Wetland Loss, and Sea Level Rise
The American Geophysical Union and Geological Society of America, in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance and the Congressional Hazards Caucus, invite you to a briefing on "Eroding Coastlines: Geological and Societal Impacts of Extreme Storms, Wetland Loss, and Sea Level Rise." The briefing will be held on November 18, 2009 from 11:30 - 12:30 pm in 2359 Rayburn. Contact Kaitlin Chell (kchell@agu.org) to RSVP, or for more information.

Congressional Briefing on The Future of Disaster Mitigation
The National Emergency Management Association, in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance and the Congressional Hazards Caucus, invite you to a briefing on "The Future of Disaster Mitigation: Integrating Operations, Insurance, and Building Codes into the Overall Mitigation Strategy". In June 2009, NEMA released a white paper titled “Recommendations for an Effective National Mitigation Effort.” The paper, and the preceding collaborative effort, was a successful example of the power of Federal, State, local, and organizational cooperation to call attention to disaster preparedness. Join us for a discussion on the future of mitigation. The briefing will be held on September 10, 2009 from 10:30 - 12:00 pm in 2253 Rayburn. Contact Alexa Noruk (anoruk@csg.org) to RSVP, or for more information.

Congressional Briefing on Disaster Preparedness: Lessons from the California ShakeOut
The Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, and Seismological Society of America, in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance and the Congressional Hazards Caucus, invite you to a briefing on "Disaster Preparedness: Lessons from the Great Southern California Shakeout". Over 5 million people participated in the Great Southern California ShakeOut, the largest disaster preparedness drill in U.S. history. The briefing will feature the science behind the ShakeOut and changes that are taking place to strengthen infrastructure and improve emergency response. The briefing will be held on July 29, 2009 from 2:30 - 3:30 pm in the Capitol Visitors Center (SVC 215). RSVP is required for entry by non-Hill staff. Contact Craig Schiffries (cschiffries@geosociety.org) for more information and to RSVP.

Congressional Briefing on Wildfires
The National Fire Protection Association and the American Geophysical Union, in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance and the Congressional Hazards Caucus, invite you to a briefing on "Climate Change and the Science of Safeguarding our Communities from Wildfires". The panel will explore the science and societal impacts of increasing wildfire frequency and intensity, the latest approaches to wildfire modeling and mitigation. The briefing will take place on July 6, 2009
from 10:30 - 12:00pm in 2103 Rayburn House Office Building.

Congressional Briefing on Long-term Recovery
The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance and the Congressional Hazards Caucus, invites you to a briefing on “Beyond Preparedness and Response: The Challenges of Long-Term Recovery” on March 10, 2009 in the Capitol Visitor Center (SVC 212/210) from 12-1:30pm. Contact Andy Garfinkel (ajg@broydrick.com) for more information and to RSVP.

News from 2007-2008

Congressional Briefing on Grand Challenges to Disaster Reduction
The Hazards Caucus Alliance in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus and the National Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction invite you to a public briefing on "Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction" on September 19, 2008 in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2325 at 12:00 pm.

Congressional Briefing on Levee Protection
The Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Hazards Caucus Alliance in association with the Congressional Hazards Caucus invite you to a public briefing on "Levee Protection: Working with the Geology and Environment to Build Resiliency" on June 19, 2008 in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2325 at 3:00 pm.

Congressional Briefing on Disaster Response - Critical Infrastructure and Workforce - Who Will Respond?
The Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and the Hazards Caucus Alliance in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus invites you to this public briefing on Disaster Response - Critical Infrastructure and Workforce - Who Will Respond? on April 15, 2008 in the Rayburn Office Building, Room 2325 at 3:00 pm.

Congressional Briefing on Flood Maps and Reducing Community Flood Risks
The Association of State Floodplain Managers, Dewberry Inc., URS Corporation, and the Hazards Caucus Alliance in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus invites you to a public briefing on Flood Maps and Reducing Community Flood Risks on April 10, 2008 in the Rayburn Office Building, Room 2325.

Congressional Briefing on Improving Tsunami Warnings Nationwide
The IRIS Consortium, the Seismological Society of America, the Geological Society of America, and the American Geophysical Union in cooperation with the Hazards Caucus Alliance invites you to a public briefing on Improving Tsunami Warnings Nationwide on March 14, 2008 in United States Capitol, Room HC-7.

Congressional Briefing on Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest
The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Seismological Society of America and the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus invites you to a public briefing on: Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest on October 11, 2007 in Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2325.

Congressional Briefing on Drought
The Geological Society of America in association with the Congressional Hazards Caucus and the Hazards Caucus Alliance invites you to a public briefing on "Managing Drought and Water Scarcity in Vulnerable Environments - A Roadmap for Change in the United States" on July 18, 2007.

Congressional Briefing on Hurricane Research
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), American Geophysical Union (AGU), National Weather Center, and The Weather Coalition in association with the Congressional Hazards Caucus and the Hazards Caucus Alliance invite you to a briefing on "A National Hurricane Research Initiative: Meeting Society's Needs" on July 10, 2007.

Congressional Briefing on the New Madrid Fault Zone
Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance will hold a briefing on "The New Madrid Fault Zone: Geology, Engineering and Emergency Management to Reduce Earthquake Risks" on June 30, 2007.

Congressional Briefing on Coastal Vulnerabilities
The Disasters Roundtable of the National Academies in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance and the Coastal States Organization will hold a briefing on "Protecting Lives and Property at the Coastlines" on March 29, 2007.

Congressional Briefing on Communications
The Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance in cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus will hold a briefing on Thursday, February 8, 2007, on "End to End Disaster Communications".

News from 2006 - 2005

Congressional Briefing on Drought
The Congressional Hazards Caucus in association with the Geological Society of America held a briefing on Wednesday, September 27, 2006, on "Drought: Strategies to Ensure Adequate Water Resources for Future Generations". The briefing featured an introduction by Senator Ben Nelson on drought mitigation. Speakers from the Desert Research Institute in Nevada, the National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Department of Natural Resources of South Carolina discussed approaches to prepare for and reduce the impacts of drought. (10/26/06)

Congressional Briefing on Hurricane Katrina and Insurance Costs
The Congressional Hazards Caucus in association with the Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado and the American Sociological Association held a briefing on Friday, June 23, 2006 on lessons learned through social science studies in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a summary of a new report from the National Academies on "Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions" and a new study being initiated by economists, social scientists and others to understand the motivations for purchasing or not purchasing natural hazards insurance. A PDF of the agenda is available here. More information is available on all three projects at the following web sites:
Natural Hazards Center
National Academies Study: "Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions"
Insuring and Mitigating Risks of Large-Scale Natural Disasters Study
(8/10/06)

Congressional Briefing on Tornadoes
The Congressional Hazards Caucus and Alliance held a briefing on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, on "Tornadoes: How They Form and How Well We Can Forecast Them". The briefing featured an introduction by Congressman Dennis Moore about the risks associated with tornadoes and the need for congressional cooperation in mitigating these risks. Speakers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Weather Channel and the Severe Weather Research Center in Boulder Colorado discussed methods to extend warning times and enhance communications about tornado warnings to the public. Speaker presentations are available here. (6/16/06)

Congressional Briefing on Mitigation Costs
The Congressional Hazards Caucus and Alliance held a briefing on Friday, February 3, 2006, on "Benefits of Mitigation: Overview of Assessments of Future Savings". The briefing featured an introduction by David Maurstad, Acting Mitigation Division Director and Federal Insurance Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Speakers from the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pennsylvania State University discussed two recent reports about the costs and benefits of mitigation practices. The first report, prepared by the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council is entitled "Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: An Independent Study to Assess the Future Savings from Mitigation Activities". The second report, prepared by the National Academies is entitled "Improved Seismic Monitoring, Improved Decision-Making: Assessing the Value of Reduced Uncertainty". Speaker presentations are available here. (6/16/06)

National Academies Report on Louisiana Coastal Restoration
The National Academies have released an interim report on their study entitled "Drawing Louisiana's New Map: Addressing Land Loss in Coastal Louisiana". The report reviews the scientific merit and long-term effectiveness of a restoration plan, the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA), proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the state of Louisiana. The LCA would cost about $1.9 billion over 10 years and is meant to slow and possibly reverse the loss rates of coastal lands. The interim report finds the projects within LCA scientifically sound, but not comprehensive enough for long-term effectiveness. The Committee on the Restoration and Protection of Coastal Louisiana recommends more and larger-scale projects to reduce land loss and to deal with hurricane protection and the rebuilding of communities devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For more information about the committee or the report please contact the National Academies' Ocean Studies Board at 202-334-2714 or visit their website. The full text of the report is available here. (11/2/05)

Hazards Caucus Alliance Briefing on Coastal Flooding
The Hazards Caucus Alliance held its last briefing of 2005 on Tuesday, November 1, on "Coastal Flooding: Understanding the Hazard and Protecting Communities." The well-attended briefing featured speakers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Geological Survey, FM Global Insurance, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The speakers covered a wide range of topics, including the lessons that can be learned from storm surge modeling, the importance of natural hurricane barriers, how levees can provide a false sense of security, and the economic and environmental concerns that must be accounted for in sustainable coastal zone management. Speaker presentations are available here. (11/2/05)

U.S. Geological Survey Briefing on Hurricanes
On Friday, October 28, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) hosted a briefing on the role of science in reducing the nation's hurricane risk. The Department of the Interior and the USGS discussed how science can reduce the nation's risk to hurricanes and their aftermath. This briefing was sponsored by U.S. Representative James Moran, U.S. Senator James DeMint, the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Geological Institute. The speakers included Lynn Scarlett, Assistant Secretary for Policy Management and Budget, Department of the Interior; Patrick Leahy, Acting Director USGS; and Abby Sallenger, a USGS scientist with expertise on coastal erosion related to hurricanes. For more information, see this USGS media advisory. (10/31/05)

UCAR and Hazards Caucus Alliance Briefing on Hurricane Prediction
On October 11, 2005, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the Hazards Caucus Alliance co-sponsored a luncheon briefing on "Hurricane Prediction, Oil Rigs, and Insurance: Katrina, Rita, and Beyond." The briefing focused on new advances in hurricane prediction science and technology and how these advances are used to reduce the loss of life and the destruction of property and infrastructure. For more information read a summary of the briefing. A new fact sheet on hurricanes is also available. (10/3/05)

Updated Status of Hazards-Related Legislation
A devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean caused by the Sumatra earthquake on December 26, 2004 brought the world's attention back to the power of nature and the need for hazards preparation and mitigation. Hurricane Katrina, a record-breaking number of Atlantic Ocean storms and another devastating earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 continue to draw the attention and concern of the United States government. Congress has responded to these disasters by introducing and advancing several pieces of legislation to address America's hazard readiness. Congressional committees have also held numerous oversight hearings on the work federal agencies and other organizations are doing to alert and protect the public. A list of hazard-related legislation provides an updated look at how Congress is addressing these concerns. (7/19/05)


For More Information

The alliance is currently seeking additional members of the caucus as well as organizations interested in joining the alliance. Please contact Linda Rowan at the American Geological Institute (703-379-2480, ext. 228; rowan@agiweb.org)



Images in header, from left to right: Flooded homes in Iowa, copyright © Lynn Betts NRCS; Tornado in Dimmit, Texas, 1995, courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake damage, courtesy C. Stover, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); Hurricane Floyd, 1999, copyright © NASA, Visible Earth; Wildland Fire, courtesy USGS. These and other images are accessible through the American Geological Institute Earth Science World Image Bank.

Contributed by Katie Ackerly and Linda Rowan, AGI Government Affairs Staff

Posted: June 11, 2000; Last updated March 18, 2011

Please send any comments or questions about this web site to Linda Rowan.