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natural resources conservation service

Give a Dam

This year marks the 133rd anniversary of the dam breach that took the lives of more than 2,200 people and galvanized the nation to ensure such a tragic event could not happen again. On May 31, 1889, torrential rain and subsequent flooding caused the South Fork Dam to fail near Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Changes in ownership, lack of oversight, and unsound improvements increased the probability of a dam failure rather than prevent one. When the dam gave way, over 20 million tons of water caused a catastrophic torrent downstream. A 40-foot wave traveling 40 miles per hour crashed into Johnstown demolishing the town.

USDA Continues to Expand Opportunities and Support to Small Businesses

As May comes to a close, USDA reflects on recent activities to support small businesses nationwide. The first of the month marked the start of National Small Business Week 2022. In recognition of the observance, USDA’s national and state office leadership connected with small businesses in states and territories that have limited procurement activities. The goal was to highlight federal opportunities to help build and grow their businesses.

New Snowpack and Precipitation Normals Now Available

Recently, the Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting (SSWSF) Program published new 30-year hydroclimatic normal values or “normals” for snowpack and precipitation at western U.S. monitoring stations. This information serves as a benchmark for assessing water supply conditions and is used by producers, natural resource managers and the research community.

Virginia Schools Pilot Offers Food Waste Education

Through a unique collaboration with USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production, food leftovers from six district schools in Prince William County, Virginia, are now being sorted, bagged, and collected before being mixed with organic yard waste and processed into compost at the county’s recycling center. In the first six weeks of the program, almost eight tons of food scraps have been recycled rather than buried in the county landfill.