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Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request

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Notice; request for comments for a new information collection.


We (the U.S. Geological Survey) will ask the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the information collection (IC) described below. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, and as part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, we invite the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on this IC.


You must submit comments on or before August 10, 2012.


Please submit a copy of your comments to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive MS 807, Reston, VA 20192 (mail); (703) 648-7199 (fax); or (email). Use Information Collection Number 1028-NEW, Ash Fall Report in the subject line.


To request additional information about this IC, contact Peter Cervelli at 650-329-5188 or


I. Abstract

The USGS provides warnings and notification to the public of volcanic activity in the U.S. in order to reduce the loss of life, property, and economic and societal impacts. USGS will use reports entered in real time by respondents of ash fall in their local area to correct or refine ash fall forecasts as the ash cloud moves downwind. Retrospectively these reports will enable USGS to improve their ash fall models and further research into eruptive processes.

This project will create a database module and web interface allowing the public and Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) staff to enter reports of ash fall in their local area in real time and retrospectively following an eruptive event. Users browsing the AVO Web site during eruptions will be directed towards a web form allowing them to fill in ash fall information and submit the information to AVO.

Compiled ash fall reports will be available in real-time to AVO staff through the AVO internal Web site. A pre-formatted summary report or table that distills information received online will show ash fall reports in chronological order with key fields including (1) date and time of ash fall, (2) location, (3) positive or negative ash fall (4) name of observer, and (5) contact information should be easily viewable on the report so that calls for clarification can be made by AVO staff quickly and Operations room staff can visualize the information quickly.

Ash fall report data will also be displayed on a dynamic map interface and show positive (yes ash) and negative (no ash) ash fall reports by location. Ash fall reports (icons) will be publically displayed for a period of 24 hours and shaded differently as they age so that the age of reports is obvious.

The ash fall report database will help AVO track eruption clouds and associated fallout downwind. These reports from the public will also give scientists a more complete record of the amount and duration and other conditions of ash fall. Getting first-hand accounts of ash fall will support model ash fall development and interpretation of satellite imagery. AVO scientists will—as time allows—be able to contact the individuals using their entered contact information for clarification and details. Knowing the locations from which ash-fall reports have been filed will improve ash fall warning messages, AVO Volcanic Activity Notifications, and make fieldwork more efficient. AVO staff will be able to condense and summarize the various ash fall reports and forward that information on to emergency management agencies and the wider public. The online form will also free up resources during exceedingly busy times during an eruption, as most individuals currently phone AVO with their reports.

II. Data

Title: USGS Ash Fall Report.

OMB Control Number: 1028-NEW.

Type of Request: This is a new request.

Affected Public: General Public.

Respondent Obligation: Voluntary.

Frequency of Collection: On occasion, after each ash fall event.

Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: Approximately 200 individuals affected by a volcanic ash fall event each year.

Estimated Number of Responses: 250.

Annual Burden Hours: 21 hours.

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden: We estimate the public reporting burden will average 5 minutes per response. This includes the time for reviewing instructions, and answering a web-based questionnaire.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-Hour Cost” Burden: We have not identified any “non-hour cost” burdens associated with this collection of information.

Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.) provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Until OMB approves a collection of information, you are not obligated to respond.

III. Request for Comments

We are soliciting comments as to: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the agency to perform its duties, including whether the information is useful; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) how to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) how to minimize the burden on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Please note that the comments submitted in response to this notice are a matter of public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request to OMB to approve this IC. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask OMB in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it will be done.

Dated: June 1, 2012.

Leslie Holland-Bartels,

USGS Regional Executive, Alaska Area.

[FR Doc. 2012-14069 Filed 6-8-12; 8:45 am]