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Agency Information Collection Activities; USGS Ashfall Report

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U.S. Geological Survey, Interior.


Notice of information collection; request for comment.


In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are proposing to renew an information collection.


Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before July 8, 2019.


Send your comments on this information collection request (ICR) by mail to U.S. Geological Survey, Information Collections Officer, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive MS 159, Reston, VA 20192; or by email to Please reference OMB Control Number 1028-0106 in the subject line of your comments.

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To request additional information about this ICR, contact Kristi Wallace by email at, or by telephone at (907) 786-7109.

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In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format.

We are soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of the USGS; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the USGS enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the USGS minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

Comments that you submit 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 ICR. 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 us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.


The USGS provides notifications and warnings to the public of volcanic activity in the US in order to reduce the loss of life, property, and economic and societal impacts. Ash fallout to the ground can pose significant disruption and damage to buildings, transportation, water and wastewater, power supply, communications equipment, agriculture, and primary production leading to potentially substantial societal impacts and costs, even at thicknesses of only a few millimeters or inches. Additionally, fine-grained ash, when ingested can cause health impacts to humans and animals. USGS will use reports entered in real time by respondents of ashfall in their local area to correct or refine ashfall forecasts as the ash cloud moves downwind. Retrospectively these reports will enable USGS to improve their ashfall models and further research into eruptive processes.Start Printed Page 20161

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

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

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

The ashfall 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 ashfall. Getting first-hand accounts of ashfall will support model ashfall 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 ashfall reports have been filed will improve ashfall warning messages, AVO Volcanic Activity Notifications, and make fieldwork more efficient. AVO staff will be able to condense and summarize the various ashfall 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.

Title of Collection: USGS Ashfall Report.

OMB Control Number: 1028-0106.

Form Number: None.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Respondents/Affected Public: General Public, local governments and emergency managers.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: We are likely to ask individuals to respond 1-6 times year which is the number of past eruptions we have during any one year in Alaska.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: Approximately 250 individuals affected by a volcanic ashfall event each year.

Estimated Completion Time per Response: 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.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 21 hours.

Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

Frequency of Collection: On occasion, after each ashfall event.

Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: We have not identified any “non-hour cost” burdens associated with this collection of information.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq).

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Thomas Murray,

Director, Volcano Science Center.

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[FR Doc. 2019-09400 Filed 5-7-19; 8:45 am]