Great Lakes ERMA

Great Lakes ERMA® is an online mapping tool for coastal pollution cleanup, restoration, and response efforts in the Great Lakes Basin, from Minnesota to New York in the United States and from Ontario to Quebec in Canada.

In addition to information on natural resources, habitat, weather, water levels, and currents, it includes the most comprehensive collection of environmental contaminant data in the Great Lakes. Great Lakes ERMA gathers all of this data from NOAA and our partners into a centralized, easy-to-use map for environmental responders, resource managers, and decision makers.

NOAA, as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, and University of New Hampshire to develop Great Lakes ERMA. Great Lakes ERMA is helping expedite cleanup and restoration of Areas of Concern (AOCs) by combining environmental contaminant data from NOAA's Great Lakes Query Manager database with ecological, recreational, tribal, commercial, and manufacturing information.

By comparing environmental conditions over time and between locations, ERMA helps to illustrate progress in restoring the health of the Great Lakes, both across the basin and in Areas of Concern. This online mapping tool also improves planning, communication, and coordination for emergency responses to pollution incidents, such as oil and chemical spills.

NOAA continues to work with federal, state, regional, and non-governmental partners in the Great Lakes to incorporate additional regional data and information into Great Lakes ERMA, including spill response plans, potential climate change impacts, and environmental modeling and forecasts.

Visit Great Lakes ERMA. Note: A user name and password is required to view some of the response data.

Great Lakes ERMA screenshot.

Great Lakes ERMA, shown above, displays Areas of Concern, areas identified by the U.S. and Canada as polluted and in need of cleanup and restoration, and NOAA Query Manager sediment sampling stations (orange points). This tool can help illustrate progress in restoring the health of the Great Lakes. (NOAA)

More Information about ERMA

ERMA is designed to:

  • Aid in spill preparedness and planning.
  • Assist in coordinating emergency response efforts and situational awareness for human and natural disasters.
  • Help define the extent of potential environmental impacts, supporting the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process.
  • Support ecological recovery and restoration efforts.
  • Provide access to hazard-related information from anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • Visualize data from a variety of sources, with the ability to include additional media such as photos and links to scientific reports.
  • Allow you to customize the data displayed, so you see only the information needed to make a specific decision or action plan.
  • Tell a story or reconstruct the history of an event using animated layers of information.

The application has been customized with specific data for 10 ERMA sites covering the United States and its territories. ERMA sites have secure-access accounts; however, publicly available environmental and baseline data are openly accessible for all regions.

ERMA Overview: Find out more information about the ERMA application.


Questions: Contact us with your questions, comments, or suggestions for ERMA.