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ESI Guidelines

Three scientists investigate an Alaska shoreline.
ESI maps use shoreline rankings to rate how sensitive an area of shoreline would be to an oil spill. (NOAA)

Using Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps can help oil spill responders and planners identify vulnerable coastal locations, so that they can establish protection priorities and identify cleanup strategies before a spill happens. The 2002 ESI Guidelines document is an in-depth report that summarizes the ESI methodology and how ESI maps and data are being developed and distributed using GIS technology. Primary objectives of the report:

  • Outline basic elements of a sensitivity mapping system.
  • Guide collection and synthesis of data.
  • Define data structure for a digital ESI application using GIS technology.

Some of the information in the ESI Guidelines report has been updated since 2002, including the list of published ESI atlases and the master species list. (Regional collections of ESI maps are called ESI atlases.) However, the majority of the information in this 192-page report is still applicable. There have been a few changes, primarily additions, to the ESI data tables, but the underlying structure remains the same as it appears in this document.

View and Print the Guidelines: ESI Guidelines [PDF, 3.1 MB]

Questions: Contact us with your questions, comments, or suggestions for the ESI Guidelines.