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News from the ESI Team

December 15, 2021 — Here are our latest announcements. 

ESI Next Generation Workshop Report Released

Cover page of the December 2021 ESI Workshop Report.

Click image to download a PDF version of the ESI Workshop Report.

OR&R recently released a report detailing the proceedings and recommendations of a virtual workshop on the next generation of the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) program and products. The workshop took place in the fall of 2020 and roughly 80 people attended each of the four days, representing a diverse group of federal agencies, state agencies, tribal representatives, private industry, and nonprofit organizations. OR&R thanks all of the participants in the workshop for sharing their valuable insights and ideas and contributing to the future of the ESI program. 

The primary objective of the workshop was to explore the future of ESI mapping in a constrained budget environment. With no funding for ESIs from NOAA’s base budget in recent years, the program must either drastically cut costs or identify new funding sources in order to continue producing up-to-date products and meet the critical response and planning needs of users across the country. The workshop explored what data is most important, how the data is used, and what NOAA can do to keep the ESI product as useful as possible.

Download the report [PDF, 2.7 MB].

New ESI Products in 2021

The ESI program released new data and maps for two critical links in the Great Lakes region in November 2021. Work was completed in July to refresh ESI data for the St Marys and St Lawrence Rivers, and the maps are now available for download from the OR&R website, as well as through Great Lakes ERMA® (Environmental Response Management Application). Funding for this critical update was provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.

These rivers are high-risk corridors for an oil or chemical spill due to transport by rail, pipeline, and commercial shipping, and they contain diverse and sensitive habitats that have undergone substantial restoration enhancements since the creation of the original maps more than three decades ago. The previous ESI maps for the St Marys and St Lawrence Rivers dated to 1986 and 1985, respectively. This update will allow the new data to be fully incorporated into the digital analysis tools in ERMA. 

The refresh of Great Lakes ESI maps will continue with updates for Lake Erie due in FY22.

ESI Updates in Recent Years
ESI Atlas Year Updated
Straits of Mackinac 2019
St. Clair/Detroit River System 2019
Maine & New Hampshire 2016
Massachusetts & Rhode Island 2016
Chesapeake Bay & Outer Coasts of Maryland and Virginia 2016
North Carolina 2016
Northwest Peninsular Florida 2016
Southwest Peninsular Florida 2016
New York and New Jersey (Metro, Hudson, S. Long Island) 2016
Long Island Sound 2016

When completed, ESI maps and data are available for download from the ESI Downloads page, as well as included in OR&R’s online mapping tool, ERMA.

Archived News from the ESI Blog

November 14, 2014: Evolution of the ESI Map
July 11, 2014: Sandy ESI Status Update
January 21, 2014: Highlighting 2013: Previewing 2014
November 18, 2013: Updated ESIs to Improve Disaster Response and Planning
June 3, 2013: Florida Panhandle ESI Correction
April 24, 2013: Announcing ESI Data Online!
April 4, 2013: PDF Maps for the Florida Panhandle
February 14, 2013: Hitting the Road for the South Florida ESI Review
January 9, 2013: Zeroing in on Threatened and Endangered Species
December 12, 2012: Announcing the New ESI Blog

Questions: Contact us with questions, comments, or suggestions about ESI maps and data.

Last updated Tuesday, January 11, 2022 12:22am PST