Great Lakes ERMA is an online mapping tool facilitating 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 providing information on natural resources, habitat, weather, water levels, and currents, Great Lakes ERMA includes the most comprehensive collection of environmental contaminant data for the region. This information is provided in a centralized, easy-to-use mapping system for use by environmental responders, resource managers, and other decision-makers.
Great Lakes ERMA improves planning, communication, and coordination for emergency response to pollution incidents such as oil and chemical spills. ERMA was heavily relied upon during the 2015 response to the leaking shipwreck Argo, a tank barge that sank in 1937. Over the course of the response, NOAA provided almost 30 trajectory forecasts for surface slicks, daily weather forecasts, and data management support via ERMA. During the response ERMA displayed NOAA charts and weather, NOAA and Canadian spill trajectories, spill modeling and aerial survey information, spill response plans, and data for sensitive species and habitats in the area.
By comparing environmental conditions over time and among locations, Great Lakes ERMA helps to track progress toward restoring the health of the Great Lakes. ERMA supports cleanup and restoration in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern by combining environmental data along with recreational, tribal, commercial, and manufacturing information. Great Lakes ERMA is also used to support NOAA’s work on the Kalamazoo River, where we are currently conducting a natural resource damage assessment.
NOAA collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, and and the University of New Hampshire's Coastal Response Research Center to develop Great Lakes ERMA as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. We continue to work with federal, state, regional, and non-governmental partners in the Great Lakes to incorporate additional regional data into Great Lakes ERMA, including spill response plans, information on potential climate change impacts, and environmental modeling and forecast data.