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Southwest ERMA

Two people looking at a lighthouse.
Visitors look out at California's historic Point Arena Lighthouse, which sits near the new northern boundary of the expanded Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Image credit: Matt McIntosh/NOAA.

Visit Southwest ERMA to visualize data and explore the region.


Southwest ERMA is an online mapping tool for the coastal California region that brings a variety of data together into a single interactive mapping application. The region is known for diverse ecosystems like kelp forests and rocky intertidal beaches, marine mammals, sea turtles, and recreational opportunities at its many National Marine Sanctuaries. California also faces challenges like oil spills and natural disasters that put these marine resources at risk. ERMA allows quick visualization of environmental conditions and improves communication and coordination for emergency response, response planning, and restoration efforts.

    A screenshot of a map
    Abandoned and derelict vessel location throughout California collected by USCG. This data is used to inventory vessels that have been abandoned and may be candidates for removal as marine debris.

    Emergency Response

    • ERMA is a critical tool for oil spill response. During the Refugio State Beach Oil Spill near Santa Barbara, California, ERMA provided information and visualization tools for spill responders, while serving as a central tool for NOAA and other natural resource trustees conducting the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). 
    • In addition to real-time response information, Southwest ERMA provides valuable spill response planning information. The Area Contingency Plans (ACP) developed by regional response teams are publicly available on Southwest ERMA and updated by the State of California Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR). 
    • ERMA is also used by the U.S. Coast Guard to map derelict and abandoned vessel inventories and identify which vessels are candidates for action and removal.
    Last updated Wednesday, September 28, 2022 2:35pm PDT