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.
- 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.