Through the use of GIS technology, the Center for Spatial Analysis assists the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Environmental Protection in the event of an oil spill. These analyses assist decision-makers in developing response and clean-up strategies, in prioritizing response efforts, and in assessing damage after a spill.
The Geographic Response Plan (GRP) is composed of a series of maps and site-specific response locations termed priority protection areas. Each GRP map serves as oil spill responders quick reference guide to the resources at risk which are prioritized based on their sensitivity to oil and a protection strategy to be used during an emergency response.
The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) has partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard to make several of the Coast Guard's Area Contingency Plans, an oil and hazardous material spill planning and response tool, digitally available on DVD and the Web.
The Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) is a measure of coastal zone natural resources as depicted through the use of maps and atlases. ESI is used in oil spill evaluation, prevention, and clean up capabilities.
FMSAS is a GIS used in response to oil or chemical spills. By providing timely assessments of the potential impacts on surrounding habitats, decision-makers can better determine cleanup procedures, thereby minimizing ecological damage and monetary loss.
In response to the Federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (National Contingency Plan, or NCP) update of 1994 stipulates that Area Contingency Plans (ACPs) contain a Fish and Wildlife and Sensitive Environments Plan “in order to provide for coordinated, immediate and effective protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of, and minimization of risk of injury to, fish and wildlife resources and habitat.”