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NOAA Launches Great Lakes Online Mapping Tool



September 17, 2013
Great Lakes Environmental Response Management Application

The new Great Lakes Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) helps to illustrate progress in cleaning up contaminated sediment and restoring the health of the Great Lakes.

NOAA has launched a new online mapping tool for the Great Lakes region that will give decision makers, resource managers, and environmental responders better information as they clean up hazardous materials and restore the coastal and estuarine environments.

The new Great Lakes Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) features the most comprehensive collection of environmental contaminant data in the region, as well as information on natural resources, habitats, weather, water levels, and currents.  It adds to ERMA coverage in other regions around the nation, and focuses on coastal areas in the Great Lakes Basin from Minnesota to New York and from Ontario to Quebec in Canada.

Great Lakes ERMA integrates both static and real-time data from NOAA and other partners into a centralized, easy-to-use format. By combining environmental contaminant data from NOAA's Great Lakes Query Manager database with ecological, recreational, cultural, and commercial information, resource managers can compare environmental conditions over time and between locations. The tool also helps to illustrate progress in cleaning up contaminated sediment and restoring the health of the Great Lakes, both across the basin and in Areas of Concern – areas identified by the U.S. and Canada as polluted and in need of cleanup and restoration.

In addition to addressing environmental cleanup and restoration under the initiative, Great Lakes ERMA also improves planning, communication, and coordination for emergency responses to pollution incidents, such as oil and chemical spills. It integrates information from a variety of sources into a common picture, which can provide the response team with a quick visualization of the situation.

As part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, NOAA developed Great Lakes ERMA,  in collaboration with EPAU.S. Coast Guard, and University of New Hampshire

NOAA continues to work with federal, state, regional and non-governmental partners in the Great Lakes to incorporate additional, regionally relevant data and information into Great Lakes ERMA, including restoration projects and alternatives, potential climate change impacts, spill response plans, and environmental modeling and forecasts.

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NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) is a center of expertise in preparing for, evaluating, and responding to threats to coastal environments, including oil and chemical spills, releases from hazardous waste sites, and marine debris.

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