This service shows the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) developed for Northern California in 2008. Both linear and polygonal shoreline features are included here. Associated GIS datasets can be downloadedÂ
ESI maps use shoreline rankings to rate how sensitive an area of shoreline would be to an oil spill. The ranking scale goes from 1 to 10.
A rank of 1 represents shorelines with theÂ least susceptibility to damageÂ by oiling. Examples include steep, exposed rocky cliffs and banks. The oil cannot penetrate into the rock and will be washed off quickly by the waves and tides.
A rank of 10 represents shorelinesÂ most likely to be damagedÂ by oiling. Examples include protected, vegetated wetlands, such as mangrove swamps and saltwater marshes. Oil in these areas will remain for a long period of time, penetrate deeply into the substrate, and inflict damage to many kinds of plants and animals.Â
You can also visit NOAA's photo collection,Â ESI Shoreline Types, to see photos of many ofÂ the shoreline types.
Classifying Shorelines for ESI Maps
To assign each shoreline a rank from 1 to 10, ESI map developers use information and observations from a combination of sources:
- Aerial photography
- Remotely sensed data
- Ground truthing (visits to individual shorelines to assess aerial observations)
- Existing maps and data
Establishing Shoreline Rankings
ESI shoreline rankings are defined using factors that influence sensitivity to oiling, including:
More Information about ESI Maps
- Relative exposure to waves and tidal energy
- Biological productivity and sensitivity
- Substrate type (grain size, permeability, trafficability, and mobility)
- Shoreline slope
- Ease of cleanup
- Ease of restoration
Anatomy of ESI Maps
:Â Learn about the basic elements of ESI maps.
:Â Learn how ESI maps categorize and display oil-sensitive animals and their habitats, and habitats that are themselves sensitive to spilled oil (such as coral reefs).
:Â Learn how ESI maps categorize and display the location of human-use resources (such as public beaches) that are vulnerable to oil spills, or that could be used as access points for oil spill cleanup.