The results of this project can have far-reaching applications not only with spill preparation, prevention, and response but also general environmental compliance and understanding of an organization’s influence on the natural ecology of a region as the data is stored and easily accessible on a web application.
Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) has developed 400 site-specific Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) for the BC coastline as a proactive approach to emergency response in the event of an oil spill. Site-specific GRS are two-page operational documents that are developed for segments of shoreline identified as being sensitive to oiling and cleanup activities. Site-specific GRS identify the location of sensitive biological, cultural, and economic shoreline features, and describe protection methods, such as spill response equipment requirements and deployment methods, with logistical and safety considerations. They are intended to be used in the emergency phase of a response (0-24 hours following an incident) to prevent oil from hitting the shoreline.
Ausenco is working with WCMRC to enhance the existing program and automate GRS development, with Howe Sound being used as an initial project enhancement area. Our team was responsible for the following tasks:
- Collate spatial biological, social, cultural, and economic data sets for Howe Sound and organize them into a spatial database
- Compile a matrix on sensitivity ratings for biological, social, cultural, and economic features pertinent to Howe Sound and conduct a data gap analysis
- Develop spatial analysis methodology to interrogate the spatial database and identify segments of shoreline in Howe Sound rated as sensitive to oiling and clean-up activities
- Develop site-specific GRS for sensitive shoreline segments
- Build a web-mapping application to integrate the spatial database and analysis outputs and allow for expanding on a sensitive shoreline segment to view attributes and associated GRS for quick and efficient deployment during emergency spill response.
The results of this project can have far-reaching applications not only with spill preparation, prevention, and response but also general environmental compliance and understanding of an organization’s influence on the natural ecology of a region as the data is stored and easily accessible on a web application. Centralizing and managing GRS information using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and databases significantly reduced the time and effort required to generate and update GRS.
The application can be developed for either marine (i.e., development of GRS) or inland ecosystems (i.e., development of “Wildlife Response Plans”) to allow an organization to better prevent and prepare for emergency response. The application can easily be tailored to a client’s requirements and be updated as new site-specific or regional-specific ecological data becomes available. This application is a powerful tool that can form part of an organization’s overall risk management framework.