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Oil Spill Planning and Emergency Response

oil containment device in water

FWC/FWRI assists the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, FDEP, and local agencies with oil spill planning, response, damage assessment, and restoration.  Our State Scientific Support Coordinator and GIS support team provide spill responders with valuable scientific information from FWRI's researchers. This information is used to provide timely assessments of potential impacts, determine best cleanup strategies, and minimize ecological damage and monetary losses. The GIS team also supports a variety of response tools including the Florida Marine Spill Analysis System, Environmental Sensitivity Index maps, and Geographic Response Strategy Strategies.

screenshot from GRS viewer website

The Oil Spill Planning & Response Map Viewer contains Geographic Response Strategy (GRS) maps of site-specific protection strategies and Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps which identify critical habitats, species, and other socio-economic resources which may be at risk during an oil spill.


Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) identify priority protection sites, booming strategies, collection points, staging areas, and other tactical response information in our coastal waters. To facilitate the planning process, workshops are held each time the GRS is updated, bringing all stakeholders together to form a consensus on the priority of environmentally sensitive areas and their protection strategies. The protection strategies are designed to be flexible based on spill specific conditions and provide guidance for deploying the necessary assets to protect any given area. Weather, tides, currents and storms, as well as the availability of resources, all play a role in the final strategy agreed upon by Unified Command and deployed.


Explore GRS Maps online with the GRS Web Map Viewer

Download GRS Data at our GIS Download Site

View PDF versions of GRS Maps by US Coast Guard Sector:

Sector Mobile

Sector St. Petersburg

Sector Key West

Sector Miami

Sector Jacksonville

MSU Savannah

Sector Charleston

ESI map from Lostman's River ranger station

Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps provide a spatial view of coastal resources that could be at risk in the event of an oil spill. ESI maps are created by integrating data from numerous sources including fish and wildlife species information, habitat types, and presence of human-use resources such as public beaches and parks. This information is used to classify shorelines on a scale from 1 to 10 based on the the sensitivity to oil spill impacts. ESI maps accompany a detailed report of resources at risk which summarize known habitats, locations, seasonality, and life stage of all fish and wildlife species which occur within the designated area. 

ESI maps are used during the planning process to identify vulnerable areas prior to an oil spill event. During a spill, ESI maps help prioritize response efforts in the most sensitive areas and identify the best protection strategies for the particular resources occurring within the spill area. 

Explore ESI maps online with the Interactive Map Viewer.

Download GIS data for ESI Maps from the GIS Data Downloads site.

View PDF versions of ESI Maps using the ESI Map Atlas.



aerial map showing placement of oil spill devices

Area Contingency Plans (ACP) are created for each U.S. Coast Guard Sector to provide a comprehensive strategy for oil and hazardous material spill response. The GIS group at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) has partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard District 7 and Sector Mobile to make ACPs available in an easy-to-use digital format.

Explore ACPs by US Coast Guard Sector:

Sector Mobile

Sector St. Petersburg

Sector Key West

Sector Miami

Sector Jacksonville


Additional Information and Special Projects

Florida Marine Spill Analysis System (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. Learn more about the Florida Marine Spill Analysis System (FMSAS).

Florida’s Wildlife Contingency Plan for Oil Spill Response establishes a program for the recovery and rehabilitation of wildlife affected by oil and for protection of wildlife during spill response activities. Wildlife includes invertebrates, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals (terrestrial and marine). Learn more about the Florida’s Wildlife Contingency Plan for Oil Spill Response.

Hurricane Irma Displaced Vessel Response
FWC has taken the lead in responding to displaced vessels from Hurricane’s Irma and Michael.  Many of these damaged vessels contain pollutants such as gasoline, diesel, oil, and batteries and are displaced into sensitive environments such as seagrasses, salt marshes, coral reefs, and mangroves.  Thousands of vessels were displaced during the hurricanes, and FWRI applied proven oil spill response techniques to safely remove the pollutants and vessels while minimizing additional environmental damage. Learn more about the Hurricane Irma Displaced Vessel Response.

Contact Information

For additional information on oil spill planning and emergency response contact Timyn Rice at