CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA) GeoSpatial Services (GS) business line is using remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to map shoreline sensitivity to oil spills in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) is a widely used system for ranking and classifying shoreline sensitivity based on characteristics such as degree of wave energy, potential penetration of oil into the substrate, and natural oil retention times of the shore type. This type of information is crucial to mitigate the potential impact of an oil spill.

With increased offshore energy exploration and development activities in the eastern Mediterranean, shorelines in this region are increasingly at risk of exposure to oil spills and other incidents. The challenges of security and accessibility in these countries makes traditional approaches of aerial and ground surveys difficult, particularly for the considerable length of these Mediterranean shorelines.

CSA GS has developed a technique to acquire, examine, and interpret high-resolution, georeferenced satellite imagery and assign ESI Shore Types to digital shoreline segments in GIS. The technique can be applied to any shoreline in the world for which an understanding of coastal environments is of interest. Because the work occurs within the spatial framework of GIS, it enables the integration of other layers of spatial data such as sensitive resources, oil spill model trajectories, environmental sampling designs, and response plans. Once integrated into GIS, the shoreline classifications can also be made available online through a secure, web-accessible GeoPortal that is designed and operated by CSA, without the need for third-party web publishing.

Keith VanGraafeiland, Director of the CSA GeoSpatial Services business line, offers, “CSA has previously completed ESI Shore Type mapping in the eastern Mediterranean as part of an Environmental Baseline Survey and Environmental Impact Assessment conducted for oil and gas interests. CSA GeoSpatial Services has plans to expand the analysis to benefit other countries in the region, and potentially in other parts of the world.” This application is part of CSA’s Marine Environmental Services for Spill Response, in which CSA assists energy sector clients in preparing for and responding to oil and gas releases and associated damage assessments.

For more information on CSA’s capabilities and marine environmental services for spill response, please visit our website at www.csaocean.com or call 772-219-3000.

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. specializes in consulting services for Federal, State, and private industry clients in multidisciplinary projects, integrating science and technology to evaluate environmental activities throughout the world. CSA offers a wide variety of services related to environmental management and community planning to support clients working in marine, estuarine, wetland, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats throughout the United States and overseas.

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