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The Environmental Baseline Inventory

 

Louisiana’s oil spill cleanup plans, response procedures, and damage assessments all depend on one thing – reliable data. But just collecting information isn’t enough. The data must be arranged in easy to use formats that dovetail with users’ needs. The Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office (LOSCO) developed a database that meets all of these criteria, and in the process, we are breaking new ground in mapping and information collection techniques. Called the Environmental Baseline Inventory (EBI), the database includes three components:

  • An inventory program, which overlays detailed information on a three-dimensional map of the State of Louisiana
  • A sampling and analysis program, which is determining baseline soil conditions throughout coastal Louisiana
  • A mapping program, which makes the entire database available to users on CD-ROM and/or the Internet
   

The Inventory

 

LOSCO gathered information from more than 20 federal and state agencies – information that provides vital assistance to oil spill contingency planners and responders. The inventory will be updated and refined as new information becomes available. The database, which is being compiled in Geographic Information System (GIS) format includes:

  • locations of transportation systems, including roads, railroad lines, and navigated waterways
  • locations of protected areas, such as wildlife refuges and bird sanctuaries
  • locations of sensitive environments, such as fish hatcheries, oyster leases, and bird colonies
  • potential oil spill locations, such as oil wells, crude oil tanks, shipping lanes, oil platforms, and pipelines
  • ocean currents
  • past hurricane tracks
  • locations of monitoring points for the sampling and analysis program
  • remedial action facilities, such as dispersant areas, in situ burn zones, in situ exclusion zones, response equipment locations, and oil reclamation and disposal facilities
  • the locations of past spills over 10,000 gallons
  • the locations of past spills under 10,000 gallons

To serve as a framework for this data, LOSCO developed an electronic base map of Louisiana, which meets United States Geological Survey (USGS) standards. The base map consists of one meter resolution, color infrared digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles (CIR DOQQs). The technology used to create this map allows for unprecedented clarity and detail. In fact, LOSCO’s elevation mapping component using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology is being used as a model for similar efforts world-wide.

   

The Sampling and Analysis Program

 

The program was designed to assess the baseline levels of petroleum hydrocarbons in Louisiana soils. With this data on hand, federal and state agencies and Responsible Parties will be able to compare pre- and post-spill conditions. Such a comparison will help determine the impacts of specific oil spills.

The program involved taking samples at 1,180 monitoring points across coastal Louisiana. The targeted monitoring area focused primarily on coastal Louisiana and major navigated rivers. In the first phase of the program, samples were taken at each monitoring point once a year from 1997 to 1999. Field results are available at http://lagic.lsu.edu/loscoweb.

The samples were then analyzed in the lab to determine the amount of petroleum hydrocarbons present. LOSCO is now reviewing the data for quality assurance purposes. Once the quality assurance process is complete, the laboratory methodology and results will be posted on the Internet.

   

The Mapping Program

 

The information described was compiled onto a CD entitled: “The Louisiana GIS CD: A Digital Map of the State.” The CD can be used alone or as part of a GIS. By employing a GIS, users can view, print, and plot the data, customizing the information to their needs. The CD, as well as additional data sets, can be accessed on the Internet.

Using the Internet Explorer, go to http://atlas.lsu.edu/doqq which will bring up the Louisiana CIR DOQQ downloader. Please note that it will take some time to access the page the first time you go there. The web site will ask you if you want to install the INTERCAP software. Answer YES, which will allow you to view the map of Louisiana. Next, it will ask you if you want it to be the default tiff browser. Answer NO. The atlas site will bring up a map of Louisiana indicating where MrSID compressed CIR DOQQs are available. You can zoom in and select the image you are looking to download. If you need help, the atlas page (http://atlas.lsu.edu/doqqhelp) has CIR DOQQ help instructions on what you will need to be able to download, unzip, and view a MrSID compressed CIR DOQQ map image.

The ArcView vector coverages which overlay the images can be found at the Louisiana Geographic Information Center (LAGIC) web page. From there, scroll down to the Search the Catalog: dialog box and click on Show All Datasets. The web server should return with 78 data bundles that are currently available for downloading.

Should you have any questions, please contact:

David Gisclair
Technical Assistance Program Director
Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office
Department of Public Safety & Corrections
Public Safety Services
7979 Independence Blvd., Suite 104
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Phone: (225) 925-6606
Fax: (225)-925-7068
david.gisclair@la.gov

   

Other Products

 
Please contact Karen Reeder, with the Louisiana Applied and Educational Oil Spill Research and Development Program (OSRADP), at (225) 578-3477 for:
  • Deliverables and Selected Abstracts and Bibliography of International Oil Spill Research (http://www.osradp.lsu.edu)
  • 100 Years of Oil and Gas in Louisiana Centennial CD set
  • Oil Spill Awareness Through Geoscience Education (OSAGE) CD
  • Louisiana Oil Spill Contingency Plan Map 1995