Marine Oil Spill Information System (OSRIS)

Posted December 7, 2014 | Categories : BC Parks,Marine Reserves,Oil Spill Threat |

The strength of OSRIS lies with its detailed coastal inventory. Based on this inventory, a sophisticated computer modeling program figures out the sensitivity of each shoreline unit. The modeling program considers such aspects as: oil residency, coastal resources present, species rating, seasonality, human-use rankings, and more. Identification of the most important and vulnerable coastal areas enables priorities for shoreline protection from oil pollution to be decided. Based on this sensitivity determination, OSRIS also identifies countermeasures strategies, such as protection booming. During a spill event, OSRIS has a spill trajectory model that can simulate the spread of oil on water depending on wind direction, time and current/tidal regimes. Where shoreline oiling occurs, OSRIS determines the most environmentally sound cleanup strategies. Post-spill functions of OSRIS include long-term monitoring, resource impact assessment, and damage evaluations.

In summary, the benefits of OSRIS include improved pre-spill determination of sensitive shorelines that would require protection or cleanup, improved capabilities to decide equipment deployment and cleanup logistics, improved resource damage assessments, and ability to conduct litigation for damage compensation.

Before 1994, OSRIS was largely a prototype developed in-house by the Environmental Emergency Program of B.C. Environment with the assistance of contracted Geographic Information System (GIS) consultants, oil geomorphologists, biologists, and archaeologists. A comprehensive coastal-inventory database, satellite imagery, and video of the Southern Strait of Georgia (Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island from Nanaimo to Race Rocks, Roberts and Sturgeons Banks, and Boundary Bay) became the initial foundation of OSRIS.

In 1994, the system supported the work of the Committee on Resources and the Environment (CORE) for Vancouver Island. Based on a partnership arrangement, OSRIS system relocated to the Land Use Coordination Office (LUCO). Currently, the primary coastal products that the Integrated Land Management Bureau’sĀ Coastal InitiativesĀ produces are the Coastal Resource Inventory and the Coastal Resource and Oil Spill Response Atlases and other mapping information to support coastal planning/management. These products are produced digitally and the information used in their creation supports other terrestrial and marine planning processes, andĀ research projects throughout the province.


The development of this atlas, particularly the collection of coastal inventory, was financially supported by Burrard Clean Operations, (Vancouver). Burrard Clean Operations, formally a local oil industry spill response cooperative, is Canada’s first certified Response Organization under the Canada Shipping Act, ready to serve all major vessels entering British Columbia ports and oil handling facilities. Their support for both OSRIS and the atlas has been instrumental in the success of these endeavours.

For more information, contact the Program Manager for Resource Analysis and Information Management of the Coastal Initiatives of the Integrated Land Management Bureau.