Green Guide

Updates sought for maps showing Great Lakes ecological risks

Posted 7:46 p.m. Thursday

— Members of Congress are pushing federal agencies to update maps that provide information about potential environmental risks to the Great Lakes.

The "Environmental Sensitivity Index" maps are maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some haven't been revised in more than 20 years.

The maps are detailed guides highlighting vulnerable locations, structures and natural resources near the lakeshores. They're used during emergencies to protect wildlife habitat, species and structures most likely to be affected by an oil spill or other disaster.

Legislation introduced Thursday in the House and Senate would require NOAA and other agencies to update maps for each coastal area of the Great Lakes and repeat the task every seven years.

Michigan lawmakers from both parties are sponsoring the bills.

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