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    • The environmental sensitivity mapping as one of MERRAC specific projects had been made by an expert group and the report was published as MERRAC Technical Report based upon the 7th MERRAC Focal Points Meeting (MERRAC, May 2004). The expert group analyzed comparatively the specifications and methodologies of the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps of the NOWPAP Members. The ESI maps of the NOWPAP members were already developed, used and maintained by under their respective national policies with different variants and approaches. Although the shoreline classification of the sensitivity maps is principally based on NOAA’s ESI guidelines, there are some differences in the division of the sub-categories of the various ESI levels, styles, symbols and specification such as media, software/systems and language. The Expert Group concluded that it would be difficult and costly to standardize or harmonize the different methodologies and share the sensitivity maps among the NOWPAP members.

      Based upon the decision made by 7th MERRAC Focal Points Meeting, the 2004 MERRAC Expert Meeting was held in Qingdao, People's Republic of China in Novermber 2004 in order to discuss and review, at a technical level, various topics related to MERRAC specific projects. The Meeting reached the conclusions that, taking into the account the technical, financial and political implications related to the sharing of the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps, it might be beneficial to develop a simplified ESI map and to share it between the NOWPAP Members. The Meeting summarized the detailed recommendation on the future work to be forwarded to the 8th MERRAC Focal Points Meeting.

      Considering the recommendations made by 2004 MERRAC Expert Meeting on regional mapping of vulnerable resources (Annex VII in UNEP/IMO/NOWPAP /MERRAC/EM 04/8), the 8th MERRAC Focal Points Meeting agreed that it would be beneficial to develop a simplified ESI map and to share it between the NOWPAP Members. The Meeting also agreed to simplify indices of sensitivity as three levels such as very high sensitivity, high sensitivity and sensitive area and to set up the scale of map as 1:7,500,000.

      The levels of sensitivity of shore areas are classified into 3 categories, which are conforming to the corresponding categories of NOAA rankings and color coded accordingly as shown in following Table.


    •   Sensitivity Level Color of Line NOAA Rankings Type of Shore Area
      1 Sensitivity green 1A~2B Exposed rocky shores
      Exposed, solid man-made structures
      Exposed wave-cut platforms in bedrock, mud, or clay
      Exposed scarps and steep slopes in clay
      2 High Sensitivity yellow 3A~6B Fine to medium-grained sand beaches
      Scarps and steep slopes in sand
      Coarse-grained sand beaches
      Mixed sand and gravel beaches
      Gravel beaches
      Riprap
      3 Very High Sensitivity Red 7~10D Exposed tidal flats
      Sheltered rocky shores and sheltered scarps in bedrock, mud, or clay
      Sheltered, solid man-made structures
      Sheltered riprap
      Vegetated, steeply-sloping bluffs
      Sheltered tidal flats
      Vegetated low banks


    • The whole NOWPAP region was divided into three parts: Northeast part, Southwest part, and Southeast Part. When you click one of the 3 parts of the map covering the NOWPAP Regions, the ESI map describing each part will be displayed.

    • esi
    esi01 esi02 esi03

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