Great Lakes Oil Spill Center of Expertise (GLCOE)

Great Lakes Oil Spill Center of Expertise (GLCOE)


The Great Lakes region is a uniquely challenging environment for oil-spill preparedness and response. Congress mandated that the U.S. Coast Guard establish the Great Lakes Oil Spill Center of Expertise (GLCOE). Section 807 of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-282) directs the GLCOE to conduct research and training activities relevant to oil-spill research specific to freshwater and ice-laden environments. The activities of the GLCOE fall into two primary themes: 

  • Serve as scientific subject-matter experts that facilitate the transition of cutting-edge scientific and technological advances from the research phase to applied practices for spill response operators. 
  • Serve as a repository of knowledge and a coordinator of research across organizations to close gaps and advance the scientific and engineering agenda related to the challenges unique to oil-spill response in freshwater and icing environments. 


1.  The GLCOE is a non-operational body with a legislative mandate to conduct research in the domain of oil spill response.  

2.  The GLCOE’s purpose is to operationalize innovative ideas that improve freshwater and icy water oil spill responses. 


1. Lake Superior State University – Sault Ste. Marie, MI 

i. Critical crude oil transportation infrastructure on and connecting the Great Lakes, such as submerged pipelines and high-traffic navigation locks 

ii. An institution of higher education with adequate aquatic research facilities, capabilities, and expertise in Great Lakes aquatic ecology, environmental chemistry, fish and wildlife, and water resources

iii. Center for Freshwater Research and Education; open to public 

2. NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory – Ann Arbor, MI 

i. Hosts key partners such as NOAA’s National Ocean Service, Marine Sanctuary Program, National Marine Fisheries Service, Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Team, Great Lakes Sea Grant, and the International Association for Great Lakes Research. 

ii. Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research – CIGLR 

a. 10 universities, 2 NGOs, & 3 businesses 

b. Lead Collaborator – University of Michigan