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Title: Environmental impact assessment report : extension of existing channel at Vashafaru, Haa Alifu atoll
Authors: Land and Marine Environmental Resource Group
Keywords: Existing environment
Climatology and oceanography
Bathymetric survey
Soio-economic environment
Environmental impacts
Socio-economic impacts
Impact analysis
Mitigation plans
Monitoring program
Issue Date: Jan-2018
Citation: Land and Marine Environmental Resource Group. (2018). Environmental impact assessment report : extension of existing channel at Vashafaru, Haa Alifu atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: The non-technical summary outlines the findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed entrance channel extension works at Vashafaru, Haa Alifu Atoll. The proponent of the proposed project is Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure. The Vashafaru component is part of main contract of breakwater extension at HA.Vashafaru, R. Hulhudhuffaaru, and Sh. Maaungoodhoo. Total estimated cost of contract is MVR 14.5 million (for all three islands). The proposed project involves extension of the rock boulder breakwater along the eastern side of the entrance channel by 42m, immediately adjacent to the existing rock boulder breakwater. The project also involves installation of a navigation light at the inner side of the entrance channel where the channels diverts to a separate channel leading to boat beaching area adjacent to the harbour. An important point to note is the change to the project scope as a consultation outcome, whereby the proponent has now agreed to extend the breakwater from the endpoint of the coral rock breakwater, thus adding on 42m to existing structure. The proponent also agrees to extend the width of the channel by 30ft to the west of the entrance channel. Impacts on the environment have been considered for the constructional phase and post constructional phase of the project. These impacts have been identified through interviews with the project management team, field data collection and surveys and are also based on past experience of consultant in similar development projects. Impact analysis was done using the Leopold matrix. The impacts identified are described according to their location, probability of impact, magnitude, significance and duration. Mitigation measures have also been identified for impacts which are irreversible in nature. Impact analysis for the original project scope showed that impacts due to the project were few and insignificant. Key impact was during operational phase due to easier and safer access to the harbour. With the added scope to the project as an outcome of the consultation and as discussed in Section 10 of the report, the main impact due to the project was then envisaged to be during the construction phase, due to dredging activity. Direct impact on habitat due to dredging and related sedimentation impacts was anticipated to be of low effect (due to low live coral cover). Loss of habitat is also a permanent impact, while sedimentation impacts are temporary impact. Overall, impacts identified were found to be of low effect and restricted to the project site, with temporary effects. Mitigation measures are discussed in the report for potential impacts, such as limiting dredging activity to low tide phase to reduce possible sedimentation impacts and working within project boundary so as to minimise habitat loss. Detailed mitigation measures are discussed in Section 11 of the report. Given the scope of the project and need alternative have only been considered for the following: ➢ Location of extension area ➢ Widening of the entrance channel The no-project scenario which was also considered, is not feasible, given that benefits on continuation of project outweigh the impacts which are also mostly short term. The Consultant thus feels that the project is feasible with proper implementation of the mitigation measures proposed to minimize the impact on the environment.
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