|Abstract: ||This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is to fulfil the regulatory requirements under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act of Maldives prior to the proposed harbour expansion, reclamation, back filling and creating a burrow pit at Gdh Kaadedhoo.
The project proponent of the project is Regional Airports, MHTE. The projected is jointly funded by Regional Airports Department and Dream Ocean Holidays Pvt Ltd (management of Kaadedhoo Airport Hotel). The Regional Airport Department and Dream Ocean Holidays Pvt Ltd are in agreement to fund dredging, reclamation and back filling of harbour expansion project in return for dredged material, beach sand and top soil for hotel area.
Existing harbour will be expanded by 45m to north, a new entrance and entrance channel will be cleared at the northern side, while two existing entrance will be closed.
Excavation works for the proposed development project will be done by excavators. Two excavator and three trucks will be used during this phase. Initially a sand bund will be reclaimed at the outer perimeter of the expansion area to trap and reduce sedimentation impacts. The existing northern wall of the harbour will be retained till end of all exaction works (this is to avoid disturbance to usage of harbour facility by locals and resorts). The harbour expansion area will be dredged to -4MSL.
The estimated dredged material for reclamation and back filling works (filling of topsoil burrow pit, terminal building area and resort land) will not be attained from harbour expansion area alone. Therefore the old harbour located north eastern side of the island will also be dredged to meet the dredged material requirement. The old harbour basin and entrance channel at present is shallow; therefore this area will also be dredged to -4MSL. The Regional Airports Department has agreed to allow extraction of dredged material from this area to meet the required volume of dredged material for back filling works.
Excavation at the topsoil burrow area will be carried out by using excavators. The topsoil to a depth of 0.6m will be extracted from the topsoil burrow pit located north western side of the island. This area will be later filled to existing levels using dredged material after completion of topsoil extraction. After back filling of burrow area, according to the airport management, this area will be used for constructing future airport services buildings.
Dredge material removed from the harbour basin will be transported to the disposal sites on trucks (reclamation area behind the harbour and northern side of the harbour, back filling areas at hotel, back filling area at proposed new terminal building and back filling of topsoil burrow pit). Approximately 26,000m3 of dredge material will be removed from the harbour basin and entrance channel (harbour expansion area), while 15,000m3 will be removed from the old harbour basin and entrance channel. The northern side of the existing harbour has a reclaimed stretch of land to protect the quay wall, dredging at this area will generate approximately 3,800m3 of dredged material. Therefore total volume of dredged material is 44,800m3.
The burrow pit for topsoil is located north western side of the island; the burrow pit’s western edge is approximately 30m away from the vegetation edge at the western side. The burrow pit will be excavated to a depth of 0.6m to extract topsoil for use at hotel area. Volume of topsoil to be extracted is approximately 3,000m3. Ground water depth at the area is 1.3m. Topsoil from the burrow area will be transported to hotel site on dumper trucks, all efforts will be made to reduce disturbance to airport daily operations and to locals using the airport. Area of vegetation that has to be cleared at the proposed burrow pit site is 2,800m2. The burrow pit area is dominated by young Sea Lettuce and Sea Hibiscus trees, the area has no mature vegetation or coconut trees
Existing environment was examined to identify significant environmental components that would be affected and to establish a baseline condition of the site. Available and relevant literature on environmental impacts associated with similar projects was evaluated to identify possible impacts. Oceanographic data and information on local hydrodynamics were qualitatively assessed to determine the wind generated waves, tidal flushing, geographic setting, the topography of the lagoon and shape of the shoreline.
Two sites were selected to assess reef benthos and selected fish community as the baseline data which would also be considered for long-term monitoring program to monitor the impact of the project. In addition to the fish and benthic surveys, seawater quality was assessed at the same location as the reef surveys.
The substrate of the lagoon is mostly abiotic. The area to be dredged is dominated with sand, a massive sea grass patch is observed almost the length of the stretch of lagoon in between the two harbours at the eastern side of the island.
It is important to note that the most significant impact associated with the project would be impact on the marine environment from sedimentation. Dredging and excavation often carry a heavy load of sediments increasing sediment load in the water column causing discoloration due to suspended sediments of the impact area for a prolonged period.
Environmental impacts associated with the proposed project are considered minor to moderate. The significant environmental components that are likely to be affected are the coral community established on the reef flat and changes to littoral drift and near-shore coastal hydrodynamics. Impact on the coral community from sedimentation as a result of excavation is inevitable.
Impact on vegetation at top soil burrow area is minor since only young vegetation is observed at the area; vegetation that can be replanted will be transplanted at either newly reclaimed land or at hotel area for landscaping purposes.
Mitigation measures are provided in the report for impacts that were categorized minor to moderate. Impact mitigation measures and monitoring is carried out to compare predicted and actual impacts occurring from project activities to determine the efficiency of the mitigation measures. The environmental monitoring proposed here is to determine the effectiveness of the mitigation measures and long term change to the benthic community, especially coral community, where the baseline information was collected.
With due consideration to main environmental components identified and the magnitude of impacts on these components from the proposed developments, the consultant concludes that the project components and designs are feasible and appropriate mitigation measures are given to correct and minimize unfavorable environmental consequences.|