|Abstract: ||The purpose of this document is to fulfil the requirements to get necessary environmental
clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out the proposed land
clearing and tree relocation project at Fulhadhoo Island, Baa Atoll. The proponent of the project
is B.Fulhadhoo Island Council.
This EIA also serves as a document to be submitted to Ministry of Tourism (MoT) to transport
trees from Fulhadhoo to Bolidhuffaru Reef reclamation project. An EIA has already been
approved for Bolidhuffaru Resort project. However, the report excludes landscaping
components, as the vegetation source islands were not identified at the time. The original EIA
recommended preparing EIA Addendums when the vegetation source islands were identified.
MoT now accepts reports submitted to EPA (and Decision Notes) if the project boundaries span
multiple agency jurisdictions. Hence this report and Decision Note will be submitted to MoT to
seek construction approval for landscaping.
Fulhadhoo Island is in need for land clearing to create an access road to the western end of the
island. The island council requires removing the vegetation within the road foot print but has
been unable to do so due to the need for heavy equipment. The landscaping contractors for
Bolidhuffaru Resort development project approached the Island Council with an offer to clear
the required land in return for the opportunity to transport the trees to Bolidhuffaru for
transplantation. The aim of the project from proponent’s perspective are to create the planned
ring road around the island and assist in better access to the western sand spit for the booming
guest houses on the island. From the contractor’s perspective the aim is to acquire a portion of
the native landscaping plants required to landscape Bolidhuffaru Resort.
The project has three main components: (i) Vegetation removal; (ii) transplantation, and (iii)
demobilization and clean-up. Vegetation removal involves mobilization and site setup,
identifying and marking areas to be cleared, and vegetation uprooting and
backfilling.Transplantation involves site preparation at receiving site, transporting trees,
transplantation and maintenance . The final component is demobilizing equipment and cleaning
up the sites.
The proposed site for land clearance is located on the undeveloped western part of Fulhadhoo
island. The vegetation in this part of the island is modified with forestry areas. The proposed site
(road) for vegetation removal contains both forestry areas and natural vegetation zones. The
proposed dredging site has been dredged before and is currently used as a basin. The site is
predominantly made up of coral sand and does not contain any live coral colonies. All project designs are in conformance to most of the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and
relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations
applicable to this project are: Environmental Protection and Preservation Act, Environmental
Impact Assessment Regulation 2012, Tourism Related Environmental Impact Assessment
Regulation 2015, Waste Management Regulation, Regulation on Cutting Down and Uprooting
Trees, and Dredging and Reclamation Regulation. The project at present is non-compliant to
some of the clauses in Dredging and Reclamation Regulation. Due to the geography of the
island, the proposed borrow site falls within 500 m of the reef edge, same as most of the
dredging works done on the island so far. A section of the site falls within 50 m of shoreline but
it has to be noted that there is an existing basin within this distance. Project will require special
consideration and approval from EPA on grounds of high socio-economic benefits. EPA has the
authority to provide approval in exceptional circumstances. Additional approvals are required
from EPA for land clearing and dredging and reclamation before commencement of project
The most significant impact of this project is the impact on terrestrial biodiversity. It is
anticipated that approximately 245-260 trees and plants, including 135-150 palms may need to
be removed from Fulhadhoo during land clearing. All trees that are useable for replanting will be
transferred to Bolidhuffaru resort and replanted. Impacts will also be felt on marine biodiversity
due dredging and associated direct removal of marine flora and fauna, turbidity and
sedimentation; contamination of marine and ground water and soil due to accidental
spillage/leakage of fuel and waste; salinization of ground water due to use of dredged sand for
backfilling and risks to the health of construction workers. There will also be positive impacts on
the island community due to improved access to the western beach of the island and subsequent
improvement in guesthouse businesses, and in the form of employment and business
Mitigation measures have been proposed to minimise anticipated impacts. These include
replanting two trees for every tree removed from the island at designated areas in Fulhadhoo
Island, storing the vegetation removed in a nursery, making reusable green waste available for
the community, and restricting excavator movement within predefined routes.
This report has evaluated alternative options for the most significant anticipated impacts. The
options evaluated include the ‘No project’ option, alternative locations for borrow sites,
alternative tree relocation sites, and alternative green waste disposal options. Since land clearing
for road development is a necessity for the island and the disadvantages of not using the
opportunity to transplant the trees are higher than the advantages it presents for the Island Council, it is recommended to proceed with the project with the mitigation measures proposed in
Consultations were carried out with members of Fulhadhoo Island Council. Island community of
Fulhadhoo, Baa Atoll Council, Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office, Ministry of Tourism,
Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure, Ministry of Environment and Energy, project contractor,
and Bolidhuffaru Resort Developer. Fulhadhoo Island Council and Fulhadhoo public were very
welcoming of the project as it is believed that the project will benefit the entire community.
The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for this project is designed to produce a
framework for anticipated impacts, including practicable and achievable performance
requirements and systems for monitoring, reporting and implementing corrective actions. In
addition, it will also provide evidence of compliance to legislation, policies, guidelines and
requirements of relevant authorities.
Monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the physical environment as a result of the
project activities. Environmental monitoring cost of pre-construction stage (if required) is
approximately MVR 35,000. Monthly environmental monitoring cost during the construction
phase is MVR 25,000.
The main conclusion of this report is to move forward with the proposed development on
grounds of high socio-economic benefits.
Environmental and socio-economic risks associated with the project are expected to be
significantly reduced if the mitigation measures and monitoring programme presented in the
report are properly implemented within the framework of the environmental management plan.|