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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the deepening works relating to a floating pontoon jetty at Cocoa Island - Makunufushi – South Malé Atoll
Authors: Alysen Services
Keywords: Dredging
Resort development controls
Mitigation measures
Environmental impact assessments
Maldives Tourism Act
Environmental Protection and Preservation Act
Issue Date: 1-May-2010
Citation: Alysen Services. (2010). Environmental impact assessment for the deepening works relating to a floating pontoon jetty at Cocoa Island - Makunufushi – South Malé Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: 1. Cocoa Island Resort (Makunufushi) is located in the South Malé Atoll sharing the same house-reef with the inhabited island of Maafushi. The closest resort islands Villivaru and Biyaadhoon lie west and Kandoomaa Resort in the south of Cocoa Island. The island was first developed as a resort in 1999. The ownership changed to Como Hotels and Resorts in the 2002 and an upgrade was undertaken by them to bring up to standard of a five-star plus resort. Cocoa Island Resort is now a sought after destination by discerning travelers and holiday makers around the world. 2. Recently Cocoa Island has acquired a new market mix including Asian (Koreans, Malaysian, and Singaporeans) and high end Europeans. To complement the clientele’s taste, and following the Como Hotel’s service philosophy, some aspects of the resort and services are being improved. One area required for improving is the arrival / departure experience. 3. Cocoa Island Resort has three jetties; an exclusive private jetty on the south for access to the deluxe over-water villas and other supply jetty and the arrival/departure jetties on the eastern side. All the jetties have their landing platforms on the reef edge. The design and layout was to avoid having to create a harbour basin in the lagoon. 4. A major draw-back in the design of arrival/departure jetty is its inconvenience for the guests. Presently the experience is not a pleasant one. Because jetty heads are on the edge of the reef the landing is raised with steps leading to the main platform. During periods of rough weather controlling the launch alongside the berthing area is often notoriously difficult. The problem gets worse during inter-monsoon period of the SW to NE (November and December) monsoon when the winds are blowing from the North and Northeast. On several occasions guests have to use the southern jetty which is designed to use only guest of the two deluxe water villas. 5. As part of the resort renovation programme, the management is proposing to address this issue by redesigning the landing area by additional fixtures. It is proposed to place a floating pontoon platform on the eastern side of the jetty. The floating pontoon and the existing landing area will be connected by the hinged metal walkway. The pontoon is to be fixed to the concrete piles using pile-guides that allow vertical movements of the pontoon. 6. The vessel will access pontoon on the eastern side across to the reef. However, this requires the area to be deepened to a depth of the -3.0 m. The current depth of the area is between 0.8 – 1.2m. The management proposes to deepen an area of about 200 sq m adjacent to the pontoon. This requires removing about 400 cubic meters of material from the area. 7. Survey of the substrate cover shows roughly 15-20% is live coral. However, during April 2010 about 60-70 % of these have been partially of fully bleached. Thus only a fraction of the living coral now exists in the area. Coral bleaching is a naturally occurring phenomenon in which the symbiotic host the zooxanathellae is expelled from the corals due to prolonged heat stress. Depending on the extent on severity of the bleaching the corals may recover. Although wide spread levels of bleaching have not been reported so far in the Maldives, the status is being assessed by the Government authorities. Recently the weather has been favorable (high winds and rain) from beginning of May and so it is expected the situation has gotten much better. 8. Wind pattern analysis in the area shows prevailing wind directions are West and East / Northeast. Although the northeast winds (in NE monsoon) are brief the winds during the NE monsoon are stronger and unpredictable than the SW monsoon period. The NE (January and December, high tourist season) period also coincides with the time the jetty is most difficult to use of arrival and departures. 9. The impacts associated with the proposed activities range from immediate to potentially long term. The sedimentation and associated at the time of dredging will quickly disperse and the visible effect will be insignificant following completion of the work. Increased water movement resulting from increased wave energy is expected occur. This results in increased turbidity and likely erosion on the northern face of the island. Various mitigation measures have been proposed during the development and post-development periods. 10. Medium to long term changes and net shifts in sediment depositional patterns are discussed. Given the island has morphological features and orientation that are attributable to large shifts in shoreline, emphasis is laid on implementation of a beach monitoring programme. Findings of the monitoring programme should help to determine mitigation or remedial measure that may be required. 11. Overall the design and the project, its specification and the proposed methods of implementation are sound. The activities would lead to relatively low environmental impact to the reef / island environment. The monitoring programme must be enforced to help early detection of negative environmental impacts and timely mitigation measures.
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