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Title: Initial environmental examination (IEE) for beach nourishment : Soneva Gili Resort and Spa, North Malé Atoll
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Existing environment
Existing coastal environment
Marine water quality
Screening of environmental impacts
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Citation: Sandcays. (2010). Initial environmental examination (IEE) for beach nourishment : Soneva Gili Resort and Spa, North Malé Atoll. Male;: Maldives
Abstract: This report addresses the environmental concerns of the proposed beach nourishment in Soneva Gili Resort and Spa. The primary objective of the project is to recover eroded beach by pumping sand from already excavated areas nearshore. The project encompasses sand pumping using a six or 8 inch sand pump mounted on a barge. The borrow sites for the proposed beach nourishment will be in the western side lagoon. The beach on the eastern side is severely eroded. The beach on Soneva Gili has been maintained through regular beach nourishment. However, this activity has been stopped by the Tourism Ministry recently as beach nourishment is an activity that requires environmental clearance as per the EIA Regulations of the Maldives. Due to the importance attached with beach as beach is one of the main elements of the tourism product of the Maldives, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to allow temporary clearance for beach nourishment followed by a detailed assessment of shore protection measures. This Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) has been carried out in order to get temporary clearance for a one-time nourishment of the beaches of Soneva Gili. A detailed environmental assessment will be undertaken as soon as possible to ensure compliance as well as to manage the island beaches in a manner in which it has the least impact on the physical and biological environment of the island and requires least interventions. Sand pumping from nearshore locations has the potential to aggravate erosion as the borrow pits can become sediment sinks over a considerable period of time. If borrow areas are too close to the shore, the impact on the island shoreline and the erosion of the nourished beaches would be quite rapid. Therefore, it is recommended to keep the borrow areas as far as possible from the beach. The other possible impact would be the growth hindered patch corals within the lagoon. However, there are no coral patches within the lagoon which may be affected by the proposed beach nourishment activity. Given that biological resources are not directly affected, aesthetic concerns are of importance in the proposed project. Therefore, in order to maintain the aesthetic value of the beach and enhance the socio-economic benefits of the proposed project, it is important that immediate beach nourishment is undertaken. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that all environmental concerns of future shore protection or beach enhancement activities are clearly established so as to minimize environmental impacts of such activities.
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