|Abstract: ||1. This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is to fulfill the regulatory requirements
under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act of Maldives prior to the proposed
harbor development at Milandhoo in South Male Atoll.
2. Design and size of the harbor are decided by the Harbor Technical Committee, which the
former Ministry of Planning and National Development heads (now Department of National
Planning, Ministry of Finance and Treasury). The implementation agency of the harbor
project is former Ministry of Construction and Public Infrastructure (now Ministry of
Housing, Transport and Environment). The harbor location is finalized with the consent of
the Island Development Committee (IDC) and Harbor Committee of Milandhoo.
3. The existing entrance at Milandhoo was cleared some 15 years back during the initial
development of the island for resettlement of Sh Maakandoodhoo population. Since then the
entrance has not been maintenance dredged. At present large vessels such as cargo dhonis
can navigate the channel lagoon up to the two access jetties of the island at the western bay
4. The proposed development project involves development of a 229.4m x 91m harbor and a
22m wide, 200m long entrance channel. The harbor protection walls will be constructed
using armor stones, while the wharves will be of “L” section concrete elements. Dredged
material will be used for back filling at the back of the harbor, either side of the harbor and
rest of the dredged material will be stockpiled for future use such as leveling of roads. Sand
stock pile is to be located east of the harbor at the marsh land (proposed by IDC).
Revetment walls will be constructed at northern and southern sides of the harbor for
additional protection. The harbor development will be funded by the government of
Maldives under the Access Improvement Programme implemented by the Ministry of
Housing, Transport and Environment (MHTE).
5. This report provides the results of the fieldwork carried out on Milandhoo in July and
December 2008 and associated public and community consultations that followed. The
environmental impacts arising from the proposed developments are predicted based on the
findings of the fieldwork along with the activities that cause these impacts during the
construction and operational phases.
6. 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 current pattern around the island which was based on
monsoonal wind patterns, wind generated waves, tidal flushing, geographic setting, the
topography of the lagoon and shape of the shoreline.
7. 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 in the lagoon at the west central area.
8. The substrate of the lagoon is mostly abiotic. The area to be dredged is dominated with rock
and sand, while entrance area has significant cover of laminar and branching forms of
acroporids. At the slope area massive and tabular forms are abundant. Compared to survey
site proximity of project area, the site RF1 (near existing entrance), live coral cover is low.
Large patch of Porties cylindrica is observed just inside either side of existing entrance.
9. The southern side of the harbor is near low laying marshy area; this area is entirely composed
of Dhiggaa. Mangrove pond is observed at the south western side of the island, facing the
southern quadrant. The harbor front area will be filled and located off the existing shoreline
therefore no direct impacts are envisaged.
10. 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.
11. The proposed entrance is at the south western side of the harbor, which would probably
increase the maintenance dredging frequency. The dominant flow of sediment at the reef
system (assessing the satellite images and beach) is west wards from southern and northern
side accreting at the west central area. Therefore entrance will sit at an area where sediment
flow will be highest. Increased maintenance dredging also means sustained sedimentation,
which would give less time for the reef habitat to recover. Also it has to be noted that cutting
a new entrance will have impact on the hydrodynamic regime of the island possibly causing
change lagoonal current flow. In terms of live coral cover the proposed entrance location has
higher cover compared to existing entrance area.
12. Considering the environmental impacts envisaged, the consultants recommend changing the
location of the entrance. At present an existing entrance is located at the west central area of
the reef cutting to the lagoon. This entrance was cut some 15 years back is has been used by
the community as an access to the island. It has to be noted that this entrance is
approximately 300-350m from harbor basin (depending of shape of entrance), also according
to the island office, this entrance can be used through out the year apart from few days when
extreme weather is experienced.
13. 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.
14. 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 and beach, where the baseline information was collected.
15. 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 with the alternatives and appropriate
mitigation measures are given to correct and minimize unfavorable environmental
consequences. Furthermore, the public and community consultation responses were in favor
of the project due to the socio-economic benefits foreseen to the community from the