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Title: Environmental impact assessment report for the beach replenishment project at A.Dh Thundufushi Island Resort, South Ari Atoll, Maldives
Authors: E-CAD Associates
Keywords: Beach replenishment
Environment Act
Fisheries Act
Uninhabited Islands Act
Tourism Act
Regulation on sand and aggregate mining
Benthic substrate assessment
Timed‐swim surveys
Existing environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessment
Issue Date: Mar-2010
Citation: E-CAD Associates. (2010). Environmental impact assessment report for the beach replenishment project at A.Dh Thundufushi Island Resort, South Ari Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: Outline of project This EIA report is prepared in accordance with Regulations, 2007 under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (Act No. 4/93). The purpose of this EIA is to fulfill the requirement of the Law and to conduct an assessment of possible impacts on ecological, biophysical and human environment arising from proposed development project of beach replenishment in Thundufushi - A.Dh Atoll, Maldives. The project is proposed by Seagull group Private Limited, Maldives. The main construction activities of the proposed project involve obtaining sand using a conventional sand pump and filling the eroded areas on the western side of the island. The construction activities will be completed within 6 months from the start of the construction phase. The project cost is estimated as Rf 2 million. The proposed filling area is 850ft long and 50ft wide. This replenishment is aimed at regaining the lost beach areas from the island within the last few years. No concrete or any other hard material will be used as revetments to retain sand. The main operation of the within the area will be tourist recreation and sun bathing. Location of the project The proposed development project is located in the island of Thundufushi in South Ari (A.Dh) Atoll at 03° 48' 10" N and 72° 43' 40" E. The closest islands to the project location are inhabited islands of A.Dh Mandhoo approximately 8km south. The uninhabited island of Innafushi lies approximately 1.3km North of Thundufushi. Baseline environmental conditions at the project site indicated that the coral cover around the filling area was low (less than 0.5%). The coastal vegetation around the proposed development area was mainly ruh, magoo, hirundhu and dhiggaa, and does not represent any specific conservation value. Need and justification of the project Thundufushi is on the western rim of geographic Alif Atoll with a vast lagoon. The island and beach around the island remained quite stable for the past 20 years. It is until recently the erosion of beach on the western side near the arrival jetty became so grave that parts of the beach front rooms and other infrastructures have started collapsing. This had caused tremendous loss to the resort operators. Loss of beach in front of the rooms on the western side was also associated with guest complains. Therefore, to protect the island environment and the investment replenishing the lost beach is utmost important and urgent. Key impacts Key impacts of the preferred development option of the proposed project are related to a few activities of the project. These include impacts to the lagoon and reef area from sand mining and impacts due to disposal of mined sand at the eroded area. Project will also generate non-biodegradable waste including sand-pump consumables such as waste lub-oils. Negative impacts of the project are found to be insignificant in thus, justified weighed against enviro-economic positive impacts to the island and the business. Long-term ecological impacts of the proposed project can only be assessed through long-term monitoring of the entire island environment in relation to the proposed development. Mitigation measures Mitigation measures were taken by conducting appropriate field surveys and environmental assessment of the reef system. Proposed and alternative locations for obtaining sand were selected to reduce the impacts on the living reef areas of the ecosystem. Only barren sand areas which are rather far-away from the live corals were selected. Most of the sand pumping will be carried out during the low tide and in calm conditions. Any live coral colony that may be growing in the beach fill area will be replanted elsewhere where sedimentation impact will not be felt. Alternative development options Alternative for the proposed development were alternative shore protection measures such as the breakwaters, seawall, groynes and “no development” option. Alternative site for borrowing sand are also analysed for this project. It was found that any shore protection measures without beach replenishment are not viable given the critical nature of the infrastructures near the eroded areas. The alternative burrow area is at distance that would not allow economic operation of sand pumps. Environmental monitoring A comprehensive long term monitoring program was devised for this project. Main parameters to be monitored include beach profiles, water quality, coral cover near the project foot print areas and near-shore hydrodynamics around the island.
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