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Title: Environmental impact assessment proposed access channel to arrival jetty Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, South Malé Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Channel dredging
Beach nourishment
Existing coastal environment
Existing marine environment
Climate and coastal dynamics
Benthic surveys
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Feb-2011
Citation: Sandcays. (2011). Environmental impact assessment proposed access channel to arrival jetty Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, South Malé Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report addresses the environmental concerns of the proposed dredging of an access channel to the Arrival Jetty of Taj Exotica Resort and Spa located on Emboodhoofinolhu, South Malé Atoll. The primary objective of the project is to provide access to the island at all times. The project involves the excavation of a 30m long, 15m wide channel up to 3m from MSL on the western side between the arrival jetty and the deep lagoon to allow safe access to the island at all tides. The sand that is excavated will be used to replenish areas of the beach on the eastern and north end of the island where beach is easily eroded. The sand that will be placed on the beaches need to be sieved or graded to rid it of broken coral pieces and rubble. The remaining portion of the dredge material would be taken away in a barge and dumped somewhere offshore such as the deep lagoon or the sea. Since the process of sieving yield material that cannot be used for any purpose on the island (as per Tourism Regulations) and also the process involves access to several areas of the beach that would be in use by tourists, the process would require careful planning and supervision. Therefore, feasible alternatives such as creating a sand bank at a naturally shallow area close to the dredge location have been proposed. This is the initially proposed option, which was also discussed in the scoping meeting. However, the Ministry of Tourism has rejected the EIA report requesting the Proponent to “exclude the development of the sand bank from the EIA report and include an alternative way of disposing the dredged material”. The overall negative impacts of the project are mainly short term deterioration of marine water quality, impact on the coral patch at the end of the proposed channel and altered bathymetry in the area. In addition, the nourishment of beaches would directly and indirectly improve the quality of the tourism product that is being offered at least in the short term as no shore protection has been proposed in this project. The project also encompasses several positive impacts including employment opportunities, improved guest transfer and other ventures. Since the project takes place in a resort environment, it would be necessary to ensure that the aesthetics of the resort are not compromised. Therefore, using a sand pump would be more practicable than using an excavator. However, both methods are appropriate. In order to improve the EIA process and to assist in future projects, it would be necessary to undertake monitoring. It has been proposed to undertake monitoring of the shorelines of the island and oceanographic and hydrodynamic conditions (drogue studies) and water quality.
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