|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 restoration at Vaadhoo in GDh Atoll.
2. Project proponent of the proposed harbor restoration project is Ministry of Housing and
Environment. The project was bided as a design and contract project. The main design
consulting company MTCC is assigned to carry out the design works, and LaMer Group
Pvt Ltd is assigned the EIA Consultancy.
3. Vaadhoo is located in GDh atoll, 440km from Male’. It is just about 40km from
Kaadedhoo Airport. Nearest inhabited island is Fares-Maathodaa (8km on the south
western side). In terms of geographic coordinates, it is located at 00° 14' 45" N and 73°
16' 30" E. Nearest islands are Vashavarrehaa approximately 4.1km north east and
Farukolhuhuttaa approximately 5.2km south west of Vaadhoo.
4. The proposed development project involves renovation and restoration of Vaadhoo
harbor with approximately 82m addition to the existing length of the harbor. With this
expansion the overall length of the harbor basin would be 244 meters. Under the
proposed project, new quay wall (concrete sheet piles, L section) and breakwaters (armor
rocks) will be constructed at the existing foot prints. The harbor basin will also undergo
maintenance dredging to -3MSL (where necessary). The concept plan is formulated in
light of the new third generation harbor concept which is focused at functionality of the
harbor. In this regard harbor usage components such as passenger
embarking/disembarking, loading unloading area, fish landing, water and fuel recharging
and mooring area will be demarcated.
5. The existing harbor facility is located at the northern side of the island and is accessed by
an entrance channel north of the harbor. The project boundaries are existing footprint of
harbor and 82.95m east of harbor where the harbor will undergo expansion. Under the
proposed project harbor expansion and maintenance dredging will be carried out at the
basin and entrance area where necessary. The project boundaries are; harbor front, side
breakwaters, entrance area and breakwaters on side on entrance channel. Under the
proposed project maintenance dredging will be carried out at the basin and entrance area
where necessary and this activity will generate sediment plumes west wards. Dredged
material removed during the maintenance dredging works and harbor extension works
will be reused for construction.
6. The harbor will have a total length of 226.19m of breakwater at the east and western side
of the entrance channel. The breakwater will be constructed of armor stones and remains
of existing breakwater as core. The side quay will have a total length of 136m of type 2
design quay wall, while the main quay will have a length of 244m.
7. Approximately 16000m3 of dredged material will be generated by the maintenance
dredging works. This sand will be reused during construction stage, thereby avoiding the
need for disposal.
8. The existing harbor footprint will be expanded to eastwards to 82.95m under the
proposed project. The existing quay wall and breakwaters will be replaced with concrete
quay wall and rubble mound breakwaters. The size of harbor basin after completion of
the project will be 244m in length and 78m in width. The length of entrance channel is
approximately 123m, while width is 30m. The depth of basin is at average -3.0MSL, areas
where design depth is not met will be deepened to -3MSL. Depth of entrance channel
will be -4MSL.
9. 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.
10. The reef flat area in front of harbor was dominated by massive life forms of Porites and
faviids. Numerous small table coral colonies were observed behind the reef flat area
dominating the rocky back reef towards the lagoon. Further inwards the reef flat is
predominantly covered by sea grass meadow.
11. Project is predominantly a restoration project, environmental impacts associated with the
proposed project are considered minor. Significant environmental components that are
likely to be affected include coral community and sea grass bed at harbor front and
harbor expansion area. The most significant impact associated with the project would be
impact on these habitats 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.
Since the project is small in scale in addition to restoration in nature, the extent of
sediment plum is expected to be small and limited to the harbor basin and vicinity.
12. Mitigation measures have been provided for impacts associated with the project related
works that have been categorized as 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. It has to be
noted that no EIA has been carried out for the development of the harbor and no
environmental monitoring has been done since the completion of harbor in 1997, and
extent of changes to habitats such as sea grass, coral reef and shoreline is not known.
13. Stakeholder consultations were carried out as part of the EIA process. It was strongly
emphasized by the stakeholders that the location of Vaadhoo makes it a good transit
point for many trade vessels and Safaris boats making the harbor is fairly crowded. In
addition, during good fishing season the harbor is also used by fishing vessels from other
atolls as well. Due to this reason the community feels strongly that the harbor needs to
be expanded. Since resorts are opening near the island, additional usage of harbor is
envisaged therefore burden on harbor will increase. Overall the IDC and harbor
committee was in favor of the project and very little issues apart from extension of
harbor were raised during the stakeholder meeting
14. 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 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
a functional harbor.|