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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed development of a harbour Kurinbi, Haa Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Harbor development
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing coastal environment
Existing marine environment
Meteorological conditions
Terrestrial environment
Socio-economic environment
Environmental concerns
Construction impacts
Operational impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Aug-2010
Citation: Sandcays. (2010). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed development of a harbour Kurinbi, Haa Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report addresses the environmental concerns of the proposed harbour development in Kurinbi, Haa Dhaalu Atoll. The primary objective of the project is to provide safe and adequate access to the island. As such the project encompasses dredging and removal beach rock/reef flat, construction of quaywall and breakwaters and the filling of dredged materials on either side of the proposed harbour. The proposed harbour is located on eastern side close to the existing access channel. The proposed harbour project falls within the Access Improvement Programme, the size of proposed harbour under the programme is 150ft x 300ft. However, the island community in the community consultation meeting proposed to increase the width of the harbour from 150 ft to at least 200 ft by extending the harbour into landward side. Extending the breakwater into seaward side may not be possible due to close proximity of outer reef edge to shoreline where high swells and strong wave action take place. There are three access channels in use by the community. The most commonly used access channel is located at southern end of the proposed harbour location. However, the harbour location has been proposed in a fresh location. In the consultation meeting held with IDC the committee suggested that it would still be better if the proposed harbour location moved towards south approximately 200 ft such a way that harbour front will be at the eastern end of main road. The existing access channel at the southern side of the proposed harbour has been decided to use for boat beaching and services. The recommended harbour location, however is to move further south to enclose the existing channel within the proposed harbour basin. In terms of impact to environmental, moving the proposed harbour location to an already damaged location would be beneficial to environment as it would minimize further damage to natural environment dredging cost. The area is already been subjected to the impacts of dredging and is in active use, further cumulative impacts to this area would be preferable to impacts on new fresh areas in their natural state. It was also identified from the environmental surveys that the percentage of dead coral (25%) in the proposed location compared to the percentage (34%) of dead corals in the location already in use is low. Also in the environmental survey conducted in these locations indicated that fish population was more live and more diverse in the proposed location compared to the existing access channel area. Kurinbi located in the middle of the atoll, unlike other islands in the region, is continuously subjected to high swells and strong wave actions in all directions. Hence there is limited space for extending the harbour towards seaward side due to swell induced wave action. Hence the size of the harbour, particularly the width has been maintained at 150 ft by MHE which apparently is the maximum possible width that can draw from the available safe space while minimizing damage to the environment. The IDC raised the issue of small size of the harbour particularly the width of the harbour during the consultation meeting held at Kurinbi office on 17 July 2010. Community suggested increasing the width by extending towards landward side. This area is regarded as the face of the island. The overall environmental impacts of the project have been assessed using appropriate methodologies including data collection through a field survey, purpose build checklists and professional judgments. The overall results indicated that the proposed project had net positive impact. Given that the project has major socio-economic benefits although there would be some negative environmental impacts, it is recommended to allow the project to proceed as proposed. Environmental monitoring recommended for the project includes the monitoring of the shorelines of Kurinbi water quality and drogue studies of the coastal area for at least two years from the onset of the proposed project implementation. Monitoring is also expected to cover public views and grievances about the project and future harbour management information such as nos. of vessels that use the harbour. Annual monitoring reports have to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency over the monitoring period.
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