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Title: Environmental impact assessment for proposed access channel and boat mooring area deepening in Fehendhoo Island, Baa Atoll
Authors: Zuhair, Mohamed
Keywords: Access channels
Boat mooring
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing geophysical environment
Existing climatic environment
Existing coastal environment
Existing marine environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Constructional impacts
Operational impacts
Socio-economic impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Mar-2016
Citation: Zuhair, M. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for proposed access channel and boat mooring area deepening in Fehendhoo Island, Baa Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: The Secretariat of the Fehendhoo Council (Fenhendhoo Island Council) proposes to develop an access channel and a boat mooring area by deepening a 244m long, 10m wide access channel and a 45.75m long and 30.50m wide boat mooring area on the northern side of Fehendhoo Island. These areas will be excavated to a depth of 3m at low tide. Also, as part of the proposed project, a retain wall by use of concrete blocks on the island-ward side of the boat mooring area will be undertaken. An area of 2,440sqm from the access channel and an area of 1,395sqm from the boat mooring area require to be excavated as part of the proposed project. A total of 6,100cbm from the access channel and 3,488cbm from the boat mooring area (total 9,588cbm) will be obtained from these locations. Two areas have been identified for use of the excavated material from the proposed project including use of material on the small islet by the existing partial access channel on the northern side and on the NW shoreline of Fehendhoo where long-term beach erosion has been identified. Under the Maldives Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (Law No. 4/93) and EIA Regulation 2012, the proposed deepening of access channel and boat mooring area project requires an EIA to be carried out. The report presents major findings of the EIA report. Baseline environmental condition of the proposed project site as well as socio-economic environment was conducted for which the environmental impacts and mitigation measures as well as project alternatives are presented. It was found that there is a great need for developing an access channel and a boat mooring area on the island, which is recognized as an important community need. The assessments carried out on the biophysical environment indicate that the coral reefs within the project boundary had very little live coral cover and limited reef fish abundance and diversity. The depth of the project area ranges from 2.7m on the north to 0.4m on the south below MSL. The current flow was from north to south taking a slightly westward direction and strong currents were identified on the outer reef area and decreased currents were observed in the lagoon closer to the island. Most of the lagoon environment was covered with seagrass in the nearshore and isolated corals, rubble and rock in the middle lagoon areas. As a result of the proposed project during construction phase, some environmental impacts such as sedimentation, direct destruction of lagoon habitats, turbid marine water quality and certain degree of impacts to corals and seagrasses have been identified. Most significant impacts based on evaluation will be from excavation works where the impacts have been identified to be moderately significant. With regards to mitigating most severe impacts, work will be carried out during low and on calm days in order to reduce spread of sedimentation related impacts. Although there are some environmental impacts from the proposed project, most of these impacts can be reduced and mitigated by use of appropriate methodology and timing. The effectiveness of these methodologies can be documented by implementing a comprehensive monitoring programme. Also, with positive socio-economic outlook of the project and the community needs for the project, it is concluded that the project should go ahead as planned.
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