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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed beaching area in HA. Dhidhdhoo, Maldives
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Beaching area development
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing environment
General meteorological conditions
Existing socio-economic environment
Natural hazard vulnerability
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Citation: Sandcays. (2015). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed beaching area in HA. Dhidhdhoo, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of an Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed development of a beaching area in HA. Dhidhdhoo. The project is proposed by Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure. At present, unavailability of space has forced boat owners to travel great distances to do small scale servicing to boats. In cases where boats are beached on Dhidhdhoo, being too close to residential areas has made these activities a public nuisance and a health hazard. The project aims at providing a suitable space for boat owners of Dhidhdhoo and nearby islands for vessel beaching and related work on the island away from residential areas. The proposed project entails dredging a 24m by 266m access channel, 110m by 76m manoeuvring area and reclamation of 0.54Ha at the southwest side of the island. There are very few practical alternatives to the proposed project; alternatives to reclamation shape and location are assessed in the report. Environmental impacts were assessed for both the construction and operation phase of the project. Most of the environmental impacts of the project have been identified as positive resulting mainly from improved socio-economic situation of Dhidhdhoo. The main negative environmental impact of the project is identified to be the possible movement of low to moderate levels of sediment on the reef during dredging and reclamation. Movement and settlement of fine sediments are expected to occur on the reef flat to a small degree. However, effects of this would not be severe as sediment plume is not expected to last longer and live coral cover at the location is minimal. Overall, the negative environmental impacts of the project are short-term and of moderate significance while long term socio-economic benefits are numerous. Hence the impact matrices done for the project indicates a net positive impact. Impact mitigation measures are few. In order to mitigate movement of sediment plume onto the reef, bunds around reclamation area and creating settlement ponds during reclamation is suggested. Regular environmental monitoring and reporting is an essential element of the EIA process. During the construction phase, in-situ monitoring of total suspended solids and turbidity is usually undertaken in dredging and reclamation projects to ensure that water quality criteria are met and sedimentation on the reef does not occur. It is recommended to incorporate these into an island-wide monitoring programme, which is not within the scope of this EIA report. In conclusion, it appears justified from a technical and environmental point of view to carry out the proposed project to develop a beaching area in Dhidhdhoo. However, before start of construction phase, the consultants recommend evaluating alternative reclamation shape proposed in this report; as to reduce potential impact of interrupting longshore sediment movement.
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