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Title: Environmental impact assessment : for the proposed dredging and reclamation component of the resort development project at Kagi Island, Kaafu Atoll
Other Titles: ކ. ކަގީގައި ރިސޯޓެއް ތަރައްޤީކުރުމުގެ މަޝްރޫޢުގެ ބިންހިއްކުމުގެ މަސައްކަތްތަކުން ތިމާވެއްޓަށް އަސަރުކުރާނެ މިންވަރު ބަޔާންކުރާ ރިޕޯޓް
Authors: CDE Consulting
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2018
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2018). Environmental impact assessment : for the proposed dredging and reclamation component of the resort development project at Kagi Island, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives
Abstract: This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is the evaluation of the potential environmental, socioeconomic and natural impacts of the proposed dredging and reclamation component of resort development project in Kagi Island, North Male’ Atoll. The EIA Regulations published by EPA has been used as the basis for preparing this document. The project proponent is Kagi Investment Pvt Ltd. Under the existing EIA regulations, tourism related projects are required to complete EIA process through Ministry of Tourism (MoT). The exception to this rule is when any component of the projects’ physical activities falls outside the boundary of the resort. This exception requires EIA processing through Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This EIA is meant for seeking approval for dredging from EPA and for reclamation from MoT. When jurisdictions overlap, EIA Decision note issued from EPA has been accepted by MoT in the past. The overall project involves developing a resort on Kagi Island. The project is divided into phase. The first Phase involves mitigating existing erosion and expanding the island through reclamation and shore protection. Resort construction will be undertaken in the second Phase and will require a separate EIA. This EIA covers dredging 48,000 cbm of sand from a 50,000 sq m area with Atoll Lagoon, about 600 m from Kagi Island, and reclamation of 2.4 Ha of land on Kagi Island. The main rationale for the project from the industry perspective is to increase the tourism bed capacity in Maldives and their contribution to the local and national economic growth. From the proponent’s perspective the rationale for the project is purely based on business potential. Proximity to the International Airport and existing tourism facilities in the atoll were the main reasons for considering the proposed site for development. The aim of this project is to develop a successful and profitable resort property on Kagi Island. The rationale for the proposed dredging technology is the availability of a THSD in the speed of completion of dredging works, provision of better quality sand and lower environmental impacts due to lower damage to house reef and reduced temporal impacts due to speed of completion. The borrow sites have been identified due to the presence of sand, reusability and proximity to reclamation site. Dredging activity will take approximately 4-5 days and will be undertaken by Mahaa Jarraafu. Duration of the Phase I of the project is 2-3 months. The proposed developments are generally in conformance to the relevant laws and regulations of Maldives. Additional approvals are required before commencement of project activities. They include dredging and reclamation approval from EPA and construction approval from Ministry of Tourism. Kagi Island is a small island about 1.68 Ha (within vegetation line) and has been used as a picnic island and an occasional stopping point for travelers. There are existing developments on the island with buildings, jetty and shore protection measures. Vegetation on the island is a mix of natural vegetation and introduced species. The Islands’ coastal environment has been very volatile with the island shifting its position substantially over the last 48 years. A number of shore protection measures have been introduced on the island to arrest this erosion. Erosion has been particularly severe in the last few years. The island reef system is in moderately good condition but has been severely affected by coral bleaching event of 2016, particularly on the northern and western side. The assessment shows that the proposed developments involve significant positive and negative impacts on the marine environment. The main impacts are from dredging and reclamation and resulting turbidity and sedimentation. Areas close to the dredging and reclamation site will be severely affected. Areas that fall within the fill area will be permanently buried. The sediment plumes from dredging will affect visibility with a 3-5 km radius. The direction and exact position will depend on the weather conditions at the time of implementation. Plumes are also likely to reduce visibility and affect marine travel. Live coral areas on Kagi reef can be affected due to sedimentation. Among the nearby resorts, Lux North Male’ may be affected due to poor underwater visibility and lights during night construction works. However, all these impacts are substantially reduced given the fact that dredging works will be completed within 4-5 days. A key concern for marine environment is the recent coral bleaching in Maldives in 2016. If the dredging works are undertaken at the time of bleaching the stress on coral reef may be unbearable and could cause long-term damage. There is also concern about cumulative impacts on the coral reefs of NE Male’ Atoll, due to multiple dredging and reclamation project implemented in quick submission. Mulifalhu and Rahffalhu Huraa reclamation, covering a total of over 3 million cubic meters of sand has only recently been completed. The borrow site used for these projects were located 3 km south of the proposed site. The impacts predicted could be minimized considerably with the proposed mitigation measures suggested in the report. Special attention needs to be paid during dredging stage to minimize, turbidity and sedimentation impacts by limiting THSD overflow, constructing sand bunds, preventing damage to critical reef area on Kagi Reef suing silt curtains and completing dredging works within the shortest time period practical. The project also needs close coordination with relevant stakeholders, particularly nearby resorts and dive schools to minimize the negative social impacts. The reef around the borrow site needs to be marked with navigation aids to limit the impacts on vessel grounding. are also useable. Their main limitations are that the further west the borrow areas are from the island, the closer it get to Lux North Male’ and Marine Protected Areas on the western rim of Male’ Atoll. Alternative dredging technology were evaluated but THSD has a distinct advantage in that it limits damage on Kagi Reef and reduces temporal impacts since it can finish work in 4- 5 days. The no project alternative was evaluated but was found the island requires beach replenishment anyway (requiring dredging and reclamation), and the small size of the island will not be viable to develop the tourism product agreed between MoT and the Proponent. Stakeholder consultations were held with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Marine Research Centre (MRC), Ministry of Environment and Energy (MEE), Helengeli Island Resort and five of boat operators. All parties consulted identified the need to minimize the impacts on the marine environment due to dredging. Helengeli Island shared bad experiences from recent reclamation projects, particularly in relation poor underwater visibility, aesthetic, noise and light impacts. Boat operators did not identify dredging activities as significantly affecting their travel. Environmental Monitoring and management plan is designed to assess any changes to the physical environment of the island and surroundings affected by the project activities. The total cost of mitigation and monitoring are estimated between US$8,000 per year during construction stage. The operations stage monitoring needs to be overlapped with the second Phase EIA. Monitoring parameters to be used in the interim are provided. The findings of this EIA are that if the Kagi Reef development project is a small project, with 4- 5 days implementation timeframe for dredging works, and could be implemented with limited significant adverse environmental impacts with the recommendations outlined in this report
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