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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed shore protection project at Madifushi Island, Thaa Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Water Solutions
Keywords: Shore protection project
Existing marine environment
Existing coastal environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Existing coral reef environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management and monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Mar-2016
Citation: Water solutions. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed shore protection project at Madifushi Island, Thaa Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of an environmental impact study undertaken by Water Solutions Pvt. Ltd. upon request from Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure. The project involves shore or coastal protection works around the newly reclaimed land of Madifushi island, Thaa Atoll. The project aims to:  Protect the newly reclaimed land area  Construct a set of groynes and breakwater to create a beach area t  Ensure that a sustainable beach is available on the island while at the same time protecting the island’s shore from erosion. One of the biggest development challenges facing Madifushi today is the lack of space for housing and other infrastructure. To ease this issue government of Maldives has an on-going land reclamation project in Madifushi. More than 90% of the reclamation project is completed in Maidifushi and Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure has proposed a coastal protection project to protect the newly reclaimed land. The proposed coastal protection of Madifushi has the following components:  Construction of 1440m long revetment protecting approximately 80% of the whole reclaimed perimeter.  Construction of rock boulder breakwaters (70 m x 4) and groynes (30m x 2) on the beach area designated for recreation.  Backfilling of revetments. Sand for backfilling will be obtained from ongoing reclamation project. Environmental impacts of this project were assessed and most of the environmental impacts of the project have been identified as resulting from the construction of coastal protection structures and backfilling. Coastal protection projects contribute to significant amount of sedimentation and it is the biggest threat is to the marine environment. Mitigation measures for the negative impacts have been identified and outlined in detail, and sedimentation control methods have been specifically focused due to its seriousness. The most important mitigation measure is to revetment construction and backfilling in parallel so that the revetment will act as a bund to minimize sedimentation. In addition, completing the project works in the shortest time frame is also a significant mitigation measure that can help avoid serious and prolonged reef damage. The proposed mitigation measures will have to be followed in order to minimize environmental damage. The measures proposed to minimize or mitigate environmental impacts may be considered to be quite appropriate, thereby minimizing the impact by about 90%. The main negative environmental impact of the proposed project would be sedimentation and destruction of the lagoon and damage to some areas of the reef, which will cause death of corals in the direct impact zone and partial death of corals in other areas of the coral reef. It is inevitable that there would be negative environmental impacts of this project. However, balancing these negative impacts and the socio-economic benefits gained is something that is very difficult. It will not be possible to avoid environmental damage entirely, but ways to minimize damage are critical factors to consider during implementation. As a result, a comprehensive mitigation and monitoring component has been suggested which takes into consideration, the most important elements that require monitoring, most importantly a mechanism and means to measure and value the social benefit of the project. This monitoring component will be adhered and will allow the assessment of long term changes, despite the potential negative impacts. As the socioeconomic impacts are going to be felt in the long term, monitoring these changes is very essential. In light of socioeconomic benefits this project appears justifiable. However, alternative concepts given in this EIA report needs to be considered along with the community participation when preparing a final concept. This will help to achieve the project targets in a more sustainable way.
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