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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed shore protection project in Kurendhoo, Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Shore protection project
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing marine environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Citation: Sandcays. (2015). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed shore protection project in Kurendhoo, Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of an environmental impact study under the shore protection project proposed for Kurendhoo in Lhaviyani Atoll. The project is proposed by Ministry of Environment and Energy. The project comprises of the protection of the eroding area on the southeast corner end of the island, adjoining the football ground. Shoreline at this part of the island has to be protected for safeguarding the football ground and protect the area from severe erosion. A 220m long rock boulder revetment has been proposed. The project also involves backfill of the proposed revetment area and behind the previously proposed breakwater on the north by getting sand from approved borrow areas. The project will be undertaken together with the ongoing harbour project and is estimated to take about 120 days with a manpower requirement estimated at 27 and involving heavy machinery including excavator, dump truck, loader and crane. A number of alternatives to the proposed project components have been identified in this document. Of these, the preferred alternative is a groyne field with a nearshore submerged breakwater. The cost of the preferred alternative is similar and the protection to updrift and downdrift locations are further enhanced by appropriately-designed groyne field. Other alternatives include just a groyne field or a semi-submerged breakwater. Rock boulders is the preferred material for the proposed shore protection while geotextile bags or geotextile tubes may be used as a cheaper alternative but would not be as effective as rock boulders. There are not many options to be identified as borrow areas since the island is surrounded by quite narrow reef flats and there are no lagoon areas with fine sand. Therefore, the alternative would be to bring material from a lagoon nearby and have the material taken to the fill location in trucks or pumped to fill location. However, due to the small scale of the project, alternative borrow areas have not been considered except those areas that have already been approved. Environmental impacts were assessed for both the construction and operational phases of the project. Most of the direct, negative environmental impacts identified for the construction phase of the project were minor negative; the main impact being sedimentation during the filling of the proposed fill areas. However, these impacts are of low significance while the benefits of the proposed project outweigh the negative impacts including the protection to the football field, shore protection to the beach in the area as well as downdrift locations. The fill areas shown in the proposed project are the same areas identified in the EIA and the EIA Addendum for the harbour project. Therefore, in principle those areas have been approved. However, for the purpose of this EIA, the borrow areas are different from those proposed earlier. According to the Council, the area identified on the SW side is preferable for dredging because this area is more suitable for a creating an area for swimming since the reef extent on this area is greater than in other areas. Since it does not have adequate swimming depths, deepening this area provides the required fill for the southeast end while creating swimming area for the island that lacks swimmable area around the island. The creation of the swimming area or an artificial beach in the proposed area, however, is not within the scope of this EIA report. The impact on coral reef is also less in this area since the net flow in this area is generally towards the eroded southern end and the reef flat and slope are devoid of live coral and mainly with bedrock. For the fill area on the north, the harbour area would be quite suitable as it would provide sufficient material for the proposed fill area while keeping the impacts to an already impacted area. Therefore, it is considered most suitable to dredge material for the northern fill from the harbour area and that for the southeast fill from the southwest lagoon. The small borrow area shown on the north may be considered only if adequate fill material cannot be obtained. Since there are a few impacts, there are no specific mitigation measures for the proposed project. General mitigation measures, involving appropriate construction management such as working during low-tide as much as possible and rigorous supervision during project implementation are recommended Since monitoring has not been undertaken in the past for the harbour project, it is recommended to carry out monitoring for this project. This project has linkages with the harbour project and therefore the recommended mitigation measures and monitoring programmes in the EIA and Addendum for the harbour project shall be undertaken in conjunction with the proposed shore protection project. In conclusion, it appears justified, from a technical and environmental point of view, to carry out the proposed shore protection project. Since alternatives have not been considered or discussed with the relevant stakeholders including the Council, it is recommended to consider all potential alternatives to shore protection, including those identified by the EIA Consultants, before proceeding with the project.
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