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Title: Environment impact assessment for the proposed harbour re-development project at Mahibadhoo Island, Alif Dhaalu Atoll
Authors: CDE Consulting
Keywords: Project description
Policy and legal framework
Existing environment
stakeholder consultations
Impacts identification
Significant impacts and mitigation measures
Environmental management plan
Environmental monitoring plan
Issue Date: Nov-2017
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2017). Environment impact assessment for the proposed harbour re-development project at Mahibadhoo Island, Alif Dhaalu Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This document is submitted to the Environment Protection Agency, by the proponent to fulfil the requirement of an EIA under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (EPPA) of the Maldives (4/93). This report provides the background to the proposed project components as well as an assessment of their likely environmental and social impacts, both beneficial and adverse. The proposed enhancement and mitigation measures are outlined where necessary together with an environment management plan and a monitoring programme. This project was initiated by the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure with the aim of providing an adequate and safe harbouring and beaching area for the locals of Mahibadhoo island while providing coastal protection for the immediate surroundings. The present harbour is unable to facilitate the growing size of vessels using the harbour, particularly the increased number of small vessels on the island. Similarly, the make-shift beaching area (boat yard area) which the locals are currently using does not have the proper facilities to service the island’s fleet. The scope of this project comprises of the following activities: 1. Maintenance dredging at the entrance channel and basin 2. Expanding the existing north harbour basin 3. Re-constructing quay wall, revetment and breakwater 4. Paving around quay wall landing areas 5. Installing road lights and navigation lights around harbour 6. Constructing beaching area 7. Backfilling and reclamation This EIA has found that the proposed backfill volume required do not match the available dredged material. Hence, an alternative site plan has been proposed whereby reclamation activities are restricted to backfilling purposes only and the required sand volume within the available limits. Project activities will be in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations applicable to this project are: Environmental Protection and Preservation Act, Employment Act (2/2008), Immigration Act (1/2007), Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012, Dredging and Reclamation Regulation, Waste Management Regulation 2013, and the Environmental Liability Regulation. The project parameters cannot adhere to the dredging reclamation regulation as is states that no dredging shall be undertaken within 50 m of the vegetation line or 500 m from the ocean side reef edge. The harbour proposed in this project is located within both these restricted zones. For projects of economic or social importance, the regulations allow for exceptions to be made. Therefore, discussions must be held between the proponent and the EPA before the commencement of the project in order to resolve this issue. The assessment shows that the proposed developments result in significant positive socioeconomic benefits during the operational phase. However, both the construction phase and the operational phase of the development result in negative impacts on the marine and coastal environment. The main impacts from the project are on sediment movement patterns around the island, marine biodiversity due to sedimentation and turbidity related to the construction activities, potential marine and groundwater contamination, and noise pollution. While the construction of the quay wall and shore protection measures will prevent erosion around the harbour basin thereby facilitating better usage of the harbour, there will be residual impacts around the project site in the medium term as the island works towards obtaining equilibrium with the new shore protection measures. It is unlikely that the construction stage of this project will result in significant damage to live coral colonies due to the enclosed nature of the harbour basin and limited live coral cover within vicinity of the project site. Key mitigation measures for the construction stage include finding options to minimise turbidity and sedimentation through the use of sediment control measures especially during the dredging and reclamation works, carrying out project activities only in the allocated areas, and ensuring that activities are a carried out in as short a time period as possible to allow normal conditions to re-establish in the area. The construction staff should also be properly educated on the sensitivity of the reef system and measures which can be taken to minimise impacts on the marine environment. Operational stage impacts are mainly related to changes in the coastal hydrodynamics arising from the coastal modifications of the proposed harbour. It is not possible to accurately predict erosion accretion patterns without high level modelling. Therefore, appropriate mitigation measures and actions will be decided after monitoring the changes. Consequently, environmental monitoring is crucial, particularly changes to hydrodynamics, shoreline, and water quality. The management plan for this project is designed to produce a framework for anticipated impacts, including practicable and achievable performance requirements and systems for monitoring, reporting and implementing corrective actions. In addition provide evidence of compliance to legislation, policies, guidelines and requirements of relevant authorities. The main conclusion of this report is to move forward with the proposed development with the suggested mitigation measures.
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