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Title: Environmental impact assessment for island access and jetty construction project in Rasgetheemu, Raa. Atoll
Authors: މަހްމޫދު ރިޔާޒް
Riyaz, Mahmood
މުޙައްމަދު ޝިހާމް އާދަމް
Adam, Mohamed Shiham
Issue Date: Jul-2017
Citation: Riyaz, M. & Adam, M. S. (2017). Environmental impact assessment for island access and jetty construction project in Rasgetheemu, Raa. Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: 1. The proponent of R. Rasgatheemu Island access and Jetty development project is the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure (MHI). The Ministry is the government’s responsible body for the development and regulate the housing and infrastructure of the country. Maldives Road Development Cooperation (MRDC) has been contracted to undertake the jetty and access channel construction work in R. Rasgatheemu. 2. Two freelance EIA consultants has been contracted through public bidding process to provide preparation services of an Environmental Impact Study (EIA) by (MHI) for the jetty and access channel construction work project in R. Rasgatheemu Island. 3. The assessment addresses specific key issues stated in the Terms of Reference (ToR) as agreed between EPA and the Proponent following the scoping meeting held on the matter. 4. The Government has already developed a harbour in Rasgatheem in 2007. The existing harbour is 60m wide and 120m long and located on the western side of the island. The existing harbour is difficult to access during the SW Monsoon where the access channel on the western side is exposed to strong swells during the westerly monsoon period. Therefore the island is inaccessible during rough weather condition. To overcome the accessibility issues of people of the island has requested the Government to develop alternative island access facilities (jetty and an access channel) on the eastern side of the island. This project is implemented to develop island access and a jetty on the north eastern side of the island to enable an alternative island access to use during rough weather conditions. 5. The need for an alternative access for the island has been recognised by the government and decided to develop a jetty and cut an access channel on the eastern side to provide safe access for the vessels operating to and from R. Rasgatheemu Island. 6. The study investigates impacts associated with the channel dredging and jetty construction of R. Rasgatheemu and areas for disposal of dredged material. The proposed access channel will have a width of 24m and a length of 28m and the entrance channel which will be cut through the reef into the ocean ward will lead to a small rectangular shaped dredged area (mooring basin ) 30m wide and 40m long, for vessel turning and temporary mooring purposes. The proposed mooring basin and the access channel will be dredged to maintain an average depth of -3m with respect to the MSL. A total of approximately 5616m3 of dredged material is expected to be produced. This material will be used for jetty backfill and the excess will be used for the nourishment of the beach on the north eastern coast of the island which at present is undergoing severe erosion. 7. Main focus this reports is to document the general baseline condition surrounding island and particularly the proposed area for channel dredging and jetty construction. The following studies have been carried out as part of this assessment. a. Assessment of the marine and coastal species and habitats in surrounding impact areas. b. Coastal beach profiles to set baseline conditions of coastal processes. c. Wave and shoreline assessment study to evaluate the potential for the proposed channel dredging and jetty construction to impact adjacent shorelines. EIA for R. Rasgetheemu Access and Jetty construction project | Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure | June 2017 Page 14 of 76 d. Climatic and oceanographic conditions of the project site. 8. Findings from the environmental studies are summarized as follows; a. Access to the existing harbour is extremely difficult particularly at the onset of SW monsoon during the Months of May June and July. Therefore based on this assessment and experience the locals are opting to have an alternative access to the island on the NE side of the island. b. Field verification of the project site has revealed that the dimensions given in the MHI proposal does not fit into the location as the reef edge is closer and there is no need for channel dredging in the proposed location at end of Kanneli Magu, Rasgatheemu. c. Based on the discussion with the people of the island and in-situ wave measurements has suggested to shift the location of the jetty and the access channel further south for various reasons detail are evaluated in the alternatives section of this report which would be the preferred location to develop island access in R. Rasgatheemu. 9. This EIA has been carried out on the basis that it is necessary to carry out the jetty construction and island access project at the eastern side of R. Rasgatheemu to facilitate socio-economic development and easy access to the island. 10. During the preparation of the EIA report an impact matrix, which is a standard tool for identifying the possible impacts of project activities, has been created for proposed development project in R. Rasgetheemu Island. The activities carried out during the construction and post-construction or operational phases are arrayed against a selection of environmental factors that may be affected directly or indirectly as a result of project activities. 11. The environmental impact assessment study shows there are two main activities that would cause minor to moderate negative environmental impacts. Those, in order of minor to moderate impact, are: 1. Channel and mooring basing dredging 2. Jetty construction and backfilling 12. Of these a long term impact would be from dredging and beach backfilling of jetty area and nourishment of eroded beach on the NE side of the island. Potential erosion/accretion and adjustment of the existing beach to create a new equilibrium with the surrounding environmental conditions are likely to extend to medium to long term. These impacts would be cumulative occurring over long period of time and so can be managed through proper monitoring and addressing them in a timely manner. Based on the scale of dredging and beach nourishment work projects that is taking place in Maldives, impacts associated with the proposed dredging activity is insignificant. The positive socio economic impacts from the proposed development outweigh the temporary negative impacts of dredging. 13. The study has evaluated alternative locations for the project and recommended shifting the project 150m south of the proposed location. Also the study has evaluated two options to develop island access in the new location. Based on the alternative option evaluation, the preferred option is to construct a 65m long 4m wide T jetty with 40m long-T, standing on pad-column foundation. The recommended access jetty will eliminate the most of the impacts envisaged with the proposed development. Even though there is no significant impact from this project particularly with the recommended T-jetty construction, the report has come-up with an extensive monitoring programme that will keep on monitoring coastal and marine environmental changes associated with the development to make necessary adjustment based on the findings of various measured environmental parameters suggested in the monitoring plan. 14. Therefore, on the basis of this environmental impact assessment study and the impact mitigation measures in the report will be duly implemented and recommendations are given due consideration, it is concluded that the benefits of alternative island access development project in the selected alternative location in this study at the eastern coasts of R. Rasgetheemu will substantially outweigh its imposition on the environment.
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