Marine Environmental

North Andros, Bahamas

Coastal Systems prepared an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed Morgans Bluff development on Andros Island in the Bahamas. The proposed project consisted of the establishment of a resource mining industry on North Andros and commerce activity associated with a resort and residential development that would include a marina and waterfront village adjacent to the mining area. The marine works portion of the project included the extension of a 4,200-foot channel across Colby Bay and a new port with aggregate loading facilities at Joanne Point. In addition, the existing marina basin and entrance channel would be expanded for the development of the waterfront village. The proposed aggregate industry will produce an estimated four to seven million tons of limestone material for construction aggregate export.

Terrestrial and marine resources were surveyed utilizing high resolution photogrammetric mapping and towed underwater video techniques. Biologists field-verified the remote sensing data to confirm existing ecosystems. Upland ecosystems mapped included pine forests, mangrove wetlands, coastal coppice, maritime forest, rock shore and sandy beach. Marine ecosystems included sandy bottom, scattered hard-bottom, corals and patchy seagrass. Environmental impacts were assessed based on the proposed development and resource mining plans. The development plans were adjusted to minimize environmental impacts. In addition, meteorological and oceanographic conditions were evaluated. Recommendations to protect marine resources such as adjacent reefs during dredging operations were also provided. A comprehensive EIA was prepared and submitted for processing through the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Commission.

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