Presentation on theme: "Terrestrial Ecology section of the EIA for the proposed desalination plant at Mile 6 Presented by: Reagan Chunga Integrated Environmental Consultants Namibia."— Presentation transcript:
Terrestrial Ecology section of the EIA for the proposed desalination plant at Mile 6 Presented by: Reagan Chunga Integrated Environmental Consultants Namibia (IECN) 21 April 2009
Background Coast: unique biodiversity, of global significance Many endemic animals, breeding bird colonies, specialised fog-dependent lichens & vegetation, succulent flora, reptiles etc. Around 1,6 million birds belonging to 73 species regularly occur along the coastline; up to 770 birds per km of beach Namibia’s coastal zones are considered as refuges for a number of endangered species. The protection of the coastline has a high priority on the political agenda at all levels More than 90% of the two coastal regions fall within Namibia’s national protected areas system
Background (cont.) Most of the coastal areas fall within a series of contiguous protected and recreational areas, namely the Skeleton Coast National Park, the National West Coast Tourist Recreation Area, the Namib- Naukluft National Park and the recently proposed Sperrgebiet National Park The construction and operation of desalination plant and supporting infrastructure will negatively affect on the terrestrial ecology
Methodology a. a. Site visit and field assessment of proposed sites/area for all infrastructure to be developed b. b. Review of relevant documentation c. c. Focal interviews/consultation (Rod Braby, Dr. Joh Henschel & John Pallet) d. d. Specialist workshops e. e. Prepare draft report f. f. Revisions based on reviews
1. 1.The desalination plant including a new power sub-station and water reservoir a. a. Overall description of the site The site of the desalination plant is highly disturbed, Is currently being used developments and off-road driving The beach area is used for recreation purposes The seaside part of the site is covered with very loose sea sand 2–3m thick.
b. b. Flora a small percentage of the site is covered by plants mainly kuntze’s brownanthus, psilocaulon species, pencil bush & red fingers Both the species observed on the site are endemic to Namibia & occur mainly along the coastline
c. c. Fauna During the specialist site visit the site had no significant faunal representation From literature review the following species occur in that area: tenebrionid beetle (Zophosis gracilipes) light tan coloured beetle (Pachyphaleria capensis) The drift line consists of: species of stranded kelp of the genus Ecklonia Tan beetles, sand hoppers and isopods Common predators on the beaches include: gerbils Jackals
2. 2.Mile 6-Swakopmund water pipeline, linking with the Omdel – Swakopmund pipeline a. a. Overall description of the site The area where the pipeline is to be constructed has similar characteristics as the desalination site. It runs from the coastline where it’s very disturbed with very less biodiversity. The beach part is highly disturbed, and continues to be used for developments and off-road driving, Similarly, the beach area is used for recreation purposes
b. b. Flora The beach part of the pipeline is covered by plants mainly kuntze’s brownanthus, psilocaulon species, pencil bush and red fingers Both the species observed on the site are endemic to Namibia & occur mainly along the coastline
c. c. Fauna During the specialist site visit the site had no significant faunal representation. Literature reviewed indicates that sandy beaches are known to be habitat to a number of different species. Seely (1987) identifies tenebrionid beetle (Zophosis gracilipes) as one of the species which can be commonly found on the beaches, together with a light tan coloured beetle. This tan beetle (Pachyphaleria capensis) Common predators on the beaches include gerbils and jackals. The drift-line, consists mainly of species of stranded kelp of the genus Ecklonia, tan beetles, sand hoppers and isopods
3. 3.Transmission power-line and associated service road a. a. Overall description of the site The power-line route traverses the width of the Namib Desert from about 44 km inland to the coast itself, an area that has a pronounced climatic gradient The 1.4km wide strip is mainly dominated by low lying areas, with low biodiversity & dolerite ridges with high biodiversity. The dolerite ridges appear to be more heavily vegetated & bear more plant species than lower lying areas. The plants on these ridges differ somewhat from the surrounding areas. Lichens are particularly abundant on the ridges & hoodia currori
b. b. Flora Divided into two main habitat types, namely: The dolerite ridges and the lower laying areas. The dolerite ridges consist of lichen fields and other species like hoodia currori. Hoodia currori is protected in Namibia & it is currently listed in Appendix II in CITES The lower lying area has less biodiversity The plant cover on this area is very spares A few annual grass species could be seen during the specialist visit to the site. From literature the following species could be identified Blepharis grossa (a small and very spiny shrub), and larger shrubs such as Arthraerua leubnitziae (pencil bush), Zygophyllum stapfii (dollar bush) & Salsola sp (gannabos). Occasional specimens of Commiphora saxicola & Sarcocaulon marlothi (bushman’s candle) & Lichens
c. c. Fauna Common species in that area is springbok, ostrich and gemsbok. These animals use the gravel plains as well as food and shelter in the washes Other large mammals that are expected in the area include aardvark, porcupine, occasional brown and spotted hyenas, leopard And other small carnivores such as Cape fox and suricate, & many species of rodents, bats & other small mammals
Identification of key issues I) I) Destruction of the Lichen fields The possible effects on the lichen fields relate mainly to dust & physical damage II. II. Prevention of animal migration The construction of the pipeline (if above ground) will impede on animal movement III. III. Direct impacts on the biodiversity-rich dolerite ridges The dolerite ridges in the 1.4 km wide strip, will be heavily impacted on by the construction of the power-line.
Identification of key issues (cont.) IV) IV) Vehicle tracks on the substrate Construction vehicles tracks made on the desert floor remain visible for many years, making scars on the landscape, & They destroy the soil crust & lichens that grow on the surface V) V) Cumulative impacts The provision of infrastructure like water & electricity could catalyse development along the coast towards Swakopmund vi. vi. Increased access by the public along routes opened up for construction
Identification of key issues (cont.) VII) VII) Collecting of wood and plants for fuel Labour teams involved in construction always need a source of energy for cooking, & often gather firewood from local trees & bushes for this purpose VIII) VIII) Poaching Poaching might be a problem when labourers are brought in proximity to wildlife & when they have to overnight at construction sites.
Identification of relevant environmental permits/licenses required Environmental Management Act No 7 of 2007, which requires Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for major developments The protection of the coastline has a high priority on the political agenda at all levels. More than 90% of the two coastal regions fall within Namibia’s national protected areas system, and additional areas are currently being proclaimed (planed for 1st half of 2009).
Mitigation options i. i. Cumulative impacts Mitigation options are very limited for the cumulative impacts, And rely primarily on government controlling such developments strongly, with distinct limitations and management requirements for the zones, preferably within an environmental & spatial development strategy or framework
Mitigation options ii. ii. Increased access Increased access can be controlled through a strategic plan for the area This can further be strengthened through constant supervision iii. iii. Prevention of Animal Migration Several areas along the pipeline where there is more fauna can be identified and those areas can be buried. Or alternatively the pipeline can be made higher Another option will be aligning the pipeline to an already existing barrier like a road, etc.
Mitigation options iv. iv. Biodiversity impacts on ridges The essence of ridge mitigation is not to damage or disturb ridges, by avoiding them from the outset. So: Do not site pylons on ridges. Make access tracks through gaps in ridges even when the power-line crosses the ridge directly. Do not make road scars on dolerite hills. Route the power-line within the 1.4km wide strip so as to avoid the dolerite ridges
Mitigation options V) V) Destruction of the dolerite ridges Moving the power-line is thus deemed to be the single most effective mitigation measure (i.e. avoidance) to reduce the impact on the lichen fields, and to increase the level of confidence in the results of the assessment Other mitigation measures to address the power-line related concerns include the likelihood of declaring the service road a private road, thereby restricting access, as well as possibly extending the lichen chain to create an additional barrier to access. Dust during construction can be managed with a suitable watering programme.
Mitigation options VI) VI) Vehicle tracks and off-track driving The following measures can be undertaken: Insert penalty clauses in the contracts of all workers on site Employ a permanent environmental officer to monitor compliance on the ground. Put up more warning signs forbidding off- track driving.
Mitigation options vii. vii. Collecting of wood and plants for fuel Provide work teams with gas or paraffin stoves for cooking. Further mitigation of this problem can be achieved by thorough supervision of work teams. viii. viii. Poaching Thorough supervision of construction teams should minimize poaching incidents during the construction phase Any employee or unauthorized trespasser found poaching should be handed over to the authorities for prosecution under Namibian anti-poaching laws This policy should be made widely known