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Environmental Impact Assessment Addendum NORTH BIMINI FERRY TERMINAL PROJECT, BIMINI, BAHAMAS 4 October 2013 Prepared for:

Resort World Bimini Bay 1 Herald Plaza Miami, Florida 33132

Prepared by:

BLUE ENGINEERING LTD.

Blue Engineering P. O. Box SS-6328 Nassau, Bahamas With input from:

RAV Bahamas, Limited 4th Floor Miami, FL 33172


Environmental Impact Assessment Addendum NORTH BIMINI FERRY TERMINAL PROJECT, BIMINI, BAHAMAS.

4 October 2013 Prepared for: Resort World Bimini Bay 1 Herald Plaza Miami, Florida 33132

RAV Bahamas, Limited 4th Floor Miami, FL 33172

Prepared by: Blue Engineering P. O. Box SS-6328 Nassau, Bahamas With input from: Coastal Systems International, Inc and Ocean Consulting, LLC

Blue Engineering Ltd. © 2013 – This document or any part may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, microfilming, and recording without the express written consent of Blue Engineering Ltd. All rights reserved.


Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS

1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

7

1.

INTRODUCTION

1.1 1.2 1.2 1.4 1.5

Introduction and Objectives North Bimini Ferry Terminal works and Environmental Impact Assessment Addendum (EIA) Project Rationale Terms of Reference Methodology 1.5.1 Hydrographic Survey 1.5.2 Geotechnical Investigations 1.5.3 Marine Resource Survey 1.5.4 Terrestrial 1.5.5 Water quality 1.5.6 Tides, Currents, Waves and Shorelines 1.5.6.1 Currents 1.5.6.2 Waves and shorelines 1.5.7 Socio-economic 1.5.8 Archaeology 1.5.9 Land Based traffic 1.5.10 Marine traffic

2.

PROPOSED NORTH BIMINI FERRY TERMINAL WORKS PROJECT

2.1 2.2 2.3

2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9

Ownership and Usage of the Ferry The Ferry Dredging 2.3.1 Volumes and types of sediments to be stored/used 2.3.2 Dredged material storage/use plan 2.3.3 Dredging equipment and methodology 2.3.4 Disposal of water from dredged material 2.3.5 Use of dredged materials 2.5.6 Duration of dredging works North Bimini Ferry Terminal Pier Road Dolphin Clusters and Channel Markers Utilities Schedule

3.

PROJECT SETTING

3.1

Physical Environment 3.1.1 Geomorphology and Bathymetry 3.1.2 Subsurface conditions 3.1.3 Climate and Temperature 3.1.4 Precipitation 3.1.5 Air Quality 3.1.6 Wind 3.1.7 Storms

8 8 11 12 12 12 13 15 17 17 20 21 22 22 22

24 25 26 26 27 27 28 30 30 30 31 32 32 32 32

34 34 35 37 37 37 38 39

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

3.1.8

3.2

3.3

4.

Waves 3.1.8.1 Offshore Deep-water Waves 3.1.8.2 Inshore Coastal Waves 3.1.9 Storm Surge 3.1.10 Tides 3.1.11 Currents 3.1.12 Surface drainage 3.1.13 Marine water quality Biological Environment 3.2.1 Terrestrial ecology 3.2.2 Aquatic/Marine Habitats 3.2.3 Protected areas Socio-economic and Cultural Environment 3.3.1 Demography 3.3.2 Land use 3.3.3 Education 3.3.4 Employment 3.3.5 Economic Activities 3.3.5.1 Tourism 3.3.5.2 Commerce 3.3.5.3 Shipping 3.3.5.4 Fishing 3.3.5.5 Diving/Snorkeling 3.3.6 Existing Infrastructure 3.3.6.1 Roads 3.3.6.2 Airstrip 3.3.6.3 Seaport 3.3.6.4 Electricity 3.3.6.5 Potable Water 3.3.6.6 Waste Water 3.3.6.7 Telecommunications 3.3.6.8 Cable and Television 3.3.6.9 Solid Waste 3.3.6.10 Community 3.3.6.11 Future Services 3.3.7 Transportation 3.3.8 Historical and Archaeological Significance 3.3.9 Natural and technological hazard vulnerability

39 40 40 41 45 45 49

62 62 62 68 68 68

75

81 84 85

ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS, POLICY, LEGISLATION AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

86

5.

POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

89

5.1

Potential Geographic and Physical Impacts 5.1.1 Land Use and Topography 5.1.1.1 Displacement of Current Land Uses 5.1.1.2 Compatibility with Existing and Future Land Demands 5.1.1.3 Alteration of Natural Landforms and Topography 5.1.2 Meteorological and Climatic Conditions 5.1.3 Geology 5.1.3.1 Beach and Shoreline Stability 5.1.3.2 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation 5.1.3.3 Preservation of Unique Geologic Features 5.1.4 Stormwater Runoff

95 95

97 97

104

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

5.1.5

5.2

5.3

Groundwater Resources 104 5.1.5.1 Alteration of Groundwater Recharge and Flow 5.1.5.2 Deterioration of Groundwater Quality Associated with Nutrient Loading and Potential Contamination 5.1.5.3 Effect on Existing and Future Water Supplies 5.1.6 Marine Water Resources 106 5.1.6.1 Oceanographic Conditions 5.1.6.2 Bathymetry 5.1.6.3 Tides and Currents 5.1.6.4 Marine Water Quality 5.1.7 Air Quality and Noise 114 5.1.7.1 Impacts from Fuel Loading and Unloading Operations 5.1.7.2 Emissions from Stationary and Uncontrolled Sources 5.1.7.3 Emissions from Mobile Sources 5.1.7.4 Effects of Construction Noise and Dust Potential Biological Resource Impacts 120 5.2.1 Terrestrial Biological Resources 120 5.2.1.1 Clearing of Vegetation 5.2.1.2 Impacts Associated with Hazardous Materials Releases on Terrestrial Fauna 5.2.1.3 Risk of Introduction of Non-native Species, Foreign Diseases, and Escape of Pets 5.2.1.4 Impacts to Wetlands Functions and Values 5.2.1.5 Impacts to Wildlife Habitat 5.2.1.6 Impacts to Threatened and Protected Species and Migratory Birds 5.2.2 Aquatic/Marine Biological Resources 123 5.2.2.1 Impacts to Aquatic/Marine Habitat 5.2.2.2 Impacts to Aquatic/Marine Biota Associated with Deterioration of Water Quality 5.2.2.3 Effects of Using Fertilizers, Biocides, and Pesticides on Aquatic/Marine Biota 5.2.2.4 Impacts to Biota Associated with Boating, Fishing and Other Recreational Activities 5.2.2.5 Impacts to Aquatic/Marine Biota Associated with Oil Spills 5.2.2.6 Impacts to Commercially Important Species and Habitats Potential Socioeconomic and Cultural Impacts 129 5.3.1 Demographics 129 5.3.1.1 Effect of Direct and Indirect Population Growth 5.3.1.2 Use of Local Labour 5.3.1.3 Displacement and Resettlement of Existing Housing 5.3.2 Economic Activities 131 5.3.2.1 Effect on Direct and Indirect Employment 5.3.2.2 Impacts on Local Residential Housing Availability 5.3.2.3 Impact on Existing and Future Fishing and Fisheries Exploitation 5.3.2.4 Impacts on Public Health and Worker Health and Safety 5.3.3 Tourism 135 5.3.3.1 Effect on Existing and Future Land Use Values 5.3.3.2 Impacts to Shipping and Boating 5.3.3.3 Impacts on Public Access and Use of Coastal Resources 5.3.3.4 Effects on Availability or Demand for Local Infrastructure 5.3.4 Infrastructure and Community Services 138 5.3.4.1 Impacts on Public Access and Use of Coastal Resources 5.3.4.2 Effects on Availability or Demand for Local Infrastructure 5.3.4.3 Effects on Availability or Demand for Local Community Services 5.3.5 Cultural Resources 142 5.3.4.1 Disturbance to Cultural Resources 5.3.5 Visual/Seascape Impacts 142 5.6.5.1 Visual Character 5.3.5.2 Highway Sightlines and Views 5.3.5.3 Off Shore Views 5.3.5.4 Adjacent Properties

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

5.6 5.7

5.3.7 Other Social Impacts Potential Impacts Associated with Emergencies and Disaster Management Potential Impacts Associated with the Possible Failure of Process and Environmental Control Systems Disturbance to Cultural Resources Summary of Potential Environmental Impacts

6.

PROJECT ALTERNATIVES

6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6

No Action Alternative Alternative Design A – Interior Option Alternative Design B – Paradise Point Option Alternative Design C – Southern Area Option Alternative Design D – Preferred Option Conclusion of Alternatives Analysis

7.

IMPACT MITIGATION

7.1 7.2

Proposed Mitigation Measures Assessment of Residual Impacts and Mitigation

8.

ENVIROMENTAL MANAGEMENT

8.1

8.2. 8.3. 8.4 8.5 8.6

Contractor Environmental Management Requirements 8.1.1 Site Safety and Health 8.1.2. Construction Traffic 8.1.3 Noise and Dust Nuisance 8.1.4 Piling, disposal of return water and dredging 8.1.5 Construction Material Sources 8.1.6 Natural Resources Management 8.1.7 Water Abstraction 8.1.8 Erosion and Pollution of Wetlands and Watercourses 8.1.9 Disposal of Waste Materials 8.1.10 Works Site Restoration Checklist of Environmental Stipulations Contractor Facilities, Plant and Operations Site Considerations Environmental Awareness and Contractor Supervision Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

179 179 180 180 180

9.

EMERGENCY CONTINGENCY PLAN

182

10.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4

Overview Main Findings Project Abandonment Recommendations

183 183 184 184

11.

REFERENCES

186

12.

APPENDICES

188

5.4 5.5

Appendix A. Appendix B. Appendix C.

143 149 150 150 150

151 151 152 153 153 153

155 173

175

Geotechnical Report Marine Resource Report Water Quality Report

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Appendix D. Appendix E. Appendix F Appendix G Appendix H Appendix I Appendix J Appendix K Appendix L.

Coastal Engineering and Sediment Reports Project Drawings Project Legislation Bimini Enhancement Master Plan Social Impact Questionnaire Alternatives Analysis Options Drawings Environmental Monitoring Forms Turbidity Monitoring Forms Economic and Fiscal Impacts Analysis Report for the Casino and Infrastructure Improvements

List of Figures Figure 1.1: Figure 1.2: Figure 1.3: Figure 1.4: Figure 2.1: Figure 3.1: Figure 3.2: Figure 3.3: Figure 3.4: Figure 3.5: Figure 3.6: Figure 3.7: Figures 3.8: Figures 3.9: Figure 5.1: Figure 5.2: Figure 5.3: Figure 5.4: Figure 5.5: Figure 5.6: Figure 5.7: Figure 5.8: Figure 5.9: Figure 5.10: Figure 8.1:

Ferry Terminal Master Plan Boring Location Plan Sampling Sites (April 2013) Current and Tide Data Locations Aerial View indicating Project Area Map indicating location of Bimini Islands in relation to surrounding islands, Cuba and the U.S. Charts indicating location of Project Site Wind Rose off West Coast of Bimini Water Surface Elevations (April 23-24, 2013) Previous Water Quality Sampling Sites (July 2002) North Bimini Ferry Terminal Marine Resource Map North Bimini Ferry Terminal Marine Resource Detail Map indicating Little Bimini Bank Bimini Coat of Arms depicts fishing Impact Evaluation Matrix Beach Locations on Bimini Beach Locations on North Bimini Beach Locations near the Proposed Project Total Annual Sediment Transport Rate Distribution - Existing (Radio Beach) Total Annual Sediment Transport Rate Distribution – With Project (Radio Beach) Difference of Wave Heights between with and without Proposed Project When the Incident Waves are from North Receptor Plan indicating Noise Contours for pile driving activities South of the Project Site Receptor Plan indicating Noise Contours for pile driving activities North of the Project Site Turbidity standards of 5, 50, and 500 NTU The Environmental Management Structure

List of Tables Table 1.1: Table 2.1: Table 2.2: Table 3.1: Table 3.2: Table 3.3: Table 3.4: Table 3.5: Table 3.6: Table 3.7:

Water sampling analysis, methodology of analysis and parameters. Expected Cruise Ferry Arrival (as indicated by Bimini Bay Developers) M/F Superfast VI Properties Design Extreme Wind Speeds Design Offshore Normal Wave Conditions Design Offshore Extreme Wave Conditions Water Elevations, [feet] Current Measurements, Location A Current Measurements, Location B Historic Water Sampling from July 2002.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Table 3.8: Table 3.10: Table 3.11: Table 3.9: Table 3.12: Table 3.13: Table 5.1: Table 5.2: Table 5.3: Table 6.1: Table 7.1

Island Footprint at Mid-Depth Range - High Tide and Low Tide with Duplicates, and Averages. Dredge Footprint and Island Footprint at a Depth of 1 Foot above Bottom - High Tide and Low Tide without Duplicate, and the Averages. Summary of Biological Oxygen Demand, Dissolved Oxygen, Salinity, and Turbidity. Dredge Footprint at Mid-Depth Range - High Tide and Low Tide with Duplicates, and Averages. Stop Over Visitors by Island and Region 2011. Stop Over Visitors by Island and Region 2011. Summary of Potential Environmental Impacts by Project Phase, North Ferry Terminal. Alternative development options reported Specific Social Impact Analysis Summary and Evaluation of Alternative Options Mitigation of Potential Environmental Impacts

.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This study assesses the likely environmental impacts of the construction, operation and maintenance of a new ferry terminal on the west shoreline of North Bimini. This report is an addendum to the previous Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) produced for the Bimini Bay Resort. The project will include dredging of 220,000 cubic yards of material which will be utilized in the construction of a new 4.5 acre island connected to the shore by a 1,000 foot long piled pier. The island will provide berthing facilities for one 650 foot long vessels in two alternative berthing arrangements, one 300 foot long mega yacht and two 200 to 250 foot long mega-yachts as well as customs and immigration offices, a beach club and a turning area for trams. The Project is intended to accommodate a 650 foot long ferry service between Miami and Bimini which would introduce an additional 570,000 visitors to Bimini each year. Refer to Figure 1.1 for a Master Plan of the North Bimini Ferry Terminal. In support of this EIA, the following studies have been carried out; • An EIA and further studies for the Bimini Bay Development • A geotechnical study to determine the type and quality of the material to be dredged and the type and quality of the material that the piles are to be driven into and the dredged material placed onto. • A study of the marine species and habitats in the area of the dredge and the new island and surrounding impact areas. • A wave, surge and shoreline assessment study to evaluate the potential for the proposed project to impact the nearby shorelines. • An Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis for the Casino and Infrastructure Improvements • Water quality analysis to provide baseline water quality conditions. Based upon the completion of the studies, specific environmental design components, potential benefits, and findings from the environmental studies are summarised as follows; • The project may potentially introduce an additional 570,000 tourists per year to Bimini (a factor of 11 more than the number of tourists currently visiting Bimini) and thereby boost the local economy and employment. • The new island to serve as the ferry terminal will provide adequate storage for the dredged material from the dredging. The preferred method for the construction of the new island utilises steel sheet piles with anchors to contain the material and a pipeline to transport the material. This in itself will reduce potential impacts on the environment significantly. • The dredging and new island will create a direct loss of low-relief marine habitat including algae, sponges and a low density of corals. Included in the loss of this areas is the loss of benthic organisms presently inhabiting these areas. Generally the existing quality of these benthic resources is good. Good benthic resources, in this instance, refers to the fact that there are no signs of stress such as disease, trash, debris, or poor water quality in the surveyed footprint. For a low relief habitat, there is still coverage by macroalgae, limited hard and soft corals; it is not 100% barren. For a low relief habitat, there is coverage by macroalgae, limited hard and soft corals; it is not barren. It will be necessary to install artificial reef and transplant corals as mitigation for this impact as well as other impacts. Monitoring will also be conducted once per year for 5 years to remove invasive species, allowing for natural communities to thrive and ensure successful mitigation. • The new island will alter the local currents and wave directions and heights slightly. Wave heights will be essentially unchanged at the shoreline if the new island is built as proposed, therefore it is anticipated that there should be little if any change to the shape or profile of the shoreline. This remains to be confirmed. • Fourteen(14) known reef dive spots are located within 1.5 miles of the site, with the closest dive spots being 700 feet and 1,500 feet from the construction footprint. As a result, strict water quality monitoring will be implemented to maintain the excellent diving options in Bimini adjacent to the site.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

• During an informal polling of local Biminites (limited sample size equal to approximately 50), residents agree there is likely to be an economic benefit from the project. • During this same polling effort (limited sample size) concerns for potential adverse impacts on marine resource habitat, fisheries, disruption, inconvenience and behavior were expressed as well as concern for the viability of the service. Based on the significant work conducted to date, the project team has prepared a comprehensive EIA report to construct the facility using sustainable and environmentally-sensitive Best Management Practices that minimize impacts to the environment and local community to the maximum extent practicable while still meeting the project purpose.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

1. INTRODUCTION 1.1

Introduction and Objectives

This Environmental Impact Assessment Addendum (EIA) addresses the provision of a dredged channel, a new terminal island, access pier and connector road to accommodate a fast ferry service between Miami and North Bimini as part of the North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project (hereafter referred to as “the Project”). The development team working to implement and construct the Project includes the original developer, RAV Bahamas, in partnership with Genting's brand, Resorts World. The partnership intends to provide access and berthing facilities for a 650 foot long ferry in two alternative berthing arrangements, namely the M/F Superfast VI with minimal negative impact on the environment. The intention is to then operate a ferry service twice a day which would carry 1,500 to 2,500 passengers a day. The Ferry Terminal will also accommodate three mega yacht berthing. Refer to Figure 1.1 for a Master Plan of the North Bimini Ferry Terminal. Applied Technology and Management Inc., was retained in 1997 by RAV Bahamas, Ltd. to complete the EIA for the Bimini Bay Development (Applied Technology and Management Inc., December 1997, “Bimini Bay Environmental Assessment”). This EIA provided an assessment of the proposed Bimini Bay Development in terms of existing environmental conditions and potential environmental impacts. The EIA is outdated however, and makes little reference to the impacts of a berthing facility for ships off of the southern point of North Bimini. There have been several studies since the original EIA however none of these make any further mention of a berthing for a ship. Coupled with the high impact of increasing the number of visitors to Bimini by a factor of eleven (11) to 570,000 visitors a year (not accounting for the mega yachts), and the strained and long outstanding concern on the island with regard to capacity to accommodate more tourists outside Bimini Bay it is considered appropriate to assess the potential impacts of the Project including the increased number of tourists resulting from the service and identify and address all available feasible mitigation, monitoring and management measures that can be implemented to reduce or avoid the identified potential adverse impacts. Studies conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the project include bathymetric survey, wave, current and shoreline impact studies, geotechnical studies, a survey of the marine habitat and species existing at and around the proposed site and nearby areas, marine water quality analysis and an economic and fiscal impact analysis for the casino and infrastructure improvements. This EIA Addendum assesses the impacts to the environment including the surrounding near shore marine environment and shorelines in accordance with guidelines provided by the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Commission. Portions of the separate studies identified above are reproduced within this report for ease of reference with the permission of the owners. The objective of this EIA Addendum is to identify mitigation, monitoring and management measures to be implemented to reduce or avoid the identified potential adverse impacts, inform the permit application review process and obtain approval for the Project from the Government of the Bahamas. 1.2 North Bimini Ferry Terminal works and Environmental Impact Assessment Addendum (EIA) The access pier to the ferry terminal island is proposed to connect to Bimini’s main road at the large roundabout at the southern end of Bimini Bay Resort, adjacent to the service /maintenance yard. The access pier would extend approximately 1,000 linear feet offshore in a northwest direction. At the terminus of the access pier, a sheet-pile and pipe pile combi-wall is proposed to surround a 4.5-acre island, followed by a 2,600-linear-foot dredged access channel extending northwest from the terminal island. A smaller area to the south of the island is also to be dredged to accommodate three mega-yacht berthings. A significant number of alternatives were evaluated during the design phase, and these alternatives are evaluated elsewhere in this report.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Figure 1.1: Ferry Terminal Master Plan

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

The terminal island itself, created from 220,000 cubic yards of dredged spoil, will contain a welcome center, customs facility, and a potential beach club, along with hardscape/landscape improvements. A cargo storage area for offloading/loading will also be established. Finally, a tram system will pick-up and drop-off passengers to the mainland. A total of 5 vessels/slips are proposed to be moored adjacent to the terminal island; the first two slips are proposed for the large ferry. Two slips allows for the docking of the fast-ferry in different wind conditions. There are no plans at this time for an additional ferry service. The third slip will accommodate up to a 300-foot mega-yacht, and the remaining 2 slips will accommodate mega-yachts in the range of 200-250 linear feet. The fast ferry will need to travel in reverse, using the deeper water as an area for turn-around, as likely would the 300-foot mega-yacht. The mooring dolphins could act as a guide for the marine vessels. Approximately 570,000 passengers are expected by Bimini Bay to utilize the cruise ship and terminal island facility on a yearly basis. To support this volume of people, the cruise ship (already purchased by the development team) is approximately 650 feet long and has a maximum draft of 22 feet. To accommodate the draft of this cruise ship in variable sea conditions, a dredge depth of 31 feet is proposed. Depths currently range from 15 feet below surface waters (as measured at Mean Sea Level), up to 31+ feet below surface waters, across the 2,600 linear foot span from the terminal island to the 31-foot-contour. Given the potentially significant adverse environmental impacts associated with dredging and the construction of a new island in the marine environment off of the West coast of North Bimini, the Government of the Bahamas has requested the preparation and submission of an EIA Addendum report to inform the permit application review process. 1.3

Project Rationale

The proposed ferry terminal will support Bimini Bay Resort, as well as the surrounding community of North and South Bimini. The ferry, when docked at the proposed ferry terminal, is expected to deliver passengers and an assortment of cargo to the Bimini Islands on a daily basis. Due to its inherent natural beauty, great fishing and strategic geographic location, The Bimini Islands are a favoured destination. However, Bimini is unable to accommodate a fast ferry which can provide a comfortable journey from the United States or the large mega yachts now becoming more prominent in the market owing to its lack of adequate bathymetry and facilities. The Ferry Terminal is considered necessary in order to make best use of the recent developments in Bimini, most notably Bimini Bay. Bimini Bay can currently accommodate approximately 3,000 people however the island experiences extreme occupancy highs and lows with full occupancy during holidays such as Memorial Day and Labour Day weekends however occupancy has been below 10%during other periods. It is considered necessary to provide a means by which the number of visitors visiting the island is more constant thereby making better use of the facilities and resources available at Bimini Bay. Many of the islands of the Bahamas have seen a decline in their populations with the population moving to New Providence in order to obtain work. Whilst Bimini is not considered a major contributor to this influx of people to New Providence with the introduction of the Bimini Bay Resort it is hoped that it will prove an alternative to New Providence for those in other islands. There is already evidence of this at the development with a number of employers being from Grand Bahama for instance. Also, worldwide, cruise shipping is currently experiencing a period of substantial growth and the Caribbean has emerged as the world’s most popular cruising area. The ferry terminal could potentially be used for cruise ships in the future. To date, meetings with the Office of the Prime Minister have been positive; therefore, this EIA Addendum is submitted to inform the Government of the Bahamas and in the hope of obtaining approval of the entire Bimini Bay Ferry Terminal Development Plan.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

1.4

Terms of Reference

The original EIA for the Bimini Bay Development was completed with consideration given to providing access to ferries via a channel that would provide access to the area in between North and South Bimini. At this time the channel was proposed to have a bottom width of 300 feet with a depth of 30 feet at mean low water. This extent of dredging nor the construction of the commercial ship berth extending from the southern point of North Bimini did not take place however although some dredging did take place. The dredging that has taken place has included improvements to the entrance channel, dredging at Alice Town dock and dredging of the entrance channel that runs from Big Game north to the Bimini Bay Resort. No dredging for a future ferry terminal took place under the original EIA approval in 1997. The inlet channel, generally between North and South Bimini, was dredged by the Government in 2005, and the contractor was Devcon. Maintenance dredging has been recently conducted by RAV Bahamas. This addendum to the earlier EIA addresses the impacts of the alternative ferry service location, infrastructure and accommodating what is considered the appropriate vessel size. As the original EIA is outdated and neither it nor the several studies since have address the impacts of such a berthing facility and the fact that there has been strained and long outstanding concern on the island with regard to capacity to accommodate more tourists outside Bimini Bay, the potential impacts of the Project including the increased number of visitors that are attracted to the island as a result of the service will be assessed. It is to be noted that this EIA Addendum is solely concerned with the North Bimini Ferry Terminal. Reference should be made to Applied Technology and Management Inc., December 1997, “Bimini Bay Environmental Assessment” and further studies/reports for details on other aspects of the Bimini Bay Development. 1.5

Methodology

A number of activities were necessary in order to identify potential impacts. These included the following; • • • • • • • • • • •

Hydrographic Survey Geotechnical Investigations Marine Resource Surveys Terrestrial Survey Water Quality Tides and Currents Waves and Shorelines Socio-economic Archaeology Land based traffic Marine traffic

Descriptions of the methodologies used by the EIA team for each of these activities are provided below. 1.5.1

Hydrographic Survey

The hydrographic survey activities encompassed three (3) phases including calibration, data acquisition, and data analysis. Brief descriptions of each survey phase, including methodologies and quality control/quality assurance procedures, are described in the below paragraphs. The surveys are referenced to the horizontal datum for the project, UTM NAD 27 Bahamas coordinate system, Zone 17N. The vertical datum for the project is Mean Sea Level (MSL), as referenced to a monument near Government Dock in Alice Town, elevation 5.29 feet. Hydrographic cross-sections were surveyed at appropriate intervals to map the sub-surface topography. Transects were obtained generally perpendicular to the shoreline of North Bimini in the project area.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Hydrographic operations were conducted from a 27-foot custom aluminum survey vessel equipped for hydrographic surveying. Differential GPS (DGPS) techniques were utilized for horizontal positioning and referenced to the U.S. Coast Guard DGPS beacon in Miami, Florida. Soundings were obtained with an Odom Echotrac CV-100 echo sounder operating at a frequency of 200 KHz. The echo sounder was calibrated for the site conditions using the bar check method twice daily during survey operations. The positioning and sounding data was interfaced with an on-board computer operating HYPACK hydrographic software to record data for processing. This software also provides vessel navigation. An electronic tide gauge was established near Government Dock in North Bimini to monitor the tides for use in post processing. Upon completion of the field work, the hydrographic data was checked, edited, and filtered with HYPACK software and the resulting data was then merged with available upland base map information. Tidal corrections were applied to the edited sounding data from the water surface elevations obtained from the electronic tide gauge. A digital terrain model (DTM) was compiled using AutoCAD Civil 3D with the edited data, and contours of the sub-surface topography generated from the DTM. The DTM was also utilized to prepare cross-sections and for additional data processing. Final plots of the generated base map were edited and reviewed, and any discrepancies were noted and resolved. 1.5.2

Geotechnical Investigations

Ardaman and Associates, and subsequently Andersen Geotechnical Consulting, conducted a subsurface exploration program for the Project located in the nearshore area of the Bimini Bay Development on North Bimini (refer to Appendix A for full report). To explore subsurface conditions at the initial site, four (4) Standard Penetration Test (SPT) borings were performed at the locations shown on Figure 1.2. The SPT borings were performed using a CME75 drilling rig mounted on a jack-up barge and were carried to depths of 50 to 70 feet below the mudline. A few exceptions notwithstanding, SPT sampling was performed continuously from the mudline to a depth of 10 feet and in 5-foot intervals from there down, using a 24-inch split spoon sampler. A 5-foot long NV core barrel with a diamond bit was used to obtain a 2-inch nominal diameter limestone core sample at one of our boring locations. The boreholes were advanced using the rotary-wash drilling method between sampling intervals; flush joint steel casing was used to reach from the mudline to the barge platform at all the boring locations in order to allow the insertion of a polymer drilling fluid necessary for the stabilization of the borehole walls; additional casing was installed through the borehole depths to maintain drilling fluid circulation while drilling through porous strata. The field sampling/testing was conducted in general accordance with the procedures outlined recommended in ASTM D1586 "Standard Method for Penetration Test and Split-Barrel Sampling of Soil" and ASTM D2113 "Standard Practice for Diamond Core Drilling for Site Investigation". The boring logs and a description of our drilling and testing procedures are attached. The field exploration was conducted between January 27 and March 1, 2013. The boring locations were laid out in the field with the aid of a hand-held GPS. We estimate that the actual boring locations are within approximately 20 feet of the locations shown in Figure 1.2. An Engineer examined the soil/rock samples recovered from the samplers, placed the recovered soil samples in moisture proof containers, and maintained a log for each boring. The field soil boring logs and recovered soil samples were transported to the Ardaman and Associates West Palm Beach soils laboratory from the project site. Each soil sample was then further examined and visually classified. In addition, three limestone fragments obtained from the core run were subjected to unconfined compressive strength testing. The soil classifications and other pertinent data obtained from our explorations and laboratory examinations and tests are reported on the attached boring logs. The soil samples recovered from our explorations will be kept in our laboratory for 60 days, then discarded unless you request otherwise.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Figure 1.2: Boring Location Plan 4 October 2013

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

1.5.3

Marine Resource Surveys

Coastal Systems’ biological team conducted site reconnaissance transects within the assessment area using industry standard protocols to identify the locations of sensitive marine resources and changes in community composition that may be directly or indirectly impacted by Project construction and operation. This qualitative biological survey was conducted over five days (four days of data collection and one contingency weather day), by a 4-person team, led by a Biologist. Refer to Appendix B for the full report. Shore perpendicular transects were established within the assessment area. Each transect was approximately 915 m (3,000 ft.) long with approximately 106-152 m (350-500 ft.) between transects. The diver tow transect lines were based on the mapped boundaries of the Project site. The position of the transects was pre-plotted on a map within the HYPACK, Inc. program, a state-of-the-art navigation and hydrographic surveying system. In the field, the position of the transects was located using a TRIMBLE AgGPS DIFFERENTIAL Global Positioning System (DGPS) with SURVEY Pro Beacon, interfaced to the HYPACK, Inc. processing program with correction from a U.S. Coast Guard Navigational Beacon. The boat operator used DGPS to stay on the predetermined transects while towing the divers. The software program HYPACK, Inc. was used to record the position where changes in community composition (e.g., consistent and patchy communities) were observed. In-water biologists were towed approximately 8 meters behind the boat, which was moving at a slow (<2 knot) speed. The biologists visually scanned the area directly below them, to the left and to the right, as far as water clarity allowed. Towed divers reported the sightings of resources and community changes to on-vessel personnel, who marked a DGPS location fix for each observed change. Marine resources (near shore hardbottom and offshore reef communities) observed in and adjacent to the Project area were mapped by recording the position of a diver swimming along the hardbottom-sand interface. The divers towed a buoy with a GPS antenna mounted on it, attached by cable to a positioning system (Photograph 1.1).

Photograph 1.1: “Diver mapping marine resources while towing a buoy with a GPS antenna mounted on it, attached by cable to a positioning system.”

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The buoy was on the shortest possible tether, such that the buoy was directly over the diverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head. The diver followed each contour of the most prominent hardbottom-sand interface, e.g., ignoring isolated mobile rubble in the midst of sand. The non-towing diver collected digital photographs to document the various habitats for descriptive analysis of the dominant benthic communities and vertical relief. Photographic documentation was accomplished using a digital handheld underwater camera. The positioning system used was a Trimble AgGPS Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) with Survey Pro Beacon, interfaced to the HYPACK, Inc. processing program with correction from a U.S. Coast Guard Navigational Beacon. The locator automatically acquires and simultaneously tracks GPS satellites, along with the coast guard corrected transmission, and precisely measures code phase and Doppler phase shifts and then computes time, latitude, longitude, height, and velocity 200 times per second. The positioning data was tracked using the HYPACK, Inc. program, a state-of the- art navigation and hydrographic surveying system. All data obtained was recorded on the computer's hard disk and copied to external memory at the end of each day. Following mapping activities, a fish specialist conducted a roving diver fish census to compile a comprehensive list of fish species utilizing each habitat within the Project area. Coastal Systems biologists also investigated each habitat, recording the species richness of the sessile benthos and other organisms (Photograph 1.2). Species richness is simply a count of species and does not account for abundance, cover, density or diversity. A sampling of general habitat quality assessments (e.g. high quality/high relief, moderate quality/moderate relief, low quality/low relief, and barren sand) was also conducted for each typical habitat type.

Photograph 1.2: Biologist recording species composition of the sessile benthos, fish, and other organisms at the consistent hardbottom habitat. The marine resource survey was conducted between Thursday April 4, 2013 and Monday April 8, 2013. Underwater visibility was typically greater than 15 m (50 ft.). Average air temperature was approximately â&#x2014;Ś â&#x2014;Ś 82 F and average water temperature was approximately 75 F during the duration of the monitoring period. In total 745 acres were surveyed.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

1.5.4

Terrestrial Survey

Terrestrial surveys on the extent, species and living condition of existing vegetation communities, wildlife, threatened and protected flora and fauna, and important habitat for local and migratory species have been carried out for the previous EIA and related studies and reference was made to these. A specific site survey was conducted to identify the specific terrestrial environment at the site. 1.5.5

Water Quality

Baseline water sampling was conducted on April 15, 2013 within the footprint of the preferred design alternative, to determine existing conditions prior to any dredging and filling. Two sampling locations were established, the first within the dredge footprint, and the second within the island footprint. See Figure 1.3for locations. Generally, duplicate samples were collected at each station selected (except for the 1 foot above bottom sample, where only one replicate was collected). A set of samples was collected at approximately the high tide cycle, mid-depth range. Another set of samples was collected at approximately the mid-to-low tide cycle, mid-depth range. Water samples were taken during both high/flood tide and low/ebb tide in order to capture the variation in water quality over a tidal cycle. Refer to Appendix C for the full report. After collection, samples were immediately placed in ice, and transported to the analytical laboratory for delivery within the specified holding times, and in accordance with chain of custody procedures. All laboratory analyses were conducted by Pace Analytical Services, Inc., a laboratory that is certified under the U.S. National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP). All water samples were stored in bottles prepared and supplied by the NELAP laboratory that was conducting the analyses. These sample bottles were contaminant-free and contained the appropriate sample preservatives. All samples were taken in general accordance with applicable methodologies and procedures as outlined by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The collected samples were analyzed for the following water quality parameters: • Ammonia • Dissolved Oxygen • Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) • Fecal Coliform • Total Coliform • Nitrate • Nitrogen, NO2 plus NO3 • Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen • Total Nitrogen • Orthophosphate, Phosphorous • Total Phosphorous • Salinity • Total Organic Carbon (TOC) • Total Suspended Solids (TSS) • Turbidity Water Sampling Table 1.1 below outlines the methodology used to analyze each sample. Table 1.1 includes a summary of sample container, preservation requirements, and allowable hold times for the targeted analytical parameters. The holding time is the maximum allowable time between sample collection and analysis and/or extraction, based on the analyte of interest, stability factors, and preservative used (if any).

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Sample Containers, Preservatives, and Holding Times Bimini Bay Ferry Terminal Water Sampling Sampling Date: April 15, 2013 Analysis Method Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) SM 5210B Dissolved Oxygen EPA 360.1 Fecal Coliform MF SM 9222D TKN+Nox Calculation, EPA NH3, TP, TN 300.0, EPA 305.1, EPA 351.2, EPA 353.2, EPA 365.4 Nitrate, Turbidity EPA 180.1 Orthophosphate as P (Low Level) EPA 365.1 Salinity SM 2520B Modified Total Coliform MF SM 9222B Total Organic Carbon (TOC) SM 5310B Total Suspended Solids SM 2540D

Container Preservation 1 - 1 L Plastic Unpreserved 1 - 500 mL Plastic Unpreserved 1 - 100 mL Coliform Sodium Thiosulfate Pellet

Max. Hold Time 48 Hours 15 Minutes 8 Hours

1 - 250 mL Plastic

Sulfuric Acid

28 Days

1 - 250 mL Plastic 1 - 250 mL Plastic All 1 - 100 mL Coliform 2 - 40 mL Glass 1 - 1 L Plastic

Unpreserved Unpreserved Unpreserved Sodium Thiosulfate Pellet Hydrochloric acid Unpreserved

48 Hours 48 Hours 28 Days 8 Hours 28 Days 7 Days

Table 1.1: Water sampling analysis, methodology of analysis and parameters.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Figure 1.3: Sampling Sites (April 2013)

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

1.5.6

Tides, Currents, Waves and Shorelines

1.5.6.1 Tides and Currents Current measurements were taken at half-hour intervals between April 23, 2013 and April 24, 2013, at two locations, “A” and “B,” in the Project vicinity (see Figure 1.4)utilizing a Hach FH950 Portable Flow Meter. Survey activities ceased at approximately 10:30 AM on April 23, 2013, due to inclement weather, but resumed on April 24, 2013, at approximately 11:00 AM.

Figure 1.4: Current and Tide Data Locations

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

1.5.6.2 Waves and Shorelines The following tasks outline the coastal engineering services performed by Coastal Systems for the marine works. Refer to the Coastal Engineering report in Appendix D for detailed methodologies which are summarized below. Design Winds and Waves: A statistical analysis was conducted based on the 154-year historical storms and hurricane tracks that passed through the island vicinity and the available offshore wave data in the Project vicinity. Winds and waves for both normal conditions as well as extreme conditions were evaluated. The design winds and design offshore waves for normal conditions and extreme conditions were determined through an extreme probability analysis. The offshore design waves were further validated with a wave hindcast model calibrated with historic events. Modeling of Wave Propagation: State-of-the-art DHI MIKE21 Spectral Wave (SW) numerical wave model was utilized to conduct a wave propagation study to evaluate the effects of wave propagation from the offshore region to the nearshore region. The MIKE21 SW numerical wave model is a 3rd generation spectral wind-wave model that simulates the growth, decay, and transformation of wind-generated waves in offshore and coastal areas. The wave modeling results were utilized to establish the design wave conditions for the marine works. Design waves were developed for the shore protection design of the marine works, and the ferry terminal reclamation design/configuration. For more information on the MIKE-21 SW model, please visit the following web site: http://www.dhisoftware.com/~/media/Microsite_MIKEbyDHI/Publications/PDF/Short%20descriptions/MIKE2 1_SW_FM_Short_Description.ashx Regional Hurricane Model: A regional numerical hurricane model for the analysis of the storm conditions in the Bahamas was established. The model was based on the MIKE21 hydrodynamic (HD) model and the MIKE21 SW model. The two models were coupled to simulate the interactions between the hydrodynamic and wave conditions. The models were based on an unstructured flexible mesh, which accommodates large-scale modeling, as well as localized, detailed modeling. The coupled model was calibrated using historical storm events and available site observations. For more information on the HD model, please visit the following web site: http://www.dhisoftware.com/~/media/Microsite_MIKEbyDHI/Publications/PDF/Short%20descriptions/MIKE2 13_FM_HD_Short_Description.ashx Storm Surge Evaluation: The regional hurricane model was utilized to assess the storm surge levels at the Project site. Historic hurricane tracks, wind and pressure characteristics were evaluated and utilized as input into the model. The model provided the storm surge level based on the effects of wave setup, wind setup, pressure setup and tidal variations. The storm surge levels for the 25, 50, and 100-year return periods were provided based on the joint probability of the effects of wave setup, wind setup, pressure setup and tidal variations. The storm surge analysis and flood elevation results were utilized in the design of the marine works. Sediment Transport Evaluation: The coastal processes influencing the shoreline along North Bimini in the Project vicinity including winds, waves, currents, and sediment transport were evaluated. Numerical modeling with the DHI MIKE-21 spectral wave (SW) model for normal conditions to evaluate wave conditions for the proposed Project and adjacent shoreline was conducted. To evaluate sediment transport characteristics along the adjacent Project shoreline (area of influence along North Bimini), the SW model was coupled with the MIKE-21 Hydrodynamic (HD) model. This coupled model was simulated for normal conditions to evaluate sediment transport characteristics along the adjacent Project shoreline both with and without the proposed Project. 1.5.7

Socio-economic

Socio-economic impacts were assessed by way of literature searches as well as personal interviews. The method used to interview included both face-to-face and questionnaires. A total of 50 people were

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questioned for the purpose of this analysis therefore it must be stressed that this analysis is limited due to the time available to conduct interviews and distribute and collect questionnaires. Given that the population of Bimini is approximately 1,717. This represents 3 percent of the population. Further interviews/questionnaires are recommended following an introduction to the project at a town meeting or similar. It must be noted that the increase in visitors indicated to all persons questioned was an increase of 360,000 per year rather than the 570,000 per year that is intended. This was due to a change of intended number of trips per day during the EIA process. 1.5.8

Archaeology

Archaeological impacts were assessed by carrying out a literature search, marine survey and terrestrial survey. 1.5.9

Land Based Traffic

Land based traffic impacts were assessed by site visits and consideration to generated traffic. 1.5.10 Marine Traffic Marine traffic impacts were assessed by site visits and consideration to generated traffic.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

2. PROPOSED NORTH BIMINI FERRY TERMINALPROJECT The ferry terminal will be located on the west side of North Bimini at the south end of the Bimini Bay Resort. The Project includes construction of a 350 foot long connector road, a 1,000 foot long pier, dredging of an ingress/egress channel to approximately 9.4meter (31 feet), and creation of a 4.5 acre ferry terminal island from the dredged spoil. The Ferry Terminal will accommodate berthing for a 650 foot long ferry, a 5,000 square foot arrival center (which will incorporate customs and immigration offices), a beach club with Tiki and open-style structures, landscape/hardscape, mooring hardware, and a cul-de-sac tram circulation traffic area. A smaller area of dredging will also take place on the south side of the island in order to accommodate berthing for mega and super yachts.

Figure 2.1: Aerial View indicating Project Area

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

2.1

Ownership and Usage of the Ferry

The ferry terminal will be owned and operated by Resorts World, a brand of the Genting Group. The Project will occur over Crown-owned submerged land, and the Government of the Bahamas must approve use of the submerged lands. Vessels owned or granted access by Resorts World, such as mega-yachts in the 200-foot-plus range that cannot current use the inside passage to Bimini Bay Resort, will also be authorized to utilize the new ferry terminal. Because the terminal will cater to international guests, it will contain customs and immigration offices, and appropriate fees will be collected from guests if the terminal is used as an initial or final port of entry into/out of the Bahamas. Additional revenue will be incurred from the purchase of locally-made goods, property taxes, import taxes, resort taxes, and other levies. The proposed ferry can accommodate a maximum of 1,595 passengers. At weekdays the ferry is expected to operate at 50% capacity with 60% of the passengers being day trippers. At weekends the ferry is expected to operate at 85% capacity with 60% of the passengers being day trippers. The Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis Report (Appendix L) indicates the number of visitors expected in itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s figure 2.2 however this is based on one trip per day at a cost of $20 during weekdays and $40 at weekends. The proposed service is to provide one trip per day during the weekdays and two trips per day at the weekends and thereby increase the number of visitors. The resulting number of additional visitors based on Bimini Bayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expectation is indicated in the table below. It must be noted that this is 210,375 passengers greater than that per the Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis Report (Appendix L) and that the level of demand indicated in this report is not adequately supported let alone a demand that is more than half as much more as has been indicated by the Bimini Bay developers. Table 2.1: Expected Cruise Ferry Arrival (as indicated by Bimini Bay Developers)

Weekdays

Weekends/Holidays

Total/Year

Days Trips/Day Passengers/Trip Maximum Possible Passengers /Year Usage of Ferry (%) Passengers/Year Passengers Staying Overnight (%) Overnight Passengers/Year Daytrip Passengers/Year

200 1 1,500 300,000 50% 150,000 40% 60,000 90,000

165 2 1,500 495,000 85% 420,750 10% 42,075 378,675

365

Maximum Possible Passengers /Day Passengers/Day Overnight Passengers/Day Daytrip Passengers/Day

1,500 750 300 450

3,000 2,550 210 1,893

795,000 66% 570,750 22% 102,075 468,675

The fast-ferry will need to travel in reverse, using the deeper water as an area for turn-around, as likely would the 200-to-400-foot-long mega-yachts. The fast ferry will not be able to dock at the ferry terminal in winds greater than 20 to 25 knots. Note that current speed and direction are not considered a major factor in ship operations and docking, given the relatively slow speed of the currents in the vicinity of the Project. The channel and berth are designed for a single ferry, and the design vessel is the Bimini Superfast (fka Superfast VI). The ship operations team has evaluated the proposed channel, terminal, and berth; and the design has been optimized for operations, and to reduce the environmental impact footprint. The ship will

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

turn 180-degrees on approach to the channel from Miami. The turning operation will be in depths generally greater than 70 to 80 feet. The ship will enter the channel in reverse, while maneuvering with the shipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thrusters, and then continue in reverse to berth â&#x20AC;&#x153;stern-toâ&#x20AC;? to the island. The ship operations team has requested mooring dolphins on both sides of the terminal, depending on the coastal conditions, to assist with docking and mooring. Similarly, mega-yachts may utilize the terminal. These vessels are smaller than the 670-foot ferry design vessel, and the mega-yachts are highly maneuverable with modern propulsion systems. The existing megayacht marina at Bimini Bay can only accommodate mega-yachts up to 200 feet long; the terminal is anticipated to accommodate mega-yachts in the range of 200 to 400 feet long. 2.2

The Ferry

The ferry that is to be utilized for the service that the Ferry Terminal will accommodate is the M/F Superfast VI. This is a 650 foot long ferry that has a top speed of 27.6 knots. Depending on sea conditions, the ferry will operate between Miami, Florida and Bimini at speeds ranging from 18-22 knots. The fast ferry is designed for efficient transportation of passengers at high speeds across water bodies, and the passengers are disembarked and embarked very efficiently at high rates. The ferry service is anticipated to run once per day during weekdays and twice per day at weekends, with arrival in Bimini in the morning and again late in the evening. As a result the vessel may be moored at the Terminal for up to seven hours. The vessel can safely operate in six-foot seas according to their marine operation representatives. The vessel is of significant size that it will maximize passenger comfort during vessel operations, and the vessel is equipped with modern stabilizers, similar to larger cruise ships. Further details on the ferry are given below in Table 2.2.

Photographs 2.1 & 2.2: M/F Superfast VI

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

IMO Building year Building yard Length Beam Draft GT Machinery Speed Number of passengers Number of beds Number of cars Port of registry Flag

9198939 2000 Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Weft Germany (#356) 203,9 m 25,0 m 6,8 m 32.728 4 * W채rtsil채 NSD 16 ZAV 40S 27,6 kn. 1.595 842 1.000 Patras Greece

AG,

Kiel,

Table 2.2: M/F Superfast VI Properties There will be a number of amenities onboard the ferry including a casino with 325 seats, a buffet with 150 seats, a sports bar and grill with 100 seats, a fine dining restaurant with 75 seats, an outdoor bar with 50 seats, a pool bar and BBQ area to accommodate 1000 and 240 cabins. The safety equipment on board the ferry meets or exceeds Greek and United States Coast Guard requirements. Requirements for ferry operations in the Bahamas will be reviewed and complied with, as applicable. The vessel will be operating at less than 5 knots speed in the nearshore area. Wake is not anticipated to be of concern due to the low speeds. Normal wave conditions in this nearshore area are approximately 3 feet, and the ship wake is not anticipated to be higher than normal wave conditions while operating in the nearshore area. Modern systems control noise from the vessel propulsion system, and the ferry has been operating in Greece for over 10 years under strict noise control regulations. Based on geotechnical investigation, the marine resource survey and sub bottom profiling, sand layers have been identified along the marine works footprint, and therefore turbidity from ferry operations is anticipated to be of concern. Further investigations are underway to determine the likely severity of turbidity impacts during the operation of the ferry service. The ferry has a height above the water level of 125 feet and is thereby visible for a significant distance. 2.3

Dredging

2.3.1

Volumes and types of sediments to be dredged and used for construction

From existing depth information for the site area it has been estimated that a total of 220,000 cubic yards of dredged material will be generated by the dredging works. The majority of the material to be dredged is calcareous sand and limestone. Refer to the Ardaman and Associates and Anderson Geotechnical Reports (Appendix A) to definitively characterize the substrates to be dredged and utilised. The boring logs within this report present a detailed description of the soils/rock stratification encountered at the locations and the depths explored. The stratification shown on the boring logs is based on examination of recovered samples and interpretation of the field logs. It indicates only the approximate boundaries between strata. The actual transitions between adjacent strata may be gradual and indistinct. As shown in the boring logs, conditions along the proposed alignment of the pier, where the water depth is as much as about 13 feet, include a layer of oolitic sands about 8 feet thick, followed by hard oolitic limestone to a depth 23 feet, in turn followed by softer limestone to a depth of about 64 to 78 feet or

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

termination depth of the borings. Boring B-2 found a layer of soft limestone at a depth of about 43 to 53 feet. In the pier area, where the depth of water is about 16 to 26 feet, it is considered likely to be very dense sand to friable sandy, oolitic limestone for about 5 feet, followed by limestone to a depth of about 45 feet, in turn followed by soft sandy limestone to 87 feet in Boring B-3. Boring B-4 also showed friable to cemented limestone to a depth of about 40 feet before a zone of very soft limestone was found reaching a depth of 53 feet, followed by alternating harder and softer limestone to the termination depth of the boring at 73 feet. These findings suggest that the proposed area for the construction of the ferry terminal is suitable and that the material that will be dredged is suitable for use as fill material for the island. 2.3.2

Dredged material use plan

A number of options have been considered for the use of the dredged material however it is considered best that the dredged material be used for the construction of the ferry terminal island in total. The ferry terminal island will be 800 feet long and 250 feet wide. The terminal will be constructed to a fill level of +12 feet to best accommodate marine vessel mooring and defense against the elements. The size of the island is mainly driven by the facilities to be provided on the island, the vessels to be accommodated and in order to make use of all of the dredged material without having to transport the material elsewhere. The proposed ferry terminal was sized to balance the “cut” from the dredging works and the placement of “fill” (cut and fill) volume. All fill generated from the dredging of the channel and berth will be placed within the terminal reclamation area. Minimal “bulking” is anticipated from the dredging and subsequent hydraulic placement of material. The geotechnical investigation indicated limestone and sand materials, and the “bulk” factor for this type of material is generally accepted in the 1.2 -1.4 range. The terminal reclamation area has been sized appropriately for the anticipated volumes. In order to accommodate the berthing of vessels along the edges of the extension the edges are to be straight rather than curved although further consideration could be given to a curved edge at the east end of the island where berthing will not be possible due to the presence of the pier. Figure 1.1 indicates the proposed ferry terminal arrangement in plan. Fill inside the terminal platform will be placed hydraulically. The composition of the dredged material is primarily limestone and sand, based on the geotechnical investigations. This fill is likely to compact quickly during placement. Reference the geotechnical reports for additional descriptions and details on the sediment layers observed during core boring work. The hydraulic cutterhead dredge will pump the dredged material into the terminal, and the fill will be placed evenly in layers. The cofferdam will initially be filled with pipeline-placed material pumped inside the cofferdam in layers, generally less than 3 feet thick. Once the layers of fill are above the water line, heavy construction equipment will be deployed inside the cofferdam. The placement of material will continue in 2foot thick layers, with the heavy-tracked equipment operating uniformly and thoroughly to achieve the required compaction. Lighter compaction equipment will be utilized in close proximity to the sheet piling. Minimal, if any, consolidation is expected as any settlement associated with this type of material is likely to be immediate. Little long-term consolidation is expected. Furthermore, the terminal platform is being created above in-situ limestone conditions which will provide competent foundation for the reclamation and marine works. 2.3.3

Dredging equipment and methodology

Excavation of the channel area and transportation of the dredged material to the ferry terminal island’s to be accomplished by using a hydraulic cutter suction dredge (HCSD) for the excavation and suction-pipeline methodology for transport of the dredged material. Very simply, this consists of floating equipment equipped with a very powerful pump and a cutter head mounted on the end of a "ladder" which is lowered down into the water. The cutterhead is very large with rotating teeth which cut and loosen the material. The pump sucks up the loosened material and transports it by pipeline directly to the discharge end of the pipe.

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Generally, the pipeline conveys 10 percent solids and 90 percent water. At the discharge end of the pipe, deposition of the solids is dependent on the weight of individual particles of material with the coarser material settling closest to the pipe and the finest settling the furthest away. The finest particles will stay in suspension for a period of time. If this does not occur, there are a number of remedies that may be considered, including but not limited to filtering through geotextiles and flocculation of the effluent. It is expected that the solids will be trapped behind the steel sheet piling for the new island. The use of synthetic organic polymers as flocculation enhancements have been used in the dredging industry for the past 30 years to speed up the release of free water from sediment particles in the dredge slurry in a variety of applications. The use of flocculation enhancements is considered unlikely to be necessary given the nature of the material to be dredged however this will be verified with the Contractor. Should the use of flocculation enhancements be deemed to be necessary an application for approval for their use will be submitted to the BEST Commission. Dredging production is a particularly important aspect of this project. Cutter suction dredges generally work 24 hours a day; however, maintenance and downtime due to repairs, pipeline moves and pipeline blockages results in an efficiency rate of 60 to 75 percent. To meet the scheduled arrival of the new ferry in the fall of 2013, current planning requires that the 220,000 cubic yards of dredging (the area necessary for the ferry to enter and depart from the harbour) be completed within one month. This requires a dredge with an average production rate of 10,000 cubic yards per day. This will likely require a dredge with a 27 to 30 inch discharge pipe. This discharge pipe would first discharge into an area totally encased by steel sheet piles for the construction of the ferry terminal island. Deposition of a large volume of dredged material directly into the sea to construct the Ferry Terminal Island without some sort of containment would create turbidity problems. It would also be subject to erosion over time due to waves and current. Therefore, a containment structure must be constructed as part of the deposition process. Given the proximity of high value, sensitive reef to the construction site management of turbidity will be of high importance. The majority of the floating equipment for the marine works construction for both the dredging and marine construction (i.e. crane barges, pile drivers, etc.) will operate within the Project footprint. Delivery and staging of marine construction will be conducted at the beach area on a temporary basis with landing craft vessels and shallow draft barges. Once the pier is constructed, the pier will be utilized to access the island construction operations. The existing logistics and construction laydown areas currently utilized by Bimini Bay will be utilized for this Project to stockpile and pre-stage construction materials. Additional (in-water) staging will occur at two locations as follows: •

Inlet – within the inlet channel between North and South Bimini. Some dredge pipeline and support floating equipment (barges, tugs, etc.) will utilize this area for protection from weather. Navigation will not be impeded.

North area of Bimini Bay – this area is currently utilized by floating equipment, and some crane and supply barges, with support tugs, will operate from this area. The barges may also anchor or spud in this area or along existing berths, as appropriate.

2.3.4

Disposal of water from dredged material

Since ninety percent of the material dredged will be water, the Contractor will manage the return of this water to sea using the steel sheet piling that is to provide the perimeter to the island as a stilling basin to allow finer particles to drop out prior to discharge to sea. In order to limit the amount of fines that re-enter the sea during disposal it is important for the stilling basins to be designed for the retention of suspended solids. Water will be allowed to leak from behind the steel sheet piling through weepholes (located approximately every 5 to 10 feet) as well as through the joints in the sheet piling. The inside face of the

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

steel sheet piles will be lined with a number of layers of geotextile in order to limit the amount of fines that flow through these locations. Sedimentation, as applied to dredged material disposal activities, refers to those operations in which the dredged material slurry is separated into more clarified water and a more concentrated slurry. The sedimentation process can be categorized according to three basic classifications: a) Discrete settling. The particle maintains its individuality and does not change in size, shape, or density during the settling process. b) Flocculent settling. Particles agglomerate during the settling period with a change in physical properties and settling rate. c) Zone settling. The flocculent suspension forms a lattice structure and settles as a mass, exhibiting a distinct interface during the settling process. The important factors governing the sedimentation of dredged material solids are the initial concentration of the slurry and the flocculating properties of the solid particles. Test results using the 8 inch. diameter settling column may be used to design the containment area for solids retention based on principles of flocculent or zone settling. Detailed design procedures will determine surface area, containment area volume, ponding depth, and freeboard requirements. The designs must consider the hydraulic efficiency of the containment, based on shape and topography, and the proper sizing of outlet structures. When dredged material slurry is disposed in a well-designed, well managed containment area, the vast majority of the solids will settle out of suspension and be retained within the settling basin. However, gravity sedimentation alone will not remove all suspended solids. Any fine-grained material suspended in the ponded water above the settled solids will be discharged in the return water. In addition, the levels of chemical constituents in the return water are directly related to the amount of suspended fine-grained material; therefore, retention of fine-grained solids in the containment area results in a maximum degree of retention of potentially toxic chemical constituents. Effluent standards may require removal of suspended solids over and above that attained by gravity sedimentation. The dredge will generate a slurry thereby requiring a dewatering process inside the island. The sheet-pile will serve as a temporary 'cofferdam'. Weep holes will be cut into the sheet-pile near the Mean Low Water (MLW) elevation, and the entire back side of the sheet piling will have geotextile fabric attached - likely multiple layers. Significant dewatering is also anticipated through the combi-wall sheet pile joints. This cofferdam approach to the dredged material placement is preferred over open-water discharges of dredged material. In the absence of a fully engineered treatment system, several expedient measures can be employed to enhance retention of the suspended solids within a containment area of a given size before effluent discharge. They include: intermittent pumping, increasing the depth of ponded water, increasing the effective length of the weir, temporarily discontinuing operations, flocculation and the use of geotextiles. Whilst there are various options for the location of the disposal of the return water it is considered most appropriate to locate the disposal site within the steel sheet piled area that will be encased for the construction of the island. Adequate capacity to allow settling of particles will be provided within the steel sheet piled area to completion of filling by piling materials and/or the introduction of additional piles within the steel sheet piled area if necessary. To ensure that precipitation does not cause overflowing of water, the water elevation will be kept at levels allowing efficient release of water. This will require periodic lowering of the water elevation as the dredged material surface settles. Once the dredging operation has been completed, the dredged material will continue to be consolidated to form the top surface of the new island. Care will be taken to balance the dredged material that is dredged and used throughout the dredging process.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

The containment of turbidity is considered particularly important due to the existing presence of sensitive receptors such as the high relief reef dive spots in close proximity. Turbidity barriers will be anchored to temporary piles or the proposed sheet piles in an arrangement to best reduce turbidity impacts at the nearby dive sites.

Turbidity barriers around the steel sheet piles will also be considered. Once a dredging contractor is selected, the contractor will submit a detailed Dredging Methodology Plan specific to their dredge plant and supporting equipment. The contractor has the option to lower some of the sheet piling of the combi-wall system to create weirs, if needed to facilitate dewatering and fill placement. This operation will create a weir, and a stilling basin, created with berms interior of the terminal, can control effluent turbidity. A turbidity barrier should also be secured in the areas of the lowered sheet piling to also facilitate turbidity control. As the elevations of the cofferdam increase, there will be less capacity for the weep holes and joints in the combi-wall to discharge dredge effluent. The dredge may need to stop periodically to facilitate discharge and avoid the cofferdam from overtopping. 2.3.5

Use of dredged materials

The material to be dredged is considered a valuable resource, suitable for use as fill for land reclamation and as construction material for civil works throughout the Bahamas. All material will be used to build the ferry terminal island. Calculations to determine dredge and fill quantities and balance the two have been carried out alongside the design process and monitoring of the two will be necessary during construction to ensure additional fill is not required from a borrow pit. Any excess dredged material will be used on the Bimini Bay Development at the back-of-house. All staging will be on the dredge ship and hopper. Any landside staging will be conducted right at the start of the pier on the land, or in the back-of-house area north of the Bimini Bay Resort. 2.3.6

Duration of dredging works

220,000 cubic yards of material is to be dredged, allowing for maintenance, downtime and pipeline work it is expected that the work will be carried out at an average rate of 10,000 cubic yards per day for a total duration of thirty days. Completion of the dredging works should be signaled by conduct of a post construction hydrographic survey to confirm conformance of the design. 2.4 North Bimini Ferry Terminal Island A new island will be constructed by reclaiming 4.5 acres of land by the installation of a vertical steel combiwall sheet pile system filled with the dredged material to an elevation of +12 feet. The Ferry Terminal island will accommodate berthing for a 650 foot long ferry and mega and super yachts, a 5,000 square foot arrival center (which will incorporate customs and immigration offices), a beach club with Tiki and open-style structures, landscape/hardscape, mooring hardware, and a cul-de-sac tram circulation traffic area. Drawings indicating details for the proposed project are provided in Appendix E. There are 3 components to the construction project: pier construction, dredging, and island creation. Multiple crews will be utilized to meet the project schedule. Concurrently, and prior to dredging, the island combi-sheet-pile seawall will be constructed, along with the 1,000 linear foot pier. Following the first two components, dredging with a hydraulic cutter head dredge (cutter head size proposed at 24 to 36 inches) will commence to fill the island. By sequencing as described above, and by expediting dredging operations with a large cutter head, turbidity in the water column will be reduced to the maximum extent practicable, and the minimum time possible. The order of construction for the construction of the island will be as follows; 1. Build steel sheet pile containment structure at perimeter of island. The island reclamation shore stabilization will consist of a vertical steel combi-wall sheet pile system. This wall system will be constructed with either crane barge or by cranes operating from phases of the reclaimed area.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

2. Install steel sheet pile walls using floating equipment. 3. Install anchor system. 4. Backfill the area between the sheet pile walls. 5. Start to deposit the material within the steel sheet pile containment structure at the south east end of ferry terminal island until the containment structure is totally filled to the finish elevations and grades. Care will be taken to ensure that quantities balance and if not that there is more dredged material than fill required so that fill material is not necessary from an alternative source. 6. The seawall concrete cap will be cast in place once the pier is complete. In order to drive the sheet piles a driving hammer with a rated energy of over 75 foot kips is likely to be required. Other equipment will include a dredger to dredge the channel, a crane for the pier as well as earth moving and earth compacting equipment. Most materials will be delivered to the Bimini Bay support site which is located approximately 0.8 miles north of the project site/utility site for storage until they are required for construction. Most materials will then be delivered to the site by barge from the support site. The barge is approximately 40 feet wide and 140 feet long. It is estimated that the barge will transport material and equipment to the project site on one to two times a day.

Photograph 2.3: Aerial photograph showing location of support site and utility site (Project Area) 2.5

Pier

A 26 feet wide, 1,000 foot long pier will be constructed to connect the ferry terminal island to the mainland with minimal impact on the shoreline. The pier will accommodate a 6 foot wide pedestrian walkway and two 10 foot wide lanes for trams and supply vehicles. The pier will be built on a pile system with 33 sets of 3 piles (a total of 99 piles) across the 26 foot width spanning 30 feet. The piles will be 24 inch diameter steel piles filled with concrete. These piles as well as the concrete pile caps will be installed from a barge. The pier will be constructed with cranes, operating on top of the structure with a trestle, with barges providing materials. Some crane barges may also be utilized with supporting tugs. The reclamation will be constructed with a hydraulic cutter suction dredge. The dredged material will create the reclaimed area, and

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

appropriate turbidity controls will be deployed. Drawings indicating details for the proposed project are provided in Appendix E. The pier deck will be of precast concrete construction and at an elevation of approximately 12 feet. The clearance beneath the pier will be between 9.5 feet and 11.5 feet. The pier will continue over the beach area to an abutment at least 150 feet from the high water mark. A concrete apron will be provided at the abutment at the mainland end of the pier will limit the extent of washout at the pier-road interface. 2.6

Road

A road will provide access from the roundabout just within the Bimini Bay development gate at the south end of the development to the pier. The road will extend from 150 feet from the high water mark to the roundabout. This area is currently used for maintenance purposes for the Bimini Bay development. The road will be paved 20 feet wide and a 6 foot wide sidewalk will be provided on one side of the road. Retaining structures and embankments may be necessary to provide the road along a smooth alignment. The approach to the roundabout will provide adequate sight distance and flare for a safe approach to the roundabout. This will provide a fourth arm to the existing 3 arm roundabout. 2.7

Dolphin clusters and channel markers

Six dolphin clusters will be installed north west of the ferry terminal island in order to provide mooring facilities for the ferry. Refer to Figure 1.1 for their locations. Ten channel markers will also be installed. These will be floating markers with USCG lights and located as shown on the Draft Design Drawings in Appendix E. 2.8

Utilities

Utilities such as water and telephone will be provided to the reclamation area along the pier. The distribution will connect to the mainland service, and the distribution will be in accordance with current codes in the Bahamas for these types of supply. Electrical distribution will be provided along the pier and to the island reclamation area. The distribution will connect to upland service as provided by BEC, and the distribution will be in accordance with current codes in the Bahamas for this type of construction. High voltage distribution will provide electrical service along the pier in conduits, and branch circuits will be provided for lighting. Electrical service for the island reclamation will be provided for the proposed development to include lighting. Transformers and underground conduit distribution will be provided on the island reclamation. Shore power for the ferry will not be provided due to the short duration of mooring and the associated large electrical loads with this class of vessel. It will be necessary for the ferry to run generators whilst moored. Primary engines will not run whilst the ferry is moored, only generators to keep power to the ship. Sanitary lines will be provided to the treatment facility from the island reclamation. Lighting on the ferry terminal will consist of low profile LED lights, along with appropriate navigation lights. Lighting on the island will consist of appropriate high and low level lighting, designed to minimize glow to surrounding areas. Lighting photometrics can be provided under separate cover. 2.9

Schedule

Bimini Bay has advised on their proposed construction schedule. The new island steel sheet piling and the pier steel pipe piles will begin installation at the earliest opportunity. Pier steel pipe piles are anticipated to be complete after one week when the concrete pile cap will be installed. Dredging of the channel will then begin two weeks after the beginning of installation of the steel sheet piling. 220,000 cubic yards of material is to be dredged, allowing for maintenance, downtime and pipeline work it is expected that the work will be carried out at an average rate of 10,000 cubic yards per day for a total duration of more than one month. Concrete capping for the seawall is anticipated to take four weeks. The upland civil works will take

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

approximately 10 weeks. The overall duration of the main Project construction is therefore expected to take approximately 6 months. Due to the terminal implementation schedule, work will continue 6-7 days per week, with up to two 10-hour shifts. A detailed schedule will be provided prior to start of construction.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

3. PROJECT SETTING Bimini has remained relatively unchanged other than the Bimini Bay Resort development over the years and is a very quiet and peaceful place to live or stay. Biminites are friendly and welcome you to join them for conversation. Two islands comprise Bimini, North Bimini and South Bimini. More densely populated is North Bimini, where within the town of Alice Town all shops, restaurants, hotels, marinas and attractions are within walking distance; no transportation is required to get around. Most visitors stay in North Bimini rather than the sparsely populated South Bimini. Bimini is most famous for big game fishing in its surrounding waters. There are many fishing tournaments from spring through fall drawing sports fishermen from around the world. A wide variety fish are sought including tuna, grouper, snapper, wahoo and, of course, Marlin. Diving, snorkeling, beaching, kayaking and nature activities are very popular in addition to big game fishing. Bone fishing is also very good and many good guides are available in Bimini. Once Ernest Hemingway had discovered Bimini it quickly became his favourite retreat. He was drawn to the big game fishing and local bars and hang outs. 3.1

Physical Environment

3.1.1

Geomorphology and Bathymetry

Bimini is the Western most district of the Bahamas composed of a chain of islands located about 50 miles (81 kilometers) due east of Miami, Florida. Bimini is the closest point in the Bahamas to the mainland United States and approximately 137 miles (209 kilometers) west-northwest of Nassau (the Capital of the Bahamas). The largest islands are North Bimini and South Bimini. North Bimini is about seven miles (11 kilometers) long and 700 feet (210 meters) wide. Its main settlement is Alice Town, a collection of shops, restaurants, and bars on a road known as "The King's Highway". The second major road is called Queens Road and runs almost the length of the island parallel to Kings Highway.

Figure 3.1: Map indicating location of Bimini Islands in relation to surrounding islands, Cuba and the U.S.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

South Bimini houses an airstrip, South Bimini Airport, and offers a quiet alternative to the slow bustle of North Bimini. There is a small community of homes on South Bimini known as Port Royale. For many years, South Bimini tourists were limited to boaters because there were few accommodations other than private homes. The ocean surrounding the islands is considered to be one of the world's top big-game fishing spots. Because Bimini is close to Miami, Florida, many American anglers go to the island by boat to fish or to enjoy the local nightlife. Scuba diving and snorkeling are also popular activities, as there are many shipwrecks in the area, such as the wreck of the SS Sapona, which ran aground in 1926 during a hurricane. The top of the ship is exposed to the air while the bottom half is submerged. Parts of the wreck were stripped over the years and some of the wood was used in the construction of the Compleat Angler Hotel and bar on North Bimini which was destroyed by fire in 2006. The sea bottom in the project area is sloped gently for approximately 2,800 feet where there is a ridge approximately 2 feet in height followed by a steeper drop off that runs perpendicular to the shore. Refer Figure 1.1 which indicates the project bathymetry. The proposed ferry terminal location is in an exposed location with no protection off shore other than 15 foot high relief reef approximately 5,700 feet from shore that is in waters between 45 and 65 feet. There is a margin of sand along the shoreline extending between 600 and 1,200 feet offshore. Between the sand and the high relief reef there are areas of patchy and consistent hard bottom. The shoreline off of which the pier is to extend is an eroded beach. The property between the beach and the main road is privately owned land which currently houses maintenance facilities for the Bimini Bay development. Figure 3.2 illustrates the location of the project site in relation to the surroundings. The existing water depths in the region where the pier is proposed are from 0 to 17 feet. The depths in the area where the ferry terminal island is proposed are approximately 15 to 19.5 feet. The existing depth where dredging is to take place is between 19.5 feet at the terminal island to 31 feet at the north west limit of the dredging. The area to be dredged will be deepened as necessary to provide a depth throughout the dredging area of 31 feet. Local bathymetry of the area is shown in Figure 1.1. 3.1.2

Subsurface conditions

The site is located in the Bahamas Archipelago, which is a group of islands, discontinuous sand bars and coral reefs. The upper sediments consist of oolitic sands, aragonite sands, eroded coral and a relatively porous calcareous limestone. The upper portions of the limestone consist of fairly thin layers, strata and lenses of debris. This debris exists in the form of broken coral, flinty chert inclusions, distinct calcite or aragonite crystals or nodule-like inclusions of other limestone formations. Geotechnical Investigations were conducted by Ardaman and Associates, Inc. and Anderson Andre Consulting Engineers, Inc. whose report is included in Appendix A. The boring logs within this report present a detailed description of the soils/rock stratification encountered at the locations and the depths explored. As shown in the boring logs, conditions along the proposed alignment of the pier, where the water depth is as much as about 13 feet, include a layer of oolitic sands about 8 feet thick, followed by hard oolitic limestone to a depth 23 feet, in turn followed by softer limestone to a depth of about 64 to 78 feet or termination depth of our borings. Boring B-2 (refer to the Methodology Section of this report for borehole locations) found a layer of soft limestone at a depth of about 43 to 53 feet. In the pier area, where the depth of water is about 16 to 26 feet, we found what is likely to be very dense sand to friable sandy, oolitic limestone for about 5 feet, followed by limestone to a depth of about 45 feet, in turn followed by soft sandy limestone to 87 feet in Boring B-3. Boring B-4 also showed friable to cemented limestone to a depth of about 40 feet before a zone of very soft limestone was found reaching a depth of 53 feet, followed by alternating harder and softer limestone to the termination depth of the boring at 73 feet.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Compressive strength tests performed on limestone fragments from one core run yielded unconfined compressive strengths ranging from 200 to 400 psi. There were no apparent thick layers of very hard limestone that could be conveniently cored in the borings.

Figure 3.2: Charts indicating location of Project Site

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

3.1.3

Climate and Temperature

The Bahamas has a tropical maritime climate, which makes for generally year-round good weather. The Bahamas does not experience extremes of temperatures. There are two seasons: summer which is from May through September and winter which is from October through April. The average temperature in The Bahamas is 77°F (24.8°C) (Table 4-1). The month of August has the highest monthly average temperature of 90°F (32°C). The lowest monthly average temperature is 63°F (17°C) and occurs in January and February. In winter temperatures seldom fall much below 60F degrees and usually reach about 75F degrees in the day. In summer, temperatures usually fall to 78F degrees or less at night and seldom rise above 90F degrees during the day. The length of day (interval between sunrise and sunset) varies from 10 hours and 35 minutes in later December to 13 hours and 41 minutes in late June. The Bahamas contributes little to the global net release of greenhouse gases but, like all small states, is severely threatened from the possible effects of climate change. Rising temperatures and sea level followed by floods, coastal flooding and erosion as well as the projected increase in the number and intensity of tropical cyclones are of particular concern given that 80% of The Bahamas is within five feet of mean sea level. There is also concern regarding loss of corals by bleaching and heat stress. 3.1.4

Precipitation

Rainfall varies but there is a gradient of about 60in (1500mm) per annum in the northern Bahamas. The rainy season last from May thru October with most of the precipitation occurring during brief st th summer showers. The hurricane season spans from the 1 June through to 30 November when the islands may occasionally be interrupted by the threat or presence of a tropical storm or hurricane. The Bahamas receive an average of 53.3in (1353mm) of rainfall per year, or 4.4in (113mm) per month. On average, there are 136 days per year with more than 0.004 in (0.1mm) of rainfall. March is the driest month, with an average of 1.4in (35mm) of rainfall (precipitation) occurring across 5 days. June is the wettest month, with an average of 9.2in (234mm) of rainfall (precipitation) occurring across 16 days. The average annual relative humidity is 78.8%, ranging from 77% in April to 82% in September. 3.1.5

Air Quality and Noise

The project area is located in a resort development that continues to develop and therefore there are various point source emissions. Local to the project site there is a desalination plant. Desalination plants discharge nitrogen or oxygen gasses during the de-aeration process to control corrosion. RO plants may discharge dissolved gases such as hydrogen sulfide from the product water in a process known as degasification. These discharges produce an unpleasant smell which is noticeable in and around the project site area. General Electric is the operator of the water plant. The odor problem comes from a scrubber. The developer is in discussions with GE to improve the facility by adding air scrubbers that can remove the odour and plans are currently being developed to repair the plant to mitigate that odour. A report will be submitted to BEST following scrubber installation. It was also reported that waste is burnt on the development site which also contributes to air quality. Ambient air quality measurements will be taken to establish a background one week prior to commencement of construction. Existing noise levels are minimal. A background noise level will be established at least one week prior to commencement of construction.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

3.1.6

Wind

The wind conditions for the Caribbean Islands are dominated by trade winds which blow across the southern part of the north Atlantic Ocean (south of the Azores high pressure area). These winds approach with great constancy, primarily from the northeast and southeast directions. Some seasonal changes occur within this pattern, as a result of the relative position of the sun and the earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surface. In general, these seasonal changes in the annual wind regime may be described as follows: a. December to February: Winds are primarily from the NE to ENE. b. March to May: Winds are mainly from the east. c. June to August: Winds are primarily from the E to ESE. d. September to November: Winds are mainly from the E to SE. Wind speeds are influenced by the location of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ. The ITCZ is formed as a result of the convergence of north-east and south-east winds in a belt around the equator. This belt migrates north and south of the equator, in tandem with the suns motion. Since the ITCZ is characterised by wind uplift (as a result of convergence), surface wind speeds tend to be low in the vicinity of this feature. The ITCZ is closest to the Caribbean Islands between June and November. These months, therefore, have the lowest average wind speeds, compared with the rest of the year. The long-term wind statistical analysis, utilizing methods outlined in the Coastal Engineering Manual (CEM), was conducted to determine the extreme wind conditions for the 25-, 50- and 100-year return period storms (Coastal Systems, 2010). Table 3.1 presents the extreme wind speeds for 1-minute and 1-hour durations. Figures B-1 and B-2 in Appendix D illustrate the paths of the hurricanes utilizec Return Period [year] 25 50 100

1-Minute Duration 135 146 156

Wind Speed [mph] 1-Hour Duration 109 117 125

Table 3.1: Design Extreme Wind Speeds Normal Design Winds Wind data, published by NOAA for the Caribbean and North Atlantic regions for the period of July 1999 through October 2007, was utilized for the normal wind condition statistics. An annual wind rose was developed to present the data results graphically. A wind rose is a directional bar plot, with its angles representing the wind directions, bar length representing the percentage occurrences to scale, and colors representing the wind speed increments. The results of the analysis are presented as a wind rose in Figure 3.3. The wind rose indicates that the most of wind in the vicinity of the project site is from East and Northeast.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Figure 3.3:Wind Rose off West Coast of Bimini 3.1.7

Storms

Bimini is located within the Atlantic Tropical Cyclone basin. Refer to the original EIA for details on tropical storms and hurricanes to 1996. Hurricanes and storms that have affected Bimini since include Katrina which brushed Bimini in 2005 with tropical storm winds. In 2005 Hurricane Wilma hit with 105 mph winds and in 2010 Bonnie with 40 mph winds. The average number of years between direct hits by a hurricane (hurricane force winds for a few hours) is once every 4.27 years. Storm surge occurs due to the onshore movement of water from onshore wind, and from the rise in the mean sea level as a result of low pressures in the centre of a storm. Surge is discussed further below. 3.1.8

Waves

3.1.8.1 Offshore Deep-water Waves Refer to the Coastal Engineering Report (Appendix D) for details on the wave analysis that was conducted for the project. Tables 3.2& 3.3 below indicate the design offshore normal and extreme wave conditions. It can be seen that the maximum normal design significant wave height is 5.7 feet from the North and North-Northeast with a period of 6.2 seconds. The maximum extreme design significant wave height for the 25 year, 50 year and 100 year return periods are 31.0, 36.7 and 42.9 feet respectively.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Wind Direction Southwest West-Southwest West West-Northwest Northwest North-Northwest North North-Northeast Northeast

Significant Wave Height [ft] 4.1 4.3 4.1 4.8 5.4 4.8 5.7 5.7 4.8

Peak Wave Period [sec] 5.6 5.7 5.6 5.9 6.1 5.9 6.2 6.2 5.9

Table 3.2: Design Offshore Normal Wave Conditions

Return Period [year] 25

Significant Wave Height [ft] 31.0

Peak Wave Period [sec] 9.9

50

36.7

10.5

100

42.9

11.0

Table 3.3: Design Offshore Extreme Wave Conditions

3.1.8.2 Inshore Coastal Waves Modeling of waves to determine characteristics of existing nearshore waves was conducted and has been reported on in the Coastal Engineering Report in Appendix D. 3.1.9

Storm Surge

Storm surge is an abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or any other intense storm. This sea level rise is caused by the continued action of winds, decreased atmospheric pressure, as well as breaking waves. Storm surges impact coastal areas by allowing the storm waves to travel further ashore and impact coastal upland areas. The storm surge associated with a given hurricane is related to several important hurricane parameters: the central pressure of the hurricane, the maximum wind speeds, the forward speed of the hurricane, and the hurricaneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trajectory. Surge heights may also vary with rainfall, tide height, shoreline configuration, and bottom topography. Whilst storm surge was analysed for various locations at the project site the maximum storm surge for the 25 year, 50 year and 100 year return periods are 6.4, 7.2 and 8.3 feet respectively. 3.1.10 Tides Tides in the vicinity of Bimini are semi-diurnal with a spring mean range of approximately 2.6 feet and a neap mean range of 2.0 feet. The following design water levels were adopted from the Defense Mapping Agency Hydrographic/Topographic Center bathymetric chart number 26324. Spring High Water Level: 3.3 ft Neap High Water Level: 3.0 ft Mean Sea Level: 2.0 ft Neap Low Water Level: 1.0 ft Spring Low Water Level: 0.7 ft

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Two separate water level/tidal monitoring summaries were reviewed (Applied Technology and Management, 1998). Water levels were recorded in the open ocean west of the Lemer Marina Lab located in Alice Town, North Bimini, continuously from 1965 to 1972. A second tidal survey was performed by Leonard Chee-A-Tow in 1984. Based on 10-yearpredicted water levels utilizing the tidal elevation prediction tool developed by DHI, the tidal levels were also calculated by Coastal Systems. Table 2.1 presents the statistical water levels in terms of four data sources. In this coastal engineering study, the spring high water level of 1.3 feet compared to MSL was used for the storm surge analysis. Refer to references (Applied Technology and Management, 1998, 2003) for further discussion on tidal observations, and a tidal datum reference was not available for use in this study. Lerner Lab Survey

Chee-A-Tow Survey

Chart 26324

Mean High Water

1.21

1.05

1.15

1.15

Mean Sea Level

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Mean Low Water

-1.21

-1.05

-1.15

Coastal Systems

-1.15

Table 3.4:Water Elevations, [feet] The waves that impact the North Bimini region include long period swells from the Atlantic Ocean and local wind-generated waves. The eastern extent of the Project site is well protected from waves by the Bimini Islands. The western extent of the Project site is more exposed to wave activity, although the shallow water depths of the Bahamas Bank provide some protections. The wave climate at the Project site is further described in later section of this report. 3.1.11 Currents Offshore Deep-water Currents The deep-water currents offshore of the northwestern coastline of The Bahamas are influenced by the beginning of the Gulf Stream System. The Florida current can be considered the "official" beginning of the Gulf Stream System. The Florida Current receives its water from two main sources, the Loop Current and the Antilles Current. The Loop current is the most significant of these sources and can be considered the upstream extension of the Gulf Stream System. The Florida Current generally causes currents between Florida and the Bahamas to be in a northerly direction and through the Bahamas in a north westerly direction. Inshore Coastal Currents Current measurements were taken at half-hour intervals between April 23, 2013 and April 24, 2013, at two locations, “A” and “B,” (see Methodology), in the Project vicinity utilizing a Hach FH950 Portable Flow Meter. Survey activities ceased at approximately 10:30 AM on April 23, 2013, due to inclement weather, but resumed on April 24, 2013, at approximately 11:00 AM. Tables 3.5 and 3.6 on the following pages summarize the measurements, relating them to the phase of the tidal cycle. All currents were observed to originate from the North and propagate to the South. The currents were measured at three separate depths within the water column, summarized in Tables 3.5 and 3.6 to understand the variation of velocity resulting from the effects of winds, waves, and bottom friction. The hydrodynamic current conditions in the Project vicinity were evaluated to determine the appropriate dredge limits for the safe passage of a 650 foot long vessel to the proposed island. The nearshore current conditions will be utilized in an evaluation of the sediment.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Date

Time 6:47 AM

7:49 AM

8:29 AM 4/23/2013 9:05 AM

9:49 AM

10:21 AM

11:20 AM

12:22 PM

1:21 PM

2:08 PM

2:54 PM 4/24/2013 3:10 PM

4:00 PM

4:48 PM

5:35 PM

6:16 PM

Approximate Depth (ft) 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12 3 9 12

Current Speed (ft/s) 0.28 0.18 0.24 0.41 0.28 0.48 0.42 0.36 0.40 0.48 0.38 0.39 0.32 0.36 0.28 0.28 0.31 0.17 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.10 0.12 0.09 0.08 0.11 0.05 0.13 0.11 0.16 0.24 0.28 0.32 0.22 0.18 0.19 0.22 0.19 0.13 0.19 0.14 0.24 0.24 0.22 0.20 0.25 0.27 0.22

Tide Level (ft, MSL) N/A

0.40

0.08

-0.19

-0.71

-0.97

-0.20

-0.76

-0.95

-1.13

-0.93

-0.80

-0.16

0.27

0.81

1.36

Table 3.5: Current Measurements, Location A

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Date

Time 7:10 AM

8:10 AM

8:49 AM 4/23/2013 9:20 AM

10:08 AM

10:29 AM

11:40 AM

12:51 PM

1:30 PM

2:31 PM

2:46 PM 4/24/2013 3:36 PM

4:20 PM

5:14 PM

5:52 PM

6:39 PM

Approximate Depth (ft) 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4 4.6 13.8 18.4

Current Speed (ft/s) 0.22 0.32 0.28 0.28 0.36 0.31 0.31 0.28 0.36 0.41 0.28 0.33 0.44 0.28 0.30 0.16 0.20 0.14 0.11 0.06 0.06 0.09 0.09 0.08 0.06 0.06 0.05 0.16 0.14 0.16 0.28 0.24 0.32 0.24 0.25 0.21 0.18 0.11 0.11 0.22 0.31 0.28 0.28 0.26 0.22 0.38 0.41 0.34

Tide Level (ft, MSL) N/A

0.23

-0.11

-0.36

-0.81

-1.01

-0.35

-0.83

-0.99

-1.03

-0.98

-0.55

-0.03

0.52

1.01

N/A

Table 3.6: Current Measurements, Location B

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

The current speeds at the proposed Bimini Bay Ferry Terminal range from 0.05 feet per second to 0.48 feet per second over the survey period. The largest measured values occurred shortly before the cessation of survey activities on April 23, 2013, and indicate that these currents are largely windinduced. At both locations, “A” and “B,” the measured current magnitudes are the smallest at the start of the survey period on April 24, 2013, coinciding with low tide. Through the remainder of the survey period, the measured currents increase in speed, with the largest measurements occurring with the last survey profile, coinciding with the start of high tide. The measured current magnitudes remain consistent throughout the water column and overall, the current measurements at location “B” are greater than those at location “A.” Coastal Systems Inc. have also reported that when the incident waves are from north, the current speeds are in the range of 0.1 m/s (0.3 feet per second) and 0.3 m/s (1 foot per second) on the northwest beach and the southwest beach, and the current directions are from north to south. Also when the incident waves are from west, the current speeds are in the range of 0.1 m/s (0.3 feet per second) and 0.3 m/s (1 foot per second) on the northwest beach and the southwest beach, and the current directions are from south to north.

Figure 3.4: Water Surface Elevations (April 23-24, 2013)

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

3.1.12 Surface drainage Bimini itself drains naturally into the sea by way of surface runoff and through flow. infrastructure is minimal and probably limited to a few gutters.

Drainage

3.1.13 Marine water quality Historical Sampling Events: Water sampling was previously conducted during the preparation of the supplemental EIA documents in July 2002. Those results for the nearest station (Station 1) to the preferred ferry terminal location are presented in Table 2 below. See Figure 1 for the 4 Sampling Stations established in July 2002. Note that these sampling locations are not the same as the most recent sampling events, as the 2002 sampling focused primarily on locations within the bay adjacent to Bimini Bay, and at the entrance channel to North Bimini Island. The Dredge Footprint and Island Footprint Stations are located a significant distance from Station 1, approximately 2.5 miles north and west of Station 1. See Figure 1 for the July 2002 station locations, and Figure 2 for the April 2013 sampling stations. Additional parameters were added to the April 2013 sampling events as compared to those of the July 2002 sampling events, including Total Coliform and Fecal Coliform parameters, among others.

SUMMARY OF WATER QUALITY DATA - STATION 1* July 12, 2002 July 30, 2002 Parameter High Tide Low Tide Parameter High Tide Low Tide 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Biological Oxygen Demand(mg/L)

<0.45

<0.45

Biological Oxygen Demand

<0.98

<0.98

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

<0.0079

<0.0079

Ammonia, N

0.058

0.064

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

<0.032

<0.032

Nitrate, N

<0.7

<0.7

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

<0.025

<0.025

Orthophosphate, P

<0.0027

<0.0027

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

<0.0081

<0.011

Total Phosphorus

<0.0075

<0.0075

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

<0.24

<0.25

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen

<0.21

<0.21

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

-

-

Total Organic Carbon

1.0

1.6

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L)

90

33

Total Suspended Solids

55

44

Turbidity (NTU)

0.2

0.76

Turbidity

<0.081

0.4

*Neares t Stattion to Propos ed Si te. See Fi gure Attached for Ori gi na l Sampli ng Station Locati ons.

Table 3.7: Historic Water Sampling from July 2002. In general, the waters on the ocean-side (west side) of Bimini contain low levels of all nutrients and contaminants. Turbidity is almost non-existent as the waters are crystal clear. Consequently, many of the water samples tested had levels below the laboratory detection limit. In these cases, the detection limit was reported with a 'U' symbol after the result. Where measurements were detected to be between the 'Method Detection Limit' or MDL and the 'Practical Quantification Level' or PQL, an 'I' is included immediately after the result; these results containing the 'I' are also considered to be extremely low, again confirming a clean water environment.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

SUMMARY OF WATER QUALITY DATA - ISLAND FOOTPRINT Sampling Date: April 15, 2013

Sample 1 - Mid Depth Parameter High Tide Mid Tide 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

Average - Mid Depth Parameter High Tide Mid Tide

Replicate - Mid Depth Parameter High Tide Mid Tide

0.020U

0.020U

0.020U

0.020U

0.020U

0.040 I

Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

4.0U

4.0U

Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

4.0U

4.0U

Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

4.0U

4.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

0.50U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

0.50U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

0.50U

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.025U

0.034 I

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.031 I

0.025U

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.028

0.0295

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.0034U

0.0034U

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.014U

0.0069U

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.0087

0.00515

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L)

10

9

Salinity (ppt)

37

36.8

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L) Salinity (ppt)

9

9.3

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L)

36.7

36.5

Salinity (ppt)

9.5

9.15

36.85

36.65

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

58

48

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

42

40

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

50

44

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.30 I

0.32 I

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.32 I

0.3 I

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.31

0.31

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.30 I

0.35 I

0.335

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.87 I

1

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.059 I

0.056 I

19.4

53.3

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L)

0.20U

0.28

Turbidity (NTU)

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L) Turbidity (NTU)

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.35 I

0.32 I

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.325

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.85 I

0.98 I

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.86

0.99

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.057 I

0.054 I

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.058

0.055

27

47.65

0.20U

0.24

34.6

42

0.20U

0.20U

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L) Turbidity (NTU)

U = Indica tes the compound wa s a na lyzed for, but not dete cted. I = The reported va lue i s between the la bora tory method detecti on l imi t a nd the l a bora tory pra cti ca l qua nti ta ti on l imit.

Table 3.8: Island Footprint at Mid-Depth Range - High Tide and Low Tide with Duplicates, and Averages. Fecal Coliform was not detected in the water samples. Total coliform counts in the water samples were insignificant. As expected, no significant contamination was observed in the water samples at any station of tidal cycle. SUMMARY OF WATER QUALITY DATA - DREDGE SITE Sampling Date: April 15, 2013

Sample 1 - Mid Depth Parameter High Tide Mid Tide 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

Replicate - Mid Depth Parameter High Tide Mid Tide

Average - Mid Depth Parameter High Tide Mid Tide

0.020U

0.20U

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

0.020U

0.020U

Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

4.0U

4.0U

Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

4.0U

4.0U

Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

0.020U 4.0U

0.020U 4.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U 0.50U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

0.50U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

0.50U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.025U

0.037 I

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.025U

0.025U

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.025U

0.031

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.0069U

0.0034U

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.0069U

0.014U

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.0069U

0.0087

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L)

9.2

9.1

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L)

9.5

8.9

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L)

9.35

9

Salinity (ppt)

37.1

37

Salinity (ppt)

36.9

36.8

Salinity (ppt)

37

36.9

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

80

42

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

30

62

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

55

52

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.31 I

0.33 I

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.37 I

0.29 I

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.34

0.31

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.31 I

0.36 I

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.37 I

0.29 I

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.34

0.325

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.91 I

0.87 I

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.86 I

0.86 I

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.885

0.865

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.056 I

0.056 I

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.065 I

0.058 I

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.0605

0.057

29.4

23.2

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L)

19.8

20.8

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L)

0.20U

0.20U

Turbidity (NTU)

0.20U

0.20U

Turbidity (NTU)

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L) Turbidity (NTU)

24.6

22

0.20U

0.20U

U = Indica tes the compound wa s a na lyzed for, but not dete cted. I = The reported va lue i s between the la bora tory method detecti on l imi t a nd the l a bora tory pra cti ca l qua nti ta ti on l imit.

Table 3.9: Dredge Footprint at Mid-Depth Range - High Tide and Low Tide with Duplicates, and Averages.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

SUMMARY OF WATER QUALITY DATA - 1' ABOVE BOTTOM Sampling Date: April 15, 2013

Sample 3 - Island Footprint Parameter High Tide Mid Tide 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Ammonia, N (mg/L) Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

Sample 3 - Dredge Footprint Parameter High Tide Mid Tide

0.020U

0.040 I

4.0U

8.0U

Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

Average - Bottom Depth Parameter High Tide Mid Tide

0.020U

0.020U

4.0U

4.0U

Biological Oxygen Demand (mg/L)

Ammonia, N (mg/L)

0.020U

0.03

4.0U

6.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U

Fecal Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

2.0U

2.0U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

0.50U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

0.50U

Nitrate, N (mg/L)

0.50U

0.50U

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.025U

0.025U

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.025U

0.025U

Nitrogren, NO2 plus NO3 (mg/L)

0.025U

0.025U

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.0034U

0.0069U

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.0069U

0.0069U

Orthophosphate, P (mg/L)

0.00515

0.0069U

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L)

9.1

8.8

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L)

9.9

9

Salinity (ppt)

37

36.3

Salinity (ppt)

36.5

36.6

Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L) Salinity (ppt)

9.5

8.9

36.75

36.45

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

44

14

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

62

46

Total Coliforms (CFU/100 mL)

53

30

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.33 I

0.32 I

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.31 I

0.29 I

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.32

0.315

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.35 I

0.32 I

0.3

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.90 I

1.7

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.054 I

0.056 I

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L) Turbidity (NTU)

21.4

23

0.20U

0.20 U

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.31 I

0.29 I

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.91 I

1.3

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.055 I

0.058 I

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L) Turbidity (NTU)

Total Nitrogen (mg/L)

0.33

Total Organic Carbon (mg/L)

0.905

1.5

Total Phosphorus (mg/L)

0.0545

0.057

16.4

15.1

Total Suspended Solids (mg/L)

0.20U

0.20U

Turbidity (NTU)

18.9

19.05

0.20U

0.20U

U = Indica tes the compound wa s a na lyzed for, but not dete cted. I = The reported va lue i s between the la bora tory method detecti on l imi t a nd the l a bora tory pra cti ca l qua nti ta ti on l imit.

Table 3.10: Dredge Footprint and Island Footprint at a Depth of 1 Foot above Bottom - High Tide and Low Tide without Duplicate, and the Averages. Dissolved oxygen (DO) was measured in the 8.8 mg/L to 10 mg/L range. See Table 6 below. These DO levels support healthy, high-quality fish habitat. In addition, Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) measured no significant difference over the 5 day analysis period, indicating that low levels of microorganisms are present in the water; this significant result further confirms high-quality, clean water. Salinity levels do not vary significantly between tidal cycles on the west side of Bimini at mid-depth range. TURBIDITY, SALINITY, DISSOLVED OXYGEN & BOD Bimini Bay Ferry Terminal Sampling Date: April 15, 2013 Island Footprint Dredge Footprint Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Parameter High Tide Mid Tide High Tide Mid Tide High Tide Mid Tide High Tide Mid Tide High Tide Mid Tide High Tide Mid Tide BOD (mg/L) 4.0U 4.0U 4.0U 4.0U 4.0U 8.0U 4.0U 4.0U 4.0U 4.0U 4.0U 4.0U Oxygen, Dissolved (mg/L) 10 9 9 9.3 9.1 8.8 9.2 9.1 9.5 8.9 9.9 9 Salinity (ppt) 37 36.8 36.7 36.5 37 36.3 37.1 37 36.9 36.8 36.5 36.6 Turbidity (NTU) 0.20U 0.28 0.20U 0.20U 0.20U 0.20U 0.20U 0.20U 0.20U 0.20U 0.20U 0.20U

Table 3.11: Summary of Biological Oxygen Demand, Dissolved Oxygen, Salinity, and Turbidity. The above described baseline conditions can be used for future comparison during the next sampling cycles for the Project. Note that all raw data results are attached as an Appendix to this report, as prepared by Pace Analytical Laboratory. Baseline conditions of toxic contaminants including heavy metals (such as mercury, lead, cadmium, zinc, chromium and copper), petroleum hydrocarbons and pesticides (e. g., dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) will be provided prior to operation of the Ferry terminal. The data will provide indicators for monitoring of the project. These results will be provided to the BEST Commission. Additional water samples will be collected and analysed periodically (twice per month) during the dredging and filling operations at the same locations as those used for the baseline sampling. The EMP will provide further details. These results will also be provided to the BEST Commission.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Figure 3.5: Previous Water Quality Sampling Sites (July 2002)

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

3.2

Biological Environment

3.2.1

Terrestrial ecology

The description of terrestrial biological resources characterised within this document focuses on the vegetation communities, wildlife, threatened and protected flora and fauna, and important habitat for local and migratory species directly impacted by the project. The island including this area has been covered in the original EIA. The area to be directly affected is approximately 25,000 square feet (0.6 acres) in area. This area has however been cleared since the original EIA and regrowth has occurred. The regrowth is predominately that of grasses and Australian Pine (Casuarinaequisetifolia). The Australian pine tree (Casuarinaequisetifolia), is the most common vegetation found at the project site. It is destabilising the coastline by causing erosion of the soil and taking over the habitats of important endemic species. Australian pine, also known as casuarina, is a deciduous tree with a soft, wispy, pinelike appearance, which grows 5-10 feet per year to a maximum of 100 feet or more. Once established, it radically alters the temperature, light, and soil chemistry of habitats, and inhibits the growth of native vegetation, vital for coastal ecosystems. Also, unlike native shrubbery, the thick, shallow roots of Australian pine make it much more susceptible to high winds. The land area adjacent to the pier landing is proposed to be landscaped and a buffer zone will be established to shield the existing water plant and tank farm to the greatest extent possible. As part of that plan, clearance of existing, exotic Australian Pine (Casuarinas) at the entrance to the pier is proposed, and the restoration of the dune features, and enhancement of that dune through a native plantings, is proposed. This planting plan will be included in the EMP.

Photograph 3.1: Vegetation at the project site where the new road is proposed (from the west at the centre of the proposed road looking east).

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Photograph 3.2: Vegetation at the project site where the new road is proposed (from northern end looking south). Birds Due to the lack of food available (mainly due to the high population of invasive vegetation) on the immediate Project area there were no significant creatures found to inhabit the area. Some birds that were observed in Bimini during the April 2013 site visit were Seagulls, Warblers, Brown Pelican (Pelecan usoccidentalis) and Royal Terns (Sterna maxima). The Brown Pelicans were observed just beyond the northern most point of the current development clearance. This species is not readily found in the Bahamas and as such this site is special. Reptiles/Invertebrates/ Reptiles/Mammals Due to the lack of food available (mainly due to the high population of invasive vegetation) on the Project area there were no significant creatures found to inhabit the area. The island was not found to contain any large mammals, except for domesticated pets. It is also considered likely that introduced rodents exist on the island although none were seen. No wild mammalian species were observed on the island.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Biological Diversity of the area and species of special importance Generally, biodiversity within small island nations such as the Bahamas is considered low in relation to larger continental nations with greater habitat variation or tropical zones containing ecosystems such as tropical rainforest, although islands may support a greater degree of endemism. Within the Bahamas, biodiversity of flora and fauna is highest within broad-leaved evergreen communities and coral reefs. The Bahamian Archipelago, which includes the Turks and Caicos, is listed as having 1,370 species of vascular plants of which 125 are endemic (9.0%) (Correll and Correll 1982).Preliminary vegetation surveys at the site revealed a few species on the project site most of which are invasive species. The project site area represents a small expanse of a relatively new-growth community. This project site is in rapid degradation now with the invasion of alien plant species, and without management or stewardship, biological diversity is in jeopardy. The Conservation and Protection of the Physical Landscape of the Bahamas Act, No 12.of 1997 provides a list of species of trees, which are protected in the Bahamas. No protected species were found on site. Bimini is home to several unique, endemic and threatened species. The Bimini Boa (Epicratesstriatusfosteri) protected by Bahamian law is the largest of the terrestrial reptiles on Bimini. The Bimini Ameiva (Ameivaauberirichmondi) is a very common, fast moving lizard on the island. The Smalltooth sawfish (Pristispectinata) is one of the rarest fish in the world, sometimes listed as a critically endangered species by conservation groups. The Bimini Biological Field Station has captured and recorded 13 species of sharks in the shallow waters around Bimini. However, the number of sharks around the island is even higher when considering the sharks of the deep waters off Bimini's western shores. The BBFS has witnessed and recorded captures of Shortfin Mako sharks (Isurusoxyrinchus), Bigeye Thresher sharks (Alopiassuperciliosus), Spiny Dogfish (Squalusacanthias), and Sixgill Sharks (Hexanchus sp.).The Shark Lab is a world famous facility owned and operated by shark biologist Dr. Samuel Gruber. The Sharklab offers marine biology internships to people interested in shark research and the conservation of the ocean's ecosystems. It's located on South Bimini Island. 3.2.2

Aquatic/Marine Habitats

The following summarises the Marine Resource Report produced by Coastal Systems Inc. The base map (Figure 3.6 and Figure 3.7) illustrates marine resources within the vicinity of the proposed Project area and identifies habitat resources. Within the overall survey area, four habitat types were observed and mapped (Figure 3.7). The habitat types were classified as high relief reef, consistent hardbottom, patchy hardbottom, and ridge (Figure 3.6). The ridge habitat is an elevated feature with approximately 0.6 m (2 ft) of vertical relief within the consistent hardbottom habitat (Figure 3.7). For the entire survey area, 65 species of fish were recorded, 60 taxa of sessile benthos were recorded, and five "other" species were recorded (Refer to the Species Lists within the report in Appendix B). The "other" category included loggerhead sea turtle (Carettacaretta), green sea turtle (Cheloniamydas), Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenellafrontalis) (Photograph 3.5), Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirusargus), and Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthissepioidea). Four species of fish (bluehead wrasse [Thalassomabifasciatum], clown wrasse [Halichoeresmaculipinna], ocean surgeon [Acanthurusbahianus], and squirrelfish [Holocentrusadscensionis]) were noted utilizing all four habitat types. Five species of fish were noted on three different habitat types, 11 species of fish on two different habitat types, and the remaining 45 species of fish were only observed using one of the various habitat types. Three sessile benthic taxa were noted on the substrate in all four habitat types including two brown algae (Dictyota spp. and Lobophoravariegata) and one scleractinian coral (Siderastrea radians). Eleven benthic taxa were noted on three different habitat types, 19 sessile benthic taxa were noted on two different habitat types, and the remaining 27 benthic taxa were only observed on one of the various habitat types.

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Each of the five "other" species were noted at one of the various habitat types. High Relief Reef The eastern edge of the high relief reef habitat is located between approximately 213 m (700 feet) and 914 m (3,000 feet) offshore of the western limit of proposed dredging (Figure 3.6). This habitat is located in water depths ranging from approximately 13.7 m (45 ft) to 19.8 m (65 ft) and includes locally known dives sites (Moray Alley, Little Caverns, Hawksbill Reef, Rockwell Reef, Sea Gardens, Black Tip Reef and Lobster Reef). The area between the two mapped high relief reef edges was not barren sand, but rather a low relief patchy hardbottom habitat similar to the patchy hardbottom habitat delineated within the proposed Project area, as shown in Figure3.7.

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Figure 3.6 North Bimini Ferry Terminal Marine Resource Map

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Figure 3.7 North Bimini Ferry Terminal Marine Resource Detail

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Photograph 3.3: Rock beauty (Holacanthus tricolor) shown at the offshore reef during the marine resource survey.

Photograph 3.4: Abundant fish noted inhabiting the offshore reef during the marine resource survey.

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In addition to fish and sessile benthos recorded at the high relief reef, other species noted include loggerhead sea turtle (Carettacaretta), green sea turtle (Cheloniamydas), and Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenellafrontalis).

Photograph 3.5: Mother and calf Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenellafrontalis) at the high relief reef habitat. Ridge Habitat The ridge habitat is an elevated feature with approximately 0.6 meters (2 ft) of vertical relief within the consistent hardbottom habitat located in the middle of the proposed dredging area (Figure 3.6). Water depth at this habitat was approximately 4.5 m (15 ft). During the marine resource survey, 28 sessile benthic taxa were recorded at the ridge habitat including: seven species of scleractinian corals, 13 macroalgae taxa, one octocoral species, and seven "other benthos" which include various sponges (Photograph 3.7), tube worms, and fire coral (M. alcicornis). In addition to the fish and sessile benthos recorded at the ridge habitat, one additional species was noted, the Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirusargus).

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Photograph 3.6: Red lionfish (Pteroisvolitans) shown at the ridge habitat during the marine resource survey.

Photograph 3.7: Massive starlet coral (Siderastreasiderea) encrusted with a redboring sponge (Clionadelitrix) shown at the ridge habitat during the marine resource survey.

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Consistent Hardbottom Habitat The majority of the project area to be directly affected was found to be consistent hardbottom habitat. The consistent hardbottom habitat was generally a low relief habitat, with less than 0.3 meters (one ft) of vertical relief that was the most prevalent habitat observed within the survey area (Figure 3.7). Water depth at this habitat ranged from approximately 4.5 m (15 ft) to 7.6 m (25 ft). During the marine resource survey, 16 species of fish were noted utilizing the consistent hardbottom habitat. Reef associated fish such as ocean surgeon (A. bahianus), redband parrotfish (S. aurofrenatum), bicolor damselfish (S. partitus), and bluehead wrasse (T. bifasciatum) were among the common species at the consistent hardbottom habitat (Photograph 15). During the marine resource survey, 27 sessile benthic taxa were recorded at the consistent hardbottom habitat including: four species of scleractinian corals, 15 macroalgae taxa, two octocoral species and six "other benthos" which include various sponges.

Photograph 3.8: Bipinnate sea plume (Pseudopterogorgiabipinnata) shown on the consistent hardbottom habitat during the marine resource survey. In addition to the fish and sessile benthos recorded at the ridge habitat, one additional species was noted, Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthissepioidea). Patchy Hardbottom Habitat The patchy hardbottom habitat was generally a low relief habitat, with less than 0.3 meters (one foot) of vertical relief, which included patches of sand in and around the hardbottom. This habitat is a transitional habitat from sand to consistent hardbottom (Figure 3). Water depth at this habitat ranged from approximately 4.5 m (15 ft) to 9.1 m (30 ft). The majority of the West shoreline on Bimini is comprised of rock with portions that are beach and some seawall.

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There are fourteen areas within 1.5 miles of the project area that are dive spots and as such have significant value as marine habitats. These dive spots are identified on Figure 3.6. Refer to the section below “Snorkeling/Diving” for more details on dive spots near the project area. Biological Diversity of the area and species of special importance Increasing concern over the invasive threat of the red lionfish (Pteroisvolitans) has become ever present. The species has been observed to have spread ubiquitously throughout the Bahamas and along the east coast of North America. They disrupt coral reef by reducing indigenous Bahamian fish recruitment by over 79%. And because of the lionfish’s poisonous fins, there have been concern about whether its growth can be contained. The Bimini Biological Field Station has captured and recorded 13 species of sharks in the shallow waters around Bimini. However, the number of sharks around the island is even higher when considering the sharks of the deep waters off Bimini's western shores. The BBFS has witnessed and recorded captures of Shortfin Mako sharks (Isurusoxyrinchus), Bigeye Thresher sharks (Alopiassuperciliosus), Spiny Dogfish (Squalusacanthias), and Sixgill Sharks (Hexanchus sp.).The Shark Lab is a world famous facility owned and operated by shark biologist Dr. Samuel Gruber. The Sharklab offers marine biology internships to people interested in shark research and the conservation of the ocean's ecosystems. It's located on South Bimini Island and concentrates its research on the lemon shark. 3.2.3

Protected areas

Established by an Act of Parliament in 1959, the Bahamas National Trust is mandated with the conservation of natural and historic resources of The Bahamas. This responsibility is achieved primarily through in-situ protection. There are currently 27 National Parks in the Bahamas covering one million acres that are protected including marine and terrestrial sites and the number is increasing. These protected areas are outside the influence of this project. The nearest protected areas are located in Andros and Grand Bahama. These include the following; West Side National Park The West Side National Park was established in 2002 and covers 1.3 million acres. This park encompasses a vast area of coastal mangrove habitat that is an important nursery area for conch, lobster and fish. It is also a prime bonefishing area and is utilized by the endangered Andros Rock Iguana and many bird species, including the West Indian Flamingo. North & South Marine Parks Established in 2002 the North & South Marine Parksis 64,834 acres in Andros that has the third longest barrier reef in the world. These two parks were established to help preserve significant parts of this valuable reef ecosystem.

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Photograph 3.9: North and South Marine Parks

Peterson Cay National Park The Peterson Cay National Park is a 1.5 acre geological wonder, being the only cay off Grand Bahama's leeward shore. This beautiful park is one of Grand Bahamas most heavily used getaway spots. The surrounding marine area is ideal for snorkeling. Blue Holes National Park This park in Andros has the highest concentration of Blue Holes in the world. Exposed to the elements over thousands of years, the islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s limestone bedrock eroded creating this vast expanse of underwater cave systems. These caves have been found to house many unusual and unique cave fish and invertebrates, some not found anywhere else in the world. The Bahamas has established a national target to protect 20% of marine and coastal habitat by 2020, accompanied by action plans and implementations. The UN Council identified the need for countries to collaborate with each other to establish effective regional conservation plans. One of the areas identified as a strong contender as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) is that of East Bimini. Over the past few years the Department of Fisheries has been working in close consultation with the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF), local government representatives, The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and a number of scientists, and has proposed the establishment of a network of No Take Marine Reserves throughout the Bahamas. Having reviewed a large number of possible locations throughout the nation, the government has identified East Bimini as one of five preferred No Take Marine Reserve sites. No further development of a MPA for Bimini has been made since identifying a possible MPA area in East Bimini.

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Photograph 3.10: East Bimini looking North

Photograph 3.11: North end of Proposed MPA Area 4 October 2013

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There is a wide range of potential benefits from the establishment of a network of self- sustaining No Take Marine Reserves. These include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Support for fisheries and fisheries management Benefits to fish populations by the provision of larger fish Protection of ecosystem structure and functioning Enhancement of non-extractive human activities such as sightseeing and scuba diving Increased scientific understanding

3.3

Socio-economic and Cultural Environment

3.3.1

Demography

Bimini has a population of 1,717 (2012 census), with 1,063 males and 925 females. This represents nearly 0.6 percent of the entire population of the Bahamas (303,611) with an annual growth rate of 1.3% (1,717, 2000 Census.). Each year, visitors and overnight guests bring in excess of 1.5 billion dollars to the local Bahamian economy. In 2012, there were 54,015 foreign visitors to Bimini. It is estimated that since 2000 there are 4.5 million visitors to the Bahamas each year (Ministry of Tourism, 2011). The majority of the population resides in areas of Alice Town, Bailey Town and Porgy Bay on North Bimini. A small component of the population resides on South Bimini, and there are no dwellings or residents on East Bimini. 3.3.2

Land use

Hook-shaped North Bimini is 12km (7 1/2 miles) long and, combined with South Bimini, it makes up a landmass of only 23 sq. km (9 sq. miles). This limited space is the reason Alice Town is crowded. Another reason is that much of South Bimini is privately owned; despite pressure from the Bahamian government, the landholders have not sold their acreage, and Bimini can't "spread out" until they do. At Alice Town, the land is very narrow. Most of Bimini's population of some 1,600 people lives in Alice Town; other hamlets include Bailey Town and Porgy Bay. Land use has changed dramatically on the northern end of North Bimini. This has been the result of the development of Bimini Bay Resort and Marina at the northern end of North Bimini where mangrove areas have been developed and land reclaimed from the North inside bay. Bimini Bay Resort is a master-planned oceanfront community on 560 acres developed by Chairman Gerardo Capo of Miami and his family. The project began construction in 2003 and opened its first phase in late 2007, bringing a luxury resort to the typically rustic island that was once a haunt of author Ernest Hemingway. Today, Bimini Bay has over 480 luxury homes and villas, a 230 slip yacht marina, a shopping village, four restaurants and a Beach Club. Just over half of the units at Bimini Bay are rented out as part of a condo-hotel program. Vacation and real estate opportunities are available. RAV Bahamas signed a deal in 2005 to open a casino and luxury hotel with Conrad Hotels, Hiltonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s luxury brand however the economy was one reason that the casino was not developed. Genting and RAV Bahamas have now partnered to open Resorts World Bimini Bay, a luxury boutique casino at Bimini Bay Resort and Marina. The 10,000-square-foot casino, estimated to cost more than $20 million is scheduled to open in December 2013 featuring full-scale table games, slots and sports betting, in a venue similar to casinos Genting operates in London. This will be the only casino on the island of Bimini and the closest offshore casino to South Florida, only 50 miles off the coast and accessible by a half-hour plane flight or a 3 hour boat trip.

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Photograph3.12: Bimini Bay Casino under construction RAV Bahamasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Bimini development includes a $250 million Rockwell Island build-out, featuring 105 beachfront estate homes. Ground was broken for the first phase of construction in April 2013. A 250 room hotel is also planned for Bimini Bay. Rates at Bimini Bay Resort and Marina begin at $250 a night and ownership opportunities comprise of condominiums beginning at $249,000, bayfront lots at $700,000 and oceanfront estate lots at $1,800,000. Home prices are additional, starting at $325,000 and three bedroom oceanfront Treehouses cost $1,400,000 (lot and home included). The proposed ferry terminal location is 1.7 miles north of Alice Town and the downtown area which is used for commerce, recreation, housing, tourism, administration and transport, and includes a ship pier, marinas, restaurants, various docks, residences and bathing beaches. Alice Town has a number of areas of interest to tourists as well as residents in close proximity The land that will be directly impacted by the proposed work (i.e. road construction) is located at the southern end of the Bimini Bay Development on North Bimini and is currently unused land which is mainly covered by vegetation. The nearby areas are used for maintenance purposes and house the desalination plant and water tanks, sewerage treatment works, aqua sports station, it is also used as a golf cart maintenance area as well as to house storage buildings and other small buildings. These small buildings house the electrical substation and telephone communications hub as well as storage for various items.

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Photograph 3.13: Project Area from East

Photograph 3.14: Project Area from West 4 October 2013

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The pier from the ferry terminal will meet the shoreline at a beach, namely Spook Hill Beach. This beach has been severely eroded and access is difficult other than via private residential steps nearby. The beach is used for recreational purposes by various persons including persons who live on the shoreline and persons who rent kayaks and other water sports equipment at the nearby huts. The road for the ferry terminal will connect to the main Bimini Road at the large roundabout at the southern end of the Bimini Bay Resort. This roundabout serves as a junction to Bimini Bay and the northern beaches to the north, Bimini Bay reception desk, restaurants, shops, helipads and scuba centre to the east and Porgy Bay, Bailey Town and Alice Town to the south. This roundabout is approximately 100 feet in internal diameter.

Photograph 3.15: Location where the pier will meet the road

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Photograph 3.16: Beach to the South of the location where the pier will meet the shoreline

Photograph 3.17: Beach at location where the pier will meet the shoreline

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Photograph 3.18: Beach to the North of the location where the pier will meet the shoreline

Photograph 3.19: Project Area from West

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3.3.3

Education

Education in the Bahamas is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. As of 2003, the school attendance rate was 92% and the literacy rate was 95.5%. The government fully operates 158 of the 210 primary and secondary schools in The Bahamas. Some public schools lack basic educational materials and are overcrowded. The College of The Bahamas, established in Nassau in 1974, provides programs leading to bachelors and associates degrees. Several non-Bahamian colleges also offer higher education programs in The Bahamas. In Bimini there are two schools namely Louise MacDonald, the Government high school and Gateway Christian Academy which is private. Louise MacDonald has a Primary school and a High school which are at different locations. The Primary school takes children from grade 1 (6 years old) to grade 6 (12 years old) and as of 2013 has 150 students. The Louise MacDonald High school takes children between the ages of 12 to 17 and as of 2013 has 130 students. Gateway Christian Academy take children from 2 years old to grade 12 (approximately 17 or 18 years old) and as of 2013 have 120 students. There are also two Preschools on the island. 3.3.4

Employment

About half the working population in the Bahamas is employed in the tourist trade assisting the 4.5 million visitors who arrive in the Bahamas each year. The other major employers are in the financial and business services. The North Bimini Ferry Terminal works will provide a number of employment opportunities during construction. Construction is to be carried out by International firms and as such there will be an influx of foreign workers. Given the timescales on the project the number of Bahamians working on the project is likely to be minimal. The direct employment content of the project after construction is difficult to determine however should the service bring the additional 360,300 visitors per year to the island this will have a major impact on employment in Bimini. All measures should be taken to provide work to Bahamians where feasible. Approximately 1,200 Biminites are employed. Based on statistics from the 1990 census, 47% of employed Bimini residents work in the ‘wholesale, retail, trade, restaurant and hotels” sector. Other leading employment categories are “community, social and personal services” 17%, fishing 9%, and construction 9%. There are several businesses that cater to island visitors and the deep sea fishing industry. A number of big game fishing tournaments also contribute significantly to the local economy. Bimini Bay currently employs approximately 264 persons however not all of these are Bahamians. Of this 264 total, 97% are Bahamian. Total employment at this stage of the casino development, is 174. Of this 174 person total, 97 percent are also Bahamian. A total of 45 to 60 construction workers are proposed during the offshore work. Construction of the 3 primary components of the Project (pier construction, sheet-pile island creation, and dredging) is to be carried out largely by International firms, with specialized skill in these areas of construction (e.g. Boskalis or Great Lakes); as such there will be a temporary influx of foreign workers. The likely percentage of skilled Bahamian labor utilized for the offshore's 3 main components will be on the order of 10-30 percent. Permanent employment has been estimated to exceed 600 employees; of those 600 permanent employees, over 90 percent are anticipated to be Bahamian. All measures will be taken to provide work to Bahamians first, where feasible. 3.3.5

Economic Activities

The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism together with tourism-driven construction and manufacturing accounts for approximately 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs half of the archipelago's labor force. Steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences had led to solid GDP growth in recent years. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian 4 October 2013

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economy, accounting for about 15% of GDP. However, since December 2000, when the government enacted new regulations on the financial sector, many international businesses have left The Bahamas. Manufacturing and agriculture together contribute approximately a tenth of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. Overall growth prospects in the short run rest heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector, which depends on growth in the US, the source of more than 80% of the visitors. The Bahamas imports more than $250 million in foodstuffs per year, representing about 80% of its food consumption. The government aims to expand food production to reduce imports and generate foreign exchange. It actively seeks foreign investment aimed at increasing agricultural exports, particularly specialty food items. The government officially lists beef and pork production and processing, fruits and nuts, dairy production, winter vegetables, and Mari culture (shrimp farming) as the areas in which it wishes to encourage foreign investment. The economy has a very competitive tax regime. The government derives its revenue from import tariffs, license fees, property and stamp taxes, but there is no income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, valueadded tax (VAT), or wealth tax. Payroll taxes fund social insurance benefits and amount to 3.9% paid by the employee and 5.9% paid by the employer. In 2010, overall tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 17.2%. Bahamas recorded a Government Debt to GDP of 49.90 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2012. Inflation has been moderate, averaging 2.5 percent between 2008 and 2010. The inflation rate in Bahamas was recorded at 1.90 percent in October of 2012. 3.3.5.1 Tourism Tourism dominates the Bahamian economy. There are two principal types of tourism in The Bahamas cruise ship and overnight. Since 2000, an average of 4.5 million tourists visited The Bahamas each year (Ministry of Tourism). Of these, about 1.5 million are overnight visitors and the remaining ones stay a few days on a cruise ship docked in a port. Almost half these visitors had incomes greater than US$100,000. Seventy eight per cent of visitors in 2011were from the USA, 9% from Canada and 6% from Europe. Overnight visitors stayed an average of 6.6 nights, typically either 5.6 nights in Nassau or 9.5 nights in the out islands. Overnight visitors spent an estimated total of $2.02 billion in aggregate in 2007 and a mean of $1,175 per visit. In 1999 revenue from tourism made up 60 percent of the nation's GDP. The largest resort in the Bahamas is the 2,340 room mega-resort Atlantis, which is owned by Sun International. It employs 5,500 people and is the second largest employer in the nation after the government.

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Two hundred and fifty-two thousand (252,000) visitors went to the Family Islands in 2011, spending 2.4 million visitor nights. Thirty-seven per cent of Family Island visitors had chosen The Bahamas due to the beaches, followed by 24% for sporting activities (e.g. snorkeling, fishing, diving, and sailing). Mean expenditure for Family Island overnight visitors was US$1,396per trip in 2007 or US$402 million in aggregate (20% of all tourism expenditure). This includes all those who stayed with friends or on boats and therefore spent nothing on accommodation. Of this, 39% was spent on accommodation, for which the mean price was US$253 per night, 16% on food and drink and 4% on sporting activities. The number of visitors to the Family Islands continues to rise each year and could reach 3 million by 2024, given current growth of 2.8% per year. All major cruise lines operate services to the Bahamas. To extend the stay of passengers, the government has enacted legislation that allows ships to open their casinos and stores only if they remain in port for more than 18 hours.

STOPOVER VISITORS BY ISLAND AND REGION ISLANDS OF THE BAHAMAS 2011

New Providence Grand Bahama Out Islands Total Abaco Andros Bimini Eleuthera* Harbour Isl., Eleuthera Exuma San Salvador Other Out Islands TOTAL

U.S 709,968 139,701 209,013

Latin Other Canada Europe Caribbean America Countries 93,041 46,704 16,044 24,791 26,875 15,336 13,079 999 2,396 4,991 15,789 18,418 936 2,518 5,773

Total 917,423 176,502 252,447

74,490 6,927 47,709 21,884 8,879 24,169 5,370 19,585

3,140 338 1,333 885 431 6,036 2,363 1,263

2,815 337 1,493 1,575 1,097 2,157 7,622 1,322

288 18 164 40 19 204 3 200

504 39 1,037 121 69 356 188 204

1,223 153 967 474 317 815 1,242 582

82,460 7,812 52,703 24,979 10,812 33,737 16,788 23,156

1,058,682

124,166

78,201

17,979

29,705

37,639

1,346,372

Out Island totals include: Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Eleuthera, Exuma, Harbour Island, San Salvador and the Other Out Islands *In order to get the total count for Eleuthera you have to add Harbour Island numbers to it.

Table 3.12: Stop Over Visitors by Island and Region 2011. Bimini is considered one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best dive destinations with dive sites including the Bimini Road. Other dive sites include coral reefs, several sunken Spanish galleons, a World War I freighter wreck and the concrete hull of the SS Sapona. Tourists also engage in sportfishing in the waters and shallow banks off Bimini. Bimini had52,703 stop over visitors in 2011 and has had the highest number per year of the islands after New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco for many years (see Table3.12). Over half of Biminiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s visitors arrive by Yacht/Private boat (see Table3.13).

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STOPOVER VISITORS MODE OF ARRIVAL BIMINI, BAHAMAS 2000 TO 2011

Cruise Ship* Cruise Ship* Private Plane Yacht/Private Boat Non Response Grand Total

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

9,920 3,760 2,576 23,316 2,513

9,357 3,319 3,016 26,502 1,937

8,216 762 3,856 29,245 1,881

9,958 432 4,155 25,355 937

10,092 792 5,326 25,187 1,034

12,049 256 5,686 30,716 1,435

11,322 313 5,126 22,198 1,263

12,288 648 6,159 31,083 2,525

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

42,085

44,131

43,960

40,837

42,431

50,142

40,222

52,703

Prior to 2004, Bimini was not listed seperately in the database but was listed in with other Out Islands. Between 2000 and 2002 private plane was not seperated out. *T hese persons came by ship, stayed 24 hrs. or more in the destination, and did not use the ship for Accommodation purposes, i.e. they were stopovers.

Table 3.13: Stop Over Visitors by Island and Region 2011.

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Bimini currently offers tourists approximately 1,170bedrooms between Bimini Bay (major contributor with 1,050 rooms) and approximately 10 smaller inns. Bimini also provides approximately 400 slips which are likely to provide accommodation for 1,400 persons. This equates to a total accommodating approximately 3,800 visitors. There is also construction underway at present to provide estate homes along the north shore and thereby increase the capacity at Bimini Bay Resort (see photograph below).

Photograph 3.21: Construction of estate homes along northern shoreline

3.3.5.2 Fishing The 2003 catch amounted to 12,736 tons, over 81% of which was spiny lobsters (crawfish). Crawfish and conch exports are commercially important. There is excellent sport fishing for wahoo, dolphin fish, and tuna in Bahamian waters. In 2004, fisheries exports totaled $94.8 million/2977mt. Since the Bahamas imports 80% of its food, the government is interested in expanding the role of domestic commercial fishing. Aquaculture and mariculture development are planned to grow into a $150 million annual business by the government, with the anticipation of 15,000 new jobs created. In 2003, fishery exports accounted for 25% of agricultural exports. Fishing is important to the economy of the Bahamas, it is estimated that fishing contributes 1.5% to the nations GDP. There are an estimated 9,300 fishermen (Joint FAO/DOF1995 Fisheries Census)and there is a ready market for fish, which is sold mainly in Nassau but also abroad. This industry is suffering from over fishing and declining yields. Fishing for Nassau Grouper in The Bahamas was prohibited during the month of January 2004. Such fishing will be prohibited again from 15 December 2004 to 15 February 2005 as a part of the Government of The Bahamasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; approach to improving the management of the fishery. The commercial fishing industry of The Bahamas is based primarily on its shallow water banks, principally the Little Bahama Bank and the Great Bahama Bank. Other shallow water bank areas are also found adjacent to several of the southeastern islands.

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Figures 3.8 and 3.9: Map indicating Little Bimini Bank (left) and Bimini Coat of Arms depicts fishing (right) Results of the 1995 Fisheries Census indicated the Bahamian fishing fleet consists of over 4 000 fishing vessels ranging in size from 10 feet to 90feet of which 600 are over 20 feet. The smaller vessels are the actual fishing power of the fleet and in this regard in excess of 1,500 of them work in conjunction with the larger fishing vessels. There are five main categories of gear used for fishing. These include nets, hook & line, impaling gear (Hawaiian sling and spear), wire pots and wooden traps and casitas/condominiums and hooks. Sport fishing is a major tourist attraction for The Bahamas and not considered commercial. This is particularly true in the Family Islands where a significant percentage of stopover visitors arrive by boat. Besides tourists, sport fishing is also a popular activity for Bahamians. The main targeted species are Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Wahoo, Dolphin (mahi-mahi), Tunas and Bonefish. A secondary benefit of the marine resources present at Bimini is their attraction as a destination for scuba divers and snorkelers. Commercial scuba diving businesses are based in North Bimini, and visitors are offered opportunities to participate in reef dives, shark dives and â&#x20AC;&#x153;swim with the dolphinsâ&#x20AC;?. 3.3.5.3 Diving/Snorkeling Bimini has no shortage of great dive sites closer to the U.S mainland than any other Bahamian Island. There are a variety of different types of dive including reefs, wrecks, walls, drift dives and wildlife encounters including caged Bull Shark (Carcharhinusleucas) diving. Daily dive operations center around two major geographical areas: Bimini and Cat Cay, which lies about 11 miles south of Bimini. The Bimini dive sites are generally all close to the shore. Cat Cay sites feature more of the barrier reef type of formations, often have strong currents and tend to be offered as drift dives. Most Bimini wall diving is done in the Cat Cay area as the drop offs are a little shallower than Bimini, where the vertical wall drop offs exceed accepted safe recreational diving depth restrictions. There are fourteen dive spots within 1.5 miles of the project area and as such have significant value. These dive spots are identified on Figure 3.6. A brief description of some of the dive spots are included below.

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Sea Gardens This dive spot is the closest dive spot to the dredging being approximately 700 feet to the South of the project area. This dive spot is not a spot as such but a marker to indicate the general area as an area that may interest divers. There is nothing significant at this location which differs to the majority of the low relief reef found in the surveyed area nor is there any evidence that it was in the past. Rainbow Reef This reef is one of the most colorful, shallow reefs in Bimini and being a shallow reef it is a great nursery for young fish. Juvenile damselfish, sergeant majors and other tropical can be found hiding among the ledges. At one time there was a statue of Christ, but recent hurricanes have destroyed the statue. All that remains is the base on the sandy bottom. On the deeper parts of the reef divers may see turtles, huge schools of fish and often nurse sharks. Average Depth: 15 ft. / 5 m. Max Depth: 25 ft. / 8 m Hawksbill Reef Although this reef is named after a turtle species, it is rare to see Hawksbill turtles on the reef. There are some large jack, chub, parrotfish and possibly reef or nurse sharks. The Foundation for Ocean Research filmed the television series "The Last Frontier" at this reef. The reef lies off of North Bimini with two mooring buoys at North and South ends. This is a pleasant dive at medium depths. Average Depth: 35 ft. / 11 m Max Depth: 50 ft. / 15 m Atlantis Road The Atlantis Road, or Bimini Road is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bimini because of the mystery surrounding the site. In the 1930s, an American psychic named Edgar Cayce reported that he had spoken with a person who had lived in the Lost City of Atlantis in a former life. This Atlantean told Cayce that Atlantis had been near Bimini. Cayce predicted that portions of the temples of Atlantis would become visible near Bimini in '68 or '69. When a private pilot flying over the waters near North Bimini reported seeing a strange parallel structure in shallow water, many people believed these were either walls from Atlantis or a mysterious road leading to Atlantis. And thus the mystery of the Atlantis Road was born. Since the 1970s, the structure has been explored by thousands of visitors, filmed for several TV specials, written about in books and magazines and drilled into by geologists. Eugene A. Shinn led a team of geologists who core-drilled the rocks and determined that the stones are submerged, natural beachrock that is the same as the beachrock found on nearby North Bimini. In spite of his findings, there are still many who believe that the two rows of parallel stones were placed in the "road" formation by intelligent beings. The rectangular stones lie in 15 feet of water just a mile offshore of North Bimini. The stones are straight and certainly look as if they were placed in a wall or road. The site is a regular stop on all the dive charters. It is easily explored by snorkelers and divers. Three Sisters Rocks. Three sisters rocks is considered one of the best "pure snorkeling" sites on Bimini. "3 Sisters" is supposedly one of the reasons that Forbes Traveler named Bimini as one of the world's Top 10 Best Snorkeling Destinations. At depths that range between 8 and 12 feet, 3 Sisters Rocks is an area that can be enjoyed by Snorkelers of all ages and skill levels. The rocks themselves are covered with Coral, Gorgonians, and beautifully colored Sea Fans. Large schools of Yellowtail Snappers, Grunt Fish, goat fish, squirrel fish, sergeant majors, and damsel fish. There is also an underwater tunnel that stretches from one side of the rocks to the other. People dive down, and make the 15 foot swim through the passageway. The magazine “Sport Diver” recently rated a resort in Bimini as the 2013 Worlds Best Diving and Resorts. Neil Watson, world renowned diver quoted the following; “Bimini is a very unique dive destination. It’s known for its big sea animals, like sharks and wild dolphin, and also for its incredible visibility. You could travel around 4 October 2013

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the world and find no better dive site than you can find just a 20-minute plane ride or a two-hour boat ride from South Florida.” Diving and snorkeling in Bimini is very popular and as such a major reason for many tourists to visit Bimini. There are over 21 dive sites that are regularly visited by the 5 or more dive operators. Of the 21 dive sites listed 12 are within 1.5 miles of the project area. This area is therefore of high importance to the diving industry. No anchoring is proposed outside of the terminal island and entrance channel footprint. Mooring dolphins are provided for the vessel. The dive spots will be monitored pre-and-post construction. Baseline video monitoring and baseline stations will be collected and established to confirm no significant impact to the dive spots. During construction and operations, all dive spots in close proximity to the Project footprint (approximately 14) will be monitored. A radius map, documenting distance from the Project footprint will be prepared and provided in the revised EMP. 3.3.6

Existing Infrastructure

The existing infrastructure has been documented in the original EIA of 1997. The following indicates any changes since that time and any further relevant information; 3.3.6.1 Roads The existing roads on Bimini are limited in width with constraints in the towns. The King’s Highway is approximately 14’4” wide, the Queen’s Highway 12’ 5” and the joining roads between the two are approximately 6’8”. The condition of the roads is also very poor with sections of the road unpaved. Bimini Bay, in conjunction with the Office of the Prime Minister, has commissioned EDSA, Inc. to prepare a Master Plan for North Bimini. As part of this master plan, the main roadway will be improved. An estimated $2 to $2.5 million is to be spent on the main roadway improvements from the south edge of North Bimini, extending to the entrance of Bimini Bay Resort. The total length of the road to be re-paved is approximately 2 miles the cost of which is estimated to be $200,000.

Photographs 3.22 and 3.23: Kings Highway looking South indicates constrained road width

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Photograph 3.24 and 3.25: Limited parking area at bank (Left) and Roundabout at Project Area with tie in location for road in the background (Right) 3.3.6.2 Airstrip The existing airstrip is located on South Bimini. Human access between North and South Bimini is by water taxi. The existing airport consists of a 5,300 foot by 100 foot unlit runway with an asphalt surface. There is also a seaplane ramp at the Southern end of Alice Town. There are plans to increase the length of the airstrip and improve the airport terminal which is very small and often crowded. Bimini Bay is responsible for improvements to the existing airport, in coordination with the Government. The proposed improvements are often divided into two phases. The first phase includes the widening of the area adjacent to the main run-way strip by approximately 250 linear feet on either side, and the addition of run-way lighting for night flights; these improvements are currently underway. The second phase includes expansion of the run-way to extend a minimum of approximately 600 feet. There are also two helipads at Bimini Bay (see photograph).

Photograph 3.26: Helipad at Bimini Bay

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3.3.6.3 Seaport The island has its own seaport which services inter-island ferries and roll-on/roll-off type cargo vessels. The depth of the channel into Biminiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Government dock is reportedly 17 feet, its bottom width is currently unknown. This limits the size of ocean going vessel which can service the island. Bimini is not serviced by large cruise liners, which generally frequent the larger Bahamas Islands such as New Providence and Grand Bahama. Infrastructure for ferry and shipping services is mainly limited to the Government dock which is in poor condition other than the more recent construction of a portion of the dock which serves as a berthing for the current ferry service between South Florida and Bimini, namely the Balearia service. The Government dock is suffering from severe spalling with exposed corroded reinforcement along the side. The Government dock is used by the South Bimini ferry which runs daily on a regular basis once there is adequate demand (generally often given that many visitors take the trip for sightseeing and to get to the airport and locals commute on the ferry). Other vessels that utilize this dock include the mailboat â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bimini Mackâ&#x20AC;? which transports goods to and from Nassau, a shipping service by G & G Shipping which transports cargo to and from Florida weekly on Thursdays and some Charters mainly for Bimini Bay at weekends. The dock is also utilized by a barge that transports the waste collected on the island on a daily basis as well as other marine vessels.

Photograph 3.27: Government Dock with pier for existing Miami ferry on the left hand side

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Photograph 3.28 and 3.29 Government Dock (left) and Bimini Mack Mailboat at Government Dock (right) 3.3.6.4 Electricity Electrical power on Bimini is diesel generated and is provided by the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC). BEC has an existing power generation plant and is currently the only supplier of power in North and South Bimini. 3.3.6.5 Potable Water There is very little fresh water on the island of Bimini, and over the years Bimini has mainly relied on its well fields which are very limited and can only draw at slow rates and water barged in. Bimini Bay has since installed a desalination plant which is located at the ferry terminal site. This plant has a capacity of 375,000 gallons per day with a holding capacity of 800,000 gallons a day. In take for the desalination plant is via a 200 foot deep intake well. At present Bimini experiences a shortage of water during holidays when the island experiences a high level of tourists. The desalination plant currently emits an unpleasant odour.

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3.3.6.6 Waste Water There are no publicly operated or centrally located waste treatment facilities on the island although Bimini Bay operates a private one. This sewerage treatment works can accommodate 150,000 gallons a day and is readily increased to accommodate 800,000 gallons per day. Outside of Bimini Bay sanitary waste is collected in septic tanks which are typically installed with drain fields or disposal wells.

Photograph 3.31 Sewerage Treatment Plant 3.3.6.7 Telecommunications All communication on Bimini is carried out by existing microwave and satellite facilities provided by the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (Batelco). 3.3.6.8 Cable and Television Property owners on Bimini have established their own satellite television service although the Government services the community with their broadcasts via the ZNS Network, using microwave transmissions. 3.3.6.9 Solid Waste Household and commercial garbage is collected and deposited at a 10 acre lined landfill site on South Bimini by truck which is barged daily. This landfill is expected to provide storage for 20 years however this does not account for the Bimini Bay development which is also currently utilizing the landfill site. Current recycling efforts are mainly limited to beer bottles and vita malt bottles which are taken to Nassau and the occasional removal of scrap metals which are taken to the United States privately. Tourists bring waste to the islands onboard their yachts and are not charged a fee to deposit this waste. Also, the current Balearia ferry service is currently depositing all waste from the service to and from Port Everglades in Bimini.

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Photographs 3.32 and 3.33: Landfill Site (Left), Dumping on North Bimini (Right)

Photograph 3.34: Barge transporting waste truck to South Bimini landfill site 3.3.6.10

Community

There is a Police station in Bimini where they report that there is little crime and that that crime is mainly crime of opportunity. Most crimes are domestic in nature although there have been a couple cyber-crimes. There have been two major seisures and 27 persons arrested in the last year. There are 15 officers in the police force. The defense force mainly deals with illegal poaching.

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Photograph 3.35: Bimini and Cat Cay District Administrative Offices 3.3.6.11

Future Services

Biminiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing utilites are believed to be inadequate to meet the needs of the project. BEC has confirmed that they will expand their diesel generators to accommodate the electrical demand anticipated from the development. The developer will be required to improve potable water supply, waste treatment facilities and cooperate with existing providers to expand the telecommunications, television and cable network, and waste management and disposal services. Based on discussions with BEC staff on Monday, July 22, 2013, the current capacity of on-island generation is 15 mega-watts. The total consumption, between both Bimini Bay Resort and the Bimini Islands is 5 megawatts at any one time. Therefore, there is excess capacity on the order of 10 mega-watts. It is to be noted that usage will result solely from visitors, and not from the fast ferry, as the fast ferry will be operating on generators, and will not be required to hook up to shore power during its layover at the terminal island. 3.3.7

Transportation

Refer to the original EIA for details on transportation. The following indicates any changes since that time and any further relevant information; Most transportation on North Bimini is by boat or golf cart although there are a number of other vehicles some of which are relatively large in size. There is also a tram service which runs the length of North Bimini. The airport is used on a regular basis by Western Air which provides daily flight services to Nassau for 33 passengers, Regional Air which provides daily services to Freeport for 9 passengers, Flamingo Air which provides daily services to Freeport for 9 to 15 passengers, and Continental Airlines which provides daily other than Tuesday services to Fort Lauderdale for 34 passengers. There is also a seaplane service which runs at the weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and Wednesdays to Miami and Fort Lauderdale for approximately 4 passengers. This service runs into Alice Town directly. There is a ferry service in existence at present which runs between Miami and Bimini. This service is run by Balearia which moors at the Government dock. This service runs at weekends and costs approximately $150 return although they advertise the trip at $49 return. The Balearia service runs Miami to Bimini at 9am and th Bimini to Miami at 5pm Saturdays and Sundays. This service has been running since February 15 2013. The one-way travel time is approximately 3 hours. The ferry that is utilized is the Maverick that is registered 4 October 2013

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in Spain with a length of 131 feet and a capacity of 357 passengers. The occupancy of the Balearia service for March 2013 averaged 32% for arrivals and 21% for departures. Seasickness has been a problem on this service. Balearia also runs a similar service between South Florida and Grand Bahama. Grand Bahama is 55 miles from Miami and as such is also a desirable location for persons to visit via ferry or cruise ship. Grand Bahama also has more to offer than Bimini as it is a larger island with more options for accommodation, more restaurant options, casinos and national parks. There are also a number of other ferries and cruise ships that serve Grand Bahama from South Florida, namely the Celebration (1,200 passengers, 2 night cruise starts at $150, has pool and casino), Cloud X (367 passengers, 28 knots, has onboard gaming), Discovery Sun (1,100 passengers, 3 hour trip, $85 return including $35 fees and taxes, has pool and casino). It should be noted that many ship services that are limited between Florida and the Bahamas have failed over the years. There are various other forms of transportation in Bimini including the South Bimini ferry which runs daily on a regular basis once there is adequate demand (generally often given that many visitors take the trip for sightseeing and to get to the airport and locals commute on the ferry). Other vessels that utilize this dock include the mailboat â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bimini Mackâ&#x20AC;? which transports passengers and goods to and from Nassau, a shipping service by G & G Shipping which transports cargo to and from Florida weekly on Thursdays and some Charters mainly for Bimini Bay at weekends. There are also a number of privately owned boats used by residents and tourists.

Photograph 3.36: Existing Miami Ferry on arrival with Police escort

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Photograph 3.37: Existing Ferries that transport passengers between the Government Dock in Alice Town and South Bimini

Photograph 3.38: Modes of transport parked outside a residence

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Photograph 3.39: Numerous private fishing boats stored in an adhoc manner on the roadside

3.3.8

Historical and Archeological Significance

The Bimini's are rich with history and natural resources. Bimini once served as a base of operations for rumrunners from Nassau. Once Prohibition took effect in the United States, Bimini's economy began to prosper, and in 1935, when famed author Ernest Hemingway made Bimini his home, the island began to develop its allure as an exclusive destination for Caribbean vacations. An avid fisherman, Hemingway enjoyed his days in Bimini game fishing. The island captured Hemingway's heart in such a way that his stays inspired various written works including, "Islands in the Stream," and "To Have and Have Not". In 1936, Clairvoyant Mystic Edgar Cayce predicted "the first signs of Atlantis rising would occur in The Bahamas, near the island of Bimini." In 1968, a series of rectangular stones laid out in two straight parallel rows were discovered less than one mile off the north shore of the island. It is believed that the island of Bimini was once the road system for the Lost City of Atlantis. Bimini is home to several landmarks said to contain mystical properties of obscure origins. Much of the historical data about these places is speculative in nature, and experts in various fields have opined across the full spectrum of explanation. The most contentious of these sites is The Bimini Road. Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the Island of Bimini in 1513 and explored the island in search of the fabled Fountain of Youth. It is said that those who bathe in Bimini's waters will possess eternal youth. Found within the salt water mangrove forest that covers four miles of North Bimini is The Healing Hole, a pool that lies at the end of a network of underground tunnels. During outgoing tides, these channels pump cool, mineral-laden fresh water into the pool. Natural lithium and sulfur are two of the minerals said to be contained in these waters, which seem to exhibit curative properties, as people express a sense of mental and physical rejuvenation after their visit. Though de Le贸n's expedition brought him to Florida, the fountain was rumored to exist within the shallow pools of South Bimini. Today there is a small freshwater well with a plaque commemorating the Fountain of Youth, on the road leading to the South Bimini Airport.

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The â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sherh Shark Moundâ&#x20AC;? is a slightly elevated area amid the dense red mangrove forests on East Bimini. There has been speculation that these features were made by humans many years ago however preliminary investigations have not found any human artifacts. The SS Sapona was a concrete-hulled cargo steamer that ran aground near Bimini during a hurricane in 1926. The wreck of the ship is easily visible above the water, and is both a navigational landmark for boaters and a popular dive site. The wreck lies in about 15 feet of water, the stern broken off and partially submerged by hurricanes that struck in 2004. Little concrete is left on the hull because of the effects of bombing and weathering. The wreck itself and the surrounding area is a popular site for scuba divers and snorkelers.

Photograph 3.40: SS Sapona Starboard side as it looked in June 2010 Other ships including pirate ships continue to be found in Bahamian waters as has been understood to be the case recently. The Bimini Museum is located in the restored (1921) two-story original post office and jailâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a two-minute walk from the Government ferry dock, across from the native straw market (2007) showcases varied artifacts, including Adam Clayton Powell's domino set, Prohibition photos, rum kegs, Martin Luther King Jr.'s immigration card from 1964, and a fishing log and rare fishing films of Papa Hemingway. The exhibit includes film shot on the island as early as 1922. The Bahamas is a nation blessed with vast expanses of marine environment. The beauty and biodiversity of this environment provide for us in many ways, through tourism in its many and varied forms, commercial fishing, diving, recreational fishing and boating. The marine environment is an integral part of the Bahamian way of life and is a part of our heritage that must be safeguarded. 3.3.9

Natural and technological hazard vulnerability

Storm surge as a result of hurricanes, and storm waves are the major natural hazards affecting Bimini. The North Ferry Terminal construction activities could be affected as they will be carried out during the hurricane season. There are no records of earthquake activity or tsunamis for the area. Technological hazards associated with the area include oil spills, fires, accidents, and polluted discharges from vessels.

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4. ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS, POLICY, LEGISLATION AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK The Commonwealth of the Bahamas does not have a national plan for land use or physical infrastructure development. Physical planning is therefore by default reliant on reactive forms of development control which has been a difficult planning tool to use successfully for rational land management. The Town Planning Act (1961) is the legislation providing the statutory basis for land use planning resources and has produced mixed success in outcomes. The 1988 Planning regulations prepared under Section 17 of this act provides the basis for land development, land use planning standards, zoning, design and signage guidelines. Application of these stipulations is the responsibility of the Town Planning Committee. The Conservation and Protection of the of the Physical Landscape of the Bahamas Act and Regulations 1997 refers to control of â&#x20AC;&#x153;any excavation for the purpose of work which would affect any part of the coastline of the Bahamas, the digging or removal of sand and beaches and sand dunesâ&#x20AC;?. The current project is subject to environmental impact assessment given that it was not included in the original EIA for Bimini Bay. The Contractor and project staff will be responsible for complying with government legislation regarding opening of borrow pits and site development (including excavation, landfill operations and removal of protected trees) at all times. [Ref: The Conservation and Protection of the Physical Landscape of the Bahamas Act and Regulations 1997]. The Department of Physical Planning within the Ministry of Works and Utilities is responsible for approving applications for permits to carry out excavations or landfill operations, applications to quarry or mine and applications to harvest (or cut) a protected tree. Forms are submitted and permits given for a one year period under Section 7 of the 1997 Act. The Environmental Health Act (1987) makes provision for the prevention and control of pollution through The Department of Environmental Health. The Water and Sewerage Act (1976) established the Water and Sewerage Corporation for the grant and control of water rights, the protection of water resources, regulating the extraction, use and supply of water and the control of sewage. The Contractor will be required to adhere to existing and new government regulations of the Department of Environmental Health, including all statutory licensing and permitting requirements with respect to use of waste landfills and new occupational health legislation. National Laws and Regulations The project will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with applicable Bahamian environmental laws and regulation, including the following; The Environmental Health Act The Conservation and Protection of the Physical Environment of the Bahamas Act The Antiquities, Monuments, and Museums Act The Public Works Act The Wild Birds and Plants Protection Acts The Bahamas National Trust Act The Fisheries Resources Act The Coast Protection Act The Water and Sewerage Act The Bahamas National Wetlands Policy 2007; and The National Invasive Species Strategy for the Bahamas. These and other applicable laws and regulations are further described in Appendix F. Regarding the BEST Commission (Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission) and indeed other management agencies there is acknowledged to be an inadequate or non-existent legislative 4 October 2013

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basis (ICF/BEST). BEST is co-opted into environmental management debate and decision on an informal basis with no statutory basis for involvement. It has its main function in research, environmental awareness building and in an advisory role to the Prime Ministerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office to which it is attached. It is not implicated in normal planning and control procedures as is the Department of Environmental Health or the Department of Physical Planning and Lands and Surveys, who do not themselves have a mandate for initiating environmental impact assessment legislation. Coral reefs are intended to receive protection under the Fisheries Resources Act 1977. The Bahamas is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention protecting mangroves and wetlands. The Bahamas National Trust created under an act of the same name is responsible for making provision to promote the permanent preservation of lands, buildings and underwater areas of beauty, natural or historic interest and the all uses on land owned or managed by the trust. No protected land or marine designated sites form part of the project zone to circumscribe developments proposed. Dredging regulation is to some extent covered by the Town Planning Act 1961 since permission for development of land is required. Dredging harbours or ports requires permits from the Ministry of Works and Utilities, the project proponent. The Bahamas Environment, Science, and Technology Commission (BEST) is mandated to manage a number of environmental responsibilities, including coordinating international agreements pertaining to the environment, formulating environmental policy, coordinating preservation and management of the environment throughout The Bahamas, and carrying out Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for proposed development (BEST, 2008). BEST is the first government entity to be established for the purpose of protecting and preserving the environment as opposed to managing the environment with respect to human health issues. However, BEST does not have regulatory authority. As an advisory commission, it can only advise the Prime Minister or other Ministers on issues pertaining to the environment, but it does not have any capabilities of investigating environmental problems or enforcing their proposed standards (Cox, 2008). Other agencies that have responsibilities regarding the environment include the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Department of Environmental Health Services, which are concerned with environmental threats to public health; the Department of Lands and Surveys, responsible for advising the Prime Minister on matters that involve the use of land and natural resources within The Bahamas; the Ministry of Works and Transport, along with the Department of Public Works, constructs and maintains public infrastructure and drainage, including the storm drainage system in Nassau; the Department of Marine Resources and finally, the Water and Sewerage Corporation is a government mandated private entity that provides water and wastewater removal for the island of New Providence. The decentralized responsibility of environmental affairs has complicated coordination, accountability, and responsible use of monetary and human capacity resources. In 2005-2006 there were efforts to address these issues. The National Environmental Management Action Plan was developed to place all agencies on the same page in regards to environmental management issues. The Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of relevance in existence at present include the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), The Nature Conservancy, BREEF, Friends of the Environment, Living Jewels, reEarth, and National Hope for Andros. Governmental organisations include the Department of Lands and Surveys, the Ministry of Public Works, and the Port Authority. Permits The following permits will be necessary prior to commencement of construction. These will include the following; 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Registration of ferry. BEST Commission Approval Approval in Principal from the Government of the Bahamas Port Authority Approval Building Permit (including Town Planning, Environmental Health, Civil Works and Structural Approvals) Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Approvals. Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Approvals and if necessary Waiver

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8. Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) Approvals 9. Permit to Excavate as administered through the Department of Physical Planning under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport 10. Customs Approvals The proposed project will comply with all applicable Bahamian environmental standards and requirements, relevant legislation, and legal and regulatory statutes. Blue Engineering as the Engineer of Record will work with the Port Authority, the BEST Commission, the Ministry of Works, BEC, WSC, BTC and other designated agencies to meet these requirements.

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

5. POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS The North Bimini ferry terminal will involve dredging as well as the construction of the ferry terminal island and pier to access the island and the disposal of return water. The use of the dredged material to construct the ferry terminal island will involve the transportation of the material to the island location only. This section of the report identifies the potential environmental impacts and possible issues that could arise from these activities as well as the operation of the ferry service. Their inclusion does not mean that they would necessarily occur or that they could not be successfully mitigated. Potentially significant issues addressed in this section are natural resources conservation, impacts to shipping and boating, visual impacts and social impacts including noise and dust in construction and operation. Waste management and disposal and site clean-up and restoration are part of the EMP which also addresses site inspections and health and safety during construction. Construction material sources will include local quarries/borrow areas but requirements are very limited. As mentioned previously the development as a whole has been considered separately under a separate EIA. This section describes the potential environmental impacts associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed ferry terminal project. This section also presents the methodology used for identifying and assessing the potential impacts. On-shore facilities such as the shipping infrastructure components are dictated by operations and safety requirements. The discussion of potential environmental impacts is presented for the following categories: • • • • •

Geographical and physical impacts, Biological resource impacts, Socio-economic and cultural impacts, Impacts associated with emergencies and disasters, and Impacts associated with the possible failure of process and environmental control systems.

Scoping Process to Assess Environmental Impacts The scoping process was initiated in consultation with the BEST Commission staff. A pre-application consultation meeting was held in March 2013 with Blue Engineering and the BEST Commission in th attendance. A site visit and meeting with major stakeholders was held in Bimini on 5 April with the BEST Commission staff to identify key environmental issues associated with the conceptual project components. These issues along with proposed table of contents and methodologies were submitted to the BEST Commission for their review for the EIA and EMP in order to try to ensure all relevant items would be covered within the EIA and EMP. Reference was also made to the BEST Guidelines for the preparation of similar Environmental Impact Assessments (the BEST generic guidelines for dredging that were issued for the Nassau Harbour Improvements Dredging Project). These documents and meetings formed the basis rd for this document and the discussions presented in this section. A further meeting was held on 23 July on th site and 24 July in New Providence to discuss items within this EIA. Methodology for Identification and Assessment of Environmental Impacts The project’s potential impacts on environmental resources will vary in nature, duration, type, extent, and overall significance. For the purposes of this EIA, an impact is defined as an environmental and/or socioeconomic consequence that can be reasonably foreseen as a result of the proposed project’s implementation. The determination of the overall significance of the impacts was based on a combination of impact criteria as described below.

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Nature of the impact is expressed as direct or indirect. The nature of the impact refers to the impact’s origin, and is dependent upon whether the project activity directly or indirectly influences the resource or condition. Duration of the impact is expressed as long-term or short-term. Short–term impacts are temporary, occur during the construction phase of the project, and recover naturally within 3 years. Long-term impacts are characterized as those impacts that will be chronic due to ongoing activities on the property. Long-term impacts are those resulting in a permanent and irreversible change to existing environmental resources in the project vicinity. Type of impact is indicated as positive or negative. Positive impacts will enhance the environmental and/or socio-economic setting or conditions beyond those expected without the project. Negative impacts are those impacts that have an adverse effect on the resource or condition. Extent refers to the impact’s geographic reach or area of influence. Extent indicates if the impact is restricted to the project site, extends to other areas of the property, or has a broader island-wide or Country wide context. The overall significance of the impact (low, moderate, and high) was determined based on the combination of the above criteria as follows: High:

the greatest order possible within bounds of impacts that could occur; in case of adverse impact, there is no practical mitigation that could offset a highly significant impact.

Moderate: impact is real but not substantial in relation to other impacts; mitigation is both feasible and not difficult to implement. Low:

impact is the least order and therefore likely to have little real effect; mitigation is easily implemented or little is necessary to offset impact.

The overall consequence of the impact (minor, moderate and major) was determined in relation to the combination of the nature, duration, type, and extent of the impact. In general, low consequence was given to the impacts that would be indirect, short-term, and/or restricted to the project site. Major significance was given to impacts that would be direct, long-term and/or having a broader geographic context. Moderate significance are those impacts that would likely fall within these extremes. Likelihood was then evaluated for how probable the impact is for the proposed activities. Likelihood criteria are defined as follows; Probable:

Impact or event can reasonably be expected to result from project, occurs routinely in similar operations.

Occasional:

The impact or event has occurred in similar operations in this country/ region, or conditions could allow the impact/event to occur in the program.

Seldom

The impact or event has occurred once or twice in the industry (worldwide), but conditions in this program are unlikely to allow the impact/event to occur. Improbable (0) The impact or event has never before occurred.

Using a standard, semi-quantitative assessment technique, the team applied a matrix to rate the overall impact significance by comparing the severity ranking with the likelihood ranking. This matrix is presented in Figure 5.1. This methodology allows the partitioning of the potential impacts by impact categories: high, medium and low. These categorizations facilitate the identification of the proposed activities that are likely to generate significant impact and the environmental elements that could be most affected. Each impact category has distinct environmental management requirements, with: •

High: requiring alternative approach/design and mitigation to minimize potential impacts;

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• •

Medium: requiring mitigation; and Low: requiring no mitigation other than common safeguards, but acknowledging that the Project Team still needs to proceed with care.

Likelihood

Consequence

Improbable

Seldom

Occasional

Probable

Major

Moderate

Minor

High Medium

Low

Requires alternative approach/design and mitigation to minimize impact Requires mitigation Proceed with care, apply standard controls but no additional mitigation needed

Figure 5.1: Impact Evaluation Matrix The impact evaluation results are presented in Table5.1 and environmental management and mitigation requirements are further considered in Chapter 7 and further detailed in the EMP. The following sections identify the specific criteria used for determining the potential impacts on environmental resources. The following general assumptions were used when evaluating the potential project impacts: • • • • •

All applicable laws and regulations will be complied with; The Contractors will make reasonable attempts to avoid and minimise impacts, during design, construction, and operation phases; The baseline existing conditions, as described above, are the source for this assessment; The project will be developed and constructed as described above; and The mitigation measures and EMP measures will be implemented.

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Table 5.1: Summary of Potential Environmental Impacts by Project Phase, North Ferry Terminal.

High

Low

Medium

Significance Explanation

Probable

Occasional

Seldom

Likelihood

Improbable

Major

Moderate

Minor

Island-wide

Overall Extent Consequence

Project Site

Negative

Positive

Long-term

Short-term

X

X

X

X

X X

Groundwater

Type

Displacement of current land uses X X

Meteorology and Climate Geology

Indirect

Direct

Construction Land Use and Topography

Nature Duration

Operation/ Maintenance

Project Phase

Resource

X X

X X

X X X

X X

X

X

X

X X X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X X X

X X X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X X X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X X

X

X X

X

Compatibility with existing and future land demands (Bimini Bay) Compatibility with existing and future land demands (Alice Town, Bailey Town ad Porgy Bay) Alteration of natural landforms and topography Emissions Beach and shoreline stability Soil erosion and sedimentation Alteration of groundwater recharge and flow Deterioration of groundwater associated with nutrient loading and potential contamination Affect on existing and future water supplies

Marine Water Resources Offshore Oceanographic Conditions Offshore Bathymetry 4 October 2013

Effects on nearshore waves X X

X

X X

X X

X X

X X

X X

X

X X

X

Alteration of sea bottom and sediment transport

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Table 5.1 Continuedâ&#x20AC;Ś: Summary of Potential Environmental Impacts by Project Phase, North Ferry Terminal. Tides/Currents Water Quality

X X

X X

X X Air Quality and Noise

X

X Terrestrial Biology X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X X

Aquatic/Marine Biology

X X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X X X X

X

X

X

X

X

X X X X X

X

X X

X X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X X X X

X X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X X

X X

X

X

X

X X

X

X X X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

Alteration of flow and currents Impacts of nonpoint source runoff Impacts of construction and return water disposal Deterioration of marine water quality associated with vessels and oil spills Impacts of fuel loading and unloading operations Emissions from stationary and uncontrolled sources Emissions from mobile sources Effects of construction noise and dust Clearing of vegetation Impacts associated with hazardous materials released on terrestrial fauna Risk of introduction of non-native species, foreign diseases, and escape of pets Impacts to wetlands and functions and values Impacts to wildlife habitat Impacts to threatened and protected species and migratory birds Risk of introduction of foreign species and diseases Impacts to aquatic/marine benthic habitats Impacts to aquatic/marine biota associated with deterioration of water quality Effects of using fertilizers, biocides and pesticides on aquatic/marine biota Impacts to biota associated with boating, fishing, and other recreational activities

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X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Impacts to aquatic/marine biota associated with oil spills Impacts to commercially important species and habitats

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Table 5.1 Continuedâ&#x20AC;Ś: Summary of Potential Environmental Impacts by Project Phase, North Ferry Terminal Socio-economics

X

X X

X X

X X

X X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Tourism

X

X

X

X

X

X

Infrastructure and Community Services

X

X

X

X

X

X

Demographics

Economic Activities

X

X X

X

X X

X

X

X

X X

X X

X

X

X X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Effects of direct or indirect population growth Use of local labor Displacement and resettlement of existing housing Effects of direct and indirect employment Impacts of revenues for real estate taxes, hotel taxes, and payroll taxes Effects on local residential housing availability Impacts on existing and future fishing and fisheries exploitation Impacts on public health and worker health and safety Affect on existing and future land use values Impacts on public access and use of coastal resources Impacts on public access and use of marine resources

X

X

X

X

X

X

X Other

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X X

X

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X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Effects on availability or demand for local infrastructure Effects on availability or demand for local community Visual Impacts Possible Failure of Process and Environmental Control Systems Disturbance to cultural resources

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5.1

Potential Geographic and Physical Impacts

5.1.1

Land Use and Topography

This section discusses the potential impacts to land use and topography resulting from the construction and operation of the proposed project, along with associated infrastructure. The incorporation of sound land use management practices will be part of the design, construction, and operation of the proposed project. The categories of potential impacts to land use and topography discussed in this section include the following: • • •

Displacement of current land uses, Compatibility with existing and future land demands, and Alteration of natural landforms and topography.

5.1.1.1

Displacement of Current Land Uses

The current land use that will be directly affected by the ferry terminal will be between where the road joins the pier and the roundabout. This is the service area which currently houses the desalination plant, the sewerage treatment plant, the electrical substation, a telecommunications building and a number of small buildings that are used for storage. The area that will be directly affected is mainly cleared land on which mainly invasive plants have grown. Of the buildings that are on the property the only buildings that will be displaced are those for storage. These are three very small buildings and as such the overall significance of the potential impacts from the displacement of current land uses resulting from the proposed project are expected to be minor, direct in nature, long-term in duration and generally negative. Nearby properties are used mainly for residential and recreational purposes and could potentially be displaced due to an increase in noise and disturbance as well as the changes to the viewscape however these impacts are likely to be low. 5.1.1.2

Compatibility with Existing and Future Land Demands

Development of the property into a ferry terminal that will accommodate ferries that are to ship the order of 570,000 visitors per year will be both a positive and negative, long-term impact that is compatible with the nearby development however incompatible with the existing and future land uses of the remainder of North Bimini. The number of visitors intended for Bimini is greater than that appropriate for the ecological and socioeconomic carrying capacity of Bimini outside Bimini Bay at present. Given the size and influence of both of these areas the overall significance of the potential impacts associated with the Project's compatibility with existing and future land demands is expected to be high in a positive manner as well as high in a negative manner dependent on the area of the island being considered (i.e. either north or south North Bimini). Construction Phase Impacts relating to the project’s compatibility with existing and future land use demands are anticipated to be relatively insignificant during the construction phase of the Project given the short construction schedule however the construction workers introduced to the island are likely to stay, and change jobs in relation to demand markets thereby impacting on the operation and maintenance phase. The project may result in a substantial influx of people to the island and result in a demand on land use as a result of increased demand from the tourists as well as the resulting demands from the increased labor. This may also increase the cost of living on the island. The project shall employ as many locals as is feasible in order to limit the extent of this impact and work permits shall be issued by the Government only for the construction period. Immigration should conduct checks at the development in order to eliminate the likelihood of illegal immigrants during both construction and operation and maintenance..

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Operation and Maintenance Phase The Resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on-site ferry terminal infrastructure will provide positive, long-term impacts for the Resort that are compatible with its existing and future land uses given the size of the Resort, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future plans and its current occupancy. Careful consideration must be given to the impact on the remainder of Bimini given the proposed substantial influx of people to the island and the resulting demand on land use as a result of the increased demand from the tourists as well as the resulting demands from the increased labour to support the increased number of visitors. This may also increase the cost of living on the island. The project shall employ as many locals as is feasible in order to limit the extent of this impact and work permits shall be issued by the Government only for the construction period. Employment must be done in such a manner as to best be in a position to locate locals for labour. The Government of the Bahamas should review the proportion of foreign and local labour and the employment methodologies on a regular basis. A limit to the proportion of foreign labour should also be considered. The number of visitors intended for Bimini is also greater than that appropriate for the ecological and socioeconomic carrying capacity of Bimini Island. The negative impacts ecologically will be extremely high with the high pressure that will be exerted into the local natural resources. As a result there will be loss of natural resources. As such it will be important to put legislation and infrastructure in place to limit the extent of loss. This should include but not be limited to facilities at known areas of natural historical interest in order to limit loss, introduction of comprehensive natural resource legislation and management programmes, especially in forestry and wildlife and a comprehensive programme for the control of exotic plants and animals. Consideration should also be given to the provision of a reserve. To provide some insight as to the economic value of natural resources, the area of each habitat type was considered. Those habitats which tend to generate large values per area are beaches, wetlands and to a lesser extent forests and mangroves. On Bimini, the most extensive habitats are wetlands, mangroves and seagrass beds. The value of ecosystem services provided by these habitats is mainly from forests, wetlands, mangroves and from coral reefs. Furthermore some value will come from carbon storage and some from biodiversity. In addition to net ecosystem values, there is an impact of ecosystems on the Bahamian economy, measured in terms of gross revenues from activities that depend on natural resources. Tourism generates the most revenue, which is shared among a large number of people and households. . Much of this tourism is related to recreational fishing, for which guided trips alone generate a large amount each year. Commercial fishing (including crabbing and sponging) also generates revenue for a large number of people and households. Farming, research /education programs and sponging generate relatively fewer revenues. Current and emerging threats in Bimini include unchecked development (involving pollution and dredging), solid waste, invasive species and climate change. Each of these threats is expected to reduce the economic value and impact of these resources. Conservation projects are considered by some to be urgently needed to avoid this outcome and increase the value of these resources. The Master Plan for improvements to the towns of North Bimini being conducted by Bimini Bay will provide an improved road system and pedestrian walkway system as well as a ferry for the bay side. This as well as the proposed new housing efforts will assist in mitigating the impacts that will result in the influx of people and reduce impacts on future land uses. 5.1.1.3 Alteration of Natural Landforms and Topography The overall significance of the projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s potential impacts to the alteration of natural landforms and topography is expected to be low, direct in nature, and long-term in duration.

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Construction Phase Construction activities will result in low, direct and long-term impacts to the property resulting from the grading for the road. Adequate setbacks delineated in the field prior to construction, will minimise the extent of impacts. Operation and Maintenance Phase No impacts relating to the alteration of natural landforms and topography are anticipated during the operation and maintenance phase of the Project. 5.1.2

Meteorological and Climatic Conditions

Meteorology and climate are environmental factors that would be impacted mainly by the burning of fossil fuels to operate the ferry. The total carbon dioxide emissions from the ferry service are estimated at 23,000,000 kg per year for travel and additional whilst running at the terminal. These impacts are considered significant as they will persist throughout project activities. Basic calculations indicate that carbon dioxide emissions per passenger travelling from Miami to Bimini by ferry would be greater than that for a passenger travelling by plane. The difference in carbon dioxide emissions is estimated at 1,500,000 kg per year. However the difference between the emissions per passenger travelling by personal boat whilst more difficult to calculate would be greater and are estimated at double that for the ferry. At present approximately half of the visitors to Bimini arrive by boat. Overall the fast ferry whilst it will alter the means of transportation for visitors to a degree it’s impact on meteorological and climatic conditions will mainly be as a result of enticing in the order of 11 times more visitors and thereby a significant increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore the overall significance of the potential impacts to meteorological and climatic conditions from the proposed ferry service are expected to be moderate and indirect in nature. The provision of road and transport improvements as well as sidewalk improvements partially addresses this issue. Alternative mitigation measures that could be considered include the use of biodiesel-run vehicles/vessels, solar panels, or similar environmentally-friendly options within the development. 5.1.3

Geology

This section describes the potential impacts to geology resulting from the construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed project and associated infrastructure. The incorporation of sound land use management practices will be part of the master planning, construction, and operation of the project. The categories of potential impacts to geology discussed in this section include the following: • Beach and shoreline stability, • Soil erosion and sedimentation, and • Preservation of unique geologic features. 5.1.3.1 Beach and Shoreline Stability The overall significance of the potential impacts to beach and shoreline stability from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be moderate and indirect in nature however this remains to be confirmed. Construction Phase The Project is to be located approximately 1,000 feet offshore extending beyond the active littoral zone along the shoreline of North Bimini. Closure depth, or the maximum depth of active sediment transport along a coastal beach shoreline, has not been documented in coastal engineering studies in the Bimini Islands due to the complex coastal processes around the islands and the lack of historical survey data over the years. However, the closure depth is assumed to be generally less than 15 feet deep. Therefore, the proposed pier for the Project is open pile-supported and the terminal platform is located offshore of this depth.

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The studies carried out by Coastal Systems International provide insight into the likely impacts to beach and shoreline stability in particular that of the Western beaches, namely the northwest beach (Bimini Bay Beach) and the southwest beach (Spook Hill Beach), refer to Figures 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 for locations of beaches. After construction of the proposed Project, approximately 500 cubic meters per year of longshore sediment transport rate at the Bimini Bay beach will be reduced compared to the existing condition. Therefore as a result of the proposed Project, this shoreline will be more stable compared to the existing conditions. After construction of the proposed Project, approximately 4,000 cubic meters per year of longshore sediment transport rate at the updrift beach of the proposed Project will be increased compared to the existing condition. However the majority of this shoreline is generally armoured with natural rock or seawalls therefore no significant shoreline change is anticipated at the updrift beach of the proposed Project. After construction of the proposed Project, approximately 8,000 cubic meters per year of longshore sediment transport rate at the downdrift beach of the proposed project will be reduced compared to the existing condition. Therefore after construction of the proposed project, the downdrift beach of the proposed project will be more stable compared to the existing conditions. The downdrift shoreline of the proposed project is expected to accrete (seaward) after construction of the proposed project. Radio beach is located approximately 2.5 kilometers to the south of the proposed project site. Figures 5.5 and 5.6 illustrate the distribution of the total annual longshore sediment transport rate for both with and without the proposed project. No changes of the annual longshore sediment transport rate at the Radio beach are anticipated. Therefore, the proposed project is not anticipated to impact Radio beach immediately however the accretion at the downdrift shoreline may have an impact on Radio beach in the long-term.

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Figure 5.2: Beach Locations on Bimini

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Environmental Impact Assessment, North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project, Bimini, Bahamas

Figure 5.3: Beach Locations on North Bimini

Figure 5.4: Beach Locations near the Proposed Project

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Figure 5.5: Total Annual Sediment Transport Rate Distribution - Existing (Radio Beach)

Figure 5.6: Total Annual Sediment Transport Rate Distribution â&#x20AC;&#x201C; With Project (Radio Beach)

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Figure 5.7: Difference of Wave Heights between with and without Proposed Project When the Incident Waves are from North The difference in wave height between the conditions with and without the proposed project when the incident waves are from the North are shown in Figure 5.7. Pre- and post- surveys of the shoreline and beach will be conducted and the beach and shoreline profile monitored. Any negative impacts will be offset with the addition of sand to the beach however this is not expected to be necessary. Operation and Maintenance Phase Before and after the Project, the annual sediment transport rate is approximately 1,200 cubic meters per year, and approximately 4,600 cubic meters per year, respectively, at the up-drift area of the Project. Before and after the Project, the annual sediment transport rate is approximately 12,200 cubic meters per year, and 5,700 cubic meters per year, respectively, at the down-drift area of the Project. After the Project, the potential beach/shoreline erosion rate is approximately 0.07 m/yr at the upstream of the Project. After the Project, the potential beach/shoreline accretion rate is approximately 0.09 m/yr at the downstream of the project. No effects on the shoreline up-drift of the Project are anticipated as the majority of this shoreline is “armored” and the beach is “sand-starved” and there is minimal sediment transport. Sediment transport down-drift of the Project will be decreased and will contribute to sand accretion. Overall, the impacts to sediment transport are anticipated to be minor. A monitoring program is proposed in the EMP to monitor the shoreline and beach conditions approximately 5,000 feet up-drift and down-drift of the Project. Any negative impacts will be offset with the addition of sand to the beach however this is not expected to be necessary.

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The operation and maintenance of the proposed project is not anticipated to alter the beach and shoreline stability although future dredging may have an impact. Maintenance dredging events would be necessary to remove and sand that has drifted into the channel rather than cutting into the rock. As such maintenance dredging will have a far less significant impact on marine resources once well managed. The proposed channel is in an area with minimal, littoral drift. The geotechnical investigation and sub-bottom profiling (geophysical survey) indicate pockets of sand over limestone layers. The channel is designed with a 3:1 slope, and the limestone will be excavated near vertical. Some maintenance dredging may be required in 3-5 years if the adjacent sand side slopes equilibrate. The maintenance dredging, if required, would be completed with mechanical methods consisting of a crane barge and clamshell or a barge with an excavator. The volumes would be small, as the majority of the new channel will be excavated through layers of limestone. As such, these minor maintenance dredging events will have a far less significant impact on marine resources when well managed. Maintenance dredging activities should be subject to similar turbidity requirements as those for the original dredging activities as a minimum unless monitoring activities indicate otherwise to be more appropriate. Future maintenance dredging events, after side slopes equilibrate, are not anticipated. Maintenance dredging may be required after a significant coastal storm event. Sounding surveys would be conducted immediately after the storm to confirm the required draft clearance for the design vessel. Maintenance dredging activities should be subject to similar turbidity requirements as those for the original dredging activities as a minimum unless monitoring activities indicate otherwise to be more appropriate. 5.1.3.2 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation The overall significance of the potential impacts from soil erosion and sedimentation from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be low. Construction Phase Following initial vegetation removal, construction activities on land will focus on rough grading and earthwork operations necessary to construct an access road. The project will require materials from elsewhere for the construction of the road to connect the pier to the roundabout. Sand sourcing will likely come from the stockpile adjacent to the South Bimini docks, near the inlet, from recent maintenance dredge events. Grading and excavation will be performed with standard machinery, including excavators and backhoes. There should be no issues with regard to soil erosion and sedimentation at the landward end of the pier as a 50-foot minimum setback from the dune system will be respected. The bridge will therefore be supported by piles to a location at least 50 feet landward of the dune system where it will then be supported by fill. The dune will be planted with native vegetation for support and to reduce sand erosion from wind or storm events. A Dune Enhancement and Stabilization Plan will be prepared and included in the EMP. No blasting is anticipated. Potential negative impacts to soils within the project site during construction would include erosion and sedimentation and increased stormwater runoff. Therefore, the EMP will be developed to identify the proper control measures that will be used during construction to minimise erosion, treat stormwater runoff, and prevent off-site sedimentation. The plan will identify the location, installation and maintenance of practices to control anticipated erosion, and prevent sediment and increased runoff from leaving the construction area. Potential negative impacts resulting from excavation and grading of soils would include dust and noise. By barging materials to the ferry terminal site the road traffic will be reduced significantly. A fully loaded barge measuring 40 feet wide, 140 feet long is intended to be used to barge construction materials twice a day. By re-using excavated material to the extent practicable, the project will remove the need to borrow from other parts of The Bahamas. The planned coastal setbacks will further protect the shoreline, attenuate surface water runoff, and minimise any potential for erosion during construction. Negative impacts from soil erosion and sedimentation during the construction phase are anticipated to be direct but low, short-term, and limited to the project site. 4 October 2013

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Operation and Maintenance Phase Once areas disturbed during construction have been stabilised with either vegetation or pavement, no further potential erosion or sedimentation impacts are expected. Increased stormwater due to impervious surfaces will need to be managed through both engineered and natural stormwater structures. Therefore, negative impacts are expected to be long-term but low, indirect, and limited to the property. The beach and shoreline features nearby will continue to be monitored for signs of erosion during operations. In the event that erosion occurs and threatens the stability of the beach and shoreline, a maintenance and prevention program will be undertaken. This program could involve short-term fixes such as sand fences, beach clean-ups and debris removal to more comprehensive approaches such as beach nourishment. The Master Plan for improvements to the towns of North Bimini being conducted by Bimini Bay will provide an improved road system and pedestrian walkway system as well as a ferry for the bay side. This as well as the proposed new housing efforts will assist in mitigating the impacts that will result in the influx of people and reduce impacts on future land uses. 5.1.3.3 Preservation of Unique Geologic Features The property does not contain any unique geologic features nor is the sea bed that is to be directly affected or other shorelines that could potentially be affected considered unique geological features. 5.1.4

Stormwater Runoff

The overall significance of the potential drainage impacts from stormwater runoff resulting from the proposed project and infrastructure are expected to be low. Construction Phase It will be necessary for the Contractor to provide adequate facilities to control the flow of runoff during construction. It will be particularly important for measures to be in place to restrict water containing suspended matter from entering the sea. Stormwater management plans will be provided before construction is completed. Runoff will be treated for the first inch of runoff though temporary storage in control boxes and/or French drains (exfiltration trenches). The remainder of runoff will be conveyed through outfalls (after treatment of the first inch or runoff). The outfalls will include baffle boxes for appropriate control of runoff. Further consideration is to be given to the methods used in the EMP. Operation and Maintenance Phase Roadways and hardscapes within the proposed terminal area will result in an increased impervious area on the property. This would result in an alteration in runoff characteristics in the area. However, the presence of sandy soils that have a large capacity for runoff infiltration, the limited area impacted and the drainage system would reduce the potential for drainage impacts from stormwater runoff. The stormwater runoff generated will need to be managed with drainage structures that may include a combination of structures in series including, grassed swales, culverts, catch basins, infiltration wells, and detention basins that will infiltrate stormwater, rather than result in substantial amounts of sheet flow into local surface water bodies. 5.1.5

Groundwater Resources

This section discusses the potential impacts to groundwater resources resulting from the construction and operation/maintenance phases of the proposed project. The categories of potential impact to groundwater resources discussed in this section include the following:

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â&#x20AC;˘ Alteration of groundwater recharge and flow, â&#x20AC;˘ Deterioration of groundwater associated with nutrient loading and potential contamination, and â&#x20AC;˘ Effect of existing and future water supplies. 5.1.5.1

Alteration of Groundwater Recharge and Flow

The overall significance of the potential impacts to groundwater resources associated with the alteration of groundwater recharge and flow resulting from the proposed project are expected to be low due to the impact on the mainland being minimal and there being little need for ground water on the Terminal Island or Bimini, and therefore, will not require mitigation. 5.1.5.2

Deterioration of Groundwater Quality Associated with Nutrient Loading and Potential Contamination

The overall significance of the potential impacts to groundwater resources associated with the deterioration of groundwater quality associated with nutrient loading and potential contamination resulting from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be low. Construction and Operation/Maintenance The project is expected to have a low direct, short-term, potentially negative impact to groundwater quality on a property-wide basis during the project's construction and operation/ maintenance phases. Nutrient Loading The proposed project will generate sanitary wastewater associated with the ferry terminal. Additionally, increased use of petroleum products (i.e. diesel and gasoline fuels) and potentially other hazardous materials, primarily related to the proposed marine vessels, presents an increased risk of accidental spillage or release into the environment which, if not properly managed, could negatively impact groundwater quality. The sanitary wastewater generated by the proposed project will be collected by sanitary sewer lines that will flow to a centralized WWTF. The wastewater will undergo tertiary treatment such that the treated effluent can be suitable for reclaimed water use for irrigation purposes. Denitirification will be a component of the wastewater treatment process. Reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation will result in further reductions in nutrient concentrations, including total nitrogen, as plants will utilize the residual nutrients. Excess wastewater not used for irrigation will be discharged into a deep injection well. The application of fertilizers (primarily nitrogen and phosphorous) might be utilized to maintain the development's landscaping. Excessive use of fertilizers (particularly nitrogen) on this type of island environment could have a negative impact on groundwater quality. Fertilizer use will be kept to a minimum and potentially avoided with the introduction of sturdy flora in the landscaping plan. Potential Contamination The overall significance of the potential to adversely impact groundwater quality resulting from potential oil spills and hazardous materials releases from the proposed project and infrastructure are expected to be low. Increased use of petroleum products (i.e. diesel and gasoline fuels) and potentially other hazardous materials, presents an increased risk of accidental spillage or release into the environment which could negatively impact groundwater quality, if not properly managed. These potential spills would generally be localized. To minimize the risk of potential spills, fuel will not be stored at the ferry terminal. Also, stormwater associated with impervious surfaces in these areas would be contained, as necessary, to minimize potential impacts to underlying groundwater.

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To minimize the potential risks associated with the storage and use of petroleum products and hazardous materials, a SPCC plan will be developed for operation of the project. The SPCC plan will contain information pertaining to the prevention and containment of spills, secondary containment systems, as well as clean-up measures. Additional information on the SPCC plan is provided in the EMP. 5.1.5.3

Effect on Existing and Future Water Supplies

The overall significance of the effects on existing and future water supplies resulting from the proposed service and infrastructure are expected to be high. Construction Phase The existing desalination plant emits an unpleasant odour. The desalination plant operations will be altered by a possible combination of; balancing chemicals differently, installing vents and incorporating skimmers in order to reduce the odour to a level that is not detectible. This may affect the quality and supply of water during the construction phase. Otherwise no impacts relating to existing and future water supplies are anticipated as a result of the construction phase of the project. Operation and Maintenance Phase Potable water supply for the ferry will be provided from Florida. The ship will have adequate capacity for a water tank which can also act as ballast to provide a more comfortable journey to passengers. The tank will be stored on the ship, and off-loaded into the nearby tank farm as needed. Potable water supply for the Ferry Terminal will be provided for by an existing desalination plant located within the Bimini Bay Maintenance/Utility Area. This desalination plant will not be adequate to provide for the proposed increase in population and visitors to the island that will result from the service and as such its capacity will need to be increased. There are a number of options that could be considered in order to increase the potable water capacity on the island. These include the following; 1. Installing a new pump system - that would increase capacity from 375,000 gallons per day to approximately 500,000 gallons per day. 2. Installing a new holding tank - on the order of 500,000 gallons holding in addition to 800,000, for a total of 1.3 million gallons of water. Water shipped from Florida, and the new holding tank will allow for additional storage on high-demand days. 3. Delivering fresh water by the fast ferry –could supply 100,000 gallons or more per day Of the three options the additional storage tank option (option 2) is likely the most preferable. In this scenario infrastructure will be designed and installed on the ferry terminal to “bunker” potable water from the design vessel to the existing water storage tanks on the island. Based on feedback from the ship operations team, a maximum of 20,000 gallons per day can be bunkered from the ship. A pump, with appropriate appurtenances and piping, has been designed to bunker the water from the ship’s water line connection at the platform to the storage tanks. Thus, the improvement of a reliable potable water source associated with the property will likely continue to provide a long-term positive benefit to the island. With the introduction of the ferry service there is also potential for the service to be utilized to ship water from Florida in cases of emergency. The intake for the desalination plant is unlikely to be significantly affected by the project. Care must be taken to ensure that sewerage is adequately addressed. The increased number of people on Bimini will increase the sewerage demand. Most properties utilize septic tanks with soakaways. Given the shallow nature of Bimini and its proximity to the sea it is preferable to have a sewerage treatment system which treats the sewerage however this is not currently available. Considerations should be given to the introduction of a sewer system for Bimini so as not to pollute the nearby waters.

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5.1.6

Marine Water Resources

5.1.6.1

Oceanographic Conditions

This section discusses the potential impacts to oceanographic conditions, specifically effects on nearshore waves, associated with the construction and operation/maintenance of the proposed project and associated infrastructure. Effects on Nearshore Waves The construction and operation/maintenance phases of the proposed project and its infrastructure are expected to have impacts on nearshore waters. Average wave height is not expected to alter majorly however changes in wave height were studied (see reports in Appendix D) and findings indicate that the onshore waves will increase in significant height for the 50 year and 100 year storm by approximately 1 meter (from 1 to 2 meters to 2 to 3 meters) for the majority of the West Coast. This will have a significant impact during the 50 year storm this impact is therefore considered medium. The studies also indicate that the mean wave direction of waves at the beach may alter however the difference in direction as a result of the proposed project is still to be confirmed. The vessel will be operating at less than 5 knots speed in the nearshore area. Wake is not anticipated to be of concern due to the low speeds. Normal wave conditions in this nearshore area are approximately 3 feet, and the ship wake is not anticipated to be higher than normal wave conditions while operating in the nearshore area. 5.1.6.2

Bathymetry

This section discusses the potential impacts to bathymetry associated with the construction and operation/maintenance phases of the proposed project. Alteration of Sea Bottom and Sediment Transport The proposed Ferry Terminal will reduce the extent of sea floor by 4.5 acres. The elevation of this area is currently -15 feet to -19.5 feet and will be +12 feet after the construction of the island. The seafloor will be further altered by dredging a channel 31 feet deep where the existing sea bottom is at a depth of between -19.5 feet to -31 feet. See Drawings in Appendix E for further details. This alters the bathymetry of the area significantly and is therefore considered a high impact. The method of construction will allow bathymetry at the face of the seawalls to remain similar to that existing although some local disruption to the sea bed can be expected as a result of construction. The installation of sheet piles will mean that the change in bathymetry will be abrupt at the face of the sheet piles. This alteration as well as the dredging will have impacts on the following items which are discussed in further detail elsewhere in this report (Section references provided in brackets); waves (Section 5.1.6.1) and currents (tides and currents 5.1.6.3), sediment transport (beach and shoreline stability 5.1.3.1), and shipping and boating (5.3.3.2). 5.1.6.3

Tides and Currents

This section discusses the potential impacts to tides and currents, specifically alteration of flow and currents, associated with the construction and operation/maintenance phases of the proposed development and associated infrastructure. Alteration of Flow and Currents The construction and operation/maintenance phases of the proposed project will alter flows and currents due to the construction of the extension on a long-term basis. The main alterations to flows and currents are as a result of the new island. The alterations to flows and currents are detailed in the Coastal 4 October 2013

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Engineering Report and Sedimentation Report in Appendix D. Indirect impacts as a result of these alterations are as follows and are discussed in further detail elsewhere in this report (Section references provided in brackets); waves (Section 5.1.6.1) and sediment transport (beach and shoreline stability 5.1.3.1). Overall alteration of flow and currents will have a low impact. 5.1.6.4

Marine Water Quality

This section discusses the potential impacts to marine water quality associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed project and associated infrastructure. Anticipated indirect impacts to marine water quality from the construction and operation of the proposed project could be longterm and extend beyond the property. Impacts to water quality as a result of stormwater runoff and nutrient loading are discussed above. The categories of potential impact to water quality discussed in this section include the following: • • •

Impacts of runoff, Impacts of construction and return water disposal, and Potential deterioration of marine water quality associated with oil spills and releases of hazardous materials.

Impacts from Nonpoint Source Runoff The overall significance of the potential impacts to marine water quality associated with nonpoint source runoff resulting from the proposed project and infrastructure are expected to be moderate. The negative impacts to the nearshore marine waters from the proposed project would be expected to be localised in close proximity to the nearby shoreline. Runoff, in the form of nutrient loading over extended periods, even to well circulated marine waters, can result in degraded conditions unless properly monitored and managed. Construction Phase By staging construction sequencing to minimise areas disturbed at any one time and incorporating construction stormwater management techniques, negative impacts from runoff to marine water quality is expected to be low during the project’s construction phase. The potential for increased erosion and sedimentation from cleared and exposed surfaces resulting in the transport of sediment and associated nutrients and/or pollutants may negatively impact marine water quality. This situation will partly be addressed by the implementation of a coastal setback and the use of the steel sheet piling to protect the disposed material at the new island. Proper sedimentation and erosion control measures will be installed and maintained where necessary. Due to the extensive dredging and reclamation taking place, and the sensitivity of the area given the coral cover and marine species turbidity barriers will be utilised during construction and significant monitoring will take place during and after construction. By implementing proper erosion and sedimentation controls, sediment impacts on the marine water quality from runoff can be minimised, and therefore are anticipated to be low. Operation and Maintenance Phase Potential impacts to marine water quality associated with non-point source runoff during the operation and maintenance of the proposed project are anticipated to be low and long-term in duration. Potential impacts to marine water quality include the increased use of fertilizers, pesticides, petroleum products, or other chemicals on the property. Proper land use management practices will be developed in order to minimise any negative impacts associated with the ferry terminal.

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Impacts of construction and return water disposal Construction Phase One of the main concerns with regards to the dredging the channel is the impacts on water quality, which include those associated with increased turbidity and decreased dissolved oxygen levels. High levels of localised turbidity can be expected during the construction of the dredging and construction of the island when turbidity will be generated by the backfilling of the reclamation and piling activities. Turbidity will also be increased at the location of the discharge of the return water which will contain suspended matter. Therefore the turbidity effects will have a high impact and given the quantity of dredging this impact is considered high overall. No sampling of sediments has been conducted within the material to be dredged as contaminants are not expected to be an issue as this area is not heavily trafficked by boaters or near industrial activities. The suspension of fine sediments in the water column creates turbidity, which scatters and attenuates light levels and potentially affects the growth of plants and corals indirectly by reducing the availability of light and consequently the photosynthetic process in plants and coral symbionts. There are many factors that need to be considered in defining the actual extent of the region that may experience some increased turbidity, including the construction methods used by the Contractor in particular the method of dredging and equipment used, method of backfilling of the steel sheet piles and return water disposal methods. The region that may be affected by turbid water will also depend on wind and wave conditions that will disperse the turbid water. Different wave and wind conditions may create an environment where turbidity does not settle due to the currents and turbulence in the water column. The disposal of water from the stilling ponds typically has a short term (several hours to days) impact on the water column following discharge. This water will contain negatively buoyant solids that sink as a turbid suspension through the water column to the sea floor. This water will be contained by the sheet piling to allow the suspended matter to settle within the terminal reclamation area. Turbidity affects caused by the construction of the new island and the dredging of the channels might be reduced somewhat by the use of turbidity barriers. The type of turbidity barriers and the method of deployment utilised will be important in order to ensure minimal adverse impact to the nearby marine resources especially those recognized as dive spots. Turbidity barriers are recognized as having limited impact in exposed waters. Steel sheet piling has been used in order to contain turbidity in such circumstances in the past however the difficulty of driving steel piles into the hardbottom in this area and the depths present warrant this option unfeasible as a complete barrier however a mixture of turbidity barriers anchored to steel sheet piles should be somewhat effective. There are approximately 14 known dive spots within 1.5 miles of the construction work. Most of these dive sites are high relief reef approximately 1,500 feet to the West of the construction location and generally in deeper water. The closest dive spot to the dredging is Sea Gardens which is approximately 700 feet to the South of the project area. The Sea Gardens dive spot was within the marine resource survey area. The location identified as the Sea Gardens dive spot is not indifferent to the remainder of the survey area that is hardbottom. It is therefore necessary to conduct dredging and construct the island in a manner that will best protect nearby waters in particular the reef dive spots. In order to measure turbidity levels at appropriate locations during monitoring of turbidity levels a 2,000 foot mixing zone to the source of turbidity is to be utilised. Background and compliance measurements are to be taken for both the new island, the pier, dredging and the disposal site mixing zones. The background measurements are to be taken at least 2,000 feet up current from the new island and dredge location and the point where discharge water is returning, clearly outside the influence of any artificially generated turbidity. Samples are to be taken within the densest portion of any visible turbidity plume. All sampling is to be taken at a depth of three feet from the surface at each station and at a frequency of every six daytime hours during initial operations (no more than 10 days) and once per day thereafter. It 4 October 2013

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is reasonable to reduce the frequency of sampling if results show no exceedences of turbidity targets. If exceedences have been recorded more frequent sampling should continue. A sampling plan will be provided in the EMP. In the absence of legislation with regards to permitted levels of turbidity in the Bahamas it is considered appropriate to refer to those of nearby Florida which of all the states and commonwealths within the United States possessing coral reef resources (e.g., Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii and others) Florida stands alone with a standard that is 6 or more times higher than the others. The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation requires turbidity monitoring using the Nephelometric Turbidity Units or NTU's so that during construction, the permitee "shall not exceed 29 NTU's above the associated background turbidity levels as prescribed in the 'Monitoring Required' section pursuant to Rule 62-302, of the Florida Administrative Code". However given the high value of the nearby dive spots a value of 13 NTU rather than 29 NTU is to be used for the mixing zone and 9 NTU at the nearby dive sites. This is in accordance with recent permits issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with similar conditions. Turbidity barriers anchored to steel sheet piles in a curved arrangement at the north west edge of the dredging will be necessary in order to cause minimal impact on the nearby dive sites. It is unknown whether the waters around the project site experience variations in turbidity as a result of high winds. The pre-determined limit of turbidity levels at the compliance stations will therefore be ‘the background measurement taken upstream of the turbidity source” + 13 NTU = “X” NTUs. However, if background measurements exceed the pre-determined limit of “X” NTUs, the background measurement shall be used for comparison of compliance measurements. In other words, compliance measurements shall be compared with the daily background measurement or the pre-determined limit of “X” NTUs, whichever is higher. If monitoring reveals turbidity levels at the compliance sites in excess of the limit of “X” NTUs, construction activities shall cease immediately and not resume until corrective measures have been taken and turbidity has returned to an acceptable level. Any such occurrence shall also be immediately reported to the Project Manager and the BEST Commission Officer. It must be clear that 13 NTU above background is the absolute maximum we recommend and any exceedance of this value must result in the suspension of reclamation/dredging/disposal operations. In an attempt to prevent instituting serious mitigatory measures (cessation of activities) due to the 13 NTU (above background) maximum being exceeded, a graded system of turbidity concentrations is recommended. Instead of relying on a single turbidity concentration, a maximum at the monitoring sites of 8 NTU (above background) should be used as an early warning indicator. The Contractor would thus be in a position to initiate mitigatory measures to avert exceeding the 13 NTU (above background) threshold if he has sufficient warning that this level is being approached. Once the 8 NTU (above background) level is attained or exceeded, the contractor should ensure that the necessary mitigatory steps are taken and documented to prevent a further increase in suspended solids concentration, which could lead to suspension of the operation when 13 NTU (above background) is exceeded. Mitigatory steps would normally involve improvements to the turbidity barrier arrangements, a slower rate of disposal of return water and the use of geotextiles or flocculants at the disposal site. It should be noted that these mitigation measures will add to the cost of dredging. If 13 NTU (above background) is attained or exceeded there should be no debate and the new island and dredging must be immediately suspended until levels are reduced to below the threshold mark. A report on the exceedance incident should be prepared and only after the environmental officer is satisfied that the situation has been rectified should the operation be resumed. All turbidity measurements are to be compliant with the USEPA Method 180.1. Turbidity monitoring samples shall be taken using a 12 volt DC low velocity sampling pump. The pump shall be thoroughly flushed during each sample taken. Sample shall be placed in a clean collection bottle and placed in a closed container for transport to a controlled location. Each vial shall be clearly marked and labeled. Samples shall then be transferred into the appropriate vial specifically designed for use with the LaMotte 2020 (or similar) turbidity meter. The samples shall then be analyzed. The degree of accuracy shall be less than ±2%. Control depth for extraction of the samples from the water column will be accomplished using a calibrated grade rod indicating water depth at that location. The turbidity meter is to be calibrated at least every week and results reported alongside turbidity results. 4 October 2013

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Daily monitoring reports will include the following information for each sample: a) date and time of day; b) antecedent weather conditions; c) tidal stage and direction of flow; and d) wind direction and velocity, e) Co-ordinates of sampling location. Reports shall be complied daily even when no sampling is conducted. When sampling is not conducted, a brief statement shall be given to explain the rationale, such as “dredge not working” or “no sampling due to high seas”. Weekly summaries of the daily turbidity monitoring data will be submitted to the Project Manager within one week of analysis with documents containing the following information: 1) dates and times of sampling and analysis; 2) state plane coordinates (X and Y) of the sampling stations and the dredge and discharge locations, and the distance between the sampling stations and the dredge/discharge for each sample to demonstrate compliance with the above required distances; 3) a statement describing the methods used in collection, handling, storage, and analysis of the samples, as well as the authenticity, precision, limits of detection, and accuracy of the data; 4) results of the analysis; and 5) a description of any factors influencing the dredging or disposal operation or the sampling program. The summaries shall be submitted in Excel Spreadsheet (*.xls) format and follow the example given in the EMP. Turbidity barriers are often used to limit the impact of turbidity however care must be taken in installing and managing these on the project. In some cases where relatively quiescent current conditions (0.2 ft/sec or less) are present, turbidity levels in the water column outside the barrier can be 80 to 90 percent lower than the levels inside or upstream of the barrier. While there may be a turbid layer flowing under the barrier, the amount of suspended material in the upper part of the water column, as a whole, is substantially reduced. However, the effectiveness of turbidity barriers can be significantly reduced in high energy regimes characterised by currents and turbulence. High currents cause turbidity barriers to flair, thus reducing the barrier’s effective depth; in fact, in a current of 1.7 feet per second the effective skirt depth of a 5 ft barrier is approximately 3 ft. Increased water turbulence around the barrier also tends to re-suspend the fluid material layer and may cause the turbid layer flowing under the barrier to resurface just beyond the barrier. However, even under moderate currents (up to 0.5 knots or 0.84 feet/second), a properly deployed and maintained center tension barrier can effectively control the flow of turbid water (under the barrier). In other cases, where anchoring is inadequate and particularly at sites where tidal currents dominate the hydrodynamic regime and may cause resuspension of the fluid material as the barrier sweeps back and forth (over the fluid material) with changes in the direction of the current, the turbidity levels outside the barrier can be as much as 10 times higher than the levels inside the barrier. Given that the maximum current that was measured was 0.48 feet per second for the project area and the constant direction of current (North to South) turbidity barriers could be considered likely to be effective however waves and difficulty of anchoring are likely to make their effectiveness limited. By anchoring turbidity barriers to steel sheet piling at an appropriate distance between the turbidity barriers are however likely to be somewhat effective and are to be utilized in this manner to protect the nearby dive site reef. Details of this method will be further determined once more details on construction methods are determined and detailed in the Dredge Plan produced by the Contractor to be approved by the BEST Commission prior to starting construction. As mentioned previously the total volume of material to be dredged is estimated to be 220,000 cubic yards. Generally, the pipeline conveys 10 percent solids and 90 percent water therefore a total of approximately 2 million cubic yards of water would be piped. In order to restrict the impacts of the suspended matter in the effluent water it is proposed to utilise the area contained by the sheet piles for the ferry terminal for the disposal site for the return water. The introduction of nutrients or organic material to the water column as a result of the discharge can lead to a high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), which in turn can lead to reduced dissolved oxygen, thereby potentially affecting the survival of many aquatic organisms. Increases in nutrients can favor 4 October 2013

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one group of organisms such as algae to the detriment of other more desirable types such as submerged aquatic vegetation, potentially causing adverse health effects, objectionable tastes and odors, and other problems. The minimum dissolved oxygen at the point of discharge will therefore be restricted to 6.0 mg/l. The temperature of the water can also affect marine inhabitants. Water that is more than 2 degrees fahrenheit above the temperature of water at the point of discharge will not be discharged into coastal waters during and including the months of July, August and September and 4 degrees Fahrenheit during other times of the year. Furthermore the acidity/alkalinity of the water shall maintain a pH of 6.8 to 8.5. Therefore water quality sampling will be carried out during construction to monitor the following properties; temperature, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity. Due to the extensive dredging and reclamation taking place, and the sensitivity of the area given the coral cover and marine species turbidity barriers will be utilised during construction and significant monitoring will take place during and after construction. Operation and Maintenance Phase The passing of the ferry through the channel is likely to increase the turbidity of nearby waters. The extent of which will depend on a number of factors including presence of sand at the sea floor, extent and depth of sand and weather conditions for instance. A collection system for the drainage of the new island will be necessary. This drainage system will dispose to sea. It will therefore be necessary to provide pollution control units on the island so that pollution does not enter the sea as a result. The stormwater management system will include pollution control units such as catch basins, and baffles, to remove any contaminants in the stormwater before outfall to the ocean. These baffles and catch basins will be cleaned once every 6 months or sooner, depending upon necessity. Deterioration of Marine Water Quality Associated with Vessels and Oil Spills The proposed project may cause the deterioration of marine water quality as a result of oil spills or releases of hazardous materials. Overall the impacts are considered moderate. Construction Phase During construction, the selected marine contractor and dredging contractor will be required to submit their fueling operation and spill response plan (including notification protocol) prior to construction. The submittal and review process will be addressed in the EMP. Fuel needed to operate construction vehicles and equipment will be shipped to Bimini and delivered to the property via fuel transport vehicles. Spills or releases that occur at the project site during construction activities have the potential to impact marine waters if these spills occur over water whilst fuelling marine equipment or are permitted to travel over land or through soils to marine environments. Due to this potential, designated fueling areas will be identified by the project Contractors where all fueling activity will take place. These designated areas will at all times have appropriate spill response and recovery equipment so as to minimise any fuel spill. Operation and Maintenance Phase After the island is constructed, no fueling is planned for the terminal. All vessels will be fueled at other locations, and vehicles such as trams and other equipment will be fueled at appropriate fueling stations on North Bimini. The terminal operations plan will include a spill response plan for the vessel and for mega-yachts moored at the terminal. There will be an increase in the volume of vessel traffic in the waters adjacent to the project area due to the planned marine facilities. Therefore, there is an increased potential for the release of oil or hazardous materials into the marine waters adjacent to the 4 October 2013

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ferry terminal. Due to this potential, designated fueling areas away from the project site will be identified by the project planners where all fueling activity will take place. These designated areas will at all times have appropriate spill response and recovery equipment so as to minimise any fuel spill. While less frequent than the pollution that occurs from daily operations, oil spills have devastating effects. While being toxic to marine life, the components in oil, are very difficult to clean up, and last for years in the sediment and marine environment. Marine species constantly exposed can exhibit developmental problems, susceptibility to disease, and abnormal reproductive cycles. Discharges of untreated or inadequately treated sewage can cause bacterial and viral contamination of fisheries and shellfish beds, producing risks to public health. Nutrients in sewage, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, promote excessive algal blooms, which consumes oxygen in the water and can lead to fish kills and destruction of other aquatic life. The ferry service is likely to generate an estimated 8,000 to 16,000 liters per day of black water waste. Due to the environmental impact of shipping, and sewage in particular marpol annex IV was brought into force September 2003 strictly limiting untreated waste discharge. Grey water has potential to cause adverse environmental effects because of concentrations of nutrients and other oxygen-demanding materials, in particular. Grey water is typically the largest source of liquid waste generated by ships (90 to 95 percent of the total). The estimates of grey water range from 47,000 to136,000 liters per day for 1,500-passengers twice a day for 2 hours on board the ferry. On a ship, oil often leaks from engine and machinery spaces or from engine maintenance activities and mixes with water in the bilge, the lowest part of the hull of the ship. Oil, gasoline, and by-products from the biological breakdown of petroleum products can harm fish and wildlife and pose threats to human health if ingested. Oil in even minute concentrations can kill fish or have various sub-lethal chronic effects. Bilge water may contain solid wastes and pollutants containing high amounts of oxygen-demanding material, oil and other chemicals. If a separator, which is normally used to extract the oil, is faulty or is deliberately bypassed, untreated oily bilge water could be discharged directly into the ocean, where it can damage marine life. Given the numerous ways in which the ferry could potentially pollute the marine environment it will be necessary to monitor water quality.

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Photograph 5.1:Turbidity plume on arrival of Balearia ferry service from Miami

5.1.7

Air Quality and Noise

This section discusses the potential impacts to ambient air quality and noise resulting from the construction and operation/maintenance phases of the proposed project. The activities that may result in increased ambient air quality and noise impacts discussed in this section include the following: • • • •

Impacts from fuel loading and unloading operations, Emissions from stationary sources and uncontrolled sources, Emissions from mobile sources, and Effects of construction noise and dust.

5.1.7.1 Impacts from Fuel Loading and Unloading Operations The overall significance of the potential impacts to ambient air and noise impacts resulting from fuel loading and unloading operations associated with the proposed project are expected to be medium as fuelling of the ferry will take place in Florida in well equipped conditions. Also there will not be any fuelling facilities at the ferry terminal. Construction Phase Additional fueling facilities will be required during the construction phase of the project to provide fuel for construction equipment. There will be ambient air and noise impacts associated with fueling construction equipment; however, these impacts will be intermittent, indirect in nature, and short-term in duration. Waste oil generated during the construction phase will be stored in small double-wall portable storage tanks placed in secondary containment tubs. When full, these tanks will be transported off island by barge for disposal. There will be minimal industrial solvent usage during the construction phase of the project. There will be minimal air quality and noise impacts associated with waste oil and industrial solvent usage during the project's construction phase. Operation and Maintenance Phase There will be no fuelling facilities at the ferry terminal therefore impacts will be minimal at the ferry terminal however the existing gas station at Alice Town is small in size (see photograph below). The pavement at this location is also in poor condition and poorly designed to contain spillages. The increased number of visitors and resultant increase in traffic warrants improvements to the gas station and likely fuel loading and unloading facilities. It also warrants the use of more electric vehicles and heavy reliance on a tram system. It will be necessary to limit the number of vehicles on North and South Bimini and provide expanded and improved gas station facilities. There will be increased demand for gas and therefore greater amounts loaded and unloaded in Bimini. The equipment to do this should be reviewed for its adequacy for handling larger quantities of fuel and any necessary action taken to mitigate any issues. There will be a greater likelihood of oil and fuel spills which have an impact on air quality conditions and contamination.

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Photograph 5.2:The Gas Station at Alice Town

5.1.7.2 Emissions from Stationary and Uncontrolled Sources The potential ambient air and noise impacts resulting from the new stationary and uncontrolled sources of air emissions associated with the proposed project are expected to be low. Construction Phase Occasionally, low level odours emanate from the dredged material in the immediate proximity of the discharge point. These odours are created by the natural decay of aquatic plant life and are principally due to the minute presence of hydrogen sulfide gas, a natural byproduct of the decay process. Dredged sediment with a high organic content has often undergone long term anaerobic (without oxygen) decomposition in the marine environment. This anaerobic decomposition results in the production of a strong, sulfur odour. It is considered unlikely that there will be sufficient quantities of organic content in the material to be dredged to cause intolerable odours however. There are no requirements to keep hydrogen sulfide emissions at or below specified levels in the Project area. There are a number of methods that can be used to reduce these emissions that should be used should a problem arise. These include the use of lime additions to the dredged material and the use of material without organics to cover or cap the material that causes the odour. Sensitive equipment can be utilised to ensure that such emissions are acceptable if necessary. It is considered very unlikely that odour will be an issue given that there is little to no plant life to be dredged. Odours will be monitored and if complaints are received measures will be taken to reduce the odour. Operation and Maintenance Phase The existing desalination plant emits an unpleasant odour. The desalination plant operations will be altered by a possible combination of; balancing chemicals differently, installing vents and incorporating skimmers in order to reduce the odour to a level that is not detectible. This may affect the quality and supply of water during the construction phase.

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There will be other emissions from the new ferry terminal at the facilities on the island as well as from the stationary vessels. The ferry will run whilst it is moored at the ferry terminal thereby providing a constant source of emissions during that time. Facilities will include customs and immigration offices, ticket offices and a restaurant all of which will provide emissions from air conditioners. The restaurant will also produce emissions from the kitchen. All are also likely to have back-up generator which will also produce emissions. Most of these emissions will impact ambient air quality and odour only slightly other than the ferry emissions which will be more significant. 5.1.7.3 Emissions from Mobile Sources The potential ambient air and noise impacts from emissions generated by mobile sources associated with the proposed project are expected to be high. Construction Phase Construction activities will have impacts on ambient air quality and noise levels on the property and nearby. Dredging, piling, temporary asphalt and concrete manufacturing, as well and the use of transportation vessels and construction vehicles will contribute emissions and noise during construction activities. The potential ambient air and noise impacts from the construction of the project will be intermittent, indirect in nature, and short-term in duration. Refer to below (Section 5.1.7.4) for further discussion relating to construction noise. Operation and Maintenance Phase Vehicular traffic will include golf carts, cars, trucks, trams and other heavy equipment. The ambient air quality and noise impacts associated with the additional vehicular traffic as a result of the project will be noticeable. The ambient air quality and noise impacts associated with the additional marine vessel traffic as a result of the project will be noticeable. The total carbon dioxide emissions from the ferry service are estimated at 23,000,000 kg per year. Basic calculations indicate that carbon dioxide emissions per passenger travelling from Miami to Bimini by ferry would be greater than that for a passenger travelling by plane. The difference in emissions is estimated at 1,500,000 kg per year. However the difference between the emissions per passenger travelling by personal boat whilst more difficult to calculate would be greater and are estimated at double that for the fast ferry. At present approximately half of the visitors to Bimini arrive by boat. Overall the fast ferry whilst it will alter the means of transportation for visitors somewhat it is expected mainly to entice more visitors. Some visitors may like to leave their boat in Bimini and use the ferry service to travel across the ocean in particular during periods when high seas are expected. A boat storage facility will be provided so that these persons can store their boats and thereby reduce emissions. The ferry will emit noise that will impact Bimini during arrival, departure and whilst moored. The level of noise produced by the ferry is unknown at this time and whilst sound travels well over water the ferry will be at least 1,800 feet from shore so as to minimize the impact of noise on properties along the shoreline. Modern systems control noise from the vessel propulsion system, and the ferry has been operating in Greece for over 10 years under strict noise control regulations. The level of noise from the running of the ferry is not known at this time and further details are to follow. The ambient air quality and noise impacts associated with new vehicular traffic, marine vessel traffic as well as the ferry service as a result of the project will be high and will be monitored. 5.1.7.4 Effects of Construction Noise and Dust The potential ambient air and noise impacts from construction noise and dust resulting from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be high.

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Construction Phase During construction, dust events will need to be controlled. Dust is currently a problem on North Bimini especially immediately south of the project site where there is a portion of the main road which is not paved, the lack of vegetation on the edge of the roads and the nature of the soil on and at the edge of the roads. Dust control measures will be implemented during construction activities on the site and may include seeding, wet suppression, installation of wind screens and barriers, application of soil stabilization agents, and other measures. Dust control measures will also be utilised to suppress dust during the processing of the dredged materials as appropriate. Construction activities other than those directly associated with dredging will typically take place between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM. Construction activities directly associated with dredging will typically take place 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Dredging activities are expected to take 30 days. Noise emitted from construction equipment and trucks will be minimised through the use of efficient mufflers, resonators, and other sound dampening devices in conformance with applicable requirements and established sound levels. Truck-related noise will be minimised by requiring low travel speeds within the project area, as well as for construction vehicles, arriving at, and departing from the site. Furthermore, equipment idling will be limited, whenever possible. In the absence of noise regulations in the Bahamas, for the purposes of this document, an average daytime noise level of 70 dB (A) or higher is considered a good indication of a significant noise impact on sensitive land uses when the noise source would not operate at night. When both daytime and nighttime operation of a noise source is anticipated, then a CNEL level of 60 dB (A) or more would indicate a significant noise impact. A number of various types of equipment would be utilised in the construction of the project including pile driver(s), dredger, backhoes, concrete mixers and pumps, compactors, pavers, trucks and generators all of which emit noise levels between 80 and 101 dB at 50 feet. Given the proximity of the piling operation (the loudest equipment) to residential areas, the noise generated by the construction may cause a level of auditory discomfort, especially at night, which is difficult to evaluate in the absence of any noise measurements for similar piling projects. For most sources a doubling of the distance from the source results in a 6 dB fall in noise level. It is thereby estimated that the piling equipment could have a noise level of 101 dB at 50 feet, 70 dB at 1,600 feet, 65 dB at 3,200 feet and 60dB at 6,400 feet. Figures 5.3 and 5.4 indicate the areas which would experience noise levels of 65 dBA and 70 dBA from the pile driving however this will be dependent on the weather, piling technique, pile size, local geology and bathymetry. It should be noted that most of the properties affected by the noise from the pile driving are currently unaffected by noise. Piling will take place approximately 50 feet away from a residential property to the north east of the pier where it is piled over land. Therefore noise levels as a result of the piling can be expected to be approximately 100 dB at this property. The total number of residences that have been constructed that would experience a noise level of greater than 70 dB is approximately 140 as well as the marina at the Bimini Bay reception and shopping area and the beach restaurant on the west coast. Of this 140, all are Bimini Bay residences other than 2 residences which are south of the Bimini Bay development. It should be noted that there are also undeveloped properties within this area south of the Bimini Bay development. The total number of residences that would experience a noise level of between 65 dB and 70 dB is approximately 265 and the boaters at the marina in the vicinity of the new casino as well as the casino and nearby restaurant. Approximately 50 of these residential properties are properties outside of the Bimini Bay development. This level of noise is considered acceptable given it is only for a relatively short period. Given the close proximity of residents to the proposed piling works and the duration of the works (5 weeks), it will be necessary to restrict piling operations to between 7:00 am and 7.00 pm. There are no churches in close proximity to the site however it is suggested that piling operations are restricted to six days per week where the construction schedule allows. The acoustic impedance of fish nearly matches that of water, so much of the sound energy will enter their bodies if they are in the vicinity of the source. Studies show that fish suffer damage to their auditory system 4 October 2013

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as well as other parts of their bodies and may even die when exposed to sufficient sound pressure levels underwater for relatively short periods of time. High levels of mortality have been found in fish exposed to 177dB of sound and the threshold for internal injuries to fish is around 160dB. On the basis of available data and the variable response of fish to noise sources, typically a sound pressure level of 150dB is adopted as a maximum threshold for bony fish, below which direct harm is unlikely to occur (Hastings 1991). It is anticipated that the level of noise from pile driving activities would not exceed 150 dB and therefore fish would not be adversely affected other than in moving away from the area. All feasible measures to keep noise levels to a minimum should be adopted by the Contractor. Blasting is not to be permitted. At the underwater dive sites such as Lobster reef, noise levels during construction could be experience in the order of 100 dB, again considered acceptable given it is only for a relatively short period and marine life is likely to stay clear of the construction area given the level of activity. The highest noise levels will be caused by the pile driving. The barge that will transport materials and equipment from the back-of house area to the construction site would likely have a noise level of approximately 170 dB 5 feet from the barge underwater. Note Sea Gardens is not considered given it is not often utilised and is a relatively large area nearby. Operation and Maintenance Phase Noise impacts from the operation of the ferry terminal to adjacent properties will depend on the noise level emitted by the ferry, the level of activity in the area, equipment to be used at the ferry terminal, hours of operation and layout of buildings etc. It is expected that the noise level whilst pulling in and out of the ferry terminal ought to be relatively low at 1,800 feet from shore and this noise will be over a short period. It is also expected that the noise level will be low whilst the ferry is moored. The ferry will not sound its horn to warn passengers of imminent departure. The ambient noise level during operation for nearby residents is unknown at this time. It is expected that the major noise will take place when the ferry turns around in the turning basin and when moored and any entertainment activities take place onboard. A fog horn will not be used to warn passengers of approaching departure. Noise from the ferry whilst it is moored will also have an impact however this is likely to be limited to that of the generators which is unlikely to impact persons onshore given the distance to shore. The underwater dive sites would experience noise levels during operation the level of which is not known but estimated to be significant based on cruise ship noise levels. The noise could potentially be off putting for divers to these sites as a result of the noise generated by the ferry terminal on arrival, departure and whilst moored. Overall, baseline data for noise and air pollution levels will be provided, and a methodology added to the EMP. It is not likely that underwater acoustic measurements will be collected; the focus will be on measuring above water noise levels pre-construction, during, and post-construction.

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Figure 5.8: Receptor Plan indicating Noise Contours for pile driving activities South of the Project Site

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Figure 5.9: Receptor Plan indicating Noise Contours for pile driving activities North of the Project Site 5.2

Potential Biological Resource Impacts

5.2.1

Terrestrial Biological Resources

This section discusses the potential impacts to terrestrial biological resources resulting from the construction and operation/maintenance of the proposed project. Potential impacts on the biological resources resulting from the proposed project and associated infrastructure, both positive and negative, are described in the following sections. The categories of potential impacts to biological resources discussed in this section include the following: • • • •

Clearing of vegetation; Risk of introduction of foreign diseases, parasites, and escape/accidental release of pets; Impacts to wildlife habitat and threatened species; and Impacts to harvested, protected, and threatened species and migratory birds.

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5.2.1.1 Clearing of Vegetation The overall significance of the potential impacts resulting from the clearing of vegetation as a result of the proposed project is expected to be low. The amount of vegetation being cleared will be minimised to the greatest extent practicable. The project would not result in a loss of any unique terrestrial communities or threatened wildlife populations. Construction Phase Following mobilization, construction operations will begin with the clearing of trees and scrubs from the area where the road is to be constructed. The areas to be cleared account for approximately 25,000 square feet of trees, scrubs and grass. It is considered likely that all vegetation will be removed from the site by truck and disposed of in an approved manner. Although the project would result in direct and long-term impacts from clearing existing vegetation, the bulk of the area consists of invasive species, which are relatively abundant and exist throughout Bimini and the Bahamas. The impact of the loss of vegetation on wildlife habitat is considered insignificant as the trees and shrubs provide little food or shelter. There will be landscaping introduced after the majority of the construction work is completed at the Ferry Terminal as well as alongside the new road. Additional landscaping will also be introduced at the maintenance/service area in order to screen the view of the area to the new road. To the extent possible, new native plantings should be incorporated in the project. Operation and Maintenance Phase Operation and maintenance activities are unlikely to result in additional clearing of vegetation and landscaping. To the extent possible, new native plantings should be incorporated in the project. 5.2.1.2 Impacts Associated with Hazardous Materials Releases on Terrestrial Fauna The overall significance of the secondary impacts associated with hazardous material releases on terrestrial fauna resulting from the proposed project and infrastructure is expected to be medium. Construction and Operation/Maintenance Phases The use of fuel oils and hazardous materials are associated with the potential for accidental spillage events. Measures for prevention, containment, and clean-up of these events will be developed as described in the EMP. Implementing the prevention measures will greatly decrease the potential of accidental release or spills on land, and will result in predominately short-term impacts to terrestrial habitats existing at the immediate site of the release. In the terrestrial environment, hazardous materials cause harm to wildlife through physical contact, ingestion, inhalation, and absorption. Releases of hazardous materials, including fuels, oils, and chemicals may cause harm to amphibians, reptiles and invertebrate larvae, and the organisms that feed on them. The effects of possible spills on terrestrial wildlife are most noticeable in birds since they are at a higher risk as a result of their position on the food chain as predators. Since the project has a marine component and will involve marine construction and barge offloading activities, the likelihood of oil spills directly impacting the sea birds and shore birds is medium. 5.2.1.3 Risk of Introduction of Non-native Species, Foreign Diseases, and Escape of Pets The overall significance of the potential impacts associated with the risk of introduction of non-native species, foreign diseases, and escape of pets resulting from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be medium. The introduction of the ferry service and increased volume of visitors as well as greater number of residents going abroad will increase the risk of the introduction of non-native species and foreign diseases to Bimini. Also, non-native species are known to travel on the hulls of marine vessels and the ship will be travelling from Greece and as such could introduce non-native species from Greece (one 4 October 2013

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time occurrence). The potential for propagation of non-native species and introduction of foreign species in landscaping may indirectly result in long-term impacts to native plant and wildlife populations. The ferry service will prohibit pets and other animals from travelling. Construction and Operation/Maintenance Phases Increased trade, transport, and travel to the property would result in a greater potential for the possibility of the introduction of non-native and invasive species. Site disturbance and removal of vegetation will render areas more vulnerable to colonization by the invasive plant species such as those which are already present on the property. A program to effectively monitor and control the spread of non-native vegetation, in particular Australian pine, should be implemented. 5.2.1.4 Impacts to Wetlands Functions and Values The overall significance of the impacts to wetland resources associated with the construction and operation/maintenance phases of the proposed development are expected to be low. The nearby wetland further north and to the east of the project site provides habitat for a variety of insects, reptiles, crustaceans, birds, and fish species. The dense shrub growth makes an attractive perching location for migratory birds and nesting habitat for resident breeders. The dense woody vegetation stabilizes the shoreline, reducing or eliminating sedimentation and erosion. Construction Phase Construction will not impact the function or value of wetlands significantly. Operation and Maintenance Phase Operation and maintenance activities are not likely to result in a loss of wetland resources; however, over time the proposed land use has the potential to cause indirect impacts to the adjacent wetlands. These indirect impacts should be avoided to the extent practicable through strict adherence to the 100-foot setback for wetlands. The introduction of the ferry service will bring many visitors to North Bimini who are likely to visit the wetland communities and have an impact on their function and value. 5.2.1.5 Impacts to Wildlife Habitat The overall significance of the potential impacts to wildlife habitats resulting from the proposed project are expected to be high although there is minimal wildlife on the project site. This is due to the fact that there are minimal existing terrestrial vegetation communities on the property that provide food or shelter. There will however be indirect impacts on the wildlife habitat in Bimini as a result of the increased number of visitors to Bimini. Construction Phase It is expected that the temporary displacement of bird populations would result from the disturbance associated with construction and clearing of vegetation. Bird species utilising the project area for feeding, nesting, or roosting purposes are likely to relocate to other areas of Bimini not disturbed by construction activities. As such, avian species using these relocation habitats will be most impacted by construction. Operation and Maintenance Phase The new ferry terminal and pier will likely provide new habitat for wildlife, in particular birds. The introduction of the ferry service will bring many visitors to Bimini who are likely to visit wildlife habitats and have an impact on their function and value. The wildlife habitat of Bimini is considered to be of high value. The presence of avian species which are not readily seen elsewhere is one indicator of the value of the habitat provided on Bimini. Overall the impact is therefore considered high.

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5.2.1.6 Impacts to Threatened and Protected Species and Migratory Birds The overall significance of the potential impacts to threatened and protected species, and migratory birds resulting from the proposed project and infrastructure is expected to be low. No protected species were found at the site. Migratory shorebirds would be impacted during construction due to the activities near the shoreline. Long-term impacts to migratory shorebirds are anticipated to be low, long-term but limited to the area local to the project. The principal impacts to birds will derive primarily from alterations to vegetation (i.e. loss thereof), greater vehicular and pedestrian traffic and the introduction of new habitat. Operation and maintenance of the project facilities should not create additional impacts to harvested or protected species beyond those described above. 5.2.2

Aquatic/Marine Biological Resources

This section discusses the potential environmental impacts to aquatic/marine biological resources associated with the construction and operation/maintenance of the proposed development and associated infrastructure. The nature and extent of the anticipated impacts are described below. The categories of potential impact to marine biological resources discussed in this section include the following: • • • • • • •

Risk of introduction of foreign species and diseases; Impacts to aquatic/marine benthic habitats; Impacts to aquatic/marine biota associated with deterioration of water quality; Effects of using biocides and pesticides on aquatic/marine biota; Impacts to marine biota associated with boating, fishing, and other recreational activities; Impacts to aquatic/marine biota associated with oil spills; and Impacts to commercially important species and habitat.

5.2.2.1 Risk of Introduction of Foreign Species and Diseases The overall significance of the potential impacts from the introduction of foreign species and diseases resulting from the proposed project and infrastructure are expected to be low. Indirect project impacts will be long-term and will occur primarily during the both the construction and operation/maintenance phases. Construction and Operation/Maintenance Phases Increased trade, transport, and travel to Bimini during all phases of the proposed project would result in a slightly greater potential for the introduction of foreign or invasive marine species into the aquatic/marine habitats of Bimini. To prevent or minimize to the extent practicable, the introduction of foreign species, preventive measures may include the development of strict inspection systems at Customs and entry points at the Ferry Terminal and the cleaning of construction equipment prior to entry on the property. 5.2.2.2 Impacts to Aquatic/Marine Benthic Habitat The overall significance of the potential impacts to marine benthic habitats resulting from the proposed project and infrastructure is expected to be high. Construction Phase The impacts to marine benthic habitats are expected to be high given that construction activities will take place within the marine environment. The reclamation will smother some areas of the benthic community, either directly or through drifting of fill material during reclamation, the disposal of return water and dredging. The dredging and the construction of the new island will result in irreversible loss of the existing macro algae and sponges mainly as well as a small number of corals living on the seabed where dredging is to take place and land is to be reclaimed. The area that will be directly affected is more than 25 acres, approximately 17 4 October 2013

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acres of which is consistent hard bottom, 4.8 acres patchy hard bottom and 2.8 acres sand. It should be borne in mind that corals in this area are scarce and limited in size. Marine microalgae, or phytoplankton, provide the food base which supports the entire animal population of the open sea. Most algal classes are represented in ocean populations. As filter feeders, sponges are important for capturing and recycling nutrients in benthic ecosystems. As animals and plants die in the plankton, their bodies sink and the nutrients could be lost but for filter feeders capturing them and recycling them. Sponges are particularly important in coral reef communities for nutrient recycling and water purification. In other marine ecosystems, sponges replace the corals as the main structural organisms around which the rest of the benthic communities live and grow. Many fish hide and find shelter among sponges. Sponges also form symbiotic relationships with bacteria and algae. The bacteria may remove harmful ammonia products from the water and convert it to nitrogen gas. The algae gain shelter in the safety of the hard, inedible sponge body and give these sponges their bright colours. Many sponges practice chemical warfare, releasing toxins around them to kill off neighbours, giving themselves more growing room. Operation and Maintenance Phase In general, potential impacts, associated with the operation and maintenance of the proposed ferry terminal area and the ferry service to the aquatic/marine benthic habitats located on the property are expected to be low, indirect in nature and long-term in duration. Impacts would likely be due to increased turbidity as a result of the ferry movements in the area and activities associated with fuel spills and increased marine traffic to the area. There will be a strict no-discharge policy for sewerage at the ferry terminal and marina. Pollutant management measures shall be outlined within the EMP to minimise these impacts to the greatest extent practicable. The fast ferry will have a no discharge policy in place. To ensure compliance, water quality will be monitored for the first year (e.g. e-coli measurements, etc). Marine benthic habitats located in the waters adjacent to the project site could also be impacted by boat propellers from increased boat traffic and additional rubbish from the increased boat traffic as well as the ferry terminal. There is high relief reef to the north and west of the proposed ferry terminal. This reef is located in water depths between 45 feet and 65 feet. The high relief reef is approximately 12 to 15 feet vertical relief. The shallowest water depths above the reef are therefore estimated at 30 feet (to be confirmed). The draft of the ferry is 22.5 feet (6.8 meters). The ferryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s propellers should therefore not hit the reef however the force from the propellers will have an effect and will be dependent on proximity to the reef. The level of turbidity from the ferry operation will depend on the proximity of the propellers to the sea bottom and the presence of materials that can be suspended (i.e. sand). The ferry is capable of travelling in 6 foot seas, in such circumstance if the reef is at a 30 foot depth the depth of water between the ferry and the reef will be less than 5 feet and approximately 6 feet under normal conditions. This is relatively close to the seabed at this location and represents similar distance to the bottom of the dredged channel (1 foot difference). It will therefore be necessary to further determine the depths in the channel west of the limit of the bathymetry collected and determine the type of material in this area and if sand the thickness of the sand layer to better determine the likelihood of turbidity issues during operation. It will then be necessary to sample and monitor turbidity levels during the arrival and departure of the ferry. The turbidity levels will be monitored in and around the ship during ingress and egress, for the first few runs, to ensure no turbidity during arrival and departure. A map of the sampling locations will be provided in the EMP. It is important that this monitoring is started from the first day of the arrival of the ferry. Water quality is to continue to be closely monitored following removal of the turbidity barriers. It may be necessary to use a tug boat to maneuver the ferry into and out of the ferry terminal in order to cause least adverse impact to the reef. The sides of the ferry terminal and the surfaces of the piles to the pier may become new benthic habitat thereby having a positive impact. It should be noted that none of the benthic communities within the marine resource survey area included unique or endangered species 4 October 2013

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5.2.2.3 Impacts to Aquatic/Marine Biota Associated with Deterioration of Water Quality The overall significance of the potential impacts to aquatic/marine biota from the deterioration of water quality associated with the proposed project and infrastructure are expected to be high, indirect in nature, and long-term in duration. Construction Phase The water quality impacts from the construction of the project are expected to be high. Impacts to the aquatic/marine biota in the immediate project vicinity would mainly be due to sediment from reclamation and return water disposal activities where there would be a direct loss. Nearby areas that would experience less sedimentation on the sea bed would also be affected. Disposal operations will cover established bottom communities at the site with dredged material which may or may not resemble bottom sediments at the disposal site. Recolonisation of animals on the new substrate and the vertical migration of benthic organisms in newly deposited sediments can be important recovery mechanisms. Trends toward reestablishment of the original community are often noted within several months of disturbance, and are often dependent upon the nature of the adjacent undisturbed community, which provides a pool of replacement organisms capable of recolonising the site by adult migration or larval recruitment. Organisms have various capabilities for moving upward through newly deposited sediments, such as dredged material, to reoccupy positions relative to the sediment-water interface similar to those maintained prior to burial by the disposal activity. Vertical migration ability is greatest in dredged material similar to that in which the animals normally occur and is minimal in sediments of dissimilar particle-size distribution. Bottom dwelling organisms having morphological and physiological adaptations for crawling through sediments are able to migrate vertically through several inches of overlying sediment. However, physiological status and environmental variables are of great importance to vertical migration ability. Suspended sediments would reduce the ability of sunlight to penetrate through the water column, potentially limiting the productivity of photosynthetic organisms such as phytoplankton, macro algae, and corals, and could inhibit the foraging efficiency of some finfish and macro benthic organisms. Appropriate sedimentation control barriers will be used to contain the disturbance to the immediate work areas, and to prevent to the extent practicable, any impacts associated with turbidity to the surrounding biological community. Any impacts to the aquatic/marine biota of the project site attributable to construction activities is anticipated be short-term in duration, as these impacts would only occur during the projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s construction phase. The U.S. Corps Engineers "Dredging and Dredged Material Disposal" Engineers Manual (EM-1110-2-5025) states that there are now ample research results to indicate that the traditional fears of water-quality degradation resulting from the resuspension of dredged material during dredging and disposal operations are for the most part unfounded. The possible impact of depressed levels of dissolved oxygen has also been of some concern, due to the very high oxygen demand associated with fine-grained dredged material slurry. However, even at open-water pipeline disposal operations where the dissolved oxygen decrease should theoretically be greatest, near-surface dissolved oxygen levels of 8 to 9 ppm may be depressed during the operation by only 2 to 3 ppm at distances of 75 to 150 feet from the discharge point. The degree of oxygen depletion generally increases with depth and increasing concentration of total suspended solids; near-bottom levels may be less than 2 ppm. However, dissolved oxygen levels usually increase with increasing distance from the discharge point, due to dilution and settling of the suspended material. It has been demonstrated that elevated suspended solids concentrations are generally confined to the immediate vicinity of the dredge or discharge point and dissipate rapidly at the completion of the operation. As turbidity will be used as a basis for evaluating the environmental impact of the dredging or disposal operations, it is essential that the predicted turbidity levels are evaluated in light of background conditions. Average turbidity levels, as well as the occasional relatively high levels that are often associated with naturally occurring storms, high wave conditions, and floods, should be considered. 4 October 2013

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The loss of sponges as a result of the project will also have an impact on the water quality due to their value in improving water quality. Water samples will be collected and analysed periodically (twice per month) during the dredging and filling operations at the same locations as those used for the baseline sampling to monitor water quality. The EMP will provide further details. These results will be provided to the BEST Commission.

Figure 5.10: Turbidity standards of 5, 50, and 500 NTU Operation and Maintenance Phase The use of the project area for mooring will introduce an increase in chemicals that are likely to enter the marine environment. These could indirectly impact marine biota by increasing the likelihood of algal blooms and by contributing to decreased water quality and clarity, which can impede the foraging of some fish and macro benthos, especially those that filter water as a feeding mechanism. The management of stormwater runoff from the project site should help to reduce runoff and its associated impacts on marine biota. The main impacts on water quality will be from fuel spills and waste as a result of the increased sea traffic which is discussed further later in this report. 5.2.2.4 Effects of Using Fertilizers, Biocides, and Pesticides on Aquatic/Marine Biota The overall significance of the effects of using fertilizers, biocides, and pesticides on aquatic/marine biota resulting from the proposed project is expected to be low, indirect in nature, and long-term in duration. Construction Phase Impacts due to the use of fertilizers, biocides, and pesticides during the construction phase of the project are anticipated to be low. Whilst the Contractor is expected to maintain their equipment no major painting of vessels should be necessary during the project. Water samples will be collected and analysed periodically (twice per month) during the dredging and filling operations at the same locations as those used for the baseline sampling to monitor water quality. The EMP will provide further details. These results will be provided to the BEST Commission. Operation and Maintenance Phase Potential impacts to marine biota from the use of fertilizers and pesticides during operation and maintenance of the project are anticipated to be low and long-term in nature. Typically these impacts result from the accumulation of substances (fertilizers, biocides, and pesticides) in surface water, groundwater, marine sediments, and stormwater runoff. Pesticides would only be applied as to maintain any landscaped areas which will be limited in extent due to the nature of the proposed use of the area. Biocides are generally used in anti-fouling bottom paints to chemically or microbiologically combat deposits and growth of bacteria, plants, or animals on boats. The project will increase sea vessel traffic in the area which in turn will increase the presence of residual biocides.

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If stormwater runoff is not properly managed, the accumulation of pesticides and fertilizers can negatively impact the adjacent marine habitat, and lead to eventual changes in ecosystem function however their use is unlikely and will be prohibited. Those organisms that would be the most readily impacted by fertilizers, pesticides and biocides include the phytoplankton, zooplankton, and benthic organisms. Biocides which reach aquatic/marine habitats may cause the mortality of a variety of marine invertebrates and fish. Sign boards will be erected close to areas where sea vessels moor to educate users of the area of laws and good practice with regard to the handling of waste, oil, fuels, biocides, etc. No boat building or repair practices are to operate on the ferry terminal island. A sealed surface is provided at high activity areas to restrict chemical spills from entering the marine environment. Fishing activities throughout the island will increase as a result of increased demand from the increased tourist traffic both by local fishermen and the tourists themselves. There will therefore be increased boating traffic in the island and an increased need for boat repair work. At present there are no sealed facilities for repair work or storage. Adequate facilities will need to be available so as to restrict chemical spills from entering the marine environment. The island for the ferry terminal should have a drainage system that is designed to allow maximum amount of groundwater seepage on the island prior to disposal at sea. Pollution control unit/s must be installed so that the level of pollution upon disposal is minimal. This is particularly important due to the close proximity of the desalination plants intake pipes which feed the islands water supply. 5.2.2.5 Impacts to Biota Associated with Boating, Fishing and Other Recreational Activities It is anticipated that the overall impacts to biota associated with boating, fishing and other recreational activities will be high and indirect in nature although long-term. Construction Phase During the construction phase, the boating associated with deploying the pipeline for transporting the dredged material, positioning of piles, transport of staff, turbidity monitoring, etc. will have an impact however this is unlikely to be significant due to the depths in the area and the quality of the captains that will be in charge of the vessels. The Captain of the construction vessels should have an appropriate Florida state license or similar approved by the Bahamas Port Department. Other boaters may be inquisitive and attempt to drive in close proximity to the construction activities. This will be limited by advising boaters, marinas and others of what is occurring in advance and advising to keep ½ mile clear of construction activities. All boats associated with the construction will also be equipped with loud speakers so as to advise other boaters to keep clear of construction activities. Operation and Maintenance Phase Impacts to aquatic/marine biota are anticipated to be high and long-term during the operation and maintenance phase of the proposed project due to boating, fishing, and other recreational activities. Increased fishing pressures resulting from the increased tourist population on the island will affect local fish populations in Bimini. Policing of illegal fishing activities should increase proportionately to the increase in fishing activity. At this time, these services are reportedly being expanded by the Government to prepare for the expansion plans at the Project site. There should also be emphasis on the accurate recording of catches in the island both recreational and commercial. Further mitigation measures will be necessary to ensure that Bimini is not over fished. It is recognized that there are a number of commercial fishermen from other Bahamian islands that fish in the waters around Bimini. Once fishing from Bimini become more active it is likely that these fishermen will find alternative waters to fish. Also, it is likely that the Bimini Bay Resort will import a portion of seafood as they currently do in order to accommodate the demand for seafood due to insufficient availability as a result of the variation in demand currently experienced. However the increase in fishing in order to supply the demand for fish from tourists wishing to experience the local fresh fish (considered the majority of tourists) may still prove to deplete the fish stock to unacceptable levels.

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Resource depletion, low biological growth rates, and critical low biomass levels result from overfishing. For example, overfishing of sharks has led to the upset of entire marine ecosystems. The ability of a fishery to recover from overfishing depends on whether the ecosystem's conditions are suitable for the recovery. Dramatic changes in species composition can result in an ecosystem shift, where other equilibrium energy flows involve species compositions different from those that had been present before the depletion of the original fish stock. Fish farming is carried out elsewhere in the Bahamas however this is only at the very low level. Spear Fishing is also becoming a more popular sport. This drastically upsets the natural ecology of the local environment. Appropriate environmental education, in the form of signs posted throughout Bimini as well as informational brochures on correct fishing practices in areas such as at the tourist information office will help to minimise the impacts of increased fishing pressures in and around Bimini. It is likely that some species of fish and macro benthos will seek protection in areas of the reefs when sea vessels pass and diving and snorkeling are occurring. This instinctual behavior will be localised and shortterm and not result in any prolonged affects after the sea vessels have left the immediate area although those in the immediate vicinity of the ferry terminal may move elsewhere on a long-term basis. Touching and altering the physical environment directly upsets ecosystems and can lead to long term damage. This can easily be avoided through maintaining good buoyancy control at all times. New and inexperienced divers often crash into delicate corals and marine life so practice first on sandy areas or pools. New snorkelers often stand on reefs to gather their balance, orientate themselves or adjust any kit. This is obviously damaging and should be avoided at all times. A life jacket can help prevent this. Fin wash can also disturb habitats and upset smaller marine life as well as smothering corals in sediment and sand. Gloves are a getting more and more common which give the diver a perceived sense of protection. This often encourages the diver to ‘feel’ the reef and can lead to many ecological impacts. Collecting marine life, dead or alive is now a common trend as tourists want to collect a ‘souvenir’ from their trip abroad however this is often illegal. Anchors can cause massive damage to reefs and so mooring buoys are a preferred environmental alternative. Also, chasing or touching marine species like turtles, sharks, fish, jelly fish, dolphins and other larger marine mammals can cause a great deal of stress to animals. This can lead to further problems and can even cause death and transmission of diseases. Fish feeding is a simple way to lure species to a diver but in doing so is interrupting a very natural nutrient behavioral balance which is essential for healthy marine habitats. Littering is easily avoided. When on board a boat, litter is blown overboard with plastic being the largest culprit. Turtles and other marine mammals eat these plastic bags thinking they are jelly fish or other digestible organisms with lethal consequences to the animal. Underwater Photography is now readily available to even the most inexperienced of divers as cameras are getting cheaper and more available. Camera flashes and the proximity of cameras to marine wildlife is causing many problems with species going blind or leaving their nesting spots due to being chased by cameras. Appropriate environmental education, in the form of signs posted at the ferry terminal, tourism office, marinas, hotels, the beach club and beach access points, should minimize the impacts of increased fishing pressures in the nearshore marine waters adjacent to the property. Mooring buoys to be installed at reef dive spots where currently none. These should be screw down type which are difficult to cut or remove as has been done in the past. The Captain of the ferry should have a Master Mariner's certificate or similar approved by the Port Department thereby ensuring the experience of the captain and reducing the likelihood of accidents.

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5.2.2.6 Impacts to Aquatic/Marine Biota Associated with Oil Spills The overall significance of the potential impacts to aquatic/marine biota associated with oils spills resulting from the proposed project are expected to be high. Impacts of this nature are mainly attributed to the intentional or unintentional release of petroleum products and other hazardous materials from boating activities. Marine vessels in the vicinity of the project will increase during operation and construction activities. Should an oil spill occur, the impacts to aquatic/marine biota could be moderate in significance, and potentially medium-term in duration. Spills and releases of fuels and other hazardous materials into the marine environment have the potential to directly negatively impact marine biota that either becomes externally coated with the spilled material, or ingests water or other organisms impacted by the material. In the event that an oil spill were to occur in the marine waters adjacent to the property the response actions detailed in the SPCC plan would be implemented to contain the spill and reduce potentially detrimental impacts to the marine environment. 5.2.2.6 Impacts to Commercially Important Species and Habitats The overall significance of the potential impacts to commercially important species and habitat resulting from the proposed project and infrastructure are expected to be high, indirect in nature, and long-term in duration. Some important managed fisheries in The Bahamas include spiny lobster, conch, grouper, rockfish, stone crab, sponge, and various other fish species. The waters adjacent to the project support local commercial fisheries or nursery habitat for commercial fish species however this area is not a regular fishing ground the high relief reef to the wet and north of the ferry terminal are known dive spots. On-site reconnaissance of the nearby waters adjacent to the project area suggests that they support species of minor economic importance including Snapper and Jacks. Due to the low numbers of economically important species, impacts to commercially important marine fish species and habitat are expected to be low during all phases of the project other than as a result of the increase in demand for fishing activities and seafood such as fish, spiny lobster, conch and shrimp as a result in the increase in the number of tourists visiting Bimini. The current population of Bimini is approximately 1,700, the current visitors each year is 53,000. The introduction of an additional 570,000 visitors each year will have a significant impact on commercially important species and habitats by increasing the number of people on the island a year by a factor of 11 and thus the demand on fisheries by a similar order. In less than a decade, the Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois miles and P. volitans) has become widely established along the Southeast U.S. and Caribbean. Recent estimates of lionfish densities indicate that lionfish have surpassed some native species with the highest estimates reporting over 1,000 lionfish per acre in some locations. Lionfish are capable of permanently impacting native reef fish communities across multiple trophic levels. Lionfish occupy the same trophic position as economically important species (e.g., snapper and grouper) and may hamper stock rebuilding efforts and coral reef conservation measures 5.3

Potential Socio-economic and Cultural Impacts

This section describes the potential socio-economic impacts expected from the construction and operation/maintenance of the proposed project. The introduction of an improved ferry service to Bimini from Miami will provide employment opportunities for Bahamians and others, and should expand the local economy, which may affect demographics such as population growth. Potential effects on displacement and resettlement, fisheries exploitation, tourism, land values and cultural resources are also considered in this section however only in relation to the provision of a new ferry terminal as proposed and an improved ferry service. 5.3.1

Demographics

The overall significance of the potential impacts on demographics resulting from the proposed project and associated infrastructure is expected to be high but positive, direct and indirect in nature, and long-term in 4 October 2013

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duration. The duration of the direct impacts would be both short-term (during construction) and long-term (during operation and maintenance). . The categories of potential impacts to demographics discussed in this section include the following: â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘

Effect of direct and indirect population growth, Use of local labor, and Displacement and resettlement of existing housing.

5.3.1.1 Effect of Direct and Indirect Population Growth The overall significance of the effects of direct and indirect population growth resulting from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be high. Construction Phase The projects would employee workers living on Bimini as well as attract new workers to the island during the construction phase. This is expected to create direct but short-term, negative impacts through temporary population growth. These impacts are largely anticipated to be limited to the property and will be mitigated by the provision of temporary housing by Bimini Bay. More than 60 employee housing units are available within the back of house area at the Bimini Bay Resort; these units are already built (dorm style). All construction works will be housed on the Bimini Bay Resort property. Operation and Maintenance Phase The proposed project would expand the local economy on the island by increasing job opportunities. Stable jobs created particularly by long-term project operation, and at other businesses that open to support an increase in island visitors, should directly and indirectly spur population growth on Bimini. This economic expansion could create on-island job opportunities for former Bimini residents who have left to seek employment elsewhere, allowing them to return to the island and help strengthen the island community. An increase in permanent population would result in increased demand for housing and island services, such as education, potable water, solid waste disposal services, and improved roadways. The population growth resulting from the project will place additional demands on the local police, fire, medical and other community services available on Bimini. Therefore, the potential direct and indirect impacts due to population growth on the island are expected to be negative and high, long-term, and island wide. It should be noted that the economic expansion and tax revenues generated by the project would also help support island improvements required by a growing population. 5.3.1.2 Use of Local Labor The overall significance of the potential impacts on the use of local labor resulting from the proposed project and infrastructure is expected to be high and positive. The duration of the direct, island-wide impacts would be both short-term (during construction) and long- term (during operation and maintenance). Construction Phase Resorts World Bimini and RAV Bahamas will make reasonable efforts, through its construction contractors, to employ as many qualified Bahamians as possible at all levels, provided the level of expertise and skilled labor is locally available to construct a quality project within the construction schedule. Bimini Bay will define various skill levels necessary for each construction trade, and will make reasonable efforts to further train those citizens with qualified construction skills. Bimini Bay will also make reasonable efforts to contract with qualified and suitable Bahamian companies, where possible and appropriate, during construction. Bimini Bay will also purchase locally manufactured 4 October 2013

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construction materials and supplies, provided these are readily available at reasonably competitive prices and meet required specifications. Operation and Maintenance Phase The operation and maintenance of the Ferry Terminal will rely on qualified local Bahamians to fill jobs at the ferry terminal and aboard the ferry and Bimini Bay will provide training where appropriate. The increase in tourism will also demand additional jobs to be filled by local labour. Some labour will also need to be obtained from other Bahamian out islands. The development has been recruiting persons from Grand Bahama as well as Nassau over the past few months and this trend is likely to continue. 5.3.1.3 Displacement and Resettlement of Existing Housing The overall significance of the potential impacts of the displacement and resettlement of existing housing resulting from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be low. Construction and Operation/Maintenance Phases There are presently no residents on the property, and no habitable permanent or seasonal housing. Therefore, the project will not directly displace or require resettlement of any residents. However, it is possible that residents on the periphery of the property may choose to resettle either temporarily or permanently due to construction or operation and maintenance activities. Therefore, some indirect negative impacts of low significance are possible near the property. These impacts are expected to be short-term. 5.3.2

Economic Activities

The economic expansion anticipated by the project should increase the GDP in The Bahamas. Potential economic impacts due to construction, operation and maintenance of the project that are assessed in this section include the following: • • • • •

Effect on direct and indirect employment; Impacts of revenues for real estate taxes, hotel taxes, and payroll taxes; Effects on local residential housing availability; Impacts on existing and future fishing and fisheries exploitation; and Impacts on public health and worker health and safety.

5.3.2.1 Effect on Direct and Indirect Employment Overall, the significance of the effects on direct employment at the resort, and indirect employment at off-site businesses created to support the increase in island visitors is expected to be high and positive. The project will have beneficial impacts on short- term and long-term employment opportunities in The Bahamas and on Bimini, specifically. Increased employment is expected in the construction, transportation, creation, accommodations, food and beverage, retail, and entertainment sectors. Construction Phase Project construction will require direct employment of skilled tradesmen such as carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers, roofers, laborers, and others in the construction industry. Clearing and grading of the site, dredging and construction of the ferry terminal and access roads will require heavy equipment operators. This impact whilst positive would be short-term. Operation and Maintenance Phase Operation and maintenance of the project will require direct employment of ferry staff, cooks and restaurant workers, managers, housekeepers, landscapers, maintenance workers, and other support personnel in the hospitality industry. Project operation would significantly increase the number of job opportunities Bimini's 4 October 2013

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hospitality and service industry. The project is expected to stimulate the local economy, creating indirect employment opportunities for suppliers of goods and services to the project and its visitors. Additional off-site restaurants, shops, markets, and transportation services will be needed, along with job opportunities for fishing guides, restaurant workers, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, artists, and traditional craftsmen. The visitors to the island will provide a ready market for traditional Bahamian crafts, such as straw goods, art, and handmade products. The development has been recruiting persons from Grand Bahama as well as New Providence over the past few months and this trend is likely to continue. 5.3.2.2 Impacts of Revenues for Real Estate Taxes, Hotel Taxes and Payroll Taxes The overall significance of the potential impacts of revenues for real estate taxes, hotel taxes, and payroll taxes resulting from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be high. Construction Phase Total cumulative capital expenditures for construction of the Ferry Terminal project are anticipated at $10-15 million. There will be no revenues from real estate taxes and hotel taxes nor property taxes or customs and duty taxes due to exemptions granted by the Government. Revenue from payroll taxes will be minimal. Operation and Maintenance Phase The overall significance of direct impacts from the operation and maintenance revenues to the Government of The Bahamas is expected to be high, positive, and long-term in duration. Indirect, island-wide positive impacts are expected to be of similar significance and duration. The majority of tax revenues will generate from real estate sales and import duties. The following is a list of the areas in which revenues would increase due to the project: • • • • • • • • • • •

Ferry Entry Fee Departure Tax, Land Purchase Stamp Tax, Tax on Initial Developer Sales, Stamp Tax on Resales, Property Tax, Business License Fee, National Insurance, Construction Import Duties, Operation Import Duties, and Occupancy Tax.

The main direct revenue to the Government of The Bahamas from the ferry service is expected to be from ferry entry and departure fees (approximately $17.50 per person, $2.50 entry, $15 departure) totaling $6,300,000 (refer to Economic and Fiscal Impacts Analysis Report for the Casino and Infrastructure Improvements in Appendix L). There will also be revenue as a result of the ferry terminal from the mega yacht arrivals and departures.

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Whilst the majority of the people on the ferry are expected to be day trippers (estimated 558,675 per year) it is estimated that 162,000 will overnight in Bimini thereby further increasing revenue indirectly. It should be noted that the Government has provided substantial exemptions to Bimini Bay to assist with the construction of the Resort and Casino. 5.3.2.3 Effect on Local Residential Housing Availability Overall, the significance of the project's effects on the local residential housing availability associated with the proposed project and infrastructure is expected to be negative and high. The impacts will be indirect, extend island-wide, and will residential housing will be even more scarce than at present over the long-term (operation and maintenance). Construction Phase During construction, temporary housing will be provided as necessary to accommodate construction workers, thereby negating any impact on local residential housing availability. The type of housing is anticipated to be on-island apartments. Operation and Maintenance Phase A total of approximately 600 permanent employees are anticipated following completion of the ferry terminal pier. 600 units will be needed. These units will be provided through a combination of back-of-house employee housing (dorm-style) and housing units outside of the development, including on South Bimini. The developer is in on-going discussions with the Office of the Prime Minister to identify land and to assist in development of new housing units. Current options off-site for the housing of permanent employees are available, but also expensive. Affordable options need to be explored. There will be an increased demand on housing as an indirect effect of the project. Housing is already a concern for the island and the Government has been seeking to provide additional low cost housing in South Bimini. Bimini Bay has also previously advised of willingness to assist with a housing development. 5.3.2.4 Impact on Existing and Future Fishing and Fisheries Exploitation The overall significance of the potential impacts on existing and future fishing and fisheries exploitation resulting from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be high. Construction Phase Impacts to existing and future fishing and fisheries exploitation that are anticipated during the construction phase of the Ferry Terminal are mainly seafood demands from construction workers and their fishing activities. Otherwise impacts are anticipated to be minimal as fishing in the area is limited to the ridge and will likely take place around the construction activities. Apart from incidental recreational-type hand fishing done from the shoreline, no fishing normally takes place at the proposed ferry terminal site. It is possible that some fishing activities are carried out in the area that could potentially be affected by turbidity from construction activities, vibration and noise caused by the pile driving, disposal of return water, and accessibility and ease of fishing at the new infrastructure. In that case, work could have an impact on local fishery activities through the generation of turbidity, noise and dispersed sediments which will cause fish to inhabit other areas and prevent fishermen being able to see and find their fish pots and cause suffocation of fish caught in traps. Notifications advising of intended work should advise fishermen that their fishing activities must cease within a mile of the proposed construction site. Operation and Maintenance Phase Potential impacts on existing and future fishing and fisheries exploitation resulting from the project and associated infrastructure are expected to be negative and high in significance. Increased commercial fishing 4 October 2013

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in the region could be expected to meet demand by residents and resort visitors. Some increased local subsistence and recreational fishing via skiffs could be expected off the ferry terminal itself. Also, the fishing guides on Bimini would experience an indirect positive impact due to increased demand for shallow and deep-sea fishing excursions. The negative long-term impacts from this increased exploitation of fisheries resources are anticipated to be both direct and indirect, and will extend to the entire island or region. At present there is no dedicated Government ramp for fishing vessels nor a dedicated fish cleaning station. Fishermen ought to be provided with a dedicated area where vessels can be trailered without further deterioration to the shoreline, fish can be cleaned and stored in a safe and healthy manner and generally better facilities and conditions provided to fishermen. There ought to also be a dedicated location for the disposal of conch shells as this has been ad hoc in the past and has resulted in large stockpiles of conch shells at many locations along the Eastern shoreline of North Bimini. Commercial fishermen now have to have a catch certificate to monitor their catch so that the seafood export is certified. There is a risk that the world market could stop Bahamians from selling its seafood if it thinks that the Bahamas is being overfished. This would have a severe impact on the Bahamas given many of the family islands in the Bahamas depend heavily on the seafood industry. 5.3.2.5 Impacts on Public Health and Worker Health and Safety Potential impacts on occupational and public health and safety resulting from the project are expected to be moderate. Construction Phase There are potential impacts during the construction and operation phases of the project due to the nature of the project activities on to worker safety. During construction and operation, the potential impacts to worker safety include construction related hazards from working at elevation, over water, near unstable ground, with electricity and near heavy equipment. To maximize safety for staff and visitors, Bimini Bay and its Contractor/s will be responsible for developing health and safety protocols for use during construction and operation and maintenance. The selected construction Contractor/s will be responsible for preparing the detailed health and safety plan for use during construction, in accordance with Bahamian, U.S., and/or international health and safety standards, as appropriate. All construction activities will be lit and lights provided on new structures. Operation/Maintenance Phases No major impacts to Public Health are expected as a result of the operation and maintenance of the project other than a potential issue on availability of public health resources as a result of increased demand. The potential impacts to safety during operation include those of ferry operations in particular during berthing and increased fire hazards. Fire hazards should be mitigated by the provision of fire extinguishers. Fire hydrants are not necessary as the local fire truck is able to pump water from the sea. Safety to pedestrians at the island and the pier must be accounted for with the installation of facilities such as a fence or gate around the perimeter of the island, the provision of life rings, a pedestrian walkway along the pier, guardrail along the pier, pedestrian crossings and steps to the beach. Safety to divers will be compromised by the fact that there are dive spots close to the ferry channel. It will be necessary to mark the channel on top of the water as well as beneath in the area where divers may venture unaware that they are in the channel and at a relatively shallow depth (i.e. in the area of the high relief reef. It will also be necessary to provide buoys along the beach to prohibit marine vessels from coming close to shore thereby putting swimmer at risk and to prohibit swimmers from swimming near marine vessel activity. The riptide/undercurrents along the shoreline in the area of the project are unknown. It may be necessary to 4 October 2013

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post flag at the beach to indicate swimmers safety and have a lifeguard available. Life rings should also be provided along the pier. Health and Safety protocols and operating procedures will also be prepared for use during operation and maintenance of the facilities, in order to safeguard workers and visitors. A thorough and ongoing training program for site workers will focus on steps to minimise potential accidents. Security will be provided to ensure safety. The protocols will include a SPCC Plan so as to minimise releases to the environment of oil or hazardous materials associated with the project. If additional police, fire, medical, and other community services are needed due to increased demands as a result of the project, it will be necessary for Bimini Bay and the Government to upgrade these community services and facilities proportionate to the increased demand. The direct and indirect negative impacts during both the construction and operation and maintenance phases are expected to be high, long-term, and island wide. 5.3.3 Tourism RAV Bahamas and Resorts World Bimini have predicted that the improved access from Bimini’s prime tourist market will increase visitor arrivals by a factor of 11. The partners have invested approximately $80 million to date to accommodate the new ferry service between Bimini and South Florida. Admittedly $60 million of this is invested in the ferry which is easily transferable elsewhere in the world. Visitors that travel on the ferry service or onboard mega yachts that would otherwise be unable to moor alongside a dock due to space constraints in the existing marinas will each contribute to a growing Bimini tourist economy. Therefore the project could potentially significantly increase tourism to Bimini, and strengthen an industry that has been vital to economic expansion in The Bahamas. However the increased tourism could also potentially take away from what is the attraction to many of the current visitors many of whom are return visitors. The overall impacts of tourism are anticipated to be high, both positive and negative, and long-term in duration and will be the cause of a number of negative impacts some of which warrant further investigation and are discussed elsewhere in this report. Social Impact Socially tourism has a great influence on the host societies. Tourism can be both a source of international amity, peace and understanding and a destroyer and corrupter of indigenous cultures, a source of ecological destruction, an assault of people’s privacy, dignity, and authenticity. Possible positive social effects of tourism include the following: • • • • • • •

Developing positive attitudes towards each other Learning about each other’s culture and customs Reducing negative perceptions and stereotypes Developing friendships Developing pride, appreciation, understanding, respect, and tolerance for each other’s culture Increasing self-esteem of hosts and tourists Psychological satisfaction with interaction

Social contacts between tourists and local people may result in mutual appreciation, understanding, tolerance, awareness, learning, family bonding respect, and liking. Residents are educated about the outside world without leaving their homes, while their visitors significantly learn about a distinctive culture. Local communities are benefited through contribution by tourism to the improvement of the social infrastructure like schools, libraries, health care institutions, internet cafes, and so on. Besides, if local culture is the base for attracting tourists to the region, it helps to preserve the local traditions and handicrafts which maybe were on the link of the extinction. Many of the fears surrounding tourism are closely associated with uncontrolled, unsustainable and massed tourism growth. Tourism is an industry and is dominated by private enterprise with a purpose of making 4 October 2013

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money by selling experiences. Market led planning can fail to achieve the objectives of sustainable tourism and has a tendency to forget environmental, social and cultural impacts. In the extremes, tourism has contributed to a wide range of issues, many of which seem insignificant but detract from the quality of life of local residents. Intrusion on daily life, loss of privacy, and a sense of crowding contribute to ill feelings towards tourism development. Tourism infrastructure is often accused of taking the “best sites” and local secrets seen as being spectacles and losing their destination appeal. Planning authorities should ensure that only sites that are tourism ready should be selected for tourism development, if necessary. The increased visitors will result in undesirable activities becoming more regular including gambling, taking loans, crimes and money laundering. Bimini is likely to be passively ruled by tourism therefore it needs community development, which is a process and a capacity to make decisions that consider the long-term economy, ecology and equity of all communities. Community development is one of the core elements of sustainable development. Refer to the section below on ‘Community’ and ‘Other Social’ for further details thereof. It should be noted that more than 300 Biminites signed and submitted a petition to the Prime Minister Hubert th Ingraham in June 9 2008 indicating they had no objection to the Bimini Bay development. However, further public consultation should be conducted with emphasis on obtaining greater insight into the social and community impacts of the project and if necessary a more thorough social impact study conducted prior to any construction. Demand Whilst the number of visitors to Bimini ranks it as one of the highest for the number of visitors per year the capacity for an increase in visitors by 11 fold is questionable mainly in terms of demand, fisheries and the indigenous community. Whilst the “Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis prepared by HVS Convention, Sports and Entertainment Facilities Consulting” refers to expected number of passengers for this ferry service (referred to as the high speed cruise ferry) it does not indicate how it is that these numbers can be expected or who expects these numbers taking no responsibility for such a statement. The report also makes no mention of the research conducted prior to the report. The question of demand for the ferry service is whether the impact of; the larger improved ferry service as compares with the current ferry service to Florida (refer to the Transportation section of this report for further details thereof), a 10,000 square foot casino, a marketing budget of approximately $2 million and the Resort World name is adequate to increase the current 52,000 visitors to the island by a factor of fifteen (11) or alternatively sufficient passengers that the combined ferry service and Bimini Bay Resort and Casino can be successful and whether this can be sustained. Although the price of the ferry service will be altered to create demand when needed by effectively subsidizing passengers on the ferry there is a limit to which this can be done in order to be successful. We can consider and compare the services provided to Grand Bahama(where there are more facilities for tourists including a number of casinos one of which is at least twice the size of the proposed casino) and the current Balearia service in the first instance in order to try to ensure that the ferry service is not a failure (like many ship services in the past and present) thereby impacting the natural environment and putting Bimini’s diving resources at risk. As such we recommend a demand study be carried out by a Government approved firm to ascertain the demand for this ferry service at the earliest opportunity preferably prior to commencing any construction alternately if necessary in the early stages of construction. The high demand on transportation and island resources will be somewhat controlled by having the visitors sign up to activities prior to the journey or onboard and tickets or bracelets will be issued with travel arrangements included in the cost so that the visitors can disperse rapidly and easily. Whilst this may take away from the opportunities to Biminites to benefit from the visitors it is understood that many of the visitors will want to experience Bimini itself and are likely to go into the towns for homemade Bimini breads, conch 4 October 2013

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salad and the nightlife. It will be important to put systems in place to ensure that the Towns benefit as much as possible from the tourism and that the organized activities provide Biminites with appropriate benefits. The increase in the visitors as a result of the ferry service factored with adjustments for two day trips on weekends and based on that provided by HVS indicates an increase in overnight visitors of 300 per day at weekdays and 210 overnight visitors per day at weekends. Given Bimini currently offers tourists approximately 1,170 bedrooms and that the majority will stay for 4.5 nights on average and that the bedrooms likely accommodate 2 persons each an approximation on the number of additional visitors to be accommodated can be determined as well as the number of available beds. Based on these assumptions during the week 1,200 additional visitors would be over nighting on an average night whilst 2,340 beds would be available for all visitors to Bimini wishing to overnight at a hotel. This approximation has not considered those visitors who will be accommodated in private residences or those that will be accommodated in timeshares (these being the main other forms of accommodation for these type of travelers. Whilst only a small number of visitors are likely to be accommodated at private residences it is considered likely that the Bimini Bay timeshares could accommodate a portion of these visitors. Therefore on average there will be adequate accommodation. At present the hotels and marinas on Bimini are booked full during the holidays without the additional visitors. Phase 2 of the Bimini Bay Resort will expand on-island tourist accommodations it is unclear when these aspects of the development will be completed. 5.3.3.1 Effect on Existing and Future Land Use Values The land proposed for the project is currently unoccupied and undeveloped or sea bed. The area is void of any habitable structures and there is little infrastructure in the form of utilities. Development of the project and infrastructure would increase the islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s land use values. Overall, the significance of these direct, longterm impacts will be high and positive. 5.3.3.2 Impacts to Shipping and Boating The overall significance of the potential impacts on shipping and boating resulting from the project will be moderate, generally positive, direct in nature, long-term in duration, and occur primarily during the projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s operation and maintenance phase. Construction Phase Where a pipeline is to be utilised to transport material this pipeline is to be placed so as to cause minimal disruption to marine traffic. Adequate lighting, sufficient for night time vessel operations, will be required to mark the construction activities and all floating pipeline. Where necessary a section of the submerged pipeline where there is sufficient water depth for safe vessel crossing is to be designated and marked. There will be a 140 foot long barge shipping construction materials once to twice a day during construction however it is anticipated that this will have minimal effect on boating and shipping in the area. Bimini boaters are to be advised of the details of the construction, submerged pipeline and alterations made as part of the project by notification in the newspapers and radio as well as letters to the local residents, boating operations such as marinas and a local Town Public Meeting. Operation and Maintenance Phase The new ferry terminal will provide new facilities for the ferry as well as three mega yachts which is not provided elsewhere in Bimini. The improved ferry service and associated infrastructure should not hinder existing commercial shipping activities outside Bimini due to the fact that the service corridor between Miami and Bimini is very spacious. The extents of the new ferry terminal island will be well identified by lighting. The new ferry service as proposed as a more comfortable and shorter journey that is cheaper and with additional facilities onboard than the Balearia service will likely reduce the demand for the Balearia service and potentially put it out of business given that it is not particularly successful at this time. The ferry service will provide some cargo services exclusively for Bimini Bay however the amount of cargo to be utilized is 4 October 2013

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uncertain at this time. Bimini Bay will continue to use G&G shipping for importation of construction materials however the new ferry service will replace the remaining shipping service currently provided by G & G shipping. No evaluation has been conducted as to the potential shut-down of companies. 5.3.4

Infrastructure and Community Services

Impacts to infrastructure and community services resulting from the North Bimini Ferry Terminal will be generally negative although some will be positive, long-term in duration, and occur primarily during the project's operation and maintenance phase. The categories of potential impact to local infrastructure discussed in this section include the following: • • •

Impacts on Public Access and Use of Coastal Resources, Effects on Availability or Demand on Local Infrastructure, and Effects on Availability or Demand for Local Community Services.

5.3.4.1 Impacts on Public Access and Use of Coastal Resources The overall significance of the potential impacts on public access and the use of coastal resources resulting from the Project will be high, generally positive, indirect in nature, long-term in duration, and occur primarily during the project's operation and maintenance phase. Construction Phase Public access and the use of coastal resources adjacent to the property may be temporarily limited during the construction of the ferry terminal. Coastal resources will remain available to the public throughout construction; however, existing public access to these resources may be blocked by construction activities and equipment and beachgoers may be diverted to an alternate access point although this access (through the maintenance yard) is not a public right of way. Therefore, public access to coastal resources will remain throughout the project's construction phase. Operation and Maintenance Phase The overall significance of the potential impact on public access to the beaches will be positive and high. Public access from Miami and a tram service for residents will be provided to the beaches by way of the improved road network established by the development. The public currently access the shoreline by golf cart through the maintenance yard. Access is currently difficult due to the severe erosion to the shoreline and the resulting cliff edges to the beach. The only means of accessing the beach at present is to jump or climb some 8 to 10 feet down the eroded beach cliff face. Access is also made to the shoreline by property owners via their private stairs. The project will provide a new road and sidewalks and stairs to access the beach at this location improving access for the public. Access on the beach from one side to the other will be possible beneath the pier as the clearance beneath the pier slab will be 10-12 feet. By providing infrastructure for a ferry service at this location coastal resources are improved and access to the shorelines of Bimini are improved. Also, new shoreline will be created at the Ferry Terminal and facilities provided for the public to enjoy the shoreline by means of a beach club for instance. There will be adverse effects also as a result of the large number of visitors to the beaches on Bimini which will make public access and use of coastal resources more difficult. 5.3.4.2 Effects on Availability or Demand for Local Infrastructure The overall significance of the potential impact on availability or demand for local infrastructure associated with the project is expected to be high, negative, and long-term in duration. However Bimini Bay Resort has assisted the island in the past including the installation of a 300,000-gallon water desalination plant to serve the island potable water. RAV and Resorts World Bimini have also agreed to fund a beautification plan for Alice Town that includes re-surfacing of the main road, creation of pedestrian walkways, introduction of a ferry 4 October 2013

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service on the bay side and landscaping. The joint venture group will also assist in undertaking further upgrades to the airport in South Bimini to provide for increased flights and an improved arrival and departure experience. Construction Phase The proposed project will result in a negative impact to water supply, solid waste, electricity and telecommunication infrastructure on the island during construction due to short periods of downtime whilst the new systems are installed. There will be a negative impact due to the increased traffic flows during construction. It will be necessary to provide dust abatement measures beside the roads. Operation/Maintenance Phase The proposed project will result in a negative impact to electricity and telecommunication infrastructure on Bimini by increasing the demand on the supply. There will be an increased demand for housing in Bimini as a result of the new ferry terminal. Potable Water The proposed project will result in a negative impact on water due to increased demand however Bimini Bay will increase the water supply by installing one or more of the following; • • •

Installing a new pump system that would increase capacity from 375,000 gallons per day to approximately 500,000 gallons per day. Installing a new holding tank - on the order of 500,000 gallons holding in addition to the existing 800,000, for a total of 1.3 million gallons of water. Delivering fresh water by the fast ferry to make up any shortfall. 100,000 gallons or more per day.

The potable water system will also be altered to remove the odour emissions possibly by the introduction of additional air filters. Sanitary Waste Water/Sewer Water The additional capacity needed to address sanitary wastewater is currently under review, and will be addressed as the Project scales up to 1,500 people per day over the next 6 to 12 months as future expansion is recommended. Solid Waste The proposed project will result in a negative impact to solid waste with the additional demand on the landfill site on South Bimini. A tourist produces an average of 1kg of waste a day. Given the forecast visitor days (HVS Report) of 1,297,000 for 2015 solid waste would equate to 1,297 metric tons per year, approximately 3,240 cubic yards. The ferry service provides the opportunity to ship recyclable materials to Florida. Plastic, cardboard, glass and aluminum would be sorted in Bimini and shipped to Miami. By recycling one metric ton of cardboard 3.5 cubic yards of landfill will be saved as well as 17 thirty foot trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and 380 gallons of oil, 4100 kWh of energy and 60 pounds of air pollutants eliminated. It is estimated that the introduction of a recycling system for the island will potentially reduce the amount of material to the landfill site on South Bimini by 50%. Experts in this field at the Port of Miami advise that this is done on a regular basis and the volumes likely to be produced by Bimini with the ferry service are such that they could be considered a commodity. The Managing Director at Bahamas Waste Ltd. has also advised that they would like to receive Bimini’s cardboard and used cooking oil.

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Photograph 5.2: A solid waste pile at the entrance to this food store

Photograph 5.3: A recycling effort at the restaurant/bar at Radio Beach for glass and cans There are a high number of visitors to Bimini that are onboard yachts and come with adequate supplies (food, drink etc.) for their trip and staying on the yacht thereby spending little on the island. These visitors leave their waste however. Most marinas in Bimini do not charge for this service at present. It is recommended that as well as the electricity and water charges these yachters pay there ought to be a charge for depositing solid waste.

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Transport There will be a negative impact on Bimini due to the increased traffic flows with the introduction of additional people to the island. The ferry is not intended to carry vehicles. As part of the project the roads will be repaved. It will be necessary for the Government to determine the size, type and number of vehicles it will allow on the streets of Bimini. It is recommended that consideration be given to utilising more electric cars on the island. The high demand on transportation and island resources will be somewhat controlled by having the visitors sign up to activities prior to the journey or onboard and tickets or bracelets will be issued with travel arrangements included in the cost so that the visitors can disperse rapidly and easily. A tram service will be provided to accommodate a large number of visitors with least impact on the environment. A ferry service will also be implemented along the sheltered East coast of North Bimini with various ferry stops so that traffic demands on the roads will be reduced. Refer to Appendix G which indicates the Enhancement Master Plan for Bimini as well as the proposed ferry stop locations. The enhancements planned include enhancements at the airport where the airstrip will be extended and the arrivals area improved. Enhancements will also be made in the Towns where circulation will be improved, a water taxi with approximately 4 to 6 stops provided and the community enhanced by way of identifying open space opportunities, opportunities identified for incorporating or highlighting the local village experience and the Eastern shoreline cleaned-up. An employee transportation strategy should be implemented to ensure efficient transportation of employees. Also, monitoring of traffic loads and transportation capacities should be conducted to determine the adequacy of proposed island traffic mitigation measures. 5.3.4.3 Effects on Availability or Demand for Local Community Services The overall significance of the potential effects on availability or demand for local community services associated with the ferry terminal is expected to be high, negative, indirect in nature, and long-term in duration. It should be noted that he Bimini Bay Resort development project has produced several positive socioeconomic impacts and beneficial contributions to the residents and community of North Bimini to date. New infrastructure improvements to North Bimini provided by RAV Bahamas Ltd. have enhanced the quality of life in this community. The social and community improvements that RAV Bahamas Ltd. has indicated a commitment to include supplying potable water to the entire island of North Bimini from the projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reverse osmosis water treatment plant, and construction of a 5 acre lighted community recreational complex in Bailey Town. RAV Bahamas Ltd. has also purchased a firefighting truck capable of pumping salt water to provide firefighting capabilities to all of North Bimini. Year-round employment opportunities are being made available to Bahamians and Biminites in the resort operations areas (residential, restaurant, reception, marina, commercial shops, and other hospitality services). Hospitality training and apprenticeship programs are being provided. The increase in road traffic resulting from additional visitors to North Bimini from the resort is being mitigated by restricting homeowners to using golf carts for transportation, and utilization of only those golf carts licensed by the Island administration. Local residents are currently allowed to enter the resort and have unrestricted access to the beaches and other areas north of the Phase 1A area. RAV Bahamas Ltd. has also provided charitable donations of books, computers, musical instruments to local schools and pupils. It is also understood that paint was donated to 60 residences and businesses on North Bimini and that RAV Bahamas Ltd. sponsored the cleanup and removal of abandoned cars and a barge from the island. Construction and Operation/Maintenance Phases Due to the projected increases in the number of tourists visiting Bimini, residential home owners, and local workers there would be an increased demand on health and law enforcement services. In view of the fact that a doctor resides on the island this impact should be minor. The local clinic nearest the development may need upgrading. If emergencies occur that cannot be addressed by the local physician an air ambulance can be utilized to transport persons to a hospital in New Providence or Miami. The project would necessitate the Bahamas Royal Police Force to increase their personnel and marine vessel resources on the island to 4 October 2013

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ensure adequate safety is provided especially given that the casino will be opening soon. The Ferry Terminal will provide jobs which would allow locals who may have left Bimini in search of work to return home. In addition, others who may be seeking employment may relocate to Bimini. Affordable housing will be required for the workers and their families. Depending on the number of families migrating to Bimini, the school system may be stressed and require additional teachers or infrastructure to adequately function. Bimini Bay has commissioned and contracted a world renowned land planning company and moved forward with outlining a proposed island wide enhancement program. This along with Bimini Bayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assurance to improve the islands needs that are a result of the development where requested of by the Government will limit the impact on local infrastructure. 5.3.5

Cultural Resources

5.3.5.1 Disturbance to Cultural Resources The overall significance of the potential disturbance to cultural resources resulting from the proposed development and infrastructure are expected to be low. No known archaeological deposits or historic standing structures have been identified in the area. The impact on the reef is considered elsewhere in this report. 5.3.6

Visual/Seascape Impacts

The overall significance of the potential impact on views and the seascape associated with the project is expected to be high, negative, and long-term in duration. Construction Phase The construction of the ferry terminal will introduce a new and different visual perspective. The project area will be highly visible from the adjacent lands although some activities will take place approximately 4,400 feet off shore. There will be a number of large pieces of equipment including the dredger, the crane and the barges. The turbidity associated with the cutter suction dredge will be partially restricted by turbidity barriers anchored to sheet piles at an appropriate spacing due to their unlikely effectiveness in an exposed location however adherence to the turbidity limit will limit adverse impacts. As a result a plume will be visible around the dredging operation. Whilst the view from the main roads is limited, there are a number of properties as well as restaurants, beaches and other vessels from which people will be able to see the equipment and the dredging area and associated plume. Impacts during the night time hours can be expected due to the project site night time lighting for operations, safety and security. The overall significance of this impact will vary depending on construction methods, weather conditions and from person to person, but on a precautionary basis is regarded as being high. Operation and Maintenance Phase On completion the ferry terminal will introduce a new and different visual perspective. Regardless of the final design configuration for the new ferry terminal, the project area will be highly visible from the adjacent lands and from offshore. The ferry in particular will be visible for a good distance given its size and height above water. A number of properties along the west coast of North Bimini will have their sea view obstructed by the ferry terminal. Lands immediately adjacent to the project site, including residential properties along the west coast of North Bimini will be directly exposed to the project. Existing tree cover along the west coast of North Bimini between the shoreline and the existing road would provide some visual screening of the Ferry Terminal. The facilities on the Ferry Terminal would not be screened until vegetation is established, even then this is likely to be only very light coverage of vegetation if any in some areas due to vessels mooring alongside the island and the necessity to have a cleared area for loading and off-loading activities. 4 October 2013

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Lighting on the ferry terminal will consist of low profile LED lights, along with appropriate navigation lights. Lighting on the island will consist of appropriate high and low level lighting, designed to minimize glow to surrounding areas. No quantitative data for lighting levels is available at this time. Mitigation efforts to reduce glare and impacts is proposed through the use of low-level lighting that projects onto the walkways, as well as the use of landward side shields. The view to passengers onboard the ferry as they arrive will be mainly that of an island with residential properties lining a beach shoreline. Landscaping will be carried out to camouflage the water tanks and the sewerage treatment plant and to beautify the area. It will be important to screen the house, tennis court and childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s play area that borders onto the project property for privacy and security. 5.6.5.1 Visual Character Due to the nature of ferry activities, it is anticipated that the new ferry terminal will be characterised as a busy, medium to large entreport centre. The site will contain offices, equipment for loading and off-loading. These will be contained within a fenced compound and the visual character of the project site will be that of an active terminal location on the whole. There will however also be a beach club which will include Tiki and open-style structures, landscape/hardscape, mooring hardware, and a cul-de-sac tram circulation traffic area 5.3.7

Other Social

Social Impacts Social impacts may be 'real' or 'perceived' and measures must be able to cope with both dimensions. That is, a so-called 'real' impact can be measured with objective data that verifies its existence. An example of this is the level of traffic congestion which is a quantifiable outcome, although attribution to a particular cause of the traffic congestion may be difficult to make. By contrast, a 'perceived' impact is purely a personal view of that impact, although again, this view may be 'contaminated' by community discussion or media attention. Related to this concept of social impacts is the use of the term 'social capital'. There are various definitions of social capital and the following one is perhaps one of the most widely accepted: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Social capital has been defined as those features of social organisation - such as the extent of interpersonal trust between citizens, norms of reciprocity, and density of civic associations - that facilitate cooperation for mutual benefit.' (Kawachi, Kennedy & Glass 1999: 1187). The social capital of communities, it is argued, is decreasing. It is argued that there is a diminished sense of community and less community cohesion, although it is suggested that this trend has existed since the beginning of western modernity. In general, the research suggests that there is greater isolation and alienation, lack of trust and an unwillingness to be involved in community activities. The lack of cohesion, it is argued, is due to growing social and economic inequalities. Research into social impacts has illustrated that different communities, facing similar change, will respond differently. It is argued that leadership style is a key contributing factor in differentiating communities. However, the measurement of social impacts is far more complex than merely the measurement of leadership style and success. Social Impacts of Tourism The impacts of tourism have been reasonably well researched, particularly from the environmental and economic perspectives. More recently, attention has turned to exploring the social impacts of tourism and important research is emerging in this area. Mathieson and Wall, as early as 1982 suggested that 'the social and cultural impacts of tourism are the ways in which tourism is contributing to changes in value systems, individual behavior, family relationships, collective lifestyles, safety levels, moral conduct, creative expressions, traditional ceremonies and community organisations. 4 October 2013

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Research into the social impacts of tourism on a community suggests that a number of factors influence the level of impact. For example, factors such as the state of the local economy, the maturity of the tourism destination, and the level of community attachment have been found to influence the level of impact of tourism activities. Social impacts have been considered previously in this report however attitudes towards the project and tourism have been limited. Social and community impacts were determined by interviews as well as a trial run of questionnaires (refer to Appendix H for a copy of the questionnaire). A total of 50 people were questioned for the purpose of this analysis therefore it must be stressed that this analysis is limited due to the time available to conduct interviews and distribute and collect questionnaires. Additional people were questioned in more specific areas as more of an information gathering exercise. It must be noted that the increase in visitors indicated to all persons questioned was an increase of 360,000 per year rather than the 570,000 per year that is intended. This was due to a change of intended number of trips per day arrangement. It is highly recommended that a town meeting be held to introduce and explain the project and questionnaire and provide assistance to those persons when needed and to further distribute and collect questionnaires. Additional copies should be made available at various locations on Bimini where residents may also deliver completed questionnaires for collection. The following provides insight into what is considered the likely outcome of a more thorough public consultation. The overall findings are indicated in Table 5.3 which indicates average questionnaire results. Of the residents questioned the majority were born in North Bimini (36%) followed by those born in another country (32%). Overall 48% of the residents questioned were born in either North or South Bimini. 20% were born elsewhere in the Bahamas. Therefore these findings are again considered limited in representation due to the limited number of persons represented that were born in Bimini. Although the make-up of Bimini is not known at present. Eighty eight (88%) of the people questioned live full time in Bimini with a high proportion indicating that they love Bimini and could not imagine anywhere else they would rather live. Furthermore the majority are employed (88%) and 12% were students or in part time work and the minimum education level was that of having completed year 12.Most indicated that tourism affects themselves as well as the community positively although the majority believe they tolerate tourists and the minor inconveniences they cause because they are good for the economy. Residents were also asked about their preferences for future tourism development. When asked whether Bimini should try to decrease or increase the volume of tourism, 64% of the sample indicated tourist numbers should remain 'about the same', 28% indicated tourist numbers should increase and 8% indicated tourist numbers should decrease. The majority of those in favour of trying to attract more tourists stated they would like to see growth in a more sustainable direction with a manageable number of tourists and shared benefits for the whole Bimini community. Four alternative statements were provided for residents to choose from which reflect four response strategies; embrace, tolerate, adjust and avoid. The majority indicated that they tolerate tourists and the minor inconveniences they cause because they are good for the community. This is consistent with the higher rating of community benefit than personal benefit. However, some of the sample indicted that they embrace tourists, and some indicated that they have to make adjustments to their lifestyles. Twelve percent (12%) indicated avoidance of tourists. Table 5.2 shows some of the alternative development options reported in open-ended format (Q.7). The responses were classified into 10 themes as shown below and the number of responses in each theme is shown in column 2. The same method was used for the coding of this question as outlined for Question 1. Some examples in each theme are provided

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Option

Examples

Low impact / ecotourism

• • •

Well planned sustainable tourism

• •

More public infrastructure

Any future development should be low key and eco-based to preserve the beauty and quality of life in the area. Continuing, but with strict building codes re environmental concerns - low profile/height restrictions. I would like to see a greater appreciation of our natural beauty. We need to hold the line on this - more eco-tourism I would like to see some planned and strategic improvements to the aesthetics of the town etc. I believe that it's essential that the requirements contained in the Heads of Agreement and Bimini Bay Environmental Assessments and studies are carried out.

Want infrastructure to support future development, i.e.: no water. Encourage tourists to come if we benefit with increased revenue for Bimini; improved hotels etc. in Bimini Bay but we want better facilities for Biminites.

Lower end tourists NOT resorts

Less emphasis on developing five star resorts, but more attention given to more sustainable hotels.

Higher yield

Visitors staying in the area rather than day tripping from Florida. Top end/value adding.

Marine tourism

Don’t destroy dive spots for sake of tourism that is unlikely to succeed. Repair old Government Dock.

• Small scale

Less control by major players in the industry (Bimini Bay), and more community driven tourism growth. More 'bottom up' tourism growth is needed!

In character

'Goose that laid the golden egg' - overdevelopment is changing the 'essence' of what is the attraction for many to Bimini (it’s Bahamian, simple, laid back, rustic essence).

Less development restriction

I would like to see Bimini Bay embrace tourism for the whole of Bimini rather than restrict and narrow where and what they can do and go to.

Strategies to smooth out seasonality

I would like to see more tourism developed for off season.

Table 5.2: Alternative development options reported

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Residents were asked how they felt they personally and how they felt the community would be affected by certain impacts. The impacts considered included the following; 1. INTERESTING: Because of the added tourism, there will be more interesting things to do in the region (e.g. attractions to visit, events to attend). 2. OPPORTUNITY COST: Too much public money will be spent on developing facilities for tourists that would be better spent on other public activities. 3. ECONOMIC BENEFITS: Added tourism will be good for the economy because the money that visitors will spend when they come to the region will help to stimulate the economy, stimulates employment opportunities, and will be good for local business. 4. DISRUPTION: Added tourism will disrupt the lives of local residents and create inconveniences. Problems like traffic congestion, parking difficulties and excessive noise will worsen when there are lots of tourists around. 5. FACILITY MAINTENANCE: The added tourism will promote the development and better maintenance of public facilities such as roads, parks, sporting facilities, and / or public transport. 6. DELINQUENT BEHAVIOUR: The added tourism will be associated with some people behaving inappropriately, perhaps in a rowdy and delinquent way, or engaging in excessive drinking or drug use or other criminal behavior. 7. PRIDE: The added tourism will make local residents feel more proud of their town and make them feel good about themselves and their community. 8. ENVIRONMENT: The added tourism will have a negative impact on the environment through excessive litter and/or pollution and/or damage to natural areas. 9. SHOWCASE: The added tourism will showcase our region in a positive light. This will help to promote a better opinion of our region and encourages future tourism and/or business investment. 10. PRICES: The added tourism will lead to increases in the prices of some things such as some goods and services and/or property values and/or rental costs. 11. JUSTICE: The distribution of the costs and benefits of the added tourism are distributed unfairly across the community. 12. DENY ACCESS: The added tourists will deny local residents access to public facilities, that is, roads, parks, water, sporting facilities, public transport and/ or other facilities which will be less available to local residents because of overcrowding. 13.

CHARACTER: The character of the region will change because of tourism.

14. NEW INFRASTRUCTURE: There will be better shopping, dining, and /or recreational opportunities in the region, because of the added tourism. 15.

FISHERIES: The added tourism will lead to overfishing.

Residents were asked how tourism affects their personal life and the Bimini community as a whole and the average rating given for both were +0.7. This indicates that most residents of Bimini consider the current level of tourism to be beneficial to the island. The overall average ratings for the perceived effect of the added tourism are shown in Table 5.3 where it can be seen that the majority of the effects from the proposed project were considered likely to be negative (83%), 10% were indicated to have no effect and 2% were indicated to have a positive effect. The largest positive impact although only slight was found for the 4 October 2013

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economic benefits (Question 3). It should be noted that economic benefit was the only impact to be rated as positive. At the other end of the scale tourism was considered likely to change the environment of Bimini very negatively, being the highest negative impact (Question 8). Many Biminites were very concerned about the environment and the continued negative impact the Bimini Bay Resort and Casino has had on the environment with little beneficial impact in particular for the Biminites. Fisheries also rated very highly negatively due to concerns for overfishing (Question 15). Fishing is a major attraction to Bimini, it being nicknamed the fishing capital of the Bahamas. There is a large amount of subsistence fishing and many locals rely on fisheries as their food source also many tourists who visit Bimini make enjoying the local fresh seafood a must on their trips. Deep sea fishing and bone fishing are also highly sought after attractions to Bimini. Practically all Biminites felt that the increase in tourism will severely deplete these resources. Another specific social impact that was rated highly negative was that of disruption and inconvenience (Question 4). Many Biminites were concerned with regards to the likely traffic congestion, parking issues and noise generated by the additional tourists. Delinquent behavior (Question 6) was a concern for many who recognize that often with the increase in tourism there will be an increase in drugs and crime. Some advised that tourists come with the notion that drugs are acceptable in the Bahamas. Disruption was mainly a concern due to traffic congestion concerns. Many Biminites recognized the importance of the existing character (Question 13) in Bimini, most suggesting that it is one of the main reasons that there are so many visitors to Bimini. They were concerned that in altering the character of Bimini to something more akin to what already exists where the majority of the visitors come from would reduce the attraction to Bimini. Many of the residents were also very concerned that Bimini Bay will continue to be the main beneficiary of the negative impacts on the island with few benefits of the development existing outside of the development. When questioned on whether they felt the ferry service was likely to be a success all residents indicated negatively. Another common issue was the pressure on scarce water supplies followed by the lack of adequate landfill and the inability of current systems to cope with the proposed tourist load. There were three specific social impacts where the project was considered likely not to have an impact. This may have been because an equal number of persons felt positively as felt negatively or that persons disagreed or were not sure. The majority of social impacts discussed within this section â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other Social Impactsâ&#x20AC;? have been discussed further in previous sections of this report. The main negative social impacts that have not been considered previously in this report and therefore necessitate further consideration for mitigation purposes are the increase in the price of items such as some goods and services and/or property values and/or rental costs and the change of the regions character; Due to the limited time to consult the residents of Bimini on these matters this analysis cannot be considered complete by any means. Fifty people were questioned and as such is a limited representative of the Bimini community. It is highly recommended that the residents of Bimini are consulted further in a manner that can best capture their concerns. Further use of the questionnaire used in this instance is therefore highly recommended along with a Town Meeting to introduce the residents to the public and assist with the completing of forms. The Government of the Bahamas is undertaking the Town Meetings, and anticipates utilizing the feedback obtained to make improvements to infrastructure in co-ordination with the ferry terminal development. Other aspects will also need to be addressed.

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Impact

No.

1a

2a

3a

Because of the added tourism, there will be more interesting things to do in the region (e.g. attractions to visit, events to attend). Too much public money will be spent on developing facilities for tourists that would be better spent on other public activities.

Extent of Impact Considered

Average Result

1b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-0.1

1c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-0.1

2b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-1.7

2c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-2.0

Added tourism will be good for the economy because the money 3b. How will this affect your personal quality of life? that visitors will spend when they come to the region will help to stimulate the economy, stimulates employment opportunities, 3c. How will this affect the community as a whole? and will be good for local business.

4a

Added tourism will disrupt the lives of local residents and create 4b. How will this affect your personal quality of life? inconveniences. Problems like traffic congestion, parking difficulties and excessive noise will worsen when there are lots of 4c. How will this affect the community as a whole? tourists around.

5a

The added tourism will promote the development and better maintenance of public facilities such as roads, parks, sporting facilities, and / or public transport.

0.2 0.1 -2.4 -2.6

5b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

0.0

5c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

0.0

6a

The added tourism will be associated with some people behaving 6b. How will this affect your personal quality of life? inappropriately, perhaps in a rowdy and delinquent way, or engaging in excessive drinking or drug use or other criminal 6c. How will this affect the community as a whole? behaviour. 7b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

7a

The added tourism will make local residents feel more proud of their town and make them feel good about themselves and their community.

0.0

7c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-0.1

The addedd tourism will have a negative impact on the environment through excessive litter and/or pollution and/or damage to natural areas.

8b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-2.8

8c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-2.7

The added tourism will showcase our region in a positive light. This will help to promote a better opinion of our region and encourages future tourism and/or business investment.

9b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-0.2

9c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-0.2

8a

9a

10a

11a

12a

13a

14a

15a

The added tourism will lead to increases in the prices of some 10b. How will this affect your personal quality of life? things such as some goods and services and/or property values 10c. How will this affect the community as a whole? and/or rental costs. The distribution of the costs and benefits of the added tourism are distributed unfairly across the community. The added tourists will deny local residents access to public facilities, that is, roads, parks, water, sporting facilities, public transport and/ or other facilities which will be less available to local residents because of overcrowding.

-2.7

-1.6 -1.7

11b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-2.2

11c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-2.4

12b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-2.2

12c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-2.3

13b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-2.3

13c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-2.4

14b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-0.3

14c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-0.3

14b. How will this affect your personal quality of life?

-2.6

14c. How will this affect the community as a whole?

-2.7

The character of the region will change because of tourism.

There will be better shopping, dining, and /or recreational opportunities in the region, because of the added tourism.

-2.3

The added tourism will lead to overfishing.

Table 5.3: Overall Specific Social Impacts Questionnaire Results

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Variations in Perception within the Community There are two main reasons why people would perceive the impacts of tourism differently. Firstly, some community subgroups are actually more substantially impacted than others. This may be because they live closer to where the tourism activity occurs or have higher levels of contact with tourists, or perhaps because they work in tourism. It is generally recognized that those persons who are involved in tourism recognize the positive effects of tourism more readily. Questions were therefore asked with respect to this and it was found that practically all of those interviewed work in tourism or a tourism related industry and practically all have family that work in tourism. Another indicator of social and political values is political identification. However no significant preference to party was indicated nor were significant impact ratings found between interviewees who identified with specific political parties. Polling in the Bahamas is such that West Bahama and Bimini are grouped together. In the last elections (2012) the polling results for West Bahama and Bimini were 2,233 (43%) Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). 2,877 (55%) Free National Movement (FNM) and 81 (1.5%) Democratic National Alliance(DNA). We are unable to determine the quantity of votes from Bimini and the Bimini population is smaller than that of West Grand Bahama as such this information is very limited and not considered further. When asked if the ferry service would be a success all interviewees including those who wished it success indicated negatively. Most believe that the proposed service would be attempting to bring too many visitors by ferry where there is limited supply in Bimini (water, roads, and attractions) and limited demand by tourists. Many feared continued failure of ferry services to Bimini at the price of the environment. Some people regard economic growth as being highly desirable, while others prioritise other social goals. In order to further appreciate the social impacts of the project Biminites were asked to indicate the importance of certain goals in society (refer to the Questionnaire). Overall the most important goals for Biminites were those of having more said at their jobs, in the community, in government decisions and freedom of speech. When asked to choose what they considered the most important of the following; 1) 2) 3) 4)

A stable economy Progress toward a less impersonal and more humane society Progress toward a society in which ideas count more than money The fight against crime

There was a relatively even spread between 1, 2 and 3 with 2 slightly higher than the others. The response to these questions indicated that the economy is not the driving factor for many Biminites. This is likely due to the majority of Biminites being employed and most likely comfortable. It should also be noted that many residents were also interested in making the towns more beautiful. 5.4

Potential Impacts Associated with Emergencies and Disaster Management

To prepare for, and respond to, the emergencies and disasters that could potentially affect the proposed project, the Contractor will prepare appropriate emergency response plans and policies. The purpose of the emergency response plans and policies will be to identify the actions that will be taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from the effects of emergencies. The EMP will identify other emergency response plan elements that the Contractor will implement for the project, including: • Emergency Management Program and Equipment; • Explosion and Fire Prevention, Monitoring, Response, and Control; • Emergency Management Training and Testing; • Accident and Incident Documentation and Reporting; • Emergency Communications; and • Coordination with local, area-wide, and Mutual Aid Emergency Response.

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5.5

Potential Impacts Associated with the Possible Failure of Process and Environmental Control Systems

The potential impacts associated with possible failure of processes and environmental control systems are considered high. The nature and amount of the material handling for the project is large. The potential impact of turbidity affecting the nearby reef is a major concern. The necessary systems will be designed with state of the art instrumentation and controls to monitor system operations and prevent failures. The EMP will identify emergency response plan elements that will be implemented in the event of a failure of process or environmental control systems for the project, including a Turbidity Monitoring and Control Plan, Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan and a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. 5.6

Disturbance to Cultural Resources

The overall significance of the potential disturbance to cultural resources resulting from the proposed Project and infrastructure are expected to be low. No known archaeological deposits or historic standing structures have been identified on the property when it was cleared relatively recently. Also there is very little likelihood of a wreck being unearthed during dredging due to the hardbottom therefore this impact is considered low. 5.7

Summary of Potential Environmental Impacts

The potential impacts of the project are summarised above in Table 5.1. In some cases measures can be taken to avoid or reduce the severity of the impact, and the appropriate mitigation measures are identified below in Section 7. In other cases the impacts cannot be avoided or successfully mitigated if the project is implemented and these represent irreversible impacts.

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6. PROJECT ALTERNATIVES Based on the Project purpose and the existing conditions in Bimini, each of the following design alternatives for a ferry terminal to support the Bimini Island chain are reviewed below. Plan views of each alternative are presented in Figures A through D of Appendix I to this report. 6.1

No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative does not meet the Project Purpose. The Bimini Bay Resort and surrounding community will continue to rely on existing infrastructure to deliver and accommodate guests, and transport cargo/supplies to the island. Bimini Bay Resort will remain under-utilized, and Biminites will experience no increase in revenue-generating job growth. Expansion at Bimini Bay Resort to accommodate any influx of tourism that will result from the completion of the resort and its amenities will be limited to existing capacities, including a short airport runway and a ferry that is limited to fair weather passages resulting in considerable down-time during rough weather, expensive transit fees, and several hundred passenger capacity. Environmental: As no new construction will result from the No Action Alternative, impacts to the surrounding marine and littoral environments will be avoided. Impacts to the local dive sites would be minimized by this alternative, given that the potential for turbid waters caused by dredging efforts could impact the local dive sites in close proximity to the ferry terminal location. Socio-Economic: The No Action Alternative will have no significant effect on the local economy. Short-term employment from construction, long-term employment from terminal operations, and secondary island-wide employment in both the public and private sectors will not materialize. The much-needed Master Plan implementation for island improvements would not be undertaken, as this plan includes improvements to infrastructure such as roadway repairs and sidewalk/pedestrian pathways. Any impacts to the environment resulting from construction of a ferry terminal, will not materialize, therefore protecting the potential for income-generating tourism activities such as diving and snorkeling to continue with current operations at similar levels that exist today. Navigation: No substantial impact to navigation is anticipated as a result of the No Action Alternative. Minor changes to the regular flow of vessel traffic within the inner channel between North and South Bimini may be altered slightly. Without the construction of a port suitable to accommodate large vessels, proposed cruise ship mooring would likely occur offshore, near the southern end of North Bimini. Tenders would ferry passengers from the cruise ship through the existing channel between the two Bimini islands, thereby somewhat altering local navigation traffic patterns. Existing tour operators, fishermen, etc. will be forced to avoid and co-exist with any increases in traffic. 6.2.

Alternative Design A â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Interior Option

The Interior Option meets the Project Purpose, but it is the most impactful on the existing marine environment. The Interior Option proposes to dredge 1,775,000 cubic yards of hardbottom, sea grass, and sediment to carve an entrance channel and anchorage site along the southern end of North Bimini. See attached drawing for reference. Bimini Bay Resort would likely ferry passengers via tender vessels and vans/buses from this port site to the far north end of the island, where the resort is located. Environmental: Of the four design alternatives, Alternative Design Option A would have the greatest impact on hard-bottom, sea grass, and reef communities. Option A proposes to dredge nearly 2 million cubic yards of sediment (75.1 acres) to achieve adequate water depths. This dredging will remove hard-bottom and reef communities south of North Bimini, and seagrass communities within the channel and/or turning basin. Because the proposed channel carves a path between North and South Bimini, littoral processes between the two islands may be impacted and sediment deposition patterns along the west coast of South Bimini may be altered, leading to increased shoreline erosion and/or the requirement for more frequent dredging events. Down-drift impacts during dredging operations may also become an issue to nearshore hard-bottom reef habitats and seagrass communities. 4 October 2013

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Socio-Economic: The dredging of the anchorage site and channel for Alternative A will result in a short-term increase in construction employment on the island. Post-construction, the accommodation of a cruise ship terminal will result in an increase in revenue-generating job growth. Most significantly, drivers will be needed to move guests from the cruise ship terminal to Bimini Bay Resort as well as tourist destinations of Alice and Bailey Town. Navigation: The existing navigational channel between North and South Bimini would experience an increase in boat traffic if the ferry terminal was constructed at the south end of North Bimini. The channel would be utilized by vessels ferrying passengers to the north end of the island; therefore, existing industries reliant on the interior channel for navigation (fishermen, etc.) may be displaced, and would be forced to contend with a large cruise ship (650 linear feet in length). Addition impacts to the ferry service between north and south Bimini may become a concern if the cruise ship, when utilizing the turning basin, limits passage between the two islands. 6.3

Alternative Design B – Paradise Point Option

The Paradise Point Option meets the Project Purpose, but endows most of the economic benefit of the Project to the north end of North Bimini, where Bimini Bay Resort is located. This option is also positioned in a location that straddles both a popular reef site and beach, possibly leading to detrimental impacts to both environments and the recreational value of these locations. Environmental: The footprint of the proposed ferry terminal will be located directly adjacent to the popular and biologically diverse reef site Three Sisters. The creation of the terminal will necessitate the filling of 10.7 acres of submerged lands (430,000 cubic yards). Three Sisters will likely be substantially impacted by this land reclamation due to water flow changes and turbidity from construction. Moreover, adjacent to the north side of Option B’s ferry terminal and pier is the popular Paradise Point Beach. Increases in shoreline turbidity and disruptions in the littoral processes along this beach may be likely given the proximity, impacting the recreational benefits of a popular tourist destination. Socio-Economic: While Option B does provide Bimini Bay Resort with a docking point for cruise ships and mega-yachts to deliver passengers and revenue, the location of the construction within the Resort boundary creates primarily a localized economic benefit for the Resort. Once the surge in employment from the construction phase subsides, fewer local industries within Bimini that are outside of the Resort will experience direct economic benefits from the Project, but rather the primary increase in economic benefits will be directly to the Resort for the Casino. However, expansion of amenities and infrastructure outside of the Bimini Bay Resort would be implemented as part of the approval package for the ferry terminal location. These improvements currently include roadway improvements, a roadside painting initiative, new lighting and walkways, among other improvements. Navigation: No impacts to navigation are anticipated as a result of Option B since the proposed construction will not occur near or within an existing navigational corridor. 6.4.

Alternative Design C – South Area Option

The South Area option includes a long pier commencing from landward of the existing dune, extending to a terminal island, with a substantial dredge footprint for the turning basin. Design C would easily meet the Project purpose and would likely endow the island with substantial economic benefit, but its large footprint would impact surrounding marine environments. This option, while meeting the expanding needs of the Resort, requires the largest amount of fill (585,000 cubic yards) and reclamation area (12.1 acres) for Project completion. Environmental: Similar to the environmental impact that would result from Alternative Design B, the South Area Option would potentially affect popular dive sites, such as Rainbow Reef. The proposed footprint of the turning basin sits directly adjacent to this reef. Moreover, the substantial dredge requirement, 475,000 4 October 2013

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cubic yards, may also affect the Oceanside shoreline of Bailey Town, just south of the proposed construction. Disruptions in sedimentation along this shoreline are possible, and property values of local residents may be affected. Socio-Economic: Of all the design options, Alternative Design C would require the greatest input of construction labor. The footprint of this option is the largest of all five alternatives, and would therefore require the most manpower and time to develop. Once the ferry terminal and ferry channel are complete, jobs working to maintain its upkeep and operation will be required. Moreover, since the South Area Option terminal is located at the south end of Bimini Bay Resort, it can be easily accessed by passengers and local Biminites, not necessarily directly affiliated with the Resort. Its location makes it accessible to vehicular traffic moving goods/people south of the resort to other businesses. Cottage industries could result from this option, increasing local revenue streams. Navigation: No impacts to navigation are anticipated as a result of Option C since the proposed construction will not occur near or within an existing navigational corridor. 6.5

Alternative Design D â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Preferred Option

Alternative Design D is the preferred option. This option minimizes the island footprint to approximately 4.5 acres, and eliminates the turning basin requiring only a limited footprint for dredging. Option D meets the Project purpose, while simultaneously minimizing impacts to surrounding marine resources to the greatest extent practicable by virtue of its strategic location and downsized dredge/fill footprints. While the construction of Option D still affords the community with short-term and long-term employment opportunities, a balance between economic advancement and potential environmental impact has been met by minimizing the size of the Option D ferry terminal to meet the minimum functional requirements of the project. Environmental: Option D is positioned in a northwest direction so that it avoids the popular offshore dive sites Lobster, Hawksbill, and Rockwell Reefs. It also is well north of Rainbow Reef and south of Three Sisters Reef. Thus, the benthic environment that will be affected by this option will be mostly flat, low-relief, featureless hardbottom. In addition, the construction of Option D requires the least amount of dredging (220,000 cubic yards) and the smallest reclamation area (4.5 acres). This minimalist approach to the construction will substantially limit unforeseen impacts to the surrounding environments, including the beaches along Bailey Town that are south of the development, and Paradise Point Beach north of the terminal. Potential impacts to local reefs should be monitored and avoided during construction, as uncontrolled turbid water could cover the local reefs with sediment. Socio-Economic: Although the footprint of Option D has been minimized to reduce impacts to marine resources, it still will require a lengthy and significant construction phase, affording Bimini with significant job growth. Daily management of the terminal, and increase in tourists to the island, will also create permanent employment opportunities. Moreover, since the Preferred Option terminal is located at the south end of Bimini Bay Resort (in the same shoreline location as Option C), it can be easily accessed by Biminites not directly affiliated with the resort to move goods/people. Navigation: No impacts to navigation are anticipated as a result of Option D since the proposed construction will not occur near or within an existing navigational corridor. 6.6

Conclusion of Alternatives Analysis

Option D is the least-environmentally impactful Project that clearly meets the Project purpose. Option D is the preferred alternative for the Bimini Bay Ferry Terminal Project.

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BIMINI BAY FERRY TERMINAL - ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS ASSOCIATED IMPACTS ALTERNATIVE NO ACTION OPTION

PROPOSED DREDGE VOLUME (CY)

0

PROJECTED DREDGE FOOTPRINT (AC)

0

PROPOSED FILL VOLUME (CY)

0

A - INTERIOR OPTION

1,775,000

75.1

0

450,000

31.9

430,000

475,000

33.5

585,000

B - PARADISE POINT OPTION

C - SOUTH AREA OPTION

D - PREFERRED OPTION

210,000

19.1

220,000

SOCIO-ECONOMIC

ESTIMATED/ POTENTIAL MARINE RESOURCE IMPACTS

No additional construction or management employment; No marine resource impacts anticipated. no additional cottage industry expansion without

PROXIMITY TO PERMANENT STRUCTURES/ FEATURES

IMPACTS TO NAVIGATION

EXISTING RECREATIONAL VALUE

No impacts to existing features.

Impacts to navigation insignificant in inner channel.

Existing recreational value of marine environment remains the same.

Navigational channel utilized Significant dredging Proposed channel deepens existing Lengthy and significant by sport fisherman utilized for Port area adjacent to urban removes hardbottom & channel between N/S Bimini, may construction phase alternate purpose, therefore area where mooring of seagrass areas, may alter employment, but limited facilitate erosion of shorelines. Port existing support industries flushing and sediment smaller recreational vessels area adjacent to urban area where employment following along south end of north transport between N/S occurs, may alter access existing mooring of smaller project completion. Cottage Bimini affected. Littoral Bimini. Continued dredge routes and mooring industry expansion with recreational vessels occurs (may have processes of south Bimini west requires to maintain access patterns of smaller vessels. presence of cruise ships. to relocate existing docks). beach possibly impacted by channel. dredging. Lengthy and significant construction phase Impacts to beach / Low energy employment and long-term Significant dredging No significant impacts to beachfront environment port managemnt Proposed dredge area and structures removes hardbottom areas navigation anticipated utilized by sport fisherman employment following adjacent to Three Sisters and Bimimi since proposed (moderate relief habitat); and townhome guests along project completion. Cottage Bay Development. Possible view construction not within fill to create temporary corridor of townhomes obstructed by shore. Fishing patterns and industry expansion with localized turbidity spikes to existing navigational development. littoral environment may be presence of cruise ships nearshore reefs. corridor. disrupted. limited given terminal location within Bimini Bay Resort. Lengthy and significant Low energy beachfront construction phase environment utilized by sport employment and long-term Significant dredging fisherman and townhome port managemnt removes hardbottom areas; No impacts to navigation guests along shore. Fishing Proposed dredge area and structures employment following anticiapted since proposed fill to create temporary adjacent to Bimimi Bay Development patterns and littoral project completion. Cottage localized turbidity spikes. construction not within so existing boat traffic likely not environment may be industry expansion with Proposed channel dredging existing navigational affected. disrupted. Possible impacts to presence of cruise ships. area may impact nearby corridor. offshore dive sites. Design of Greater opportunity for local reefs. pier minimizes long-shore Biminites to benefit from transport impacts. Project. Lengthy and significant construction phase employment and long-term port managemnt Significant dredging Low energy beachfront employment following removes hardbottom areas; No impacts to navigation Proposed dredge area and structures environment utilized by sport project completion. Cottage fill to create temporary anticiapted since proposed adjacent to Bimimi Bay Development fisherman and townhome industry expansion with localized turbidity spikes. construction not within so existing boat traffic likely not guests along shore. Design of presence of cruise ships. Proposed channel dredge existing navigational pier minimizes long-shore affected. Cottage industry expansion and reclamation areas avoid corridor. transport impacts. with presence of cruise ships major reef areas. Greater opportunity for local Biminites to benefit from Project..

Table 6.1: Summary and Evaluation of Alternative Options 4 October 2013

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7. IMPACT MITIGATION The potential impacts resulting from the construction and operation/maintenance of the North Bimini Ferry Terminal project are presented in Section 5.0. Where impacts have been determined to be unavoidable in order to meet the project purpose, the project proponent has taken appropriate actions to minimize and mitigate project effects to the maximum extent practicable. The following section describes those proposed mitigation measures that have been developed in response to the previously identified potential environmental impacts. 7.1

Proposed Mitigation Measures

This section presents the project's proposed mitigation measures which will be established to ensure that potential impacts to environmental quality are minimized and mitigated. A comprehensive environmental monitoring plan within the EMP will also be produced to further ensure that potential impacts to environmental quality are minimized and mitigated. Monitoring efforts will establish pre-construction background levels that will be compared to construction and post-construction conditions as a mechanism to gauge compliance with the established environmental principals. The monitoring program will identify monitoring parameters, acceptable thresholds, and corrective action measures in the event that thresholds are exceeded. The specific environmental monitoring program implemented by Bimini Bay for the proposed project will include the following components: • • • • • • • •

Marine Water Quality Monitoring; Shoreline Monitoring; Biological Resource Monitoring; Fisheries Harvest Monitoring; Social Impact Monitoring Noise Monitoring Beach Access Monitoring, and Traffic Monitoring.

Further details on monitoring aspects are provided in the EMP. The proposed mitigation measures associated with construction and operation/maintenance of the North Bimini Ferry Terminal are summarized in Table 7.1. This presentation of proposed mitigation is organized by the potential impacts associated with the following resource areas: • • • • • • • • •

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Land Use and Topography, Geology/Geomorphology, Surface Water, Groundwater, Marine Water Resources, Air Quality and Noise, Terrestrial Biology, Aquatic/Marine Biology, and Socioeconomics.

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Table 7.1 – Mitigation of Potential Environmental Impacts

Resources

Potential Impacts

Significance

General

Proposed Mitigation

● Implement comprehensive environmental monitoring program as presented in the Draft Environmental Management Plan (EMP) ● Environmental Compliance Manager will be hired to ensure compliance with the Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) and to ensure implementation of environmental management plans. ● Environmental Compliance Manager will conduct routine inspections during construction to ensure compliance with the relevant components of the EMP.

Land Use and Topography

Displacement of current land uses Compatibility with existing and future land demands (Bimini Bay) Compatibility with existing and future land demands (Alice Town, Bailey Town ad Porgy Bay) Alteration of natural landforms and topography

Meteorology and Climate

Emissions

Geology

Beach and shoreline stability

Low High (Positive) High (Negative)

Low Low

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● No mitigation necessary.

● Undertake the construction of all infrastructure and construction of a multi-housing community in coordination with the Government. The units would be sold to Bimini Bay Bahamian employees at affordable prices, with certain covenants and conditions that would be provided to full-time employees of the Bimini Bay Resort. ● Monitor beach and shoreline. ● Plant shoreline vegetation in place of Australian pine as dune stabilisation ● Refer to Air Quality Impacts from emissions below

Medium

● Implement long-term monitoring and maintenance of the coastal shoreline. This will include routine beach cleanups, post-storm damage assessments, and re-vegetation practices to prevent erosion of the sandy beach and dune. ● Plant shoreline vegetation in place of Australian pine as dune stabilisation

Low

● Clean construction traffic regularly, monitor dust and water when needed. ● Install sedimentation control barriers prior to land disturbance and maintain, as needed, to protect water quality and/or erosion-prone areas.

Soil erosion and sedimentation

Groundwater

● No mitigation necessary.

Alteration of groundwater recharge and flow

Low

Deterioration of groundwater associated with nutrient loading and potential contamination

Low

● No mitigation necessary. ● No mitigation necessary.

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Effect on existing and future water supplies

High

● Increase the potable water supply capacity for an additional 570,000 visitors per year.

Marine Water Resources Offshore Oceanographic Conditions

Effects on nearshore waves

Offshore Bathymetry

Alteration of sea bottom and sediment transport

High

● Monitor water quality and utilize turbidity curtains

Tides/Currents

Alteration of flow and currents

Low

● No mitigation necessary.

Water Quality

Impacts of nonpoint source runoff

● No mitigation necessary. High

Medium

● Install pollution control unit/s or a drainage system on island to control stormwater run off from the island so that he least amount of pollution is discharged to the sea as possible. ● Install sedimentation control barriers prior to land disturbance, as needed, to protect water quality and/or erosion-prone areas, such as areas adjacent to water bodies. ● Revegetate disturbed areas following construction to reduce erosion and sedimentation. ● Apply carefully monitored dosages of slow release fertilizers; spot treatments of herbicides, and/or pesticides only on an as-needed-basis. ● Establish "no spray zones" for chemical/pesticide treatments and buffer areas, particularly around water features and other environmentally sensitive areas.

High

● Water quality sampling will be carried out during construction and operation to monitor the following properties; temperature, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity. ● Install turbidity barriers anchored to temporary piles or the proposed sheet piles in an arrangement to best reduce turbidity impacts at the nearby dive sites. ● Prepare a SPCC Plan to ensure that direct discharges and spills will be managed and controlled ● Water quality sampling will be carried out during construction and operation to monitor the following properties; temperature, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity. ● Arrange for construction of artificial reefs to provide habitat to replace habitat impacted by the dredging and reclamation work. ● Install mooring buoys at reef dive spots where currently none. ● Transplant corals from the dredge and reclamation areas as well as other areas where broken off corals are available for transplantation to the artificial reefs. ● Contractor to provide a Dredge Plan (similar to that of a SPCC Plan but refers to dredging) ● Contractors Contract to provide incentives for complying with turbidity level requirements.

Medium

● Prepare a SPCC Plan to ensure that direct discharges and spills will be managed and controlled ● Water quality sampling will be carried out during construction and operation to monitor the following properties; temperature, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity.

Impacts of construction and return water disposal

Deterioration of marine water quality associated with vessels and oil spills

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Air Quality and Noise

Impacts of fuel loading and unloading operations

N/A

Emissions from stationary and uncontrolled sources Low

Emissions from mobile sources Medium

Effects of construction noise and dust

Terrestrial Biology

Clearing of vegetation Impacts associated with hazardous materials released on terrestrial fauna Risk of introduction of nonnative species, foreign diseases, and escape of pets

Aquatic/Marine Biology

4 October 2013

Low

Low

Low

Medium

● No mitigation necessary. ● Assist the Government in infrastructure improvement projects in particular providing an area for public dry dock storage of boats as well as a paved/sealed area for boat maintenance work. ● Introduce additional air filters to the potable water system to reduce odour emissions from the desalination plant. ● Assist the Government in infrastructure improvement projects in particular providing an area for public dry dock storage of boats as well as a paved/sealed area for boat maintenance work.

● Advise public before commencement of works. ● Monitor noise ● Apply water or other dust suppressants during construction to minimize fugitive dust. ● Use native plant materials for landscaping. ● Prepare a SPCC Plan to ensure that direct discharges and spills will be managed and controlled. ● Develop strict inspection systems at Customs and entry points and implement measures to control pets brought to the property to reduce escape of non-native animals. ● Utilise disks on mooring lines to the island to prohibit rodents travelling along lines to shore.

Impacts to wetlands and functions and values

Low

Impacts to wildlife habitat

Low

● No mitigation necessary.

Impacts to threatened and protected species and migratory birds

Low

● Post educational signage at the location where likely to be seen to advise on threatened and protected species and migratory birds.

Risk of introduction of foreign species and diseases

Low

● No mitigation necessary.

● Develop strict inspection systems at Customs and entry points, the cleaning of construction equipment, and implement measures to control pets brought to the property to reduce escape of non-native animals.

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Impacts to aquatic/marine benthic habitats

High

Impacts to aquatic/marine biota associated with deterioration of water quality Low

Effects of using fertilizers, biocides and pesticides on aquatic/marine biota

4 October 2013

Low

● Arrange for construction of artificial reefs to provide habitat to replace habitat impacted by the dredging and reclamation work. ● Install mooring buoys at reef dive spots where currently none. ● Transplant corals from the dredge and reclamation areas as well as other areas where broken off corals are available to the artificial reefs. ● Any lighting installed along the shoreline of the development will comply with accepted turtle protection practices. Such practices may include but are not limited to installing lighting fixtures low and close to the ground, shielding fixtures such that light falls on walkways, and stairs so that light is not visible from the beach, and utilizing longer wavelength light bulbs such as amber compact fluorescent, or low pressure sodium bulbs. Additionally, a monitoring and protection plan will be developed and implemented in the event that sea turtle nesting is observed along the shoreline of the property. ● Post educational signage at the location where recreational equipment will be distributed to beach club guests to educate snorkelers and kayakers that fins and paddles can cause damage to coral heads and reef habitat. Signs should also warn snorkelers about the dangers of touching some flora and faunal species. ● Conduct water quality monitoring during the first few ferry arrivals to determine adequacy of operation arrangements in particular for control of turbidity close to the nearby dive spots. It may be necessary to utilise a tug boat on arrivals however information is limited at the western end of the dredging. ● Water samples will be collected and analysed periodically (twice per month) during the dredging and filling operations at the same locations as those used for the baseline sampling to monitor water quality. The EMP will provide further details. These results will be provided to the BEST Commission. ● Monitor water quality. ● Install sedimentation control barriers prior to land disturbance and maintain, as needed, to protect water quality and/or erosion-prone areas, such as areas adjacent to water bodies. ● Revegetate disturbed areas following construction to reduce erosion and sedimentation. ● Also refer to "Impacts of construction and return water disposal" above. ● Water samples will be collected and analysed periodically (twice per month) during the dredging and filling operations at the same locations as those used for the baseline sampling to monitor water quality. The EMP will provide further details. These results will be provided to the BEST Commission. ● Establish "no spray zones" for chemical/pesticide treatments and buffer areas, particularly around water features and other environmentally sensitive areas. ● Avoid use of pesticides and, if used, they will be applied only on an as-needed basis in the form of "spot" treatments to the infected areas. ● Establish no boat cleaning or painting policy for the ferry

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Impacts to biota associated with boating, fishing, and other recreational activities

Impacts to aquatic/marine biota associated with oil spills

High

● Arrange for construction of artificial reefs to provide habitat to replace habitat destroyed by the dredging and reclamation work. ● Install mooring buoys at reef dive spots where currently none. ● Transplant corals from the dredge and reclamation areas as well as other areas where broken off corals are available to the artificial reefs. ● Post educational signage at the location where recreational equipment will be distributed to beach club guests to educate snorkelers and kayakers that fins and paddles can cause damage to coral heads and reef habitat. Signs should also warn snorkelers about the dangers of touching some flora and faunal species. ● Implement an annual lionfish tournament.

High

● Prepare a SPCC Plan to ensure that direct discharges and spills will be managed and controlled.

High

● Arrange for construction of artificial reefs to provide habitat to replace habitat destroyed by the dredging and reclamation work. ● Transplant corals from the dredge and reclamation areas as well as other areas where broken off corals are available to the artificial reefs. ● Implement comprehensive environmental monitoring program, including the monitoring of biological resources. ● Implement an annual lionfish tournament. ● All personnel associated with the project shall be instructed about the presence of marine turtles and dolphins, and the need to avoid collisions with (and injury to) these marine species. ● All vessels associated with the construction project shall operate at "Idle Speed/No Wake" at all times while in water where the draft of the vessel provides less than a four-foot clearance from the bottom. All vessels shall follow routes of deep water whenever possible. ● Any turbidity barriers shall be made of material in which marine turtles cannot become entangled, shall be properly secured, and shall be regularly monitored to avoid entanglement or entrapment. Barriers must not impede marine turtle movement.

High

● Undertake the construction of all infrastructure and construction of a multi-housing community in coordination with the Government. The units would be sold to Bimini Bay Bahamian employees at affordable prices, with certain covenants and conditions that would be provided to full-time employees of the Bimini Bay Resort.

Impacts to commercially important species and habitats

Socioeconomics Demographics

Effects of direct or indirect population growth

Use of local labor Displacement and resettlement of existing housing Economic Activities

4 October 2013

Effects of direct and indirect employment

High (Positive) Low High (Positive)

● No mitigation necessary. ● No mitigation necessary. ● No mitigation necessary.

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Impacts of revenues for real estate taxes, hotel taxes, and payroll taxes

High (Positive)

Effects on local residential housing availability High

Impacts on existing and future fishing and fisheries exploitation

Infrastructure and Community Services 4 October 2013

● Undertake the construction of all infrastructure and construction of a multi-housing community in coordination with the Government. The units would be sold to Bimini Bay Bahamian employees at affordable prices, with certain covenants and conditions that would be provided to full-time employees of the Bimini Bay Resort.

High

● Arrange for construction of artificial reefs to provide habitat to replace habitat destroyed by the dredging and reclamation work. ● Transplant corals from the dredge and reclamation areas as well as other areas where broken off corals are available to the artificial reefs. ● Implement comprehensive environmental monitoring program, including the monitoring of biological resources. ● Implement an annual lionfish tournament.

Medium

● Specific Health and Safety Plans will be prepared for use during construction and operation of the infrastructure facilities. ● Further public consultation should be conducted with emphasis on obtaining greater insight into the social and community impacts of the project and if necessary a more thorough social impact study conducted prior to any construction. ● Conduct training and classes specific to improving safety skills for Bimini Resort employees

Impacts on public health and worker health and safety

Tourism

● No mitigation necessary.

General

● A demand study to be carried out to ascertain the demand for this ferry service preferably prior to commencing any construction and if necessary in the early stages of construction. ● The developer to conduct further questionnaire distribution, collection, analysis and reporting to the Government including one within one year following completion of construction, to review social impacts and better determine any need for any further appropriate mitigation measures. Also for future assessment of social and community impacts associated with proposed developments in order to introduce more sustainable development concepts within the Bahamas in the future. ● Collaborate with the Government of the Bahamas to make infrastructure improvements.

Affect on existing and future land use values High (Positive)

● Undertake the construction of all infrastructure and construction of a multi-housing community in coordination with the Government. The units would be sold to Bimini Bay Bahamian workers at affordable prices, with certain covenants and conditions that would be provided to full-time employees of the Bimini Bay Resort.

High (Positive)

● Enhance the existing beach clean-up program to provide waste disposal collectors at popular beaches on the Bimini Bay Resort property, and coordinate for daily waste pick-up from these locations.

Impacts on public access and use of coastal resources

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● Collaborate with the Government of the Bahamas to make infrastructure improvements ● Continue to maintain beach access opportunities for the general public in North Bimini. Monitor access to Spook Hill beach at the ferry terminal and provide infrastructure if necessary see below. Impacts on public access and use of marine resources High

Effects on availability or demand for local infrastructure

High

Effects on availability or demand for local community

Other

High

Visual Impacts

High

4 October 2013

● Provide screw down mooring buoys at dive spots. ● Provide channel markers above water and below water at the reef where the ferry is likely to pass if reef present. ● Implement speed limit for marine vessels if approved by police within 1 mile of the ferry terminal to reduce wake and increase safety ● Coordinate with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Island-wide Enhancement Program by assisting in future master planning in North Bimini, including options such as paving the roads in North Bimini, improving infrastructure, installing sidewalks, the introduction of a ferry service on the bayside and painting buildings along the newlypaved road. ● Increase the potable water supply capacity to allow for an additional 570,000 visitors per year. ● Commission an expert in evaluation of the existing landfill and evaluation to determine best possible recycling program and develop and implement a recycling program for cardboard, plastics and other materials as appropriate to reduce overall waste in Bimini making use of the ferry service to transport these materials for use in Florida and the program implemented to reduce overall waste. Encourage participation by guests and employees through education and advocacy programs. ● Depositing of all waste produced onboard the ferry to be in South Florida ● Assist a Bahamian in the introduction of a Bahamian cultural aspect to the island (i.e. underwater sculptures or a horse drawn surrey service for touring the island). ● An employee transportation strategy to be implemented to ensure efficient transportation of employees. ● Monitoring of traffic loads and transportation capacities should be conducted to determine the adequacy of proposed island traffic mitigation measures. ● Agree to assist in providing greater capacity for the community where needed as a result of the project if requested from the Government of the Bahamas.

● Screening for residential properties, tennis court and children’s play area that borders onto the project property for privacy and security as well as screening of water tanks and sewerage treatment works. ● Enhance the existing beach clean-up program to provide waste disposal collectors at popular beaches on the Bimini Bay Resort property, and coordinate for daily waste pick-up from these locations. ● Monitor access means to Spook Hill beach ● Beautification of arrival area and screening of service/maintenance area

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Disturbance to cultural resources

Medium

Other Social (Refer to a separate analysis for other social impacts later in this report).

High

● Assist a Bahamian in the introduction of a Bahamian cultural aspect to the island (i.e. underwater sculptures or a horse drawn surrey service for touring the island). ● Create with the Government a Joint Committee to evaluate forthcoming entrepreneur opportunities for Biminites. ● The developer to conduct further questionnaire distribution, collection, analysis and reporting to the Government including one within one year following completion of construction, to review social impacts and better determine any need for any further appropriate mitigation measures. Also for future assessment of social and community impacts associated with proposed developments in order to introduce more sustainable development concepts within the Bahamas in the future. ● Continue to fund Bimini Foundation, originally established for ensuring the preservation and integrity of Bimini Community and surrounding environment. The Bimini Foundation should be further funded for the expressed purpose of learning more about the impact of tourism development on the islands of The Bahamas, and disseminating that information to residents and visitors alike for the continued preservation of island environments.

Note: Mitigation measures are repeated where relevant to one or more potential impacts

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The mitigation measures identified in Table 7.1 are repeated as a list below by project phase and without repetition; Mitigation Measures General 1. Collaborate with the Government of the Bahamas, specifically the Office of the Prime Minister, to plan for and implement significant infrastructure improvements over the next several years to the benefit of the North and South Bimini Community; these improvements are discussed in more detail below as socio-economic mitigation measures for construction of the North Bimini Ferry Terminal, but generally include medical upgrades, road paving improvements, the establishment of sporting facilities, upgrades to the educational facilities and capabilities of Bimini, and establishment of affordable housing communities on Government-owned land. 2. Commission a study to determine the likely demand for the ferry service with emphasis on identifying the demand in Florida for such a service and reference to existing and past ferry/cruise services between South Florida and Grand Bahama as well as Bimini to support the demand indicated in the HVS report as well as the proposed number of passengers (720,000 people). This study to be reviewed by the Government of the Bahamas preferably prior to granting any approvals for construction and if necessary within the first two weeks of construction. 3. Government to conduct Town Meetings during and post-construction as part of the Master Planning effort for all of Bimini. 4. Implement a comprehensive environmental monitoring program as presented in the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) 5. Environmental Compliance Manager (ECM) to be hired to ensure compliance with the Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) and to ensure implementation of environmental management plans. All efforts will be made to hire a Bahamian. 6. Environmental Compliance Manager will conduct routine inspections during construction to ensure compliance with the relevant components of the EMP. Construction Phase 1. Advise local public of date of commencement of construction by advising Local Government Administrative office and posting signs at and adjacent to construction site at least three weeks in advance of construction. 2. Monitor noise once per day to ensure environmental protection during construction phases of ferry terminal. If noise levels exceed safe standards, shut-down operations and use alternate methods to dampen noise. 3. Construct artificial reefs to provide habitat to replace that destroyed by the dredging and reclamation work. Artificial reefs are widely used to offset impacts to marine habitat in South Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. The artificial reef is proposed to be placed in an area of sand only; no existing hard-bottom will be impacted as a result of the riprap placement to create the artificial reef. Monitoring will be conducted every six months for 5 years to determine level of success as well as to remove invasive species, allowing for natural communities to thrive. 4. Transplant corals from the dredge and reclamation areas as well as from the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Three Sistersâ&#x20AC;? dive site where broken corals have been located to transplant to the artificial reefs. 5. Apply water or other dust suppressants during construction to minimize fugitive dust. 6. Use native plant materials for landscaping. 7. Prior to commencement of construction, prepare a SPCC Plan to ensure that direct discharges and spills will be managed and controlled. 8. Prior to commencement of construction, prepare a Dredge Plan to ensure that dredging activities will be managed and controlled adequately. 9. Install sedimentation control barriers prior to land disturbance, as needed, to protect water quality and/or erosion-prone areas, such as areas adjacent to water bodies. 10. Maintain construction equipment and control unnecessary idling of equipment to reduce air emissions. All vessels associated with the construction project shall operate at "Idle Speed/No Wake" where

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11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

possible, to avoid impacts to dolphins, turtles, and to avoid impacting the ocean bottom where water depths are shallow. All vessels shall follow routes of deep water whenever possible. Clean construction traffic regularly, monitor dust and water when needed. Utilize turbidity barriers as needed to protect the offshore coral reefs that may be near the influence of dredging turbidity plumes during all in-water work, most specifically the dredging of the entrance channel and the subsequent filling of the island; anchor the turbidity barriers with temporary piles, where necessary, to ensure turbidity curtains are effective in reducing the turbid water entering the water column from construction. Refer to earlier section on water quality and turbidity to best aid in determining conditions where turbidity barriers will be most effective. Care must be taken to ensure that turbidity barriers do not have an adverse effect as a result of the conditions they are used in. Turbidity barriers if used shall be made of material in which marine turtles cannot become entangled, shall be properly secured, and shall be regularly monitored to avoid entanglement or entrapment. Barriers must not impede marine turtle movement. Monitor water quality to ensure turbidity does not exceed nephelometric turbidity unit levels as detailed in this report. Prior to commencing construction, Contractor to provide a Dredge Plan (similar to that of a SPCC Plan but refers to dredging) for Government approval. Contractors Contract to provide incentives for complying with turbidity level requirements. Specific Health and Safety Plans will be prepared for use during construction and operation of the infrastructure facilities. All personnel associated with the construction project shall be instructed by the ECM about the presence of marine turtles and dolphins, and the need to avoid collisions with (and injury to) these marine species. Water samples will be collected and analysed periodically (twice per month) during the dredging and filling operations at the same locations as those used for the baseline sampling to monitor water quality. The EMP will provide further details. These results will be provided to the BEST Commission.

Operation/Maintenance Phase 1. Plant shoreline vegetation, to replace Australian pines, as dune stabilization plantings in the immediate area of the tank farm (adjacent to pier entrance). 2. Increase the potable water supply capacity to allow for an additional 570,000 visitors per year prior to completion of construction of the ferry terminal. 3. Install pollution control unit/s or a drainage system on island to control stormwater run off from the island so that pollution is not discharged to the sea during rain events. 4. Revegetate disturbed areas following construction to reduce erosion and sedimentation. 5. Maintain the SPCC Plan to ensure that direct discharges and spills will be managed and controlled. 6. Avoid use of pesticides and, if used, they will be applied only on an as-needed basis in the form of ""spot"" treatments to the infected areas. 7. Establish ""no spray zones"" for chemical/pesticide treatments and buffer areas, particularly around water features and other environmentally sensitive areas." 8. Apply carefully monitored dosages of slow release fertilizers; spot treatments of herbicides, and/or pesticides only on an as-needed-basis. 9. The ferry to have a strict no boat cleaning or painting at the terminal island policy. 10. Terminal and marina to have a strict no-discharge policy for sewage. 11. Develop a strict inspection systems at Customs and entry points and implement measures to control pets brought to the property to reduce escape of non-native animals. 12. Utilise disks on mooring lines to the island to prohibit rodents travelling along lines to shore. 13. Post educational signage at the location where recreational equipment will be distributed to beach club guests to educate snorkelers and kayakers that fins and paddles can cause damage to coral heads and reef habitat. Signs should also warn snorkelers about the dangers of touching some flora and faunal species. Also, post educational signage at the location where likely to be seen to advise on threatened and protected species and migratory birds. 14. Install screw down mooring buoys at the fourteen (14) reef dive spots within 1.5 miles of the project area where they currently do not exist and maintain these. 15. Any lighting installed along the shoreline of the development will comply with accepted turtle protection practices. Such practices may include but are not limited to installing lighting fixtures low and close to 4 October 2013

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16. 17. 18.

19. 20. 21.

22. 23. 24.

25. 26.

27.

28. 29. 30.

31.

the ground, shielding fixtures such that light falls on walkways, and stairs so that light is not visible from the beach, and utilizing longer wavelength light bulbs such as amber compact fluorescent, or low pressure sodium bulbs. Additionally, a monitoring and protection plan will be developed and implemented in the event that sea turtle nesting is observed along the shoreline of the property. Continue to sponsor an annual lionfish tournament every year whilst lionfish continue to be a present in the waters around Bimini. Lionfish to be removed during monitoring of reef activities. Continue to maintain and improve beach access opportunities for the general public in North Bimini. Provide lit channel markers above water to mark the entrance channel for the ferry, to help prevent and avoid any accidental impacts to adjacent reefs. Also provide channel markers below water if reef present where the ferry is likely to pass or turn around and there is any chance scuba divers may unknowingly enter the channel. Implement speed limit for marine vessels, by posting signs post-construction, within 1 mile of the ferry terminal to reduce wake and increase safety. Assist the Port Authority in establishing any necessary speed zones around the ferry terminal. The Police and Defense Force have advised of plans to improve their service by increasing the number of officers and marine vessels therefore it is considered unlikely that mitigation measures are necessary however Resorts World and RAV Bahamas will collaborate with the Police to ensure security is maintained. To the north of the entrance way to the pier, provide screening for the existing residential properties, tennis courts, and childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s play area that borders the Project for privacy and security as well as screening of water tanks and sewerage treatment works. Enhance the existing beach clean-up program to provide waste disposal collectors at popular beaches on the Bimini Bay Resort property, and coordinate for daily waste pick-up from these locations. Monitor beach access to Spook Hill beach near the ferry terminal for safety purposes as well as to monitor the erosion of sand dunes as a result of visitor traffic and provide buoys along the shoreline for safety purposes should many of the tourists be found to utilize this beach and steps near the pier to the beach should the sand dunes be found to erode as a result of visitor traffic. Create with the Government a Joint Committee to evaluate forthcoming entrepreneur opportunities for Biminites. Continue to fund and support Bimini Foundation, originally established for ensuring the preservation and integrity of Bimini Community and surrounding environment. The Bimini Foundation should be further funded for the expressed purpose of learning more about the impact of tourism development on the islands of The Bahamas, and disseminating that information to residents and visitors alike for the continued preservation of island environments. Commission a study to evaluate the current capacity of the existing landfill and evaluate the options for a recycling program and then develop and implement a recycling program for cardboard, plastics and other materials as appropriate to reduce overall waste in Bimini making use of the ferry service to transport these materials for use in the States and the program implemented to reduce overall volume of waste. As a minimum cardboard, aluminum cans, beer bottles and used cooking oil to be recycled via New Providence if recycling elsewhere is not feasible. Encourage participation by guests and employees through education and advocacy programs. Cease burning of solid waste at the Bimini Bay Development immediately and ensure solid waste is never burnt in future. Depositing of all waste produced onboard the ferry to be in South Florida The developer to conduct further questionnaire distribution, collection, analysis and reporting to the Government including one within one year following completion of construction, to review social impacts and better determine any need for any further appropriate mitigation measures. Also for future assessment of social and community impacts associated with proposed developments in order to introduce more sustainable development concepts within the Bahamas in the future. Conduct water quality monitoring during the first few ferry arrivals and departures to determine adequacy of operation arrangements in particular for control of turbidity close to the nearby dive spots. The turbidity levels will be monitored in and around the ship during ingress and egress, for the first few runs, to ensure no turbidity during arrival and departure. It may be necessary to utilise a tug boat on arrival/departure. Water samples will be collected and analysed periodically (twice per month) during operation at the same locations as those used for the baseline sampling to monitor water quality. Where water quality is found to deteriorate significantly enough to possibly harm the nearby dive site

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32. 33. 34.

35.

36.

37. 38.

39.

40. 41. 42.

43. 44.

45. 46.

reefs mitigation measures will be implemented. The EMP will provide further details. These results will be provided to the BEST Commission on a regular basis over a five year period. Implement an employee transportation strategy to ensure environmentally-friendly transportation options are available for employees of the Bimini Bay Ferry Terminal. Make certain that the Ferry maintains onboard the vessel a medical clinic and medical team on-staff, as well as state-of-the-art medical equipment and instrumentation, during all crossings to ensure safe passage for international travelers, and local Biminites returning from travel in Florida. Collaborate with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the planned Island-wide Enhancement Program, to improve the roadways within North Bimini. Specific improvements include re-paving the main road through Alice Town and Bailey Town with a new asphalt surface, pedestrian walkways, shore line access, lighting and landscaping Collaborate with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the planned Island-wide Enhancement Program, to create jogging paths and/or walking trails around North Bimini where feasible. Specific improvements could include widening the roadway to create a designated pathway for walking/jogging locals and tourists. Collaborate with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the planned Island-wide Enhancement Program, to improve the medical facilities on Bimini. Specifically, the development team will assist in replacing out-dated or poorly maintained medical equipment following receipt of a complete manifest of existing equipment. In addition, the development team will assist in upgrading the medical facilities with new supplies and medical protocols. To assist in the medical clinic improvements, engage a Florida-based medical staff (e.g. University of Miami Medicine) to oversee and make recommendations for enhancements to, the medical facilities and services offered on Bimini. Collaborate with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the planned Island-wide Enhancement Program, to improve the sporting facilities within Bimini. Specific improvements could include the creation of new soccer and/or baseball fields, a new track-and-field racetrack, and possible new grassy play areas for children. Collaborate with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the planned Island-wide Enhancement Program, to expand the airport runway. Specific improvements could be an extension of the runway to allow for the accommodation of larger planes, install new weather radar equipment, and to install night lighting. All of these options are available and proposed to be implemented. Increase traffic to the Bimini Islands through alternative modes of transportation such as a new seaplane service. This seaplane service can operate and land in the bay off the east side of North Bimini. Coordinate with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Island-wide Enhancement Program by improving infrastructure to provide for a ferry service on the bayside and painting buildings along the newly-paved road. Collaborate with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the planned Island-wide Enhancement Program, to improve employee housing. Work with the Government to establish a development plan for Government-owned lands and develop affordable housing for Bimini Bay employees and increased population as a result of the economic growth Collaborate with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the planned Island-wide Enhancement Program, to improve schools and educational facilities in Bimini. Collaborate with the government to enhance educational opportunities, including specific training and classes, for local Biminites, as well as the Bahamian population in general that applies directly to employment opportunities within Bimini Bay Resort. For example, provide training for the Casino employees, as well as training for new security staff required to enforce a secure perimeter around the new ferry terminal. Collaborate with the government to provide an area for public dry dock storage of boats as well as a paved/sealed area for boat maintenance work. As recommended by the Prime Minister, research and recommend a cemetery location for the proper burial of local Biminites on the Bimini Island Chain as a result of the planning work undertaken in a joint effort with the government.

Implement a comprehensive environmental monitoring program, including the following;

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47. Marine Water Quality Monitoring at least once daily during construction and on an annual basis for a minimum of 5 years post construction. 48. Shoreline Monitoring to ensure no impacts to Spook Hill beach and Radio beach shorelines on an annual basis for a minimum of 5 years including beach profiles to review shoreline impacts and better determine the need for any further appropriate mitigation measures. 49. Biological Resource Monitoring to ensure protection of adjacent marine resources (in particular nearby dive sites), health of new sea bottom at dredge location and artificial reef habitat success on an annual basis for a minimum of 5 years to review impacts and better determine the need for any further appropriate mitigation measures. Alongside this monitoring there is to be removal of invasive species. 50. Fisheries Harvest Monitoring to ensure fisheries are not depleted. This will include reporting to the Government on the Department of Fisheries findings for Bimini and interviews with at least 10 local fishermen annually for a minimum of 10 years to review impacts on fisheries and better determine the need for further appropriate mitigation measures. 51. Social Impact Monitoring, specifically, the distribution of further questionnaires post-construction to review social impacts and better determine appropriate mitigation measures annually for a minimum of 5 years post construction. 52. Noise Monitoring for the first year, to collate and track any reported issues from operations to work on improving any issues that arise during operations. Noise measurements to be taken during arrival/departure of the ferry every two months and reported. All noise complaints to be logged and made available on request. 53. Traffic Monitoring to track conditions and improve traffic flow or movements where problems arise. Traffic counts shall be conducted just south of the entrance to Bimini Bay and in Alice Town. These to be done over 12 hours daily for one week 7am â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 7pm with one of the days being 24 hours. Counts to be conducted twice in first year and annually thereafter for five years. Mitigation measures to be implemented to address any problem areas arising as a result of the additional number of persons on Bimini. 54. Monitor the cost of goods on North Bimini post-construction once per year for three years, to ensure fair pricing for local Biminites. Further description of some of the mitigation measures are provided below; Artificial reef Artificial reef(s) shall be built north of the project area in the sandy area as mitigation for unavoidable impacts to coral reefs and hardbottom communities from the Project. The artificial reef(s) shall be stone/riprap boulders with a minimum diameter of 5 feet. The Bahamas is a low lying Country where rock/boulders/fill materials are not readily available. Such boulders would need to be sourced from Grand Bahama and would reduce the available rock in the Bahamas. The stone would also require shipping. Consideration should be given to utilizing boulders/riprap from an alternative source. Monitoring of the artificial reef shall require: a. A pre- and post-construction survey which shall include: I.

II.

A pre-construction bathymetric survey will be conducted to establish baseline conditions. The survey will be used to compare to future post-construction surveys to evaluate any evidence of subsidence. This survey should also identify the area to receive the artificial reef as sand to a depth of 0-2 feet depth. A post-construction bathymetric will be conducted after all reef mitigation material has been placed in its designated site. A comparison between the pre- and post-construction survey will evaluate if the proper amount was achieved. The survey information will be utilized to demonstrate the boundaries of the sites (including total acreages), rugosity, and interstitial area (percent sand cover versus percent boulder cover for each reef unit/pile). Cross sections shall be taken at 50 foot intervals to determine relief, rugosity, and interstitial area. The calculations shall be run on each cross section, and an overall average provided. Towed or pole mounted video shall be conducted at 100 foot intervals as verification of the survey information. Diver surveys (line-intercept measurements) will only be conducted if the bathymetric survey information is determined to be deficient for estimating the criteria

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III.

IV.

b.

cited above. If needed, following construction of the artificial reef, divers shall conduct a line-intercept survey as part of the as-built survey in order to verify the information required in the as-built survey. The survey shall be conducted using 30-meter long stretched transects. Transects shall be plotted beginning from randomly generated start points and degree headings for each transect, with approximately 4 transects per acre of artificial reef. During the line- intercept survey, divers shall swim the length of each transect and record the projection of limestone boulders on the transect line using a plumb-bob. Based on the data collected along all transects, the percent net boulder cover and percent sand cover within the artificial reef site will be calculated and reported. Corrective measures shall be undertaken if the results of the artificial reef surveys show that less than the required area of artificial reef was constructed, if one of the components (low relief/high relief) of the artificial reef is incorrect, or if sand occupies more than 10% ± 5% of the reef area. Artificial Reef Monitoring Protocol

Permanent Transect Establishment and Monitoring In order to monitor benthic colonization and succession, four (4) 20-meter long permanent monitoring transects per acre of artificial reef shall be established with ten (10) 1-meter square quadrants per transect. a) Photographs of each quadrant shall be taken to supplement quadrant in situ data along each transect, or b) Video Documentation shall be collected along the 20-meter long transects to supplement the quadrant data and analyzed using standard methods. Schedule Within 30 days following construction of the artificial reef, the bathymetric survey of the outline of the reef shall be conducted, and then all other parts of the as-built survey shall follow. The artificial reef permanent monitoring transects shall be monitored every two years (summer) for six years following placement of the artificial reef. Success. Success will be achieved when the benthic community and colonisation of the mitigation reef has been documented to be comparable to the benthic community and species composition documented in the impact area during the preconstruction survey. Successful mitigation shall be defined by the following criteria: 75% of species found in the impact site shall be present in the mitigation site by the time of the completion of the monitoring period; and percent cover by the major groups of organisms in the mitigation site shall be no less that it was in the impact site. Reports. The as-built survey report shall be submitted within 10 days of the completion of the survey so that coral relocation can commence and be completed prior to project construction. The two yearly mitigation artificial reef monitoring reports shall be submitted within 90 days of the completion of each monitoring event, but no later st than 1 of December of each year. Monitoring progress shall be reported weekly until the completion of each survey, at which point the BEST Commission Officer shall be notified that the survey is complete. Each report shall document the colonization of the artificial reef and compare the species composition on this reef to that documented in the impact area during the preconstruction survey. Annual monitoring reports shall include:

• • • • •

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A map of the artificial reef with the associated monitoring transects plotted on it; An analysis of the quantitative quadrant data on the benthic biological components of the artificial reef monitoring transects (e.g., percent cover by corals, octocorals, sponges, algae, etc.); A comparative analyses of the mitigation artificial reef and natural hardbottom resources to determine mitigation success; An analysis of succession based on the comparison of benthic communities found on the artificial reef and natural communities (impact site) by comparison of such parameters as densities, size class distribution, etc.; Current acreage, relief, and rugosity of artificial reef (for final report only);

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â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘

Copies of all transect video submitted on DVDs; and, All raw data in the format that was used for the analysis. rd

If the artificial reef has either less acreage than was required by the time of final (3 ) survey, or succession does not achieve the status of communities that existed at the impact site (criteria indicated above), then additional mitigation shall be required. Required Monitoring for Channel Bottom The bottom of the channel should be monitored similar to that of the artificial reef in order to determine the success of colonisation on the channel bottom. Success will be achieved when the benthic community and colonization of the mitigation reef has been documented to be comparable to the benthic community and species composition documented in the impact area during the preconstruction survey. Successful mitigation shall be defined by the following criteria: 50% of species found in the impact site shall be present in the mitigation site by the time of the completion of the monitoring period; and percent cover by the major groups of organisms in the mitigation site shall be no less that it was in the impact site. It is recognized that colonization at the bottom of the channel is likely to take longer than that of the artificial reef therefore monitoring shall be conducted two years following completion of dredging works and every four years thereafter to tie in with artificial reef monitoring where relevant for a total of 10 years monitoring following completion of dredging works. If findings during any one monitoring indicates that colonization is unlikely to be successful within the monitoring period additional mitigation will be warranted. Required Monitoring for Secondary High Relief Reef Impacts Biological Monitoring (Hardbottom and Coral Reef) The proposed monitoring of the Project includes monitoring for direct and indirect impacts to hardbottom and coral reef communities in the project area and adjacent areas. Monitoring activities shall include pre-, during, and post-construction surveys of hardbottom and coral reef communities. Monitoring of reefs and hardbottom communities shall include: Monitoring in Permanent Stations Monitoring in Permanent Monitoring Stations shall be conducted to document possible long-term effects of the Project on the reef and hardbottom communities adjacent to the channel boundaries. Permanent monitoring stations shall be established in representative areas of reef and hardbottom and required biological monitoring of these permanent transects shall include: preconstruction, immediate post-construction, and one year postconstruction monitoring activities. If any impact from the project is documented, the permanent station monitoring shall be conducted annually for three years following construction, in the stations where the impact was documented as well as in the control station. Transects within the individual stations will be spaced at least 5 meters apart. They will be randomly positioned within areas that include coral colonies and other attached fauna within each specific resource type. Stainless steel eyebolts (3/8 in x 8 in) will be drilled and cemented/epoxied into the bottom at 0, 10, and 20 meters along each transect at the hardbottom and reef sites. A small submerged buoy coated with anti-fouling paint will be attached to each eyebolt with a short length of nylon braided line to aid in transect relocation. All transect marker eyebolts and buoys will be removed following completion of the monitoring program. Quantitative digital video surveys shall be conducted along each transect with the camera positioned 40-cm above and perpendicular to the substrate. This will yield an approximately 40-cm wide video field-of-view. The video camera will be equipped with lights and a measuring stick or calibrated lasers to ensure that the camera remains at the 40-cm distance to the bottom. The diver will swim the camera along each transect at a speed of no greater than approximately 5 m per minute. This method will be used to evaluate both the coral health and potential sedimentation stress during construction at both the dredge location site and the control monitoring station sites, as further described below:

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Surveys for Coral Health The monitoring stations are to be located strategically at the nearby dive sites and along the edge of the channel, and will be selected to help monitor any environmental change or sedimentation impact and/or stress on biological organisms attributed to construction and operation activities. Surveys shall be conducted at each transect within each monitoring station by qualified biologists and involve: Evaluating benthic organisms (scleractinian corals, octocorals, sponges, etc.) for standing sediment that is not removed by normal currents or wave action; and assigned a health level of "0" or "1" for each parameter (A score of "0" would indicate no observed bleaching, excess mucus production, polyp extension, or disease, while a "1" would be indicated for each observed parameter). This data will be collected for each project area transects and each control area transect. Reef conditions during surveys shall also be documented through digital photographs and video. Before active dredging, the reef habitat surrounding the entrance channel will be surveyed at least once to establish baseline conditions at the monitoring stations. For the duration of active dredging (construction), the reef habitat surrounding the entrance channels will be surveyed twice a week at the monitoring stations within 750 meters of the dredging activity (only when dredging occurs within 750 meters of reef or hardbottom habitat). Dredging locations shall be aligned with likely prime weather conditions according to weather forecasts so as to cause least adverse impacts to the reef. A report will be submitted documenting the survey efforts prior to dredging. This report along with raw data will be submitted within 30 days upon monitoring completion. During active dredging, weekly reports will be submitted via e-mail or web site describing survey results. A report will also be submitted after construction detailing the results for the four week post construction surveys. This report along with raw data will be submitted within 30 days upon monitoring completion. Notification of sediment stress will be by phone, fax, or e-mail, and followed by a written report to be submitted within 24 hours to the agencies including the BEST Commission and other Government agencies (i.e. Ministry of the Environment). Agencies will be notified immediately of the possibility of unacceptably high sediment levels on the reefs (or on the next work day if the indicators are noted on a weekend or holiday). Sediment stress will be defined as build-up of sediment significantly above the level found at the control or reference stations sufficient to cause any one or more of the following conditions as observed by the monitoring biologists: a) A frequency of observed bleaching (partial or complete) of scleractinian coral colonies; b) Excessive mucus produced by scleractinian corals to remove sediment from their surface, resulting in binding of sediments and transport of bound sediments off the coral's surface and subsequent accumulation of the sediments at the base of the coral head. Such accumulations have been seen to initiate a "self-burial" process, causing death of the lower tissue of the coral head; c) Covering of benthic community components (i.e., sponge, algae) by sediment for sufficient time or sufficient sediment so as to note death or degradation (i.e., bleaching, pigmentation changes) of the underlying organisms. d) Any change of 5% or more in cover by any functional group evaluated in quadrants in two or more adjacent transects. Impacted areas shall continue to be monitored monthly during the construction, one month post-construction, and two times during next year in order to document results of the impact. Final monitoring results shall document permanent impacts, if any, to be used for estimates of additional mitigation. Transplanting of Corals Transplantation of Scleractinian Corals All scleractinian corals >10cm and >25 cm in maximum diameter shall be collected from direct impact areas in 4 October 2013

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the marine resource survey area and transplanted. A total of 3 acres of habitat will be designated to establish 2 acres of artificial reef. Colonies with signs of disease and/or boring sponges, and colonies that are not expected to survive transplantation shall not be relocated. Healthy scleractinian corals (without diseases and boring sponges absent) shall be carefully removed from the substrate using a chisel and hammer, and either cached for a short period of time (1-2 days, with no storm in the forecast) in a safe place, or collected into baskets and lifted by a diver as the basket is filled or at the end of the collection dive, wrapped in bubble wrap, and then transferred into cooler containers filled with seawater, and transported to the designated areas in the mitigation reefs. Corals shall be transplanted preferably on micro-relief features (bumps, hills, etc., scale of 0.1-0.3 meters) on the tops of boulders in the artificial reefs; Agaricia spp., Madracis spp., andMycetophyllia spp., can be transplanted on to vertical or subvertical parts of the mitigation reefs. If found, corals of the genera Mycetophyllia, Scolymia, Colpophyllia, Dendrogyra, Mussa, Isophyllia, Isophyllastrea, Favia, andAcropora shall be transplanted irrespective of size. The surface of the substrate in the recipient location shall be cleaned of algae, cyanobacteria, and sediments with a wire brush. Portland cement and/or underwater epoxy glue can be used for the attachment of scleractinian coral colonies. The time in the cooler prior to transplantation shall be minimized as much as possible. Coolers shall be kept in the boat away from direct sunlight and external heating. All transplanting of corals to be conducted by experienced personnel with adequate qualifications. Monitoring of Scleractinian Corals after Transplantation Monitoring for Scleractinian Corals shall be conducted at the following stages: one month after the transplantation, 6 months after the transplantation, 1 year after the transplantation, and 6 months thereafter for 5 years. Success of the Scleractinian Coral transplantation on the artificial reef shall be based on the following criteria: after 2 years, survival of 75% for corals measuring 10-25 cm and 85% for corals measuring >25 cm. If less than the success criteria, the survival rates shall be compared to the survival rates at the reference site/s and tested for statistically significant differences and adjusted accordingly. If the percent survival, or adjusted percent survival, of a coral species is below these levels, additional corals of the same species shall be transplanted using corals found detached in natural communities or from an approved nursery. The initiation and completion of transplantation and the transplantation progress shall be reported to the BEST Commission Compliance Officer via e-mail weekly or the information made available via web site. Monitoring reports shall be submitted within 60 days upon completion of each survey. Initiation and completion of each survey shall be reported to the BEST Commission Compliance Officer. Beach Monitoring In order to document any changes that may occur as a result of the construction of the ferry terminal, a regular program of beach monitoring will be implemented. This program must commence prior to construction of the project. It is important to complete a number of beach surveys leading up to construction of the Project so that natural variability of the beach can be documented. Due to the potential imminent construction of the Project these surveys should be commenced as soon as possible and repeated every month or two, or following any significant observed change to the beach. Bimini Foundation A Bimini Foundation will be established for the expressed purpose of learning more about the impact of tourism development on the islands of The Bahamas, and disseminating that information to residents and visitors alike for the continued preservation of island environments. The Foundation is to function as a consortium of academic institutions, environmental groups, development interests, local residents and educators. The Foundation will take responsibility for three important tasks; 4 October 2013

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1. The Foundation is to be tasked with creating a living history of the island, and maintaining a dynamic information system on the ecology and physical environment of Bimini before, during and after development of the resort. 2. The Foundation is to be tasked with maintenance and management of conservation areas within the development including mangroves, beaches and coastal buffer zones. 3. The Foundation is to be tasked with promoting and facilitating interactions between scientists involved with long-term environmental research and monitoring in the environs.

Monitoring of Social and Community Impacts Monitoring of Social and Community Impacts is to be conducted by means of continued collection of responses to Questionnaires however the questionnaires are to will be altered to obtain information on existing conditions rather than predicted conditions. A Town Meeting should be held to introduce and explain the questionnaire and provide assistance. The questionnaire must be distributed, collected and analysed prior to construction of the project, and annually for five years following. Success will be indicated by more positive findings. Should findings indicate more negative effects further investigation into the reason for this is to be conducted and appropriate mitigation measures put in place, consistent with the Government-backed plan to make infrastructure improvements to the North and South Bimini. 7.2

Assessment of Residual Impacts and Mitigation

Residual impacts are defined as those impacts that are remaining after mitigation measures have been implemented for the project-related impacts. Table 7.1 presents the proposed mitigation measures to be implemented for the proposed project. Therefore, the degree of the residual impacts remaining after implementation of the mitigation measures would be significantly reduced. For those impacts of high significance that would be remaining after mitigation, the EMP will describe in detail the comprehensive environmental monitoring plan that will be performed on behalf of the Bimini Bay Resort It should be noted that RAV Bahamas Ltd. has indicated intentions to complete a variety of environmental and social mitigation activities including but not limited to the following: • • • • •

• •

Constructing an additional wing of the Bimini clinic to allow more beds. Payment of the salary of a qualified full-time doctor who would provide service to residents of Bimini as well as to transient residents of the island. Payment of the salary of a qualified part-time Dentist who would visit the island twice a month in order to provide service to residents of Bimini as well as to transient residents of the island. Construction of a primary school on land in North Bimini to accommodate 250 children. Undertake the construction of all infrastructure and construction of a multi-housing in coordination with the Government. The units would be sold to Bimini Bay Bahamian employees at affordable prices, with certain covenants and conditions that would be provided to full-time employees of the Bimini Bay Resort. Create with the Government a Joint Committee to evaluate forthcoming entrepreneur opportunities for Biminites. Town enhancement plan that includes improvements to the roads and sidewalks as well as a new ferry service on the East shoreline of North Bimini.

These mitigation measures have not been completed in full to date however they have been taken into consideration whilst determining mitigation measures. Mitigation is being provided for “disruption and inconvenience” to the general public in Bimini, such as increased traffic through the enhancement project which will improve the roads and sidewalks as well as a ferry service along the East shoreline. Increased demand for properties is to be mitigated by the provision of housing and the reduced availability of local fish resources will be monitored as is done by the fisheries

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department of the Government at present and if necessary a greater proportion of fish will be imported for consumption at the developments restaurants. With consideration given to the mitigation measures to be implemented the main potential impacts relevant to the proposed project are listed below in no particular order; Positive 1. Provides visitors that will increase the occupancy and likely success of Bimini Bay Resort and Casino. 2. Economic benefit â&#x20AC;&#x201C; there will be more funds spent by the increased number of visitors in the region which will help to stimulate the economy, stimulate employment opportunities and be beneficial to local businesses. 3. Increased revenue to the Bahamas 4. Able to use dredged material at the location and thereby enable the project to be carried out without having to transport dredged material elsewhere. 5. Additional land available for ferry and mega and super yacht berthing facilities and possibly other activities. 6. If the project is conducted successfully and dive spots continue to be healthy the Project will showcase the region in a positive light. Negative 7. Direct impact to more than 25 acres sea bottom, approximately 17 acres of which is consistent hard bottom, 4.8 acres patchy hard bottom and 2.8 acres sand. Loss of 4.5 acres of hard bottom. 8. Sedimentation and turbidity over coral and benthic communities in the project area due to suspension and dispersal of fine sediments. Risk of loss of dive sites as a result of construction and operation. 9. Loss of character of Bimini. 10. Reduction in fisheries in the area as a result of increased fishing. 11. Disruption and inconvenience to residents of Bimini. 12. Unfair distribution of costs and benefits of the increased number of visitors across the community. 13. Increased solid waste, pollution and damage to natural areas. 14. Increase in wave heights at shorelines 15. Alterations to shorelines 16. Impaired visual/seascape impacts from the presence of the ferry terminal and ferry 17. Increased noise and light pollution 18. Increased construction and operational traffic.

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8

ENVIROMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Continuous on-site supervision is to be provided by the Contractorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dedicated personnel who will assist in directing day to day environmental management during construction and will be overseen by the Engineer's Representative (E.R.). The E.R. will be responsible for completion of the performance monitoring records (Fortnightly Environmental Monitoring Form a copy of which is included in Appendix J). There will therefore be ongoing discussion of Contractor practice and working methods in relation to well defined contractual obligations. Resolution of outstanding issues at completion, for example, in relation to environmental clean-up, waste disposal and site restoration, will be required before the contract is signed-off for final payment. Experience suggests that good two-way communication and on-site supervision as proposed will create the conditions for positive and successful environmental management. It is the obligation of the Contractor to comply with all the requirements and stipulations listed below. Section 1 covers the most important general topics of environmental concern. Section 2 covers these areas in generic checklist format and Section 3 focuses on site management requirements. The project Fortnightly Environmental Monitoring Form covers all these issues. It will be completed by the E.R. and it is the requirement of the Contractor to countersign these forms. The Environmental Management Structure is indicated in Figure 8.1 over. 8.1

Contractor Environmental Management Requirements

The Environmental Requirements binding on Contractors are comprehensive stipulations on Contractor environmental practice, including health and safety requirements. These requirements highlight particular issues. 8.1.1

Site Safety and Health

The Contractor shall be required to appoint a designated Site Safety Officer with an acting Safety Officer always appointed in his absence. Basic first aid training of these persons shall be required, for which the Basic Life Support Course at the Doctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital is recommended. There shall be a fully equipped First Aid Box at all work sites at all times and a list of emergency telephone numbers in case of accident. Minor and major accidents shall be recorded in an accident log book. Personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be worn in areas designated for their use. When working alongside or over water, where there is a risk of drowning, the Contractor shall take appropriate measures to prevent falling (e.g. use of harnesses) and rescue equipment shall be readily to hand (e.g. use of life jackets, life lines/rings and a safety boat). Work shall be halted in dangerous weather conditions or sea states. At all times work sites shall be maintained in an orderly, safe and tidy state. Precautions against fire accident shall be taken and appropriate fire safety equipment supplied and clearly indicated at work sites The Contractor shall, as required, arrange for safe road use while adjacent construction activities (e.g. paving) are in progress and impeding the road. Construction zone signage shall be in place for each works operation. Hazardous areas such as excavations will be delineated with construction cones (with lighting where instructed by the E.R.). This shall include but not be limited to the following: temporary works; prestressing/post-tensioning works; pile driving; batching plants/crushers; working near water; working at height; working in confined spaces; interaction with the general public, especially road users and adjacent property owners/occupiers and traffic management.

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Management linkage

Government of The Bahamas

Environmental liaison linkage

Resorts World & RAV Bahamas

Contractor

North Bimini Ferry Terminal Development Team

Ministry of The Environment

BEST

Project Manager (The Engineer) Environmental Specialist

Site Supervision Team Technical Specialists & Technicians

Resident Engineer Site Supervisors

Figure 8.1: The Environmental Management Structure

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The Contractorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Safety Officer will inspect sites for compliance with approved working methods and these contractual requirements under the oversight of the E.R. Government of Bahamas labour laws and occupational health and safety policies shall be applied at all times. 8.1.2.

Construction Traffic

The Contractorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arrangements for managing construction traffic will be continually reviewed. Local communities will be forewarned of any unavoidable temporary restriction to traffic access. The Contractor will make arrangements where instructed by the E.R. for plant wheel washing to ensure that mud is not deposited onto public roadways. The Engineerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Representative (E.R.) will be alerted to the possibility of construction traffic causing pavement and structure damage due to overloading, increase in congestion and any road safety hazards. Care shall be taken to minimise damage to pavement being saved. The Contractor will be responsible for any damages caused to the roadway by poorly maintained or overloaded equipment. Use of tracked equipment will be limited to areas adjacent to sheet piling construction 8.1.3

Noise and Dust Nuisance

The level of noise and dust from construction plant operation shall be periodically assessed by the Contractor and the E.R. in relation to the significance of potential disturbance. The Contractor will maintain equipment in good order so as to minimise extraneous noise. The general rule shall be that construction operations shall be restricted to daylight hours between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm. Where there is a reason to work outside these hours to speed up the progress of works, local communities will be given advance notice and specific requests will be reasonably accommodated. Any complaints from local communities concerning noise (or dust) shall be reported to the E.R. and steps taken wherever possible to conform to local wishes, for instance in relation to the specific timing of activities. 8.1.4

Piling, disposal of return water and dredging

The turbidity level is to be measured at the specified monitoring stations and reported. The dredge pipeline must be respected so that there is no risk of damage to the marine environment as a result of spillage or direct contact. The method of construction of the Ferry Terminal is to be carried out so as to cause minimal impact to the marine environment. 8.1.5

Construction Material Sources

Whilst it is not proposed to use borrow sites and quarries for extraction of fill, aggregate, rock and other materials, if necessary, any borrow site will be specified for approved use by the Consultant or E.R. and be legally sanctioned. Any new sites to be opened will require the appropriate permitting application and approval from the Department of Physical Planning. 8.1.6

Natural Resources Management

The Contractor is required at all times to be vigilant with respect to conservation of wildlife and natural habitat. Trees and vegetation will not be disturbed unless necessary to complete the project works. Top soils will be retained for subsequent restoration works. The Contractor is responsible for the activities of his staff and will require them at all times to show due respect for the natural environment and its conservation. 8.1.7

Water Abstraction

The Contractor will be required to make suitable arrangements for his own supply of water and, as necessary, to provide an alternative supply to any users affected by his water abstraction. The location of wells dug for water supply will conform to local permitting arrangements and in no circumstances shall he 4 October 2013

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allow his abstraction requirements to affect the quality of freshwater lenses on the island or have any other deleterious effect on natural resources. 8.1.8

Erosion and Pollution of Wetlands and Watercourses

Measures will be taken to minimise erosion and sedimentation in borrow pits, facilities yards and work sites. Silt traps and cut-off drains around yards will be incorporated into site works to restrict runoff wash and transport of sediments, reducing the potential for pollution of adjacent land from any local sources of contamination. The Contractor shall ensure that pollution of the shoreline, wetlands and watercourses does not occur. Pollution of coastal areas, wetlands, groundwater and surface water arising from fuel and oil spillages, sanitary and other wastes is a potential impact for which appropriate mitigation measures should be included in the Contractorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s methods of working. The Contractor will be required to pay all costs associated with clearing up any pollution caused by his activities and to pay full compensation to those affected. See 8.1.4 above. Silt-traps and turbidity barriers(if utilized) shall be provided by the Contractor and inspected, maintained and managed to the approval of the E.R. 8.1.9

Disposal of Waste Materials

The Contractor shall make provision for the safe and legal disposal of all wastes and prevention of any spillages, leakage of polluting materials etc. The disposal of materials by the Contractor within the site boundary and at off-site locations shall require the E.R.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s approval. Special arrangements shall be made for proper disposal of scrap materials, waste oils and any other potentially hazardous materials in compliance with the regulations of the Department of Environmental Health. The Department of Environmental Health should be consulted as and whenever appropriate. 8.1.10 Works Site Restoration Upon completion of implementation of project works, the Contractor shall restore all work sites, borrow sites (and any other land occupied or used by the Contractor during the course of the project) to the approval of the E.R. In particular his obligations shall include the requirement to: a) restore borrow sites with conserved top soil, to the approval of the E.R. and local landowners. The Contractor shall obtain a written release from each affected landowner; b) re-shape embankments and re-establish vegetation in restored areas according to original method statements or as otherwise indicated by the E.R. using locally prevalent non-invasive species to provide cover against erosion from rainwater and storms; c) clean-up of all construction sites, work areas and any facilities installed by the Contractor. 8.1.11 Consultation and Legal Requirements The Contractor shall co-operate, as required, with local government administrations and the MOW, and staff of the Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission (BEST). It is the responsibility of the Contractor to ensure compliance at all times with existing and new government regulations, including all statutory licensing and permitting requirements. National Laws and Regulations The project will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with applicable Bahamian environmental laws and regulation, including the following; The Environmental Health Act The Conservation and Protection of the Physical Environment of the Bahamas Act 4 October 2013

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The Antiquities, Monuments, and Museums Act The Public Works Act The Wild Birds and Plants Protection Acts The Bahamas National Trust Act The Fisheries Resources Act The Coast Protection Act The Water and Sewerage Act The Bahamas National Wetlands Policy 2007; and The National Invasive Species Strategy for the Bahamas. The Contractor shall conform to all these and other current legislation, including updated health and safety regulations. Prior to the commencement of construction activities local communities will be informed of the implementation schedule for contracted works and local requests incorporated as reasonable, where at no extra cost, subject to approval by the E.R. 8.2.

Checklist of Environmental Stipulations

At all times Contractors shall be required to conform with the following particular stipulations in implementing construction works: (a) there shall be clear demarcation of the extent of Contractorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work site(s) including areas for material storage, working yard (e.g. concrete casting) and plant storage. (b) health and safety equipment (including protective clothing and boots) shall be available and in use at work sites and construction facilities/camps. First aid boxes will be mandatory at all sites. (c) fuel storage sites shall be bunded by a small berm to confine and mitigate the effects of spillage. The capacity of the confined area to be 110% of volume of fuel stored and protected from rainwater. (d) discharge of dust and fumes shall be minimised and there will be no burning of toxic substances. (e) noise abatement on construction sites shall minimise avoidable inconvenience to local populations. (f) dump trucks shall be equipped with tarpaulins or similar devices to prevent material spillage and roads will be kept clean of mud and construction debris. (g) the method of construction shall minimise the length of coastal site works opened up at any one time as much as is considered feasible to minimise any avoidable impacts on water quality. (h) there will be no disposal of non-biodegradable materials on site without the express permission of the E.R. or local authorities. Oil collection traps will be in use in workshop areas. (i) there shall be no removal of sand or dredged material without an official mining permit and written approval of the E.R. (j) used oils shall be containerised and transported to an approved local agent for safe disposal or transported with other scrap equipment to an approved facility elsewhere. (k) no disposal of material in environmentally sensitive areas, e.g. mangroves, marshes, protected vegetation, and the marine environment. (l) the Contractor shall remove all construction equipment and scrap waste from his sites on completion. 8.3.

Contractor Facilities, Plant and Operations

Any facilities installed by the Contractor for the purpose of conducting construction works should meet appropriate standards of responsible environmental management and safety practice. Contractors will be 4 October 2013

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required to present general Method Statements to show how they will implement construction plans to achieve: 1) legally approved and environmentally acceptable extraction of materials from borrow pits with proper restoration. 2) minimal clearance of natural vegetation and interference with natural drainage flows, avoidance of any significant degradation of freshwater lenses. 3) environmentally sensitive location of temporary construction yard sites and space for plant and materials storage. 4) safe location and protection of fuel facilities, safe storage of hydrocarbons and other chemicals, reuse/disposal of used oil at approved sites, including a Fire Plan. 5) adequate facilities for collection and treatment of wastewater (as required), storage and legally disposal of general construction waste, solid waste, chemicals etc. 6) appropriately restored and unencumbered work sites, yards, camps and other facilities at project completion. 8.4

Site Considerations

Consistent application of codes of good environmental practice (Environmental Requirements) and effective supervision will be the major influence on the potential for environmental impact (positive and negative) and associated health and safety risks from the project. There will be a requirement for a Contractor materials storage area and temporary site facilities. A preferred area will be proposed by the Contractor and subject to approval by the Engineerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Representative. The Contractor must be required to obtain all the necessary local permits for his yards and materials needs from local borrow areas. 8.5

Environmental Awareness and Contractor Supervision

The standard practice for the Contractor to present his proposed work methods for approval by the E.R. must be respected. The E.R. will make a judgment on what practical environmental improvements are required. The E.R. shall be on site at sensitive moments to ensure works are being carried with due regard for the environment and in concordance with the Environmental Requirements and Environmental Management Plan (EMP). 8.6

Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

The environmental monitoring plan (EMP) is presented in Appendix J in outline form. It should be detailed and completed when the project action plan has been determined. The purpose of the EMP is to monitor or control the environmental effects of the project process. It should be based on compliance, verification, feedback, and know-how. The EMP should be able to provide responses to the following three questions: i) Why is monitoring being conducted? ii) What specifically is being carried out? iii) How are the data and information to be used in planning and decision-making? In the case of the proposed dredging and reclamation works, environmental monitoring is particularly necessary to ensure that suspended sediments generated during piling, dredging and during disposal of the dredged materials, do not adversely affect the health of the coastal ecosystems around the Project Area and elsewhere along the coast. This could be achieved by: 4 October 2013

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1. ensuring that the deliberate disturbance of bottom sediments during piling work and the deposition of fill material at the extension are done technically in a manner that minimises the amount and extent of fugitive sediment suspension (i.e. deposition of fill material in areas already protected by piling); 2. ensuring that the fine sediments in waters to be disposed of are only released at the containment location. 3. ensuring that the deliberate disturbance and removal of bottom sediments during dredging are done technically in a manner that minimises the degree and extent of fugitive sediment suspension (i.e. appropriate dredge type and operational procedures). 4. ensuring that noise, vibration, odour and dust are kept to an acceptable level. The monitoring programme should therefore focus on; 1. use of appropriate equipment for the project; 2. confinement of work to the specified storage areas; 3. monitoring of marine water quality including frequent measurements of water turbidity at the specified monitoring stations; 4. monitoring of beach profiles. 5. monitoring of noise, vibration, odour and dust. 6. monitoring of accidents It should be noted that monitoring of biological resources, fisheries harvest, traffic and social impacts will also be necessary but will be covered elsewhere. The turbidity compliance standards are set out above. The standards set take into account normal prevailing water quality conditions, the duration of the project works and the value of marine resources. The results of the turbidity measurements, which should be taken independently, should immediately be recorded formally and made available to the Engineers Representative so that any corrections and adjustments to operations can be made quickly. The Engineers Representative must have the authority to halt operations should this become necessary to protect the reef ecosystems at risk.

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9 EMERGENCY CONTINGENCY PLAN In an environmental context, the critical emergency situation that could arise during the proposed project works is the collision between the pile driving vessel or dredge vessel and another ship, resulting in the significant release of oil. In that event, reference should be made to the national oil spill response procedures. Adequate oil spill containment equipment should be available for immediate deployment at or near the project site during the project works. Major spills should be reported immediately to the Bahamas Defense Force and Port Authority. An emergency contingency plan for severe weather conditions such as storms and hurricanes will also be necessary to ensure equipment and material are adequately secured. Emergency contact numbers shall be made available to the Contractor.

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10 10.1

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Overview

This EIA has been carried out on the basis that there is sufficient demand to substantiate the ferry service and that the additional visitors to Bimini on the ferry service will be 570,000 per year however there has been insufficient research into the demand for this service and it is questionable. The main ecological effects will mainly be dependent on the ability of the Contractor to control turbidity, the success of the artificial reefs and the transplanted corals and the monitoring and control of fisheries. Infrastructure effects will be dependent on the effectiveness of the implementation of the recycling program and the implementation of the infrastructure enhancement project which includes improvements to roads, schools and educational facilities, fire services, medical services and an Eastern shoreline ferry service. The main socio-economic effects will mainly be dependent on Bimini Bay Resort and Casinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success on a long-term basis. These effects will also be dependent on Bimini Bay Resort and Casinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to share the benefits of the increased tourism fairly with the community and work with the community to ensure that the impacts to Bimini are positive. The project on the whole has the potential to have a variety of negative effects on Bimini including adverse impacts on the very aspects of Bimini that make it as attractive to visitors as it has been through history. The project also has the potential to have considerable employment and tourism advantages for the Bahamas once all monitoring and mitigation measures are implemented and conducted successfully. 10.2

Main Findings

The opportunity for developing the ferry terminal to increase the number of visitors to Bimini and thereby provide Bimini Bay with the number of visitors it is built and continues to build to accommodate should be considered further due to the level of development and the consequences of the development to date. The significant increase in visitors as a result of the ferry terminal construction should be carefully considered and thoughtfully planned. The EMP requirements for this project cover land reclamation, disposal of return water, dredging and waste removal and clean-up. Environmental supervision and monitoring during construction must include health and safety considerations and mitigation of avoidable marine impact. There are a variety of monitoring aspects to the project which must be conducted during various stages of the project including pre-construction, construction and operation to ensure impacts are limited and the appropriate mitigation measures placed. Because the proposed project will increase the total number of visitors to Bimini substantially a number of improvements will be necessary and this needs to be properly managed. The site and general Contractor environmental requirements in this EIA and associated EMP should give assurance that there will be effective site environmental management and safety practiced. The guidelines adopted cover all aspects of materials sourcing, movement and storage. In summary, provided there is full and proper implementation of this EIA and the EMP and there is adequate site supervision and environmental management, assured by the presence of the ECM, the level of adverse environmental consequences during construction should be tolerable. There are limited residential properties near to the site so noise and dust are not likely major issues. Once turbidity curtains are deployed effectively, water quality standards maintained, artificial reef installed and corals re-located effectively and adequate monitoring conducted there should be minimal impact on marine habitat. Findings with respect to social impacts to date have been limited due to limited time however these findings indicate it is likely that the majority of social impacts could be tolerable provided there is proper implementation of this EIA and the EMP and there is adequate mitigation that the community is aware of. However there are a couple specific social impacts that are unlikely to be adequately mitigated. The character of the region will change as a result of the project and little can be done to alter this other than put in place monitoring and mitigation measures to attempt to ensure that character changes are more desirable. Findings have indicated that a large majority of local residents as well as tourists would prefer to see more sustainable development (i.e. eco-tourism). The Government of the Bahamas as well as other agencies have identified the northern part of North Bimini as an area worthy of conservation. Further consideration should be given to the protection of portions if not all of this area.

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Monitoring of impacts will be key on this project due to the potential of a number of negative impacts in particular in the control of turbidity. Monitoring will be necessary for the following;

• • • • • • •

Marine Water Quality Monitoring; Shoreline Monitoring; Biological Resource Monitoring Fisheries Harvest Monitoring Social Impact Monitoring (measured through a series of questionnaires) Noise Monitoring Traffic Monitoring

Management of these monitoring programs and implementation of additional mitigation measures as appropriate will be necessary to ensure the project is a success in these respects as well as with regard to their indirect impacts. Particular care should be given to protecting the reef that is in close proximity to the ferry terminal given that the construction and operation of the ferry terminal could potentially impact these reefs potentially destroying at least half of the dive spots that attract many visitors to Bimini as well as provide habitat for many marine species. As such a thorough monitoring program will be implemented

10.3

Project Abandonment

The discontinuation of the project whether considered unlikely or not should be considered as there are a variety of reasons that could require project abandonment. Abandonment during the early stages (i.e. before the arrival of the dredger) would result in minimal environmental impacts for the support area for stockpiling construction materials as this area is already cleared. There may also be other significant impacts as the proposed project involves a requirement for re-locating corals at the project site. Abandonment of the ferry service due to lack of demand during the operational stage will likely result in the abandonment of the ferry terminal. Although alternative operators may be sought, such as cruise ship operators (note however docking would be limited to vessels with side thrusters) it is considered unlikely that other operators would be as successful as the Genting and RAV Bahamas Partnership. The terminal could possibly be used by cruise ships passing through although this is likely to have a limited benefit. The new island is restricted in its use due to the exposed nature of its location and the limited dredge footprint. There is a possibility that some impacts may be realized whilst others are not therefore abandonment plans need to be addressed. 10.4

Recommendations

1. Hold co-ordination meetings with the Consulting Engineers, the Dredging Contractors, Ferry Terminal contractors, Ministry of Works (MOW), Bahamas Science and Technology Commission (BEST), the Docks Committee, the Department of Fisheries and the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) before, during and after the construction activities as necessary. 2. Commission a study to better determine the likely demand for the ferry service with emphasis on identifying the demand in Florida for such a service and reference to existing and past ferry/cruise services between South Florida and Grand Bahama as well as Bimini to support the demand indicated in the HVS report as well as the proposed number of passengers (720,000 people). This study to be provided to and approved by the Government of the Bahamas preferably prior to construction and if necessary in the early stages of construction. 3. The Developer to develop abandonment plans to be approved by the Government of the Bahamas preferably prior to construction otherwise during construction. 4. The Office of the Prime Minister to undertake all Town Meeting requirements and consultations. 5. The Developer and the Government to give further consideration to the conservation of a portion of North Bimini. 4 October 2013

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6. The questionnaire used in the Bimini Bay Ferry Terminal EIA process to analyse social impacts can be made available to regulatory staff, as a tool to assist the Government in future, sustainable developments. It is recommended that a similar questionnaire be used as the standard for future developments so that country wide comparisons can be made, impacts better understood and documented and a greater standardized knowledge base created.

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11. REFERENCES U.S.A.C.E., September 2005 “Turbidity barriers as a Dredging Project Management Practice”, (ERDC TNDOER-E21) U.S.A.C.E., March 1983 “Dredging and Dredged Material Disposal”, (EM 1110-2-5025) U.S.A.C.E., June 1987 “Beneficial Uses of Dredged Material”, (EM 1110-2-5026) U.S.A.C.E., September 1987 “Confined Disposal of Dredged Material”, (EM 1110-2-5027) History of Bimini by Ashley Saunders Volumes 1 & 2, New World Press Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST). 1999. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas: National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. The Bahamas: Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission. Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).Bahamas Fisheries Summary.[Internet]. 2007. Belize City, Belize. http://www.caricom-fisheries.com/members/bahamas.asp Accessed April, 2013. Department of Statistics. Statistics: Population Census and Growth Rates. [Internet]. Nassau, The Bahamas. Http Accessed April, 2013. Cloud X http://www.westpalmbeach.com/cloudx/Accessed April, 2013. Trip Advisor, Baleariahttp://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34227-d3723265-ReviewsBalearia_Bahamas_Express_Ferry-Fort_Lauderdale_Florida.htmlAccessed April, 2013. Kawachi, I., Kennedy, B.P. & Glass, R. (1999) 'Social Capital and Self-Related Health: A Contextual Analysis.' American Journal of Public Health, 89(8): 1187-1193. Mathieson, A. & Wall, G. (1982) Tourism: Economic, Physical and Social Impacts. Longman, Harlow. Passenger logs, February and March, Balearia Ferry Service th

Government Meeting to introduce proposed projects at Bimini Bay, 5 April 2013 Munroe, Oscar, Local Government Administrator. Personal Communication Stuart, Antoinnette, Bimini Tourist Office. Personal Communication Commander Charleton, Bimini Police. Personal Communication Inspector Forbes, Police. Personal Communication Saunders, Ashley, Dolphin House, Personal Communication Bowe, Linda, Department of Environmental Health. Personal Communication Elko, Nicole, Elko Coastal Consulting Inc. Personal Communication DeCardanas, Franny. Bahamas Waste. Personal Communication Wolff, Eric, Manager, Environmental Systems, Norwegian Cruise Line. Personal Communication 4 October 2013

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Bethel, Senior Economist, Department of Fisheries. Personal Communication Johnson, Grant, Bimini Sands Resort. Personal Communication Weber, Michael, Bimini Big Game Club. Personal Communication Smith, Hylan, Dockmaster, Bimini Bay. Personal Communication Vareloa, Peter, Dockmaster, Bimini Bay. Personal Communication Brown, Kemaine, Beach Attendant, Bimini Bay. Personal Communication Taylor, Ambrose, Owner Golf Cart Business. Personal Communication Rolle, Natania, Bimini Big Game Club, . Personal Communication McNeil, Simone, Bimini Blue Water. Personal Communication David, Alberto, Western Air. Personal Communication Richie, Gardinia, Flamingo Air. Personal Communication Bowleg, Angela, Continental Airlines. Personal Communication Cooper, Sharon, Bimini Bay. Personal Communication Roberts, Laurek, Tram Operator. Personal Communication Stuart, Fabian, Fisherman Rolle, Garth, Fisherman. Personal Communication Ellis, Ingrid, Louise MacDonald School. Personal Communication Rolle, Facita, Gateway Christian Academy. Personal Communication Various Tourists Other Personal Communication not recorded

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12. APPENDICES Appendix A.

Geotechnical Report

Appendix B.

Marine Resource Report

Appendix C.

Water Quality Report

Appendix D.

Coastal Engineering and Sediment Reports

Appendix E.

Project Drawings

Appendix F.

Project Legislation

Appendix G.

Bimini Enhancement Master Plan

Appendix H.

Social Impact Questionnaire

Appendix I.

Alternatives Analysis Options Drawings

Appendix J.

Environmental Monitoring Forms

Appendix K.

Turbidity Monitoring Forms

Appendix L.

Economic and Fiscal Impacts Analysis Report for the Casino and Infrastructure Improvements

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