Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rapid Surveys of Marine Habitats on South Coast of Dent Peninsula

Review of the DEIA indicated a low density of marine surveys using an unsuitable methodology, indicating a seabed habitat largely devoid of sealife. In order to assess the validity of this assumption, a rapid survey of marine habitats was undertaken by a team of volunteers (and a professional photographer subsidised by a public donation). This field survey was supported by WWF-Malaysia and Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA).

The surveys found a wide range of marine ecosystems; both pristine and under existing pressures from pollution due to agricultural development (Oil Palm Plantations and Palm Oil Mills).

The findings of this rapid assessment are not reflected in the DEIA, and impacts are therefore under assessed. These comments seek to highlight the marine conditions present in the area, and lead the reviewers of the DEIA (public and government) to reassess the validity of the baseline assessments, and the impacts stated in the DEIA.

The images below indicate some of the key findings of the rapid assessment.

Location map of the Proposed Project Site

Based on these comments, it is hoped that the review panel will request a more detailed marine habitat assessment using a wider variety of methods more appropriate to fringing reefs, mangroves, sandy mudflats and biotic reefs in the sub tidal area, as well as at a wider variety of water depths.

A detailed habitat map of the area should be produced to accurately show what the seabed conditions are and allow a detailed environmental impact assessment to be undertaken.

Prepared by:
Will Unsworth
Tan Kai Yee
Davies Austin Spiji

Submitted to DOE as public comments on the DEIA for the 300MW Coal Fired Power Plant Project, FELDA Sahabat, Sabah.

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