Gouvernement Princier de Monaco
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News of theme "A Modern State"
09 August 2017 Press release

Protection strengthened for Spélugues coral reef, which borders urban extension project

Cleaning of the Spélugues coral reef using suction technique - Before suction

An environmental impact study was therefore conducted by Anse du Portier, with the aim of identifying the challenges, effects and potential impact of the project, and planning measures to avoid, reduce or mitigate harm to the marine environment and biodiversity.

Initial operations to move protected species were completed in April. Currently, the main work under way involves dredging polluted silt and removing it to the Envisan treatment centre in Seyne-sur-Mer, and moving other, non-polluted sediment within Monegasque territorial waters to a site which minimises the temporary impact on marine biocenoses and has no cross-border implications.

“From the point of view of the marine environment, sediment dredging is a sensitive operation,” confirms Jean-Luc Nguyen, Director of the Urban Extension Project, adding, “this work creates turbidity,* the spread of which is generally kept under control through measures taken to adapt the work site. But the resulting sedimentation** must be closely monitored. Several days ago, the sedimentation developing at theSpélugues coral reef was deemed unsatisfactory and dredging was temporarily halted on the Fairmont side.”

Following this stoppage, two supplementary measures were implemented: site protection was reinforced by the installation of a larger turbidity screen, and zones of high environmental value in the Spélugues coral reef were cleaned. Such cleaning will be carried out once a fortnight until dredging is complete.

In September 2017, the part of the reef impacted by dredging work will be cleaned. A full clean-up operation at the reef will be carried out once the maritime infrastructure is complete.

Cleaning of the Spélugues coral reef using suction technique - After suction

On Wednesday 9 August, a second instance of turbidity was noted during mid-morning, requiring a further stoppage of dredging. This was caused by a shift in the current, carrying the sediment beyond the dredging zone towards the Spélugues coral reef. After several hours, the current was favourable once again and following dispersion of the sediment, it was possible to resume work.

These incidents illustrate the genuine determination of all stakeholders in this major project for the Principality – the State, SAM Anse du Portier and the contractors – to comply with the commitments made to preserve the marine environment.

For more information, contact:

Urban Extension Project – urbamer@gouv.mc

* Defines the nature of water which has limited transparency due to the presence of solid matter in suspension caused by currents and intense swirling

** Describes all of the processes by which particles in suspension and in transit stop moving and settle, becoming sediment

(Source: Lexique d’écologie, d’environnement et d’aménagement du littoral (Glossary of ecology, the environment and coastal management) by François Cabane (Ifremer 2012))

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