09 September 2016

Coastal works to impact seagrass meadows at East Coast Park?

Lush seagrass meadows have settled on some parts of East Coast Park where the artificial shores provide shallow sheltered shores.
Lush seagrass meadows seen May 2015.
They were still lush during our survey here on Jul 2016.
A recent Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) notice suggests about 500m of 'turbidity curtains' will be place near and on top of one such seagrass meadow. What is going on and will the seagrass meadows be impacted?

From the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) 
PORT MARINE NOTICE NO. 97 OF 2016 dated 01 Sep 2016
Applicable to: Mariners operating near the mouth of Bedok Canal

Date : With effect from 13 Sep 2016 to 19 Sep 2016.

Location : At the mouth of Bedok Canal, within the working area bounded by the
following co-ordinates (see attached chartlet):

(WGS 84 Datum)
Point Latitude (N) Longitude (E)
1 01˚ 18.899' 103˚ 57.866'
2 01˚ 18.848' 103˚ 57.889'
3 01˚ 18.809' 103˚ 57.803'
4 01˚ 18.871' 103˚ 57.717'

From 0800 hours to 1900 hours daily including Sunday.

The work will involve the installation of turbidity curtains. A shore crane assisted by the supply boats will be used to install the turbidity curtains. Further enquires relating to the project can be directed to Mr Tan Soo Peng, Construction Manager at Tel: 8481 0763.

Plotting the coordinates in the Notice on Google Earth resulted in these points.
A closer look at the points. The green blob is where we have seen lush seagrass meadows.
The seagrasses on this shore were mostly Spoon seagrass with large leaf blades.
And Needle seagrass, most had narrow skinny leaf blades while there were some patches with broader leaf blades.
This small patch of lush seagrasses is similar to Chek Jawa, with the same kinds of animals. There are lots of echinoderms, with many Thorny sea cucumbers. We also see some Pink warty sea cucumbers, and Garlic bread sea cucumbers.
This year, for the first time, we saw a few Common sea stars. They were all rather small (about 8cm in diameter) and we think they only recently settled on the shore.
Kok Sheng found several baby Knobbly sea stars!
Also some White sea urchins, as usually, 'carrying' debris so they are a bit hard to spot. Many Striped hermit crabs, a few swimming crabs and some Fan clams and Window pane shells. We saw some spectacular echinoderms and snails in Jun 2013.
What massive work is happening nearby that warrants 500m of 'turbidity curtains'? What other environmental impacts will the works have? Was there an EIA? 

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