23 July 2022

Lost Coast Reclamation: my feedback

In a few months, we will start to lose the Lost Coast forever. I went to view the EIA yesterday.
My feedback to HDB includes to please allow the public a last chance to say goodbye to the shore. And to consider creating places for marine life in the project.

The 900ha reclamation will bury all of the 'Lost Coast' at the eastern most part of Changi.

For purposes that appear yet to be determined by the authorities. In the Long-Term Plan Review, the area is marked as 'Reserve Site'. Planned reclamation at Chek Jawa in the Plan is also  marked as 'Reserve Site'. 
Works will start soon, around the third quarter of 2022. It is expected to take about 5-10 years to complete the reclamation.

What marine life?
The Lost Coast is a vast sandy shore - a habitat that is now rare in Singapore (thus 'lost') and home to animals that we seldom see on our other shores. These include sea stars, special sand dollars, sea slugs and snails that thrive in sandy areas.
There are also glimpses of seagrasses at the edges of the vast sand bar, during the lowest spring tide. In the seagrasses, we've seen dugong feeding trails - formed when dugongs chomp up seagrasses including their roots, leaving a shallow meandering furrow of about equal width and depth. As well as other marine life commonly seen in seagrasses at Changi. During morning trips, we often encounter otters here too. While the EIA has reported sea turtle nests along the coast.
More about what we saw over the decades at the Lost Coast: I first returned to this shore for the first time in ten years in Dec 2020. Recent trips were in Jun 2022Jul 2021 and Dec 2021. Previous trips to these shore were in Nov 2011Oct 2011, quick visit in Oct 2011Jan 2010, first trip in Jan 2010.

My feedback to HDB:

Please allow the public a last chance to see the shore?
Right now, this shore is strictly off limits without a permit. Since we are going to lose these shores forever, will the authorities consider allowing the public access to see these shores and say a proper goodbye to them?
Living shores of Changi East (Lost Coast)

Can we create places for marine life in the project?
Particularly since the final purpose of the reclamation seems still yet to be determined, can we build the seawalls and create small lagoons specially for marine life?

Colourful reefy marine life has settled on regular seawall areas near the Lost Coast. Here's a glimpse of what Kok Sheng saw last month (June 2022). Imagine how much more marine life can settle on a seawall with special features to encourage this.
Creating a small lagoon will give a space for marine life to settle naturally. Like what has already happened in a small artificial bay near the Lost Coast. Where lush seagrass meadows have formed at the mouth of a canal, and corals settled at the base of the seawall. More details in East Coast Park - Surprising intertidal adventures for the family
Living reefs at East Coast Park, May 2021
An awesome reef has formed at the base of the seawall at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal! Here's what we saw last month (June 2022).  Here's a montage of Kok Sheng's photos taken at the seawall infront of the Ferry Terminal. While lush seagrasses are growing in the lagoon next to the Ferry Terminal.
Elsewhere in Singapore, natural regeneration on Singapore's artificial shores and structures is already happening now. Unintentionally, with zero replanting. So it should be possible to plan coastal works to allow reefs, mangroves and seagrasses to naturally regenerate. Check out the awesome videos highlighting these themes in Oceans Reimagined created by Nathaniel Soon of Our Seas Our Legacy.

Please send your feedback on the reclamation to HDB: Ms Audrey Yim / Mr Terence Peh via email at Audrey_HM_YIM@hdb.gov.sg /PEH_Hui_Yang@hdb.gov.sg

The EIA is available for viewing until 8 Aug.

From http://www.egazette.com.sg/pdf.aspx?ct=gg&yr=2022&filename=22adv6091.pdf


Environmental Impact Assessment Report for Proposed Land Reclamation at Changi Bay

HDB plans to carry out land reclamation at Changi Bay. An environmental impact assessment has been carried out to determine the potential impact of the project on navigation and the marine environment.

The environmental impact assessment report is available for public viewing by appointment, at the HDB Hub (Address: 480, Lorong 6, Toa Payoh, Singapore 310480), for 4 weeks with effect from 12 July 2022. To view the report, please contact Ms Audrey Yim / Mr Terence Peh via email at Audrey_HM_YIM@hdb.gov.sg /PEH_Hui_Yang@hdb.gov.sg to arrange a viewing from Monday to Friday.

More details in media articles

Thanks to Mothership for interviewing me and sharing some of my thoughts: "Land reclamation at Changi Bay to start by end-2022, near-threatened eagle & dugong feeding trails observed nearby" Gawain Pek 3 Aug 2022.

From Nesting turtles sighted at Changi Bay reclamation site
Ang Qing, Straits Times, Jul 23, 2022 02:59 am

Published earlier this month, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) aims to limit the damage caused by the reclamation of about 900ha of land - more than 10 times the size of the Singapore Botanic Gardens - in the waters off Changi.

The 550-page report - available for physical viewing at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh by appointment - said nesting turtles have been seen at the site, and the permanent loss of such habitat from reclamation will have a major negative impact on turtles, such as the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, if no intervention takes place.

Female marine turtles instinctively try to return to the same beach where they hatched for their own nesting, the report by environmental consultant DHI Water and Environment said. It recommended relocating any eggs found on the Changi Bay site to minimise the loss of future generations of marine turtles that might return.

Located between Changi Beach Park and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, the reclamation site spans a plot of about 7.2ha of secondary coastal vegetation as well as small patches of corals, mangroves and seagrass, the report said.

The permanent removal of intertidal habitat and secondary coral communities within the site is the main long-term impact that reclamation will have on marine ecosystems, it added.

The report said reclamation will smother one mangrove species, the Tengar merah (Ceriops zippeliana) listed as endangered locally, and a few rare or uncommon species of corals.

Given the small size of intertidal habitat – about 10.54ha – relative to the total reclamation site, and the presence of few species of importance, the report concluded that any detrimental effect would be minor.

Meanwhile, important corals from secondary coral communities totalling 7.2ha could be relocated to reduce impact, it said.

With mitigation measures such as these in place, the report concluded that the project does not pose any significant negative or unacceptable impact to the environment, including the nearby Chek Jawa Wetlands on the eastern end of Pulau Ubin. Chek Jawa is one of Singapore's richest ecosystems.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, HDB said all mitigation measures recommended by the EIA as well as an environmental monitoring and management plan will be implemented, so as to minimise the environmental impact of works.

All land reclamation projects are required to undergo environmental studies to assess their impact, such as on water quality and marine ecology, HDB added.

Members of the public can share their feedback until Aug 8, said HDB, which has engaged nature groups to seek their views. It will review and consider all feedback before development works start.


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