Environmental Monitoring Programme for the Paralimni Marina Construction Stage

~3 years (May 2022 – January 2025)

Funded by:
PMV Maritime Holdings LTD

Subcontracted by:

Project Description:
Following the completion of the Paralimni Marina Environmental Impact Assessment, MER recommended monitoring guidelines to evaluate the project effects in the marine environment during the construction phase, ensuring that unforeseen, significant and adverse environmental impacts are identified and mitigated. The guidelines were adopted and refined by the Authorities and MER was subcontracted to conduct the monitoring for the whole duration of the marina construction.

The Plan for the Protection and Monitoring of Marine Biodiversity and Turbidity during the construction phase of the Paralimni Marina began to be implemented in May 2022 and will continue for the duration of the construction works. Essentially, the Plan focuses on monitoring underwater currents and turbidity, water and sediment quality and monitoring priority biological elements.
Specifically, the Plan includes the following: (i) Continuous measurements of currents (one fixed point) and turbidity (two fixed points), (ii) Weekly measurements of physicochemical parameters of water and sediment at five sampling points when high-intensity operations causing resuspension of sediments are carried out and a visible plume is formed, (iii) Monthly measurements of water physicochemical parameters at three fixed sampling points, (iv) Seasonal monitoring of biological elements (Posidonia oceanica, macroalgae, Vermetids), and (v) Annual monitoring of macrofauna living in soft substratum at three fixed sampling points.

Physicochemical parameters
For the physiochemical parameters, a current meter (Nortek Aquadopp Profiler) along with two turbidity sensors (AQUAlogger® 310TY) have been installed around the construction area to provide information about the predominant currents and turbidity levels during the construction period. Controlling turbidity levels is important in construction projects that include dredging and other processes that tend to resuspend sediments in the water column affecting ecosystem processes, and especially filter and suspension feeders. Turbidity sensors were deployed in two priority sites; one in a Marine Protected Area with artificial reefs and another at a natural site at the southernmost point where alive vermetid gastropods were found during the Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS). Furthermore, six sediment traps are installed strategically around the construction site to monitor sedimentation.

On a monthly basis, seawater samples are collected from the entire water column at three fixed positions and analysed for: Salinity, Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen (DO), pH. Conductivity (EC), Turbidity, Chlorophyll-a, Nitrites (NO2), Nitrates (NO3), Ammonia (NH4+), Phosphates (PO43-), Total suspended solids (TSS), Total Organic Carbon (TOC), and Total Petroleum (TPH). The first six parameters are recorded in the field (in situ) with vertical profiles conducted with a CTD (Idronaut 316Plus). The rest are analysed at an accredited chemical laboratory.

In addition to the above, surface sediment and seawater (integrated sample) are collected on a weekly basis if construction causes resuspended sediments and visible plume. The sampling stations are set at increasing distances from the plume direction (i.e., at 50 m, 200 m and 500 m downstream) and at two Control Stations. Seawater is analysed for: Nutrients (K, P, N), Microbiological parameters (E. coli and Enterococci), Heavy Metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Pb, Fe and Zn), Turbidity, Total Organic Carbon (Total Organic Carbon – TOC), and Dissolved oxygen (DO). Surface sediment is analysed for: pH, Heavy Metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Pb, Fe and Zn), Tributyltin (TBT), Total Phosphorus (TP), Total Nitrogen (TN), and Total Organic Matter (OM).

Habitat and Biodiversity
Key biotic parameters monitored to assess the impact on the biodiversity and habitat include:

  • Posidonia oceanica meadows monitoring: Sixteen permanent 1 m2 quadrats were set-up at four stations, using iron stakes that were hammered into the sediment at the edge of meadows to mark the boundaries of the quadrats. These are monitored on a seasonal basis recording seagrass shoot density and seagrass canopy coverage (%). The latter is estimated with an appropriate software that processes a vertical photo.
  • Macroalgae community monitoring: Twenty permanent 0.04 m2 quadrats have been installed at two sites (one on either side of the development), placed at <1 m depth using an underwater drill to mark the positions of the quadrats. On a seasonal basis, the macrophytes within quadrats are identified and the coverage (%) of each species is estimated both in situ and with an appropriate software that processes a vertical photo.
  • Vermetids monitoring: Two rocky coastlines identified during the EBS to host live vermetids are monitored on a seasonal basis. A stratified random sampling method is applied where researchers position a large number of 0.04 m2 quadrats on the shallow reef and where vermetids are present, recording the number of vermetid gastropod shells and the ratio alive:dead.
  • Benthic macrofauna community monitoring: Three replicate sediment samples are collected from three sampling stations on an annual basis, with a Van Veen grab. Macrofauna species are identified, and the ecological status is assessed with biotic indicators.