Due to exceptionally high environmental standards set by Prince Albert II and the Monegasque government, the Portier Cove land extension project designers, architects, and construction specialists will implement designs and solutions that avoid, reduce, and compensate for the impacts of the construction site, and lessen the overall environmental impact of the project. Additionally, the modern architectural and landscape design of Portier Cove blends naturally with Monaco’s existing scenery.
Two particular measures were taken prior to construction:
- Extensive surveying and analysis by experts to determine potential environmental impacts and subsequent development and implementation of appropriate tools and their operating conditions. Education and training for on-site employees and stakeholders on these tools and operational procedures.
- Surveying, analysis, and management of existing flora and fauna including removing and relocating existing species to other areas outside the work site.
Preservation of Local Underwater Species
Between August of 2016 and March 2017, marine teams worked to relocate the existing Posidonia oceanica and nacre (mother of pearl) on the work site to surrounding areas in the Larvotto Marine Reserve.
The Posidonia oceanica is a marine flowering plant that is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. The role of these plants is essential to the local ecosystem, producing a vast amount of oxygen through photosynthesis and helps with water clarity by trapping particles. The Posidonia oceanica is home to a large number of sedentary and transboundary plant and animal species that shelter, reproduce, and feed in the meadows. In total, 500 square meters of Posidonia meadows were carefully removed and transplanted into the Larvotto Marine Reserve.
Video: Bouygues TP MC
Large mother of pearl bivalve shells are often found in abundance amidst the Posidonia meadows. These are some of the largest shells in the world. At the recommendation of various experts including marine biologists from the University of Nice, a total of 143 mother of pearls were moved from the work site into the Larvotto Marine Reserve.
In order to accelerate the recovery of these species and others, the emerged caissons and rip-rap are designed with particular materials and surfaces to allow species to attach themselves to the structures. Additionally, artificial reefs will be installed at the perimeter of the completed underwater work site to encourage a rapid regrowth of the endemic species.
Photos: Bouygues TP MC
Protection of Surrounding Marine Reserves
In order to protect the adjacent marine reserves (Larvotto and Spélugues) two anti-turbidity screens have been installed around the work site. Additionally, procedures and processes have been put in place to react to an accidental pollution from the work site.
Ecological monitoring plans have been established, and monitoring tools put in place, to consistently measure the overall health of the marine area. Regular qualitative and quantitative assessments will be carried out throughout the duration of the project regarding the species in the immediate surrounding areas and will continue after project completion to ensure an abundant reestablishment of the species on the perimeter of the eco-district.
Photo: Bouygues TP MC
Monitoring and Assessments
Ecological monitoring tools are in place to consistently measure the overall health of the marine area. A network of sensors measures water quality in real time throughout each phase of work. This makes it possible to detect any type of turbidity risk and immediately reduce the volume of work being done until the cause is identified and rectified, and levels return to normal. Sensors are in place to monitor Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), which show the amount of light received by the meadows in the surrounding marine reserves to ensure no damage is caused by lack of photosynthesis. Submarine and airborne drones constantly survey the entire area.
Photo: Bouygues TP MC
Planning has been made to minimise the impact of noise pollution and disturbance both on land to residents and visitors, as well as underwater for species affected by noise. One measure that has been taken is to favour work being done off-site. An example of this is the caisson prefabrication, which is taking place nearby in the port area of Marseille, France.
Regarding work that must be completed in Monaco, a 3-5 meter high sound insulation wall has been erected along the 500 meters of shoreline nearest the worksite. There are six sound meters installed throughout the work site to measure the level of sound generated in real time, and signal the need for a reduction of productivity to keep noise disturbance at a minimum. At sea, engine sounds are conducted in isolated areas, which absorb the noise. Arrangements are also made to divert any wildlife away from the worksite as to not be disturbed by operational noise.