The Ministry of Tourism in the Sultanate of Oman embarked on a project to develop Salalah Coast and its hinterland.
This development necessitated conducting Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, which entailed an environmental and ecological baseline study of the habitats, flora and fauna, biodiversity, and protected areas, as well as the preparation of sensitivity maps for the tourism development project.
Environics was contracted to conduct the required studies.
Environics first conducted a baseline study to collect and analyze baseline data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to generate environmental sensitivity maps of the project area. Aerial photos were integrated with data obtained from ground-truth visits and marine surveys to provide a habitat/biotope map. This map was used to evaluate the proposed land use and zoning scheme. Numerical models, such as hydrographic modelling, were used to quantify the impacts associated with different alternatives of the proposed development.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) relied on the baseline study to present the area’s potentials and constraints. The SEA employed suitability analysis to select zones or areas environmentally and socially suitable for particular uses that the planners identified. This analysis of alternatives evaluated the suitability options, the expected environmental impacts, and the carrying capacity of the receiving environment.
After finalization of project design, an environmental and social impact assessment was carried out to assess the potential impacts of the project on the surrounding environment, and those of the environment on project components.