Dunes restoration makes way for endangered turtles

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A dune restoration exercise at the beach area in Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi has been organized by The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.

Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) supported the initiative which took place on March 3.

A group of 60 volunteers that included staff members from the hotel, Al Ryum, the landscape maintenance contractor at The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Al Futtaim Carillion.
Along with them,  the main contractor on UAE Pavilion and New York University on Saadiyat, Saadiyat Public Beach operator BAKE, together with the environmental team at TDIC

The team worked to translocate a collection of dune plants to the beach in front of The St. Regis from 60 m wide Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone.

This area is set to be developed in the near future.

The participants translocated 2000 plants, adding approximately 2000m2 of dunes to the Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone.

The purpose of this activity was to create additional vegetated dune areaswhich will enhance the beach, and in turn further increase the nesting habitat for the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles.

Every year between April and July these turtles return here to nest.

This activity forms part of TDIC’s ongoing commitment towards sustainability and environmental best practice.

Speaking on the event, Dr. Nathalie Staelens, Head of Environment at TDIC, explains: “What sets our developments apart from many other coastal developments, is that important environmental assets such as the Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone are being considered an integral part of the development.

This thereby increases the value of our developments by building with nature and not against it.

Part of this philosophy, is working closely with operators and contractors to protect and enhance natural assets, increasing awareness and finally showcasing Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the environment and sustainability”.

Concluding, John Pelling, General Manager of The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, said: “Last year we had one turtle nesting site immediately in front of the hotel, and it was indeed very exciting to learn that about 100 new hatchlings made their way towards the sea.”

“We take some key precautions to ensure the stretch in front of our resort is conducive to these endangered species during the nesting season,” he said.
 

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