The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort works with TDIC and island contractors preparing for the turtle nesting season
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort along with support from Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), master developer of Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi and from contractors working on Saadiyat organized a dune restoration exercise at the beach area in front of the resort 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, the main contractor on UAE Pavilion and New York University on Saadiyat, Saadiyat Public Beach operator BAKE, together with the environmental team at TDIC, worked to translocate a collection of dune plants from areas behind the 60 m wide Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone that are set to be developed in the future, to the beach in front of The St. Regis.
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 areas on the seaward side of the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club pathway, which wraps around the front of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. These newly vegetated areas will enhance the beach, and in turn further increase the nesting habitat for the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles, which return here to nest every year between April and July. 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 on Saadiyat apart from many other coastal developments in the Arabian Gulf, is that important environmental assets such as the Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone are being considered an integral part of the development, thereby increasing 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 as we believe the islands beauty lies in the fact that it is natural, and we are keen to play our part in maintaining its pristine beach.”