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Saadiyat Beach

Saadiyat Beach is a natural beach that supports remnant coastal dune vegetation. This vegetation grows without any irrigation, living on moisture from infrequent rainfall and heavy fogs experienced on the island. Its sensitivity to disturbance has led to the creation of the Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone, which is at least 60 metres wide.

Saadiyat Beach Blue Flag

TDIC has been awarded the Blue Flag for Saadiyat Beach since 2013. The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 3,850 beaches and marinas across the world. The Blue Flag works towards sustainable operations of beaches through strict quality criteria dealing with Water Quality, Environmental Education and Information, Environmental Management and Safety and other services.

Downloadable Documents

Dune Protection Zone

Dune Protection Zone

Access to Saadiyat Beach is available through specially-created boardwalks that allow people to cross over the dunes without damaging them, while access through the dunes remains open underneath.

It is important to protect these rare, low coastal dunes as they are vital for the preservation of Abu Dhabi’s flora and fauna. They also act as a natural barrier to storm waves for beachfront properties.

The Dunes, fronted by a deep sandy beach, form the preferred nesting habitat for the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle, which come ashore each year to nest, mainly between April and July. Hatchlings emerge from the nest approximately 60 days after nesting.

Additionally, gazelles, birds, reptiles and smaller mammals such as gerbils can be spotted within the Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone, whether to use it as a nesting area or feeding ground and hiding place, along with the Saadiyat Beach Golf Course.

The coastal waters of Saadiyat Beach similarly feature a number of Abu Dhabi’s prominent species, including Indo-Pacific humpback and bottlenose dolphins, green turtles, stingrays and blacktip sharks.

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Beach activities

Beach activities

Beach clean ups. Although the beach is cleaned on a daily basis, the cleaners do not normally collect litter in the Dune Protection Zone due to its sensitivity. Annual clean up events are organized involving the larger community, in order to raise awareness about littering at sea and its impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems.

Dune restoration

Dune restoration

In some areas of Saadiyat Beach, the original dunes have been removed as a result of historic land use. TDIC, in collaboration with its contractors and operators, have undertaken a number of dune restoration initiatives, 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 Island 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 as an integral part of the development, thereby increasing the value of our developments by building with nature and not against it. As a part of this philosophy, we work closely with operators and building contractors to protect and enhance natural assets, increasing awareness and showcasing Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the environment and sustainability for visitors from all over the world to witness.”

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Turtle Talks

Turtle Talks

TDIC Environment Department gives regular turtle talks to various stakeholders of the beach, including beach cleaners, life guards and the general public. These talks aim to raise awareness about the plight of critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles and their annual return to Saadiyat Beach to nest.

 

ABOUT HAWKSBILL TURTLES

  • Their name is derived from their hawk-like beak
  • They can grow to 110 cm in length and weigh up to 70 kg
  • They live in the tropical/subtropical waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
  • They love rocky areas, coral reefs, shallow coastal areas, lagoons, and oceanic islands.
  • They mainly feed on sponges, jellyfish and small invertebrates.
  • They are critically endangered and their population is decreasing.
  • The global Hawksbill turtle population has fallen more than 80% over the last 30 years.
  • They can live longer than 50 years
  • Their sex is determined by the temperature of the eggs in the nest. Warmer nests give rise to female hatchlings.

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About Mangroves

  • The grey mangrove, Avicennia marina, is the only species of mangrove that occurs naturally in the UAE
  • The mangroves play a great role in protecting the coastal shorelines from erosion, likewise they provide sheltered areas for native fish to breed; they act as carbon sinks and are destinations for migratory birdlife including flamingos, which can be found in the mangroves between November and April.
  • Have aerial roots which allow plant to absorb oxygen while submerged and provide good anchoring in sediment
  • Grey Mangrove have leaves with glands that excrete salt.
  • Grey Mangrove can also tolerate the storage of large amounts of salt in their leaves – which are shed when the salt load gets too high.

Images and Video

  • Clean up UAEBaby Hawksbill Turtle at Saadiyat islandSaadiyatbeach1Saadiyatbeach2Saadiyat Beach3Saadiyatbeach4Saadiyatbeach5Saadiyatbeach6Saadiyatbeach7Saadiyatbeach8Saadiyatbeach9Saadiyatbeach10Turtle Talk

Video Section

  • Turtle Talk