If you have ever come to St Barths, you must have been to its lovely Salines beach. This acclaimed all-natural beach boasts a wonderful dune devoid of any building: No beach bar here, no beach cabanas. Nothing. Just the sand, the sea and you.
Yet, after hurricane Irma struck St Barths in September 2017, this lovely dune had been devoured by the gigantic waves that hit the island. Even though it is still standing there, a big chunk of it is missing.
Salines dune: A natural protection against rogue waves at risk
This is of course aesthetically hard to watch, but things look better already. Yet, a danger looms: The dune has been weakened in 3 points. Should another series of waves hit the island in the next hurricane seasons, it is far from certain that the dune will hold.
Should there be a breach into the dune, then sea water would rush into the low level Salines quartier. Moreover, the breach would take away part of the dune and the sea may permanently engulf the area. Draining the grounds and then rebuilding the dune would be long and costly.
Our action: Helping nature rebuild Salines dune
To prevent this potentially catastrophic situation and also to green the dune again, GreenStBarths has been working with the Collectivité, the Agence Territoriale de l’Environnement and local environmentalists and gardeners.
GreenStBarths is managing several projects on the island at the moment, thanks to the help of its generous donators. This specific dune restoration project is entirely financed by the Hasso Plattner Foundation, who has selected GreenStBarths as one of its carefully screened donation recipients.
You will below links to several documents showing what our plan is. In the coming weeks, we will use a lightweight machine to push back up part of the sand, then setup small wooden fences and start planting species whose roots hep retain the sand.
This is a project that will need years to be accomplished. It does mean that locals and visitors should refrain from walking up and down the dune for the months ahead of us. Hopefully, the dune will be restored and the natural cycle of plants retaining the sand will start again.
Salines dune restoration project: Important papers to read
You will find here the details of our plan, along with the official convention signed with the local St Barths authorities. These documents, in French, will give you a good idea of what we are trying to do, how we are aiming to make it happen and how we have to reached to important stakeholders to get their buy-in and their support.
Salines dune: Official convention signed between la Collectivité, l’Agence Territoriale and GreenStBarths