Biodiversity and habitats

Messinia is a region with one of the highest biodiversity ratings in Europe, in terms of both species and ecosystems. The preservation of biodiversity and the protection of the ecologically important habitats surrounding Costa Navarino is a key element of the development. At a close distance from Navarino Bay, between the village of Gialova and the bay of Voidokilia, extends Gialova lagoon, one of the most significant wetlands in all of Europe. Gialova lagoon has a unique and diverse bird population comprising 271 different species. TEMES supports research projects on the lagoon’s avifauna and the impact of climate change on the ecosystem of the lagoon through the Navarino Environmental Observatory. At the same time, TEMES collaborates with local authorities and NGOs for the design and implementation of habitat protection strategies.

Gialova Lagoon is also home to Europe’s only population of African chameleons. TEMES supports a unique program for the protection of this rare and endangered species, managed by the Hellenic Herpetological Society. The program includes nest recording and protection, monitoring of the egg hatching process, population recording, in combination with public awareness campaigns for the protection of the species.

TEMES has launched an extensive monitoring and protection program for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in cooperation with Archelon, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece. The program, operating since 2010, covers the 2.7 km stretch of Romanos Beach and annually records the Caretta caretta population while protecting, monitoring and mapping nests using GPS technology. A detailed action plan ensures that eggs and hatchlings are protected until their final journey to the sea.

The nesting data for the last ten years show that the development of Costa Navarino has had no negative impact on the nesting habits of sea turtles on Romanos Beach. The location of the buildings and the special design of the lighting installed at the facilities of Costa Navarino (low intensity lights with special covers), combined with the peripheral planting of selected shrubs, which act as a natural light barrier, provide sufficient protection against artificial light which may discourage female sea turtles from nesting and disorient hatchlings.