Coastal Sand Dune Restoration with Nature Conservancy Canada, August 16, 2022

The Greater Victoria Green Team engaged 7 community members at a rare coastal sand dune habitat off the Saanich Peninsula! We removed lots of European Beachgrass that had overgrown the natural sand dune, preventing native species from growing there. This habitat is rare, with many at-risk species present, so removing invasive species is very important work! The at-risk species in this habitat include Contorted-Pod Evening Primrose, Yellow Sand-Verbena, Howell’s Triteleia, and Black Knotweed. More common native sand dune species include Dunegrass and Large-headed Sedge.

Coastal sand ecosystems are very rare on Vancouver Island because much of our coastline is exposed to harsh winds and waves that prevent sand from accumulating. In more sheltered areas, sandy beaches can form. These habitats are unique because they are difficult for most plants to live in. The sand dunes shift around a lot, and anything living there will be exposed to salt water from the ocean, which normally kills plants that aren’t adapted to it. Species that are native to these ecosystems have adapted all sorts of features to help them survive in these harsh habitats. When invasive species manage to establish, not only do they overgrow the native species, but they actually change the soil itself and make it harder for native species to survive! This is one of many reasons why restoring these ecosystems is so important.

We will be returning to this site again on August 18th, 23rd, 25th & 31st to continue our work here!


Thank you to our community members for participating: Richard, Julian, Jenni, Cindy, Tasha, Maggie, and Roy!

Thank-you very much to The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) for partnering with us and contributing to our Green Team activities and for recognizing the importance of of investing in your community members and green spaces!

Group Photo!


  • In total 7 community members volunteered and contributed 44 volunteer hours!
  • 3 volunteers were introduced to the this site!
  • We removed 2 cubic metres of invasive beachgrass, and revitalized 215 square metres of sand dune habitat!
  • We saw some deer crossing the road and a family of raccoons!
  • We found Yellow Sand-Verbena, a native at-risk species!

Before and After Photos

This activity not only benefitted the environment, but also the participants themselves. By being out in nature doing something positive as a team, our community members:

  • Develop a sense of belonging to community and place
  • Have improved mental and physical health
  • Connect to nature, which leads to environmentally responsible behaviour
  • Learn about local environmental issues and actions they can take
  • Learn the value of bringing together people to work towards a common goal
  • Become leaders in their communities
  • Increase confidence, resilience and perseverance

Volunteer Testimonials

“Great conversations! Gorgeous location. Delicious and thoughtful food. The impact of this program is building community, healing the land, reciprocity.” -Tasha

European Beachgrass can grow very, very long rhizomes!

Action Shots

Thank you to TruEarth, Saltspring Coffee, and Green Room Body Co for Donating In-Kind Rewards to our Hard Working Community Members!

Share this Post!