Coastal Sand Dune Restoration with Nature Conservancy Canada, August 23, 2022

The Greater Victoria Green Team engaged 9 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.

One major reason that European beachgrass and other invasive species are a threat to coastal sand ecosystems is because they stabilize the sand dunes. Coastal sand ecosystems are very harsh and difficult for most plants to live in because the ground they would grow in is constantly shifting! Sand dune plants are adapted to this, but most other plants are not. However, some invasive species like European beachgrass (or Scotch broom at other sandy beaches) are able to withstand these harsh conditions and grow anyways. Their extensive roots systems trap the sand and stabilize the ground. Now that the sand isn’t moving around as much, other plants have an easier time growing and establishing in the area. Their roots contribute to stabilizing the dune even more, which allows even more plants to establish… It becomes a vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of without the help of people carrying out restoration!

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


Thank you to our community members for participating: Emiko, Teresa, Rosanna, Mieka, Annie, Rhianedd, Ben, Robin, & Joanne!

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 9 community members volunteered and contributed 56 volunteer hours!
  • 4 volunteers were introduced to the this site, and 1 was introduced to removing invasive species!
  • We removed 4 cubic metres of invasive beachgrass, and revitalized 150 square metres of sand dune habitat!
  • A great blue heron came to the beach and watched us work for a bit!

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

“The events are so well-organized, everyone is welcoming and friendly and I feel like I’m making a real impact on the environment. There is a lot of negative news about the environment everyday, this program makes me feel like I’m doing a small part towards making changes. It’s also a fantastic way to build community and bring people from different backgrounds and areas of the Island together.” – Teresa

“Besides removing some invasive species, I think this program encourages participants to act on their own.” – Joanne

Victory Pile!!

Action Shots

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

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