Coastal Sand Dune Restoration with Nature Conservancy Canada, August 25, 2022

The Greater Victoria Green Team engaged 8 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.

Yellow sand-verbena (Abronia latifolia) is still in bloom at this time of year on sandy beaches around southern Vancouver Island. It is on the BC Blue List, meaning the province recognizes it as a threatened species (as opposed to the Yellow List, which includes species considered secure, or the Red List, which includes endangered species). It spreads along the sand to form large patches that bloom in the summer and die back in the winter. Yellow sand-verbena is an important species because it supports the highly endangered Sand-verbena Moth, which is on the BC Red List and listed as endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Invasive species, such as the European beachgrass we have been removing, don’t leave any space for yellow sand-verbena to grow, so removing it benefits not just the yellow sand-verbena itself but also the endangered sand-verbena moth and other insects supported by native sand dune plants.

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


Thank you to our community members for participating: Wendy, Coral, Dante, Sue, Rheona, Annie, Cathie, and Pam!

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 8 community members volunteered and contributed 51 volunteer hours!
  • 7 volunteers were introduced to the this site, and 2 were introduced to removing invasive species!
  • We removed 4 cubic metres of invasive beachgrass, and fully cleared 100 square metres of sand dune habitat!
  • It was a hot day, but the wind picked up in the afternoon to cool us all down 🙂

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 Tesimonials

“I enjoyed meeting some fabulous humans, the cool transportation, and a sense of accomplishment and having a big ‘ol pile of beach grass to show for our hard work. This program is extraordinary. It provides the volunteers with strong social skills, and a new appreciation for nature 🙂 it also has a great impact on our environment and the habitats within greater Victoria :)” – Coral

“I enjoyed the beautiful setting and cheerful group of workers. It was well-organized. This work is good for the environment and good for the volunteers” – Sue

“This program has been very impactful for me in getting to know new people who share similar interests and working on restoring the natural habitat :)” – Dante

“I felt a sense of accomplishment in removing invasive seagrass with people from many different ages & backgrounds with humour & fun. The impacts of this program are educating participants on the delicate balance of ecosystems and that even a few hours of effort can go a long way, and empowering participants in shaping their future.” – Annie

“We are making a difference, one spot at a time, and a sense of community is built through teamwork. It is obvious that there is passion for removal of invasive species. It is hard work, and we dig in and do our best to make the most progress in the time allotted. Many people do this work on their own, but it is through programs that there is a method for proper disposal of the invasive vegetation.” – Cathie

The pile is (almost) as tall as we are!

Action Shots

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

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