Coastal Sand Dune Restoration with Nature Conservancy Canada, August 31, 2022

The Greater Victoria Green Team engaged 10 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. We also removed some Scotch broom today too! 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 incredibly unique habitats on South Vancouver Island! Generally speaking, in order for a coastal sand dune to exist, there needs to be a source of sand, or shelter from intense winds and waves. Very often, you will get a hill or cliff face that is slowly eroding and dropping sediment into the ocean. Ocean currents then carry the sand up the shoreline and deposit it on the beach. This renews the sand on the beach even when strong winds wash it away, as more sand will replace it. A great example of this system in Greater Victoria is Island View Beach and Cordova Spit. Sand is dropped from the cliffs at the south end of the beach and carried along the shoreline, landing on the beach and forming the sandspit at the north end. These unique conditions prompt unique species to adapt—this is why there are so many rare and endangered species associated with coastal sand ecosystems!

This was our last of five sessions restoring the site. Thank you to everyone who participated throughout the month to help improve this coastal sand dune ecosystem!!


Thank you to our community members for participating: Kate, Roy, Tasha, Rhian, Joseph, Kai, Annie, Jenni, Barbara, and Andre!

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 10 community members volunteered and contributed 65 volunteer hours!
  • 3 volunteers were introduced to the this site, and 1 was introduced to removing invasive species!
  • We removed 7 cubic metres of invasive beachgrass & Scotch broom, and revitalized 60 square metres of sand dune habitat!
  • Over the course of five sessions, we removed 21 cubic metres of beachgrass and restored 500 square metres of the sand dune!
  • We found wasps building a nest in a section of grass, but they left us alone 🙂

Before and After Photos from our work session on August 31

Comparing when we arrived on August 16, to after we finished on August 31!

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

“I enjoyed helping to protect local beaches from invasive sea grass. The impact of this program is educating volunteers about invasive plants and empowering them to protect their environment from them.” – Annie

“I enjoyed removing a new invasive species for me today. It gives native beach grass a chance to thrive.” – Barbara

“Well of course, I enjoyed the amazing location, but this type of hands on restorative work allows you to see tangible results very quickly. This was a great project and it will be interesting to see how the dunes progress over the next year.” – Joseph

Tarp Train!!

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!

Share this Post!