A BIODIVERSITY CONSERVANCY PROJECT:
Saving a threatened Ottawa sand dune complex
Pinhey Sand Dune
Dune location: Corner of Pineland Ave & Vaan Drive just north of Slack Road, east of Woodroffe Ave.
Ottawa's only inland sand dune complex—the Pinhey sand dune complex —has survived over 10,000 years since the last ice age. This unique ecosystem is home to a number of plant and animal species which can only live in well-drained, open areas with exposed fine white sand.
As with sand dunes across North America, it was rapidly disappearing due to a lack of understanding of the biodiversity value of this important ecosystem.
The fight to save Pinhey
Biodiversity Conservancy in 2011 took on the restoration and reclamation of the Pinhey sand dunes. Without this effort to save it, the dunes would disappear completely within 10-15 years, and a number of species would also become extinct locally.
Already, the dune complex is but a tiny fragment of what was once a large sand dune ecosystem (see sidebar).
The challenge is that the surrounding forest relentlessly encroaches on the remaining dunes (photo left). So the restoration effort largely consists of stopping and reversing this process.
The work includes making a scientific assessment of organisms living in the ecosystem, removing weeds, selected trees, accumulated organic material, and cleaning the sand in the core of the remaining dune to stabilize the system. A corridor of woodland will be maintained around the perimeter of the dune to minimize erosion by wind and to contain the sand in the dunes.
Volunteers make the difference
The restoration project would be imposssible without the many volunteers who have given up weekends to lend a hand. We appreciate their work and dedication.
Did you know?
The Pinhey Sand Dunes project is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the City of Ottawa
in collaboration with the National Capital Commission .
Life on the duneNow that you know about the Pinhey sand dunes restoration project, it's time to take a look at the remarkable life forms that make the dune their home.
Where is the dune?
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