The Pinhey Sand Dunes (PSD) Restoration by Biodiversity Conservancy International (BCI) in collaboration with the National Capital Commission has reached its 8th year. Three sites (Dunes 1-3) have been restored from densely planted wooded areas to their natural dune state. In addition, another significant forested area in the hydro corridor (part of National Capital Greenbelt) adjacent to Dunes 3 has been cleared by Hydro Ottawa in April 2019. At the request of Hydro Ottawa, BCI will maintain this area (Dunes 4) as a treeless habitat consisting of dune, meadow and wetland (see map).

The four dune sites totaling ~30,000 m2, which have been successfully restored, are part of the on-going progress of the initial BCI dune habitat and ecosystem restoration objectives.  

Sparse, low bush vegetation in a treeless dune habitat not only provides essential shelter for dune-dwelling organisms from the harsh dune environment but also offers excellent hunting and foraging grounds for a variety of sun-loving non-dune insects, particularly butterflies and insect pollinators . On the basis of this fact,  a sanctuary for non dune insects, particularly butterflies and other pollinating insects  has been created at Pinhey Sand Dunes, known as the Pinhey Sand Dunes Sanctuary for Butterflies and Pollinators.   

The Sanctuary will:

– Enhance conservation of the rare and unique inland sand dune habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem in Canada’s Capital, let alone in  Canada.

– Advocate conservation of pollinators including butterflies.

-Advocate conservation of species at risk particularly butterflies and dune insects.

– Instigate efforts in the recovery of extirpated and endangered butterflies in Ottawa.

– Enhance ecosystem services, particularly pollination.

– Enrich biodiversity in the National Capital Greenbelt.

– Provide education and scientific research opportunities.

– Motivate public interest, participation and support of long term maintenance of the restored the PSD habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem.

Sanctuary for Butterflies and Pollinators in the making

A chrysalis attached to the underside of a Milkweed leaf.


A Monarch chrysalis attached to the underside of a Milkweed leaf at Pinhey Sand Dunes 2 (Photo Olivia Leon 2020).

  • Re-population of Nectar Plants for Butterflies
  • Re-population of Pollinator Plants for Bees, Wasps and other Flying Insects
  • Re-introduction of Butterflies
  • Introduction of Extirpated Butterflies


Video of Pollinators and Butterflies Visiting the Sanctuary Summer 2020