DUNE SITES

The Pinhey Sand Dunes comprise 4 different dune sites in Nepean, Ontario, Canada. Together these dune sites make up a fraction of the original dune system formed 8,000 – 8,600 years ago.

Dune Site 1

Dune Site 1 is OFFICIALLY CLOSED as of 2022 due to the May 2022 Canadian derecho storm which caused severe damage including downing trees. With the help of the National Capital Commission, we hope to get this site safe for the public and back open soon.

As the name suggests Dune Site 1 was the first site that Biodiversity Conservancy International chose to restore and reclaim in 2011. Since then the site has been transformed from a densely planted wooded area back to its natural dune state. Dune Site 1 is shown in YELLOW on the map above.

Special Species :

(c) Nate Hartley

Hemlock Panic Grass (Dichanthelium columbianum) – A hairy stemmed grass that flowers in mid-summer and grows in sandy soils like the dunes. It is regionally a rare dune grass.

 

 

 

(c) Riley Walsh

Ghost tiger beetle (Ellipsoptera lepida) – A small (9mm – 11mm), light-colored beetle that is found only in pure sandy areas with sparse or no vegetation. This species is classified as vulnerable in Canada but quite common at Dune Site 1 & 2.

Dune Site 2

Dune Site 2 is the base of the Pinhey Sand Dunes restoration project and where we start every field day. This site is also home to the Sanctuary for Butterflies and Pollinators. Like with Dune Site 1, this site has been restored to its original dune state from densely planted woodland. Dune site 2 is shown in ORANGE on the map above.

Special Species :

(c) Riley Walsh

Ghost tiger beetle (Ellipsoptera lepida) – A small (9mm – 11mm), light-colored beetle that is found only in pure sandy areas with sparse or no vegetation. This species is classified as vulnerable in Canada but quite common at Dune Site 1 & 2.

Dune Site 3

Dune Site 3 is the easiest to access from the NCC Greenbelt Parking lot P15 and has picnic tables adjacent making it a frequent spot for lunch. This site was once planted woodland and is actively being restored to its original dune state. Dune Site 3 is shown in RED on the map above. 

Special Species :

(c) David McCorquodale

Great Plains Flatsedge (Cyperus lupulinus) – A sedge that can be up to 50 cm tall and found in open, sun-lit locations. This species is not found at any of the other Pinhey Sand Dunes sites.

 

 

 

(c) dstathis

Rock harlequin (Capnoides sempervirens) – An annual or biennial plant that grows up to 80 cm tall in burned or disturbed places. This species is not found at any of the other Pinhey Sand Dunes sites.

 

 

 

(c) Pauline Singleton

Sundial lupin (Lupinus perennis) – This flowering plant most often has blue or bluish-purple flowers and grows in sandy areas like the dunes. This plant is listed as imperiled in Canada meaning that it is at high risk of extripation. This species is not found at any of the other Pinhey Sand Dunes sites.

Dune Site 4

This site is the most recent addition to the Pinhey Sand Dune system. In 2019 Hydro Ottawa cleared a significantly forested area and has since requested Biodiversity Conservancy International to restore and maintain it in its natural state. This led to the site having 2 separate sections which we hope to connect as restoration continues. Dune site 4 is shown in PURPLE on the map above.

Special Species :

(c) Don Sutherland

Houghton’s Flatsedge (Carex houghtonii) –  This sedge grows up to 51 cm tall in sandy soil or dunes. It is a fairly rare dune sedge and this species is not found at any of the other Pinhey Sand Dunes sites. The species is listed as vulnerable in Canada meaning that it is at moderate risk of extrapation.