Mennonite Heritage Village has received a $50,000 grant to restore the eroding shoreline of its pond and create a walking path around the perimeter.
The project, which will be undertaken this summer, was one of 23 included in a $2.8-million funding announcement by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corp.
Established as a Crown corporation in 1986, MHHC is now a private charitable organization that oversees provincially-funded conservation trusts in partnership with The Winnipeg Foundation.
Funds are disbursed to an array of land, water, and wildlife conservation projects, Tim Sopuck, MHHC’s chief executive officer, said in a release.
MHV’s grant was awarded under the Habitat and Wildlife category, which funds projects that connect people with nature.
Gary Dyck, MHV’s executive director, said erosion of the pond’s steep shoreline has been a problem for years.
Last July, the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District developed a remedial site plan that Dyck said will also improve the pond’s capacity to capture carbon dioxide.
The goal, Dyck explained, is to maximize the wetland potential of the pond, which is part of the Manning Canal, a provincial waterway.
An excavator will be brought in to scoop sediment out of the pond and place it along the shoreline, which will be sloped and reshaped to reduce erosion.
Native plant species will be added along the shoreline. Willows, which possess fast-growing root systems bind and stabilize soil, will also be planted farther up the shoreline.
A pedestrian pathway will be installed around the perimeter of the pond, including a new land bridge along the south end.
Dyck said the 1.5-kilometre pathway will take walkers past the Dirk Willems Peace Garden and a section of the Berlin Wall—features of the museum grounds that visitors sometimes miss.
Steinbach is home to many avid walkers, and Dyck said he’s excited to enhance the museum’s connection to community wellbeing, while also improving an underdeveloped corner of the museum grounds.
The conservation grant will cover one-third of the project’s total cost. Dyck said another third will be borne by the museum, and the rest by donations and other grants.
Pandemic restrictions permitting, Dyck said MHV hopes to organize a few tree-planting days for any volunteers who want to help out with the project.
"We can easily social-distance—it’s a big pond," he said.