The mounds of dirt surrounding the Mennonite Heritage Village pond are not because giant gophers have moved into the region, they've been placed there on purpose, because of a desperate need for shoreline stabilization due to years of erosion.

Gary Dyck, Executive Director at the MHV in Steinbach explains,

“Over the years the shoreline has gotten quite steep and when you have a shoreline that goes straight down instead of at a slope, then when the rains come and the waters rise, it just erodes further. So over the years, it's been widening and a lot of the shoreline has been falling into the pond and getting washed away. So, it was time to do it for that purpose and it is also just ecologically responsible."

He continues, "It's very good for the environment to be able to have a sloped shoreline with different grasses growing. The different plants and native species that grow there actually hold the soil in place which then provides carbon sequestration for the runoff from the farm fields, which then filters the pesticides out of the water, so the water stays clean and then it just keeps going through the cycle.”

When asked about the process of the shoreline stabilization project, Dyck says,

“Stakes (posts) have been already placed about 2 ½ feet into the ground. Then Coir logs, made of coconut-fibrous material in the shape of a log that is 8 feet long, will then be tied to the stakes. The posts (stakes) have been placed in the water about 3 feet from the shoreline. This will be the base and from there the shoreline slope will begin going up towards the existing shoreline. Then we will put erosion control blankets on top of those slopes and then plant all kinds of different seeds and prairie grass and wild marsh grass."

Stabilizing the shoreline pond at the MHV pond will also help bring a larger variety of waterfowl to the area.

As many will have noticed over the years, especially in spring and fall, there are many migratory birds, especially Canada Geese, making a stop at the MHV, leaving behind their waste which has nitrogen in it which has also led to a stagnate pond. Dyck says, that planting tall grasses will also reduce the number of geese at the pond because they don’t like the tall grass.

When it comes to bird count at the MHV pond this year, Dyck says he’s also seen a Cormorant as well as a family of ducks and of course the Canada Geese. He says, “they’re there all summer long. It’s beautiful to watch them playing around in the pond. So, the shoreline project can provide a habitat for different waterfowl that prefer the tall grass and marsh to live in.”

The MHV Shoreline Stabilization Project is possible because of a partnership with Manitoba Conservation and their Habitat Trust Program, which has provided most of the funding. Loewen Foundation and the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District are also financially supporting the project. Along with expertise and oversight, they have each been very helpful.

Dyck would also like to thank all the volunteers that have been working on the project so far and will be seen doing more work starting this week.