Ag Action Manitoba funds local PVCD project

Work on the Hoeppner dam upstream of Winkler was completed last season thanks to a grant from Ag Action Manitoba.

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Pembina Valley Conservation District (PVCD) is making a difference with dam projects in the region.

Local landowner Dennis Hoeppner approached PVCD looking for a way to improve his irrigation capacity for his vegetable crops. After completing survey work, PVCD came up with a dam design that would incorporate a retention pond and vehicle crossing.

The dam is a water retention project, which will partly be used to irrigate Hoeppner’s vegetable crops and for his livestock.

The dam also provides flood control and reduces the stream energy to lessen downstream flooding and erosion, which will protect any farms and roads downstream. Having water on the land is part of the local ecosystem and provides water for local wildlife as well.

The funding for the project came through the Ag Action Manitoba program. “Land owners need an environmental farm plan and they need to partner with a conservation district,” manager of PVCD Cliff Greenfield said. “Together this funding is available and we’re able to do these projects.”

The project cost $30,000, which came from the Ag Action program, and the dam was completed last season on the Walkof Coulee upstream of Winkler.

Greenfield said PVCD has completed many projects through the Ag Action program and previous generations of this type of funding. “We do typically four to seven of these types of projects every year,” he said. “This year we did 10.”

Not all the projects funded through Ag Action are water retention. Greenfield said some project can be things like putting up fencing and wiring to remove livestock from areas.

“It’s been a great program,” Greenfield said. “We’ve been really successful in accessing it.”
Funding for the dam was 100 per cent from the program, which meant no cost for the land owner or the conservation district.

Greenfield said this funding is extremely important for PVCD. “With inflation costs for these types of works getting higher and higher, we’re finding that these types of funds really make our work worthwhile,” he said. “We’re able to give our local people pretty good bang for the buck. Without it that would really limit us in terms of doing a lot of projects.”

Greenfield noted that while projects like the dam have private benefits for landowners, many of the benefits will be for the watershed as a whole.

“We’re reducing that stream energy, reducing flooding downstream,” he said. “There are a lot of public benefits out of it, not all private benefits.”

Greenfield said PVCD has another slate of projects lined up, and they are hoping to be able to access similar funding for those.

“Last year we received $200,000 from this particular granting program,” he said. “We’re hoping for similar amounts in the future, but there’s no telling because you don’t know the competition and how your projects stack up against others.”