Environment | Conservation
Community Connections | Citizen Engagement

ALUS Canada

The community-developed, farmer-delivered ALUS program works with farmers and ranchers to produce valuable ecological services, sustaining agriculture, wildlife, and natural spaces for all Canadians.

These ecological services include clean air, clean water, flood mitigation, climate resilience, wildlife habitat and biodiversity.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Our society relies on the services that nature provides.  Vegetation helps to filter our water, making sure our families have clean water to drink.  Trees sequester carbon, reducing the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  Wetlands protect our homes and businesses from the devastating effects of floods.  Natural areas provide habitat for the wildlife we love to watch.  These benefits produced by nature and enjoyed by humans are called “ecosystem services.”

As our populations grow and our society develops, our needs from nature grow.  At the same time, nature’s ability to provide those services is shrinking under the pressures of development.

Farmers and ranchers have an incredible solution right in front of us.  With a Canadian landbase of 167 million acres, the unique skillset to produce things from the land, and often sharing a deeply-rooted stewardship ethic, farmers and ranchers are the perfect allies to integrate environmental stewardship onto the working landscape.

By working with farmers and ranchers, we can move beyond conservation to the active production of more ecosystem services — all of the good things that nature provides which benefit society.

ALUS Canada’s unique Partnership Advisory Committee gives the program a community-developed base, allowing the program to easily adopt to local priorities and community needs.

ALUS projects are farmer-delivered.  With the farmer in the driver’s seat, he or she can identify areas of the farm which are marginal for traditional agricultural production.  Often, marginal lands are too wet for cultivation, difficult to access with equipment, or they are particularly environmentally-sensitive.  ALUS provides support for alternative land use of marginal or environmentally sensitive lands: the production of ecosystem services.  These projects can take a lot of work to set up and more work to maintain, time and energy which farmers and ranchers historically have bourne while society reaps the benefits of their efforts. ALUS helps to remove the barriers to implementing projects which will increase ecosystem services while rewarding the farmer or rancher for the work they’re doing to maintain projects on behalf of society.

ALUS leverages the benefits of an on-site manager (the farmer) to manage the projects.  The farmer controls competition for new seedlings, monitors for and controls invasive species, and any other management the project requires.

Our Impact

What We Do

ALUS is a national charitable organization, active in six provinces to the end of 2018: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.

The County of Vermilion River brought ALUS to Alberta in 2010.  Through their leadership, the program has expanded to 13 municipalities in Alberta to the end of 2018.  In 2018, ALUS expanded into the Calgary region, welcoming the communities of ALUS Wheatland and ALUS Rocky View into the family.

As of March 31, 2018, ecosystem services like cleaner water, cleaner air, carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, and wildlife habitat have been enhanced on 9,176 acres of agricultural land in Alberta. ALUS has rewarded the efforts of 188 farmers or ranchers who have undertaken projects on behalf of society.

Our Programs

How We Do It

ALUS Canada is a registered charity that supports the delivery of the ALUS program across Canada. ALUS is an innovative, community-developed and farmer-delivered program that engages rural communities and agricultural producers in conservation and environmental stewardship. ALUS builds on the existing expertise and stewardship ethic of farmers by providing resources and programmatic support to farmers and rural communities for the enhancement, management and ongoing maintenance of environmental restoration projects.

ALUS helps farmers restore wetlands, install riparian buffers, manage sustainable drainage systems, reforest and establish other ecologically beneficial projects on their properties. ALUS focuses on the agricultural landscape by establishing conservation projects on marginal or environmentally sensitive areas of farmland, while leaving the most productive land for food production. In doing this, ALUS turns marginal farmland into healthy ecosystems.

Resources provided through ALUS include i) cost-sharing for project establishment ii) technical expertise on project design, implementation and maintenance iii) annual per-acre payments for the management and maintenance of projects, and iv) outreach and extension services to educate landowners, community partners and the general public.

In Alberta, ALUS Canada currently partners with 13 municipalities to deliver the ALUS program at the community level. With support and guidance from ALUS Canada, each ALUS community establishes a Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC) made up of agricultural producers and local stakeholders such as municipal staff and conservation groups. Each PAC operates within the framework of ALUS principles and is supported by ALUS Canada’s national team who contribute programming, project, policy and funding expertise. This allows each community program to target specific local environmental concerns, while also addressing provincial, regional and national environmental priorities.

Our Requests

What You Can Do

There are many opportunities to get involved with ALUS Canada or community-developed ALUS programs.

  1. Funding — Whether your core interest is water, air, pollinators or wildlife, you can tailor a New Acre™ sponsorship package to the environmental issues that matter most to your organization. What’s more, your investment will produce lasting benefits for the regions and communities you serve.  With every five-year investment of $100,000 per year, your company will rebuild nature on 200 New Acres™, an area equivalent to 500 hockey rinks. Our goal is to create 150,000 New Acres™ in 75 communities by 2025.
  2. Partnerships — ALUS Canada and community-developed ALUS programs in the Calgary region are always looking for meaningful partnerships which can enhance the reach or mandate of mutual agricultural, environmental, or community values.  Partnership inquiries can be sent to Christine Campbell, Western Hub Manager, at ccampbell@alus.ca or 587-894-0666.

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Contact

Christine Campbell

Western Hub Manager

587-894-0666

Charitable Number: 811966324 RR0001

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