ALUS Lanark will support farmers in creating important natural infrastructure projects, southwest of Ottawa.
A landscape in Lanark County highlighting the close quarters of rural communities and natural features.
ALUS is pleased to welcome a new community to its network of environmental stewardship: ALUS Lanark will facilitate new grassroots, farmer-led natural infrastructure projects in Lanark County, Ontario, southwest of Ottawa, and be administered by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA).
Located just outside Canada’s sixth largest population centre, this ALUS community will contribute important ecosystem functions that help support the nearby communities that depend on the natural world for goods and services. Farmers in Lanark County will not only continue to generate critical commercial goods, but also create new habitat, support biodiversity and help protect and create clean water through ALUS.
“We’re thrilled to partner with ALUS to expand our stewardship programs for farmers in Lanark County,” says Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager, RVCA. “We know many Lanark farmers want to enhance their operations for the health of their lands, livestock and the watershed, and this partnership will support them in those efforts and give them even more opportunities to do that.”
Home to approximately 60,000 people, the county is a picturesque rural landscape of forests, lakes, wetlands, agriculture, cottages and small towns. The county also has the Rideau River and the Mississippi River passing through it and contains parts of the Canadian shield and the Great Lakes basin, important and unique natural features.
“Our county is focused on local climate change solutions,” says John Fenik, Lanark County Warden. “Supporting farmers in their efforts to improve biodiversity and water quality on their lands is an important part of this strategy and is why we are so excited to partner with our local conservation authorities to bring the ALUS program to Lanark.”
ALUS Lanark will be supporting farmers in the creation of an array of ecosystem projects, including reforestation, windbreaks, riparian buffers, wetland projects, tallgrass prairie, pollinator habitat and more.
“Our partnership with the County, ALUS and RVCA is a win for Lanark farmers, the community and the Mississippi watershed,” says Sally McIntyre, General Manager, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority. “Farmers are frontline stewards of the land, and this program will help them to adapt to changing economic and climatic conditions.”
Through the ALUS model, these projects will contribute to the health of the farmers’ privately-owned landscape, while also benefitting the broader environment by providing support for biodiversity; reducing downstream flooding in neighbouring communities and ecosystems; and mitigating the impacts of climate change through carbon sequestration and other natural mechanisms.
“ALUS is so happy to be adding another community in Ontario,” says Alyssa Cousineau, Eastern Hub Manager, ALUS. “It’s clearer each passing year how important a healthy environment is for communities to thrive, which is why we are thrilled to see new communities adopt the ALUS model to help enrich the natural world that we all depend on.”
ALUS Lanark will be guided in its decision making by a Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC). The PAC is critical to the ALUS model, as it ensures that local priorities are addressed by the ALUS projects. Fifty per cent of the committee members are local farmers who, in partnership with the other committee members (local elected officials, environmental experts, etc.), will determine which projects are prioritized for the ALUS program.
ALUS (originally an acronym for Alternative Land Use Services) is a charitable organization that sustains agriculture and biodiversity for the benefit of communities and future generations. ALUS provides direct financial and technical support to a network of more than a thousand farmers and ranchers who deliver ecosystem services in more than 30 communities across Canada, such as cleaner air, cleaner water, carbon sequestration, erosion control, flood mitigation, pollinator support and wildlife habitat. Learn more at ALUS.ca.