PRESS RELEASE | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | CHARLOTTETOWN, SEPTEMBER 11, 2018
ALUS Canada Funds Grassland Bird Conservation in PEI
At a special ceremony in Charlottetown on Tuesday, the Government of Prince Edward Island received the first cheque as part of a landmark agreement with ALUS Canada, A Weston Family Initiative, to help conserve threatened grassland bird species in the province.
The ALUS Canada funding, of $90,000 over three years, will be used by the PEI ALUS program for a new initiative to encourage farmers to delay their first cut of hay until after July 15, once young grassland birds—including the bobolink, which is classified as threatened and protected under the federal Species at Risk Act —have fledged the nest.
“We are pleased to partner with ALUS Canada in this initiative which builds on the successes of the ALUS program in this province,” said Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Robert Henderson. “Through the ALUS program, Prince Edward Island farmers have demonstrated their commitment to help protect and enhance the environment.”
“This effort provides more opportunities to conserve species and enhance biodiversity,” said Richard Brown, Minister of Communities, Land and Environment. “Our farmers have shown why Prince Edward Island is mighty by working together with the ALUS program and government on an initiative that will benefit the natural environment of our entire province. ”
The efficacy of this new initiative is being monitored by Shawn Hill, coordinator of Prince Edward Island’s Alternative Land Use Services (P.E.I. ALUS) program. “We are working with Island Nature Trust to audit the fields enlisted for delayed hay cutting,” said Hill. “They found nesting bobolink in 68% of our audited sites. So we’re proud to say that this initiative is already making a difference on the ground.”
ALUS participant Mike Lafortune can attest to this. “I heard bobolink calls in my fields early in the season, so I was happy to delay my hay cut. It’s good to know this small change is enough to produce a new generation of birds every year,” said Lafortune, who hosted a tour of the ALUS projects on his farm, Dexter Cattle Company, immediately following the press conference.
“This is a perfect example of the important ecosystem services that farmers can produce for the benefit of the community at large,” said ALUS Canada CEO Bryan Gilvesy. “We are happy to bring P.E.I. ALUS into ALUS Canada’s national marketplace for ecosystem services, and to support conservation outcomes on the Island. ALUS participants not only increase biodiversity, but also produce cleaner air and cleaner water for P.E.I. communities.”
ALUS Canada and the P.E.I. ALUS program have been partners for over a decade in helping Canadian farmers produce ecosystem services, but this is the first time ALUS Canada has helped to fund ALUS activities in P.E.I.
ABOUT ALUS CANADA
ALUS Canada, A Weston Family Initiative, is a national program helping farmers and ranchers to produce cleaner air, cleaner water, more biodiversity and other ecosystem services in their communities. As a recent Alberta Emerald Award-winner—and guided by a Clean50/Clean 16 award-winning team—ALUS Canada is a recognized leader in sustainability that is revolutionizing the way Canadians support the environment. ALUS Canada has so far disbursed nearly $6.5 M in funding to ALUS communities across Canada, an investment that is multiplied by farmers, ranchers and communities on the ground. As a result, there are currently more than 18,500 acres enrolled in the ALUS program, thanks to 575 participants from 21 communities in five provinces, and the program is rapidly expanding. For more info, visit ALUS.ca
ABOUT P.E.I. ALUS
Prince Edward Island is the only province in Canada to have a provincially supported, province-wide ALUS program. Originally implemented in 2008, P.E.I. ALUS is co-managed by the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the P.E.I. Department of Communities, Land and Environment. It has over 400 clients with on-the-ground projects covering almost 8,650 acres (3,500 hectares). The P.E.I. ALUS program is part of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) suite of programs.
Shawn Hill, PEI ALUS Co-ordinator: 902-394-1472; [email protected]
Jessica Bruce, Agriculture and Fisheries: 902-388-1292; [email protected]
Bridget Wayland, ALUS Canada Director of Communications, 514-770-3001; [email protected]