Program Helps Farmers Help the Environment
Wascana and Upper Qu’Appelle Watersheds Association Taking Responsibility (WUQWATR) announced today the launch of the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) conservation program into its entire watershed area. WUQWATR is the non-profit source water protection agency established to implement the source water protection plan for the Wascana and Upper Qu’Appelle Watersheds of Saskatchewan. The announcement was made at WUQWATR’s Annual General Meeting in Humboldt.
The WUQWATR initiative is the latest addition to a conservation program that is going through a period of unprecedented growth. ALUS is now established in five provinces: Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario and Manitoba.
Developed more than ten years ago by Delta Waterfowl Foundation and Manitoba’s Keystone Agricultural Producers, ALUS is a community-developed, farmer-delivered program. Under ALUS, participating agricultural producers receive payments to deliver a variety of environmental services such as reducing soil erosion, improving water quality and enhancing wildlife habitat. By recognizing the unique role farmers and ranchers play in producing food as well as in enhancing the healthy environment that we all enjoy, ALUS creates a healthy, working landscape that simultaneously sustains agriculture, wildlife and the protection of natural spaces.
“We’re very excited to see this program expand to over 4,000 agricultural producers in our watershed area. Getting demonstration sites and projects onto farms will prove the importance of this conservation initiative for the watershed’s environmental health,” says WUQWATR Board Chair, Fred Clipsham.
“WUQWATR’s role will be to work with producers to identify projects and provide the payments on behalf of project funders through Delta Waterfowl such as The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, National Conservation Plan, Wildlife Habitat Canada and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
“Saskatchewan is facing significant environmental challenges,” says Jim Fisher, Delta Waterfowl’s director of conservation policy, who has been instrumental in launching ALUS in several jurisdictions across Canada. “Our experiences tell us the best way to see environmental change in Saskatchewan is to harness the passion and knowledge of farmers and rural communities.”
The new expanded Saskatchewan ALUS community builds on a pilot project initiated by Delta Waterfowl, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, and the Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds.