“We’re launching an exciting new era today,” said ALUS Canada’s CEO Bryan Gilvesy on August 10, 2016, at a provincial press conference at the UPA Headquarters in Longueuil, near Montreal.
A partnership between ALUS Canada and the Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie, the new ALUS Montérégie program aims to help Quebec’s farmers produce clean air, clean water, more biodiversity and other ecological services to benefit all of society.
“Thanks to generous funding by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, ALUS is enjoying rapid expansion across the country, with 20 ALUS communities in six provinces. And today, as we launch the first-ever ALUS program in Quebec, we are delighted to become a truly national, bilingual organization,” said Gilvesy.
“The UPA is working closely with ALUS Canada to make this new program a success in our region,” said Christian Saint Jacques, President of the Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie, and Chair of the Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC) that oversees the local ALUS program.
“The UPA has always recognized the importance of ecological services, and this partnership with ALUS Canada will allow us to act on it,” said Saint Jacques. “ALUS provides the support to put projects on the ground, and the funding to make annual payments to our participants.”
For its Quebec debut, ALUS developed nearly 15 acres (6 hectares) of pollinator and wildlife habitat located in the Huron River watershed and in the Hazen-Bleury and Barbotte watershed, both located in the Montérégie area, south of Montreal.
By improving water quality, ALUS projects will help to address one of the most serious environmental issues in the region, home to such endangered species as the Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi), a fish found exclusively in Quebec.
Following the press conference, ALUS hosted a reception and a guided visit of the first ALUS project in Quebec, located in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, south of Montreal.
Jules Malouin and his wife Danielle Halle are grain producers with a strong stewardship ethic. Malouin has been a member of the ALUS Montérégie PAC since its formation in 2016. He was the first to sign up as a participant, and the first participant to establish an ALUS project on the ground in Quebec.
Accompanied by the entire ALUS Monteregie PAC—including Catherine Machado, Marie-Laure Marcotte, Annie Tremblay, Yvon Boucher, Marcel Comiré, Daniel Sansoucy, Hervé Blanchette, Florent Raymond, Bruno Guillet, Jaclin Bisaillon, Charles Boulerice, Normand Teasdale and André Mousseau—guests saw first-hand how the Malouin ALUS project helps produce cleaner water, sustain pollinators and boost biodiversity in the region.
“The strength of ALUS is in our partners, and it is a privilege to work with such a far-reaching and progressive organization as the UPA,” said Gilvesy. “Our Quebec program coordinators, Chantale Soumahoro and Catherine Plante, have taken the bull by the horns and made amazing progress in a short amount of time. I look forward to what the future will bring for our collaboration.”