ALUS Peel Pilot Launches with 35 Acres Already Committed in 2022

Local farmers, conservation staff and regional leaders came together in Caledon, Ontario to officially launch the ALUS Peel Pilot to support long-term environmental stewardship projects in one of the most densely populated parts of Canada.

The Caledon Valley Estates’ wedding barn proved an appropriate venue for the ALUS Peel Pilot launch. The event celebrated the new partnership between the Region of Peel, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and ALUS to expand the existing Peel Rural Water Quality Program to include the delivery of the ALUS program across the Region of Peel as part of a three-year pilot.

Group of people stand outside in field in front of tractor and hay bales.

Holly Shipclark, Agricultural Extension Coordinator from Credit Valley Conservation, showcases the seven-acre tree planting project completed by ALUS Peel participants Don and Tabitha MacDow (Caledon Valley Estates).

Nestled in the rolling hills of the Niagara Escarpment, the venue also offered attendees the opportunity to witness first-hand the intersection of where agriculture and nature meet. The property hosts one of the first ALUS Peel Pilot projects: a seven-acre native tree and shrub planting that will create habitat, sequester carbon and manage, capture and filter rainwater to deliver cleaner air and water to the surrounding community.

Rows of newly planted seedlings on sprawling farm landscape.

More than 6,000 native trees and shrubs were planted on seven acres of fallow land on Caledon Valley Estates’ property as one of the first ALUS Peel Pilot projects.

Although the event served as the official launch of the pilot, the new community reported being well on its way to meeting its three-year targets. Since March of this year, 10 projects on eight properties have been approved, which will enhance ecosystem service delivery across 35 acres. The target for the three-year pilot is 75 acres.

“We’re grateful for all the work that went into bringing ALUS to the Region of Peel,” said Holly Shipclark, Agricultural Extension Coordinator at CVC. “We know it’s going to help farmers implement more stewardship projects that will generate environmental benefits for the region.”

The Region of Peel and its conservation partners have a 17-year history of engaging farmers and agricultural landowners in stewardship projects on their properties. “And we look forward to continuing to build on the success of the ALUS Peel Pilot,” noted Mark Head, Manager of Planning and Development Services at the Region of Peel.

Gary Mountain, local farmer and chair of the Peel Agricultural Advisory Working Group hosted the event and provided opening remarks, while ALUS CEO Bryan Gilvesy spoke to ALUS’ mission and vision. Other speakers included Shelley Petrie, Program Director of the Greenbelt Foundation, Lisa Hohban Brusse, Manager Landowner Engagement and Stewardship (CVC) and Mary Anne Young, Project Manager of Restoration Projects (TRCA).

Learn more about the ALUS Peel Pilot.

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