On August 21st, Ontario Minister David Piccini announced new funding for ALUS through the Species at Risk Stewardship Program
This pond at the Crump Family Farm helps improve water quality by holding, slowing and filtering water, benefitting species at risk in the Sydenham River. Image Credit: Huff Media
London, ON — September 18, 2023
On a visit to Middlesex County, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, David Piccini, announced $561,000 in new funding for ALUS to support habitat for species at risk in Ontario through the Species at Risk Stewardship Program (SARSP).
This funding helps Ontario farmers and ranchers create and manage habitat in the form of grassland, wetlands and other ecological features on their land. These natural infrastructure features provide essential habitat for species at risk.
“Every day, dedicated local and community organizations across Ontario demonstrate their commitment to protecting and recovering plants, insects, animals and their habitats,” said Minister Piccini. “Our government is proud to partner with grassroots organizations across the province, like ALUS Canada, to make a real impact. The 2023-24 projects continue Ontario’s track record of strong environmental stewardship and preserving the rich biodiversity of our province for future generations.”
At the announcement event on August 21st, Minister Piccini was joined by Bryan Gilvesy, ALUS CEO; Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex; Aina Deviet, Mayor of Middlesex Centre; farmers and ALUS participants Chris and Vivian Crump; Joe Dickenson, Director, Beef Farmers of Ontario; Thomas Brandstetter, Manager of Policy & Issues, Beef Farmers of Ontario; Peggy Brekveld, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture; Cathy Lennon, General Manager, Ontario Federation of Agriculture; and Blair Williamson, Ridgeview Cattle Co.
Back, Left to Right: Peter Moddle, Program Director, ALUS Middlesex; Steve Bradish, Chair, ALUS Middlesex Partnership Advisory Committee; Alyssa Cousineau, Senior Hub Manager, Great Lakes, ALUS; Christopher Crump, Owner and Operator of Crump Family Farm, ALUS participant; Bryan Gilvesy, CEO, ALUS; David Piccini, Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks; Monte McNaughton, MPP Lambton—Kent—Middlesex; Stephanie Cullen, Program Coordinator, ALUS Elgin.
Front, Left to Right: Rebecca Pearce-Cameron, Associate Hub Manager, ALUS; Kevin Nielsen, Research and Monitoring, ALUS Middlesex; Graham Moddle, Project Monitoring Specialist, ALUS Middlesex.
The announcement was an opportunity for these community leaders and stakeholders to highlight the important work of building networks to support the largest group of private landowners, farmers and ranchers, in providing for the health and resilience of the environment.
“ALUS is a solution provider, an environmental organization conceived by farmers that works with a wide variety of funders both private and public to get things done,” says Gilvesy. “More than 800 farmers in Ontario are building nature-based solutions with ALUS. These are hard-working, rural landowners, people who are committed to delivering solutions to the environmental and ecological challenges in our communities.”
Producers across Ontario are working with ALUS to create nature-based solutions that address environmental problems, solutions that also provide them with useful resources to address their own operational needs.
“When we bought our property in 2000, the land was inundated during rain and storm events, washing soil and manure straight into the headwaters of the Sydenham River,” says Chris Crump, ALUS Middlesex participant. “Working with ALUS and other local partners allowed us to create a complex of wetlands and grasslands that not only alleviate the annoyance of managing waterlogged pastures, but that also provide habitat for species at risk in our community.”
The Crumps’ work to improve water quality in the Sydenham River has a direct impact on critical downstream habitat, including in Lake Huron, the St. Clair River and northeastern Lake St. Clair. There are more than twenty species at risk in the Sydenham River, including the Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle, as well as numerous mussel and fish species.
Farmers like the Crumps are the backbone of rural communities and are natural land and water stewards. This funding from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks demonstrates the importance of the ALUS model: supporting farmers to sustain agriculture, wildlife and natural spaces for communities and future generations.