The community came out in force to celebrate the launch of a new ALUS program in southern Ontario
The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) held a jam-packed breakfast event at Country View Golf Club in Dover Centre on February 28, 2019, to officially launch the new ALUS Chatham-Kent program.
“It’s good to see so many really interested and engaged landowners,” said Mike Buis, co-chair of the ALUS Chatham-Kent Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC), who spoke at the press conference and led a lively question-and-answer session.
As a partnership between ALUS Canada, A Weston Family Initiative, and the LTVCA, ALUS Chatham-Kent is the 23rd ALUS community in Canada.
“My team and I are looking forward to a lot of great things to come from everyone at ALUS Chatham-Kent,” said ALUS Canada’s Eastern Hub Manager, Casey Whitelock.
All ALUS projects are intended to produce cleaner water, cleaner air and more biodiversity, including pollinator habitat, for the benefit of everyone in the community.
“I am excited to have ALUS in the region, because it will help balance the economics of farming with the economics of conservation,” said Chatham-Kent’s Mayor, Darrin Canniff.
Active in six provinces across the nation, the ALUS program helps landowners develop and support environmental projects on their farms that are best suited to local needs and priorities.
“We will work with farmers and ranchers to help establish projects that address important local environmental issues, such as deforestation, habitat loss and nutrient loading in Lake Erie,” said ALUS Chatham-Kent Program Coordinator Amanda Blain, who handed out more that 20 expression-of-interest forms to potential ALUS participants during the popular event.
ALUS Chatham-Kent PAC member Colin Little presented on harmful algal blooms and best management practices that can help reduce phosphorus loading from agricultural sources.
This important work is part of ALUS’ commitment to the Great Lakes Protection Initiative from Environment and Climate Change Canada, who is helping ALUS Canada fund ALUS Chatham-Kent and several other ALUS communities in the Lake Erie region: see announcement here.
ALUS Chatham-Kent participants will receive annual, per-acre payments for the management and maintenance of ALUS projects on select parcels of marginal or uneconomic land on their farms—these ALUS projects will typically involve re-establishing and enhancing grasslands, woodlands and wetlands.
“We believe this partnership will be beneficial to farmers and to the future of our watershed,” said Mark Peacock, LTVCA’s CAO and Secretary-Treasurer.
ALUS Canada is proud to support this new ALUS community with funding from an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant in partnership with Ontario Nature, as well as from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Great Lakes Protection Initiative, and from other generous supporters.
For more information on ALUS Chatham-Kent, visit their web page here.
ABOUT THE LTVCA
One of the 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario, the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) works with the local community to provide services and information to efficiently protect and enhance the environment. The LTVCA has jurisdiction over the watersheds of all streams draining into the Thames River and into Lake Erie, an area covering nearly 3,300 km2 that is home to 107,000 people and 10 member municipalities.