ALUS Parkland’s Inaugural Tour a Success!

On September 16th, 2015, Parkland County hosted their inaugural ALUS tour in partnership with the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA).

The tour took County residents and local producers to four ALUS projects throughout the mid to south western portion of the County. A suite of various project types were showcased including a steeply sloped hay-field reforestation, and restoration of lakes, creeks, wetlands and riparian area enhancements.

Local producers were encouraged to participate, not only to learn more about the program and get an up-close and personal look at established projects, but also to engage in valuable conversation with current program participants and Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC) members.

At each site the landowner shared their knowledge of the project and the benefits of establishing ecosystem services on the farm. Restoration specialists were also present to discuss the process of environmental restoration on marginal farmland.

Darren Haarsma, Parkland County’s newly hired ALUS Coordinator, was excited with the amount of enthusiasm for the program showed by tour participants. “Everyone who came out for the tour seemed to really enjoy it and many who own agricultural property are already asking how their operation can fit into the program,” he said.

“Although the tour group was relatively small, it allowed for intimate conversations regarding specifics of each producers’ operations and the opportunities for ALUS projects. It was exciting to hear neighbours discuss the merits of stewardship options and I look forward to helping these projects get in the ground.”

Next year’s tour is planned for early to mid-summer and will feature new projects that have recently been established.

Parkland County would like to thank the Alberta Conservation Program and all the program participants who hosted tour stops for making this exciting day possible.

In April of 2015, Parkland County was awarded $37,900 from the ACA’s Conservation, Community and Education Grants Program. A small amount of the grant was awarded for funding the annual inaugural tour, which included a free lunch and transportation between sites. The larger portion of the grant will fund project establishment costs allowing 75% of total project costs to be covered by ALUS; a 25% increase from ALUS’ standard 50% cost-share. With this money, Parkland County will be looking at diversifying the types of projects they can establish, as well as increasing their number of revegetation projects, which traditionally come at a higher cost to the producer.

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