Alberta trailblazer Bradley Robins participates in the ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc program, a partnership between the County of Wetaskiwin, Leduc County and ALUS Canada.
ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc participant Bradley Robins farms 1,200 acres near Usona, Alberta.
While he works as a surveyor with a commercial drone license, Brad is not new to the farming way of life: The Robins family has been farming in the area for four generations; Brad’s children are the fifth generation on the farm.
Brad signed up as an ALUS participant in 2017. He had found out about ALUS when he saw an advertisement that ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc Program Coordinator Kim Barkwell had placed in the local paper.
He did a little research into the program and discovered that it was a good fit for his own plans and priorities.
“ALUS has the same goals as we do,” Brad says. Specifically, Brad wanted to prevent the cattle from sourcing their water directly from the wetlands on a recently purchased quarter-section (160 acres). Instead, he wished to protect the wetlands from damage and improve their ability to provide habitat for wildlife.
Before establishing a fence around the wetlands, Brad needed to dig a new well to supply an off-site watering system for the cattle.
Once that was established, ALUS helped him fence off a 10-acre area around a low spot with three adjacent wetlands, to prevent cattle from accessing them and damaging the wildlife habitat.
It seems to be working. In a 2018 monitoring report, they noted many more frogs and native plants in the area of their ALUS project after just one year, and more wildlife sightings have become commonplace in the years since.
“My father and I have seen waterfowl and herons on those ALUS wetlands,” Brad adds. “Jackrabbits are coming back too; we had not seen those in a long time!”
As an ALUS participant, Brad receives annual payments to recognize the time and effort he spends maintaining the fences and controlling invasive weed species each year.
He manages the project to ensure that the enhanced wetlands keep producing cleaner water, cleaner air and additional biodiversity on his land. Also known as ecosystem services, these benefits are valuable for the community at large.
ALUS is proud to count Bradley Robins among its Trailblazers in Alberta.