Saskatchewan Launches New Conservation Program - ALUS Canada
Four rural municipalities in the Wascana Creek and Qu’Appelle River watersheds announced today they will introduce the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) conservation program.
Following months of development work, the rural municipalities of South Qu’Appelle, Indian Head, Francis and Lajord, all east of the provincial capital, are lined up to implement Canada’s leading ecological goods and services program.
Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) has a simple, yet revolutionary goal…create a healthy, working landscape that sustains agriculture, wildlife and natural spaces for all Canadians. Under ALUS, farmers receive payments to deliver a variety of environmental services like improved wetlands, riparian areas and native grasslands.
“The best part of ALUS is the ability of farmers to be proactive in delivering ecological goods and service in an environment they’re largely responsible for,“ says Norm Hall, chair of the APAS environment committee and a Wynyard-area farmer.
The Saskatchewan ALUS project is supported by four key founding partners; APAS, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds and Delta Waterfowl Foundation.
“Saskatchewan is facing significant environmental challenges,” says Jim Fisher, Delta Waterfowl’s director of conservation policy, who’s been instrumental in launching ALUS in several jurisdictions across Canada. “Our experiences tell us the best way to see environmental change in Saskatchewan is to harness the passion and knowledge of farmers and rural communities.”
“Producers know their land and are expert in growing things. It’s time to recognize and leverage their passion for the land.”
The Saskatchewan ALUS project will mirror projects already established in Ontario, Alberta and Prince Edward Island.
“We’ve come to the realization that ALUS is nothing less than a brand new way for conservation to be delivered in Canada,” says Fisher.
“The old model of having organizations deliver already formulated conservation plans down to rural people is nearly over. It simply is not effective and history has proven that.”
Saskatchewan ALUS demonstration projects, starting this spring, will focus on protecting wetlands, improving riparian areas and enhancing native grasses.