In January 2014, a Delburne-area family became the first in Red Deer County, Alberta, to participate in the ALUS program.
Keith and Tracy Johnson signed a five-year Conservation Agreement, which outlines how they will sustainably manage their ALUS projects, and what payments they will receive in exchange.
Through ALUS, the Johnsons are enhancing wetlands and groves of native poplar in their pastures.
They built fences to control how and when their livestock might access ecologically important areas of their land, while elsewhere they rely on rotational grazing practices to allow for plenty of rest and recovery time for native trees, shrubs, grasses and other plants.
In addition, the Johnsons have installed a pasture pipeline system, which provides a water source for their livestock without allowing them to wade into the wetlands for a drink.
These ALUS projects produce multiple ecosystem services, including water filtration, aquifer recharge, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, cleaner air and flood mitigation, which benefit the Johnson’s land and society at large.
“We like the flexibility in ALUS. No one is dictating to us what we do with our land: that’s left to our judgement,” says Keith. “We get advice and ideas, but at the end of the day, what actually happens is our decision.”