ALUS partnership offers Lanark farmers new stewardship opportunities
LANARK COUNTY, May 13, 2022 – Lanark farmers can access even more stewardship grant options thanks to a new partnership with agricultural stewardship organization, ALUS.
The new ALUS community, called ALUS Lanark, will facilitate new grassroots, farmer-led natural infrastructure projects in Lanark County, and will be administered by staff at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA).
While the RVCA currently offers a rural clean water stewardship program on behalf of both conservation authorities, this new partnership will expand the number of opportunities available in Lanark, specifically for agricultural properties.
“We’re thrilled to partner with ALUS to expand our stewardship programs for farmers in Lanark County,” says Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager, RVCA. “We know many Lanark farmers want to enhance their operations for the health of their lands, livestock and the watershed, and this partnership will support them in those efforts and give them even more opportunities to do that.”
Home to approximately 60,000 people, the county is a picturesque rural landscape of forests, lakes, wetlands, agriculture, cottages and small towns. The county also has the Rideau River and the Mississippi River passing through it and contains parts of the Canadian shield and the Great Lakes basin, important and unique natural features.
"Our county is focused on local climate change solutions," says John Fenik, Lanark County Warden. "Supporting farmers in their efforts to improve biodiversity and water quality on their lands is an important part of this strategy and is why we are so excited to partner with our local conservation authorities to bring the ALUS program to Lanark."
The new program will support farmers in the creation of an array of ecosystem projects, including reforestation, windbreaks, riparian buffers, wetland projects, tallgrass prairie, pollinator habitat and more.
“Our partnership with the County, ALUS and RVCA is a win for Lanark farmers, the community and the Mississippi watershed,” says Sally McIntyre, General Manager, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority. “Farmers are frontline stewards of the land, and this program will help them to adapt to changing economic and climatic conditions.”
These projects will contribute to the health of the farmers’ privately-owned landscape, while also benefitting the broader environment by providing support for biodiversity; reducing downstream flooding in neighbouring communities and ecosystems; and mitigating the impacts of climate change through carbon sequestration and other natural mechanisms.
“ALUS is so happy to be adding another community in Ontario,” says Alyssa Cousineau, Eastern Hub Manager, ALUS. “It’s clearer each passing year how important a healthy environment is for communities to thrive, which is why we are thrilled to see new communities adopt the ALUS model to help enrich the natural world that we all depend on.”
ALUS Lanark will be guided in its decision making by a Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC). The PAC ensures that local priorities are addressed by ALUS projects. Fifty per cent of the committee members are local farmers who, in partnership with the other committee members (local elected officials, environmental experts, etc.), will determine which projects are prioritized for the ALUS program.
ALUS (originally an acronym for Alternative Land Use Services) is a charitable organization that sustains agriculture and biodiversity for the benefit of communities and future generations. ALUS provides direct financial and technical support to a network of more than a thousand farmers and ranchers who deliver ecosystem services in more than 30 communities across Canada, such as cleaner air, cleaner water, carbon sequestration, erosion control, flood mitigation, pollinator support and wildlife habitat. Learn more at ALUS.ca.