What's the deal with this 'ALUS'? Who is she and why am I hearing so much about her? If you haven't heard about it yet, ALUS isn’t a person; it is a program that is producer driven to help make positive changes on the landscape using nature-based solutions.
Okay, but what does that mean? Well, I'll give you the run-down!
The ALUS Program, originally started as the Alternative Land Use Services Program, set out as a community-based initiative to work with landowners to help find natural solutions to issues they were facing on their land. The program's chief goal is to promote environmental stewardship and provide landowners the opportunity to consider conservation as a means of land management that would benefit them, their land, and their operations in. The program is producer driven, meaning it runs on the schedule of the producer, based on their interests, and works to provide solutions on a project-by-project basis. It is by no means a one-size-fits-all model! ALUS coordinators are partners working hand in hand with landowners to make real change across Alberta, and Canada! ALUS is currently in 31 communities across Canada and has invested over $12 million in projects across Canada! With over 1,103 producer partners and 32,134 acres enrolled with ALUS since 2021, ALUS is thriving on support from its communities and partners!
So you might be thinking, what does it mean to get started with ALUS? What kinds of projects qualify for the program? And how will I find the time to do more on my farm? We get it. Going above and beyond for the sake of conservation isn’t always feasible. That is why programs like ALUS exist! Your ALUS coordinator is here to support you throughout your project, help you manage the administrative process, coordinate the project as little or as much as you need, provide support, and adjust the project timeline as needed. We understand that life (and weather) gets in the way. ALUS is flexible!
Examples of the kinds of projects ALUS supports:
- Alternative watering systems
- Promoting biodiversity
- Supporting beneficial management practices
- Enhanced grazing
- Riparian Fencing
- Supporting pollinators
- Regenerative agriculture and revegetation
- Riparian enhancement
- Restoring native species and supporting species at risk
- Enhancing wetlands
- Supporting wildlife management
What does the process look like? Well the first step is to contact your ALUS coordinator! The LSWC is your contact for anything ALUS in Big Lakes County! Contact the LSWC office to get the ball rolling, with questions about ALUS, LSWC funding, or BOTH! We have different programs available to landowners, even if you are not a producer or a part of Big Lakes County! Partnerships start with a conversation to see if a project would be a good fit, and for what programs. Then we have the landowner complete a letter of intent and we do a site visit from there. Or ALUS, we will then put together a project proposal with the landowner and bring it to the Project Advisory Council (PAC), which is a group created to review ALUS project proposals on a case-by-case basis. The PAC reviews project proposals anonymously and approves, denies, and sometimes offers recommendations to projects. Once a project is approved by the PAC, work can begin. ALUS provides cost share funding for materials, equipment rentals and in-kind time. Once the project is established, ALUS provides a 5 year conservation payment structure to the landowner to help with project upkeep.