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Conservation funding totals $58,312 in 2023

Mountain View County ALUS projection for 2023 are eight new participants with projects covering a total of 200 acres

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The county’s agricultural service board (ASB) has been updated on funding allocated to the ALUS and the Riparian and Ecological Enhancement Program (REEP) conservation initiatives in the municipality.

The review came during a recent ASB meeting, held in person and online.

Lorelee Grattidge, sustainable agriculture specialists with the county, explained that an agreement has been signed for preliminary ALUS funding allocations totalling $58,312 for 2023. 

Of that total, $45,000 is for 120 new acres and $13,312 for 136.5 renewed acres for a five year term.

“We just recently had our funding confirmed and started advertising it at the end of March,” said Grattidge. “People are starting to sort through them and see what applies. 

“When ALUS gives us a certain amount of money then they would put with that how many acres they would anticipate us getting based on that funding. For right now we have the $45,000.”

The ASB is made up of county councillors and appointed members of the region’s agriculture community. It advises the country and province on agriculture-related issues and concerns, as well as overseeing programs such as ALUS and REEP.

The ALUS program is made available to local landowners to undertake conservation projects on their properties.

“Mountain View County ALUS projection for 2023 are eight new participants with projects covering a total of 200 acres,” she said. “Potentially there will be more ALUS funding available yet to assist with this goal.”

Meanwhile, a grant application submitted to the Alberta Conservation Association was also successful with $25,000 allocated for the 2023-24 funding cycle for the REEP program, she said.

“Annually ALUS completes verification on 10 per cent of all projects to determine that projects are still present and the acreage is correct,” she said. “This verification is completed by a third-party and the projects are randomly selected. 

“Drone verification was used in MVC for the second year in 2022, with 20 projects being verified, an overall discrepancy of 1.57 per cent was noted on MVC projects, which is well within the allowable five per cent error threshold, so no further action is required.”

Grattidge also said that the Sarcee Fish and Game Association has continued to install hen houses for Mallard duck nesting at riparian project sites.

“They estimate that they have over 50 units currently installed in Mountain View County and are seeing about 40 per cent usage,” she said. “They find that hen houses consistently boost nest success 60 to 80 per cent, ground-nesting mallards typically achieve nest success of less than 10 per cent.”

The boards accepted Grattidge’s report as information.

During the April 17 ASB meeting a delegation from the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership program updated board members about activities and plans.

The partnership has launched its new sustainable CAP programs. This five-year (2023-2028), $3.5 billion investment includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and $2.5 billion in cost-shared programs and activities by federal-provincial-territorial governments, said Giselle Ulrich, grant program specialist. 

Alberta’s CAP programs will stimulate creation of jobs and spur growth in the agriculture sector by supporting value-added processing competitiveness, attraction of new investment and expansion of irrigation capacity that will enhance crop production, she said.

The board received the CAP update as information.

Dan Singleton

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