Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS)
We all depend on ecosystem services, for things like water, air, food, shelter.
In Red Deer County, land is privately owned. The decisions private landowners make impact the ecosystem that society depends on.
With ALUS, farmers and ranchers can get paid to produce more ecosystem services on their land. They can be paid up to $40 acre per year.
Check out ALUS in action with these videos featuring ALUS participants from Red Deer County:
- Keith and Tracy Johnson - Meet an ALUS Producer
- Aron Lutz - Stewards of the Land
- Jo-Anne Hallman - Stewards of the Land
- The CACHE Project Video - featuring Derek Mathon and Kevin Ziola
A long term partner in our ALUS Program in Red Deer County is the Alberta Conservation Association. Find out more at www.ab-conservation.com
Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP)
Red Deer County is helping producers access funding from the CAP programs dealing with agriculture and the environment (the Farm Water Supply Program and the Environmental Stewardship and Climate Change - Producer Program).
Depending on the nature of your operation and what projects you want to do, farms and ranches could be eligible for thousands of dollars. The County assists producers in doing the planning work that is required to access these programs. This includes developing and updating Long Term Water Management Plans, Environmental Farm Plans, and CAP Work Plans.
Discover more on the CAP website at www.cap.alberta.ca or contact Conservation Coordinator Ken Lewis
Energy related programs for agricultural producers can be found here:
Acreages in Red Deer County vary greatly in size, but face many of the same risks. Whether it is land, water, or air contamination, recognizing these risks will help all landowners.
Based on the Green Acreages Guide, a provincial program that assists landowners in identifying and addressing the potential environmental hazards on their property, the Green Acreages program was also created to help landowners access funding to assist in improving their land stewardship.
The program features workshops and one-on-one work, as well as a 60/40 cost share up to $3,000, if acreage owners take actions to reduce environmental risks on their properties.
For more information on the Green Acreages program, or to get started on a plan for your acreage, contact Conservation Coordinator Ken Lewis
Safe Water Wells Program
Wells that are no longer being used are a serious public safety and environmental hazard. Help protect our aquifers and water supply by plugging old wells, you’ll be keeping your water supply safe! Up to $1,000 is available to help you plug unused and abandoned wells by way of the Red Deer County Agriculture Service Board Safe Water Wells Program.
An abandoned well is a liability. It creates a direct route from the surface to the ground water, greatly increasing the chances of contaminating an aquifer. Red Deer County has 11,600 water wells on record, plus an unknown number of wells that are off record. We estimate that 20% of these wells may need to be reclaimed.
Your Agricultural Service Board (ASB) and Council recognizes the need and importance of addressing this issue and they want to provide assistance in the form of reclamation information and procedures, help with the growing forward program, and financial compensation through our Safe Water Wells Initiative.
For information on plugging abandoned water wells and the Safe Water Wells Initiative, please contact Agricultural Technician Tori Adolf or Conservation Coordinator Ken Lewis.
Click HERE for the Red Deer County Safe Water Wells Program overview.
Discover more about plugging abandoned wells, including well owner responsibilities and plugging processes, from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Grazing & Riparian Management
Red Deer County provides information and resources to producers on managing their pastures, their native range, and their riparian areas for maximum productivity and maximum environmental health.
Often with other organizations, we host information sessions and field days. We conduct "Riparian Health Assessments" and "Range Health Assessments" with and for interested producers.
For a video on the importance of choosing the right location for your livestock waterer, click HERE
(Note: Red Deer County no longer has off-site watering demo units. However, you may be eligible to apply for ALUS funding to purchase your own waterer)
Riparian Area - Defined
A riparian area is the area around or along a water body, between the water and the uplands. It's usually has wetter soils and plants that are adapted to those wet soils.
For further information on grazing and riparian management, please contact Conservation Coordinator Ken Lewis.
Environmental Farm Plan (EFP)
Red Deer County assists producers in all aspects of environmental farm planning, from start to finish and through to action. We also assist producers in keeping their environmental farm plans current.
For more information on Environmental Farm Planning, visit Alberta EFP, or contact Conservation Coordinator Ken Lewis
Trees - Planting & Pruning
Trees give protection from wind for people and livestock, they trap snow and valuable moisture, and they provide a home and food for many wildlife species. Red Deer County has several programs that help County landowners plant more trees.
Landowners may be eligible to apply for funding to plant trees in riparian areas and other environmentally significant areas. The County's Conservation Coordinator is available to help you access this funding. Contact Ken Lewis
Tree Planting Equipment
The County has free rental of a Tree Planter and a Tree Plastic Mulch Applicator. For more information, see Rental Equipment. To book equipment contact Agricultural Services at 403.342.8654
Red Deer County has tree pruning fact sheets available for beginners doing pruning in their yard. For any large pruning please contact a professional certified arborist. For questions regarding tree health, contact Municipal Maintenance Coordinator Dallas Campbell
How We Can Help
Red Deer County's Conservation team assists landowners and producers by:
- supporting access to our flagship conservation funding programs (ALUS and Green Acreages)
- providing information and advice on eco-buffers, shelterbelts, grazing, riparian and nutrient management,
- providing information and help with CAP programs and funding applications,
- assisting with the completion and renewals of Environmental Farm Plans, and
- providing advice and information on sustainable agriculture and conservation.