Beavers Do ‘Dam’ Good Work Cleaning Water

New hope for cleaning up polluted rivers and preventing soil erosion has been found in the humble beaver and its signature claim to fame: the dams this species builds. Science Daily reports that these dams trap nitrogen- and phosphorous-filled sediment, 70 percent of which is soil, and ultimately help to mitigate the destruction of water bodies by agricultural runoff. Researchers said these findings provide critical information on future sustainability of soils and water.

This is just one of many surprising ways to address pollution that doesn’t call for more poisons or disturbances to the soils and water we’re trying to protect. For example, by shunning concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and switching back to grass fed beef and meats, we not only can cut greenhouse gas emissions but also offset them completely by helping to sequester carbon into the soil.

One reason this is important is because, in addition to monocropping that requires heavy pesticide usage, CAFOs are known to destroy communities, pollute waterways, create toxic air pollution and sicken area residents. The reality is, instead of feeding the world, monocrops and CAFOs poison the world, draining resources both economically and agronomically.

On the other hand, by mimicking the natural behavior of migratory herds of wild grazing animals — meaning allowing livestock to graze freely and moving the herd around in specific patterns — farmers can support nature's efforts to regenerate and thrive. This kind of land management system promotes the reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by sequestering it back into the soil where it can do a lot of good.

Since the majority of animal foods sold in the U.S. are raised on CAFOs, not grass fed farms, you can make a significant difference in your health and that of the environment and local community by seeking out foods from small farmers using AMP grazing and other regenerative agriculture practices.

I encourage you to look for the American Grassfed Association (AGA) logo on meat and dairy, as it ensures the animals were born and raised on American family farms, fed only grass and forage from weaning until harvest, and raised on pasture without confinement to feedlots. By buying grass fed or pastured animal products, including beef, bison, chicken, milk and eggs, it means you are making a solid choice toward protecting, not polluting, the planet.

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