Skip to comments.Mushrooms used to clean up urban streams
Posted on 03/01/2014 1:27:55 PM PST by neverdem
A local group is attempting to clean the waters in Corvallis Sequoia Creek and potentially the Willamette River beyond it using an unusual tool: mushrooms.
The process used by volunteers with the Ocean Blue Project, an ecological restoration nonprofit, is to place mushroom spawn and a mixture of coffee grounds and straw in burlap bags that mushrooms can grow in, and then place the bags so that water entering storm drains will filter through them. The technique is attempting to take advantage of the natural ability of mycelium the underground part of fungi to break down toxins like oil and pesticides and metabolize harmful bacteria like E. coli.
Ocean Blue Project volunteers placed their first test bag, containing yellow oyster mushroom spawn, in a drainage chute near the Ninth Street Coffee Culture on Sunday.
Richard Arterbury, president of the Ocean Blue Project, said he thinks the project has huge potential.
If you put enough of these bags by the Willamette River it could potentially change the river, he said.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality water sampling from 2008 to 2012 showed the presence of pesticides, flame retardants, metals, and chemical ingredients from consumer products in the river. The Oregon Health Authority also has an active mercury advisory warning that children should not eat more than one serving of resident species of fish from the main fork of the Willamette River a month, and that adults should not eat more than four servings.
The Washington Environmental Council has been using similar techniques in parts of the Puget Sound region, and a unrelated study from the state has shown fungi helped remove fecal coliform bacteria from flowing water.
According to Arterbury, the technique could potentially be a low-cost way to use biologic processes to reduce pollution in waterways...
(Excerpt) Read more at gazettetimes.com ...
Interesting idea. I remember reading some years ago about a species of water lily that is remarkably effective in using certain forms on industrial waste as food. The lilies purify the polluted water they grow in, and - IIRC -the flowers themselves can be processed into feed or fertilizer.
Interesting idea, hopefully it works. The real reason why the Willamette is so silty has to do with the dams not allowing it to clean it’s channel. If a deep channel was dredged it would provide faster flow in the low water months which would prevent the river from silting. This would also provide better spawning habitat for salmon and not suffocate so many eggs.
Back when we used to dredge the river, it allowed commerce to flow from the Pacific all the way to Eugene, and we had HUGE runs of salmon. Just think of the eco-tourism having a passable channel would create.
Obviously, the blackberries are native.
Great idea...until someone starts to harvest the contaminant-laden mushrooms to sell to local restaurants “for cheap”?