Learning Objectives: By the end of this session participants…
1. Will be able to list 3 common toxins in soil/water within redevelopment sites that can be mitigated by mycoremediation methods
2. Will be able to list 3 methods for planting or dispersing propagules or spawn in contaminated soil/water needing remediation
3. Will be able to describe the benefits of mycoremediation compared to traditional soil/water clean up methods.
This session will describe cost-effective practical methods for using a combination of mechanical methods, vascular plants, fungi and/or microorganisms in mycoremedation treatments to volatilize, degrade, digest or sequester excessive nutrients, hydrocarbons, and/or heavy metals in soils and/or stormwater on project sites.
Soil and stormwater contaminated with excessive nutrients, petroleum-based toxins, and heavy metals, is common in former industrial sites, brownfields, and agricultural lands being redeveloped for residential or other uses. Mycoremediation of contaminated soils and water ensures that deleterious materials are removed before erosional processes and hydraulic transport deliver contaminants off site.
Mycoremediation is the process of using bacteria, micro-organisms, fungi or their exudates and enzymes to digest, metabolize, sequester and/or remove select contaminants present in soil or water. Mycoremediation is typically employed to digest a pollutant, such as hydrocarbons (diesel) with the byproducts being carbon dioxide and water.
This session will focus on practical pairing of a particular pollutant with the appropriate fungal species through site design and inoculation methods to treat contaminated soil and water to hasten site recovery. In many cases, on-site treatment can be substantially cheaper and reduce carbon emissions compared with collecting and transporting polluted soil or water to an off-site hazardous waste facility. On-site treatment can also ensure, through monitoring, that the targeted pollutant is reduced to acceptable thresholds.
Speaker: Craig Benson
Mr. Craig Benson has 30 years of professional experience in a wide variety of watershed management, ecological restoration, agro-ecological planning, erosion control, and forest improvement projects in the United States, West Africa, and South America. Regionally, Mr. Benson has contracted with federal, state and county agencies, parks and open space districts, as well as with private landowners and Indian Tribes in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of more than 350 ecological restoration projects and 15 watershed assessments in 30 California counties. Projects have included watershed analysis & assessment, hydrologic restoration, vegetation management, riparian stream restoration, riparian buffer zone design, soil bioengineering, constructed wetlands, fisheries and wildlife habitat enhancement, erosion control planning, soil phytoremediation, mycoremediation, agroforestry, and agroecological restoration. A large portion of these projects have included stormwater management and NPDES permit compliance, particularly the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) documents for sediment and turbidity impaired watersheds, Non-point Source Pollution Plans, stormwater management plans (SWMPs) and stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs).
Over the last decade, Mr. Benson has focused primarily on acquiring grant funding to assemble science and engineering teams to assess watersheds in the Pacific Northwest, develop coastal watershed rehabilitation plans, dam removal, and implement riverine and estuarine restoration projects. Closer to home in Eureka, CA, Mr. Benson has facilitated participatory processes leading to the completion of landscape-scale efforts including the Humboldt Bay Climate Change Initiative and Sea Level Rise Adaption Plan (HBI, 2016).
Mr. Benson is a both a researcher and practitioner working in the private and public sectors. He is a faculty at Cal Poly Humboldt teaching in the Department of Environmental Sciences & Management and in the Department of Forestry, Fire and Range Soil. His applied science is as a Sr. Ecologist through Samara Restoration. Craig is also a two-time past President of the Western Chapter IECA, a three-time IECA Board member, and a frequent presenter at IECA conferences worldwide. He was recently selected as IECA Speaker of the Year at the Kansas City Conference in 2023.