Born as a mere trickle from the Chester Gap region of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Eastern Virginia,  the Rappahannock River meanders through almost 200 miles of of rocky ridges, rolling hills and verdant plateaus, culminating with its graceful exodus into the the vast open waters of the Chesapeake Bay at Stingray Point.  The 86 mile course from its birth to the city of Fredericksburg boasts the designation of a Scenic River, home to countless natural populations of herons, eagles, beavers and even larger mammals such as the white tailed deer, the bobcat, the black bear, and the cougar.  Rich in anthropological history of our nation’s peoples, the banks of this picturesque river hold memories of Native American encounters with colonists from the Virginia Colony as well as the bloodied soldiers who camped along its shores during the American Civil War.   Known today for its recreational value in sports such as canoeing, kayaking and angling, the river and its attendant ecosystem are gaining much needed support from conservation groups who seek to preserve a natural balance of human interaction and natural river ecology.

The Mycoremediation Rappahannock River Restoration Project is an example of one group’s efforts to use cutting edge research and restoration best practices to support its portion along the banks adjacent to the counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford and the city of Fredericksburg.  What follows is an on-going diary from the Friends of the Rappahannock as they invite you to observe their efforts.

The Science Behind Mycoremediation

Click Here To Visit The Photo Journal of the Project

Mycoremediation is the practice of bioremediating environmental areas using the unique properties of mushrooms.   The species of choice for this project uses the Shiitake, a mushroom with medicinal and culinary history dating back well over one thousand years ago.  Known today for its unique ability to positively affect the human immune system, its antibacterial and antiviral properties have found their way into research areas that seek innovative methods for degrading environmental toxins.  In particular, the Shiitake mushrooms degrade pentachlorophenol, or PCP, a highly toxic organochlorine compound, used in commercial biocidal agents to kill plants, insects, algae and fungus.  PCP is also one of the main toxic ingredients in the process of preparing pressure treated wood.