Protect our waterways after the fires with Fungi!

CoRenewal’s Post-fire Biofiltration Initiative

A little bit of context:

Since the beginning of 2020, the combined effect of more than 8,400 documented wildfires have burned over 4.1 million acres in California, more than double the previous record. As a result, over 9,200 structures have burned this year alone.

Due to the nature of this issue, there is growing concern about the post-fire effects of toxic ash damaging the local ecosystems and watersheds. As the rainy season nears, the Western US is threatened by widespread, complex suites of contaminants and unprecedented harm to sensitive ecosystems such as salmon-bearing streams. 

Here’s what we’re doing about it:
CoRenewal recognizes that protecting sensitive waterways from toxic ash-runoff after a destructive wildfire is imperative. While there is evidence suggesting fungal-inoculated wattles would be a great tool for post-fire remediation, our Post-fire Biofiltration Initiative will be one of the first studies to rigorously examine this method. 

CoRenewal is ready to research and develop more effective and widely applicable methods for filtering, mitigating, and biodegrading toxic debris and ash-runoff by installing wattles inoculated with mycelium (i.e., “mycowattles”) from a native species of Pleurotus (oyster mushroom). Wattles are linear straw-based bags that have traditionally been used to intercept runoff on exposed sites from waterways, but do little to address the toxic components in the ash. There is evidence that mycowattles would be a great tool to implement post-fire.

Our first step is to collect baseline data to measure the effects of using fungi to biodegrade these toxins (i.e., mycoremediation) via the use of wattles inoculated with Pleurotus (oyster mushroom) mycelium. Our intention is to use these data to promote evidence-based remediation techniques to further support ecological restoration of fire-affected areas, and increase water-retention within soils, which may ultimately limit the frequency and severity of future wildfires. 

While we know that fungi can break down harmful organic contaminants and sequester heavy metals, mycowattles for post-fire remediation have never before been rigorously and quantitatively studied. Our study could be the impetus for powerful new post-fire restoration methodologies and provide the foundation for research for years to come. Please consider making a donation today so that these unique ecosystems can thrive tomorrow. 

Want to learn more? 
--Find out more about CoRenewal’s work here 
--Check out our Post-fire Remediation and Watershed Defense Webinar  with CoRenewal’s Taylor Bright
--Read "When the West Coast wildfires are out, can mushrooms help with the cleanup?"  recently published article in AG Insider, featuring CoRenewal’s Executive Director Maya Elson 
How you can help:
We are raising $6,000 US to support our research and to scale up our mycoremediation efforts. 

These funds will be for soil sampling supplies, materials for implementation, and lab testing and other essential items.  

Please consider supporting these efforts for preserving the health of our lands and water for future generations.


  • Ketsia Uwayo
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $1,000 
    • 3 yrs
  • Joe Hoppis
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs

Fundraising team (3)

Ethan Hirsch-Tauber
Raised $705 from 12 donations
Sebastopol, CA
Registered charity
Donations are typically 100% tax-deductible in the US.
Maya Elson
Team member
Raised $2,305 from 14 donations
Taylor Bright
Team member
Raised $970 from 9 donations
This team has raised $1,788 from 34 other donations.

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