Assessing the Site

Cottonwood1

As you consider getting started on an earth repair project, take the time to assess your site and do your research.

Grassroots bioremediation requires that we choose our interventions wisely, observing nature, learning and drawing inspiration from its brilliant design. It involves figuring out how to restore cycles and natural processes that have been interrupted, and then working with nature’s own healing mechanisms to organically and holistically restore wellness to a site.

This work is not about being  attached to a specific tool or method. The true grassroots bioremediator is not someone who believes that only mushrooms will save the world and wants to apply them to every situation. Instead such a healer is willing to consider that we have many tools at our disposal, that a lot of these tools work best in concert or in succession and that the environmental conditions of the sites we are working with may favor one approach over another. There is no one-size-fits-all approach or silver bullet solution.

The more you know about the land, the better you will be able to proceed in selecting a remediation remedy. To get started, here are some good questions to ask:
  • Who owns the site? Not all vacant lots are contaminated and not all contaminated lots are vacant.
  • What is the site history?
    • What past activities and developments have taken place on the land?
    • What sort of contaminants do these activities leave behind?
    • How deep could the contamination go?
  • What are the fundamental ecological functions that have been lost on site?
    • How do we bring them back?
    • What work/interventions will bring back and re-connect these cycles?
  • Are there signs of bird and animals use?
    • Tracks, nests, poop?
  • Do people like to cut through or use the site? If so, how and where?
  • How does water flow through the site?
    • Does it run-off? Where to?
    • Does it pool? Where?
  • How does the soil look?
    • Is it compacted?
    • Are there worms in it?
    • What is the soil texture?
    • What is the soil pH?
  • What plants, if any, are growing on the site?
    • Around the site?
    • Where are there plants?
    • Where are there bare spots?
  • Are there debris piles?
    • Where and what is in them?
    • Are they safe to move?
    • Are there any weird substances on site?
  • How does the sun move through your site?
    • Where is there sun? Where is there shade?  For how long?
  • What is your remediation timeline?
  • What is your capacity?