Skip to Content
background pattern

Pilot Project to Use Mushrooms, Hair to Clean Contamination

The Presidio to host new pilot project aimed at oil contamination.


Presidio of San Francisco (December 20, 2007) — A press conference will be held at the Presidio of San Francisco on Friday, December 21, 2007 to highlight a unique project using hair mats and mushrooms to remediate oil contamination. The press conference will take place at 12 noon in the Presidio Compost yard, located off of Lincoln Boulevard just north of Kobbe Avenue.

The process, called “myco-remediation” uses mushrooms to convert toxic materials into landscape-grade fertilizer. In this case, Oyster mushrooms are being grown on mats made from human hair that were soaked in tanker fuel oil. The mushroom spawn and expertise for detoxifying the waste are being donated by Paul Stamets, a mycologist who has advanced the use of mushrooms for remediation of toxins. Traditionally, waste oil and hazardous clean up materials are incinerated, which is expensive and releases toxins into the air.

“We are pleased to be hosting the myco-remediation pilot project at the Presidio,” said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. “This type of green entrepreneurship is in-line with many of the programs we are already doing; it’s a perfect fit for the Presidio.” The Presidio is hosting the program at its green compost site.

The myco-remediation project is headed up by Lisa Craig Gautier, founder of “Matter of Trust, Inc.” an ecological non-profit organization. Craig Gautier has brought together a range of agencies and organizations to collaborate on the myco-remediation project, including the Presidio Trust, the Office of Mayor Gavin Newsom, The California Department Toxic Substances Control and the San Francisco Departments of the Environment, Emergency Services and Public Health.

“The support and excitement for this project have been amazing,” said Gautier. “People are attracted to it because it is a green project, but also because it makes such common sense. In only a few weeks the oil will be broken down, and we will have fertilizer that can be used for landscaping.”

The Presidio Trust was established by the U.S. Congress in 1994 to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, a former army base located in San Francisco at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains the infrastructure of a small city as well as expansive open space, a 300-acre historic forest, spectacular views, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District, making it unlike any other national park. In establishing the Trust, Congress mandated that it make the park financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Trust is the only federal agency with this mandate.

Matter of Trust, Inc. is an ecological public charity that links ideas, sparks action and materializes sustainable systems. Its focus is manmade surplus, natural surplus, and eco-education.

Contact Us

Presidio Trust Media Relations

Lisa Petrie

(415) 264-7787