Friday, October 28, 2011

Christmas Trees to be Recycled Into Fish Habitat

Photo courtesy: US Forest Service

Recycling Christmas trees has usually meant taking them to a central location to be chipped. The resulting mulch is then used in local parks, beautification projects, and the like. However, a new use for old Christmas trees has been found.

Around the country, Christmas trees are recycled for an unlikely purpose: they make for good fish habitat.

From southern California to South Carolina, fish and wildlife agencies have been collecting Christmas trees with plans to use them in lakes and waterways to create protective habitats for small fish.

In Wyoming, the trees will be dropped through designated holes in the ice at Ocean Lake in late January.

In South Carolina, Christmas trees will be used in Lake Hartwell. “By recycling used Christmas trees in Hartwell Lake, we provide cover for fish and enhance nursery habitat for juvenile fish,” Jess Fleming, a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Anderson Independent Mail. “The trees are also beneficial to aquatic insects, which are essential food for most fish species.”

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jeff Ross said that lakes contain woody habitats that rot away with time, and Christmas trees can help replenish those habitats.

Similar programs exist in Georgia, Montana, and other locations all around the country.

Christmas trees are also used to boost habitat for land animals, and for coastal wetland restoration projects.

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