Monday, Mar 10, 2014
Christmas Tree Donations Help Rend Lake Wildlife
REND LAKE -- Christmas is over, which means thousands of Christmas trees will be thrown away over the next couple weeks. Before you toss that tree, you might want to consider a fish-friendly option.
On Thursday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake kicked off their annual Christmas tree recycling program.
"It provides a feeding source and also a refuge area," said park ranger Molly Rawlinson. "The trees, when we put them in the lake, they provide cover and refuge for the smaller fish."
The engineers gather dozens of leftover trees from local retail stores.
"We get a lot of trees from Wal-Mart or Rural King," explained Rawlinson. "If they have any leftover we coordinate with them to go pick them up."
The donated trees are bundled together every spring and placed in Rend Lake to create underwater fish structures.
"There is a certain type of algae and phytoplankton that grow on the trees that the fish eat," said Rawlinson.
The trees benefit thousands of fish at Rend Lake. The drop off coordinates are given to fishermen and provide great fishing spots for anglers. Despite two decades of Christmas tree recycling, donations in recent years have been at an all-time low.
"Over the years we have seen less live Christmas trees," explained Rawlinson. "I think people now tend to use more artificial trees."
She hopes that extra donations from citizens can bring those numbers back up.
"In the past years we have had a couple of hundred," said Rawlinson. "This year I think we will probably get about 400 which makes for a pretty good year."
Officials will be accepting trees until January 16th. They ask that all tinsel, decorations and stands are removed from the trees before drop-off.
Trees can be dropped off at one of three locations listed below.
Rend Lake Drop-Off Locations:
- Sugar Creek Parking Lot
- Dam West Boat Ramp
- Jackie Branch Boat Ramp
Wind: 10 MPH
Humidity: 87 %