Christmas trees recycled for fish habitats in USA

The problem of what to do with leftover Christmas trees – especially in lockdown – has been simplified by several states in the USA who offer recycling them to help fish habitats.

In South Carolina, a program aimed at underwater habitat improvement has been in place for decades, according to David Lucas, the regional public information coordinator at the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

The practice involves adding weights to trees and sinking them in bodies of water Lucas told US News. The trees then lure small fish and bait fish, due to the shade they provide, allowing them to hide from larger fish.

“Everything gets attracted to that eventually,” says Lucas, as larger game fish also congregate around the trees.

According to Keep America Fishing numerous methods have proven popular over the years for creating the perfect fish retaining structure. The most important goal is developing structure that will stand upright underwater, providing the most surface area for fish. To do this, the tree must be secured to a strong base.

Images courtesy of Keep America Fishing

Cement blocks or 5-gallon buckets are the most common method of creating underwater structure, the website advises. Affixing the tree straight is of upmost importance, as it will prevent structures from falling over.

Other states, like West Virginia, offer similar programs. In Louisiana, Christmas trees are recycled and used to help fisheries and protect the coastline by building wave-reducing fences and filling in man-made canals, according to The Associated Press.

In addition to providing shelter for smaller fish, Christmas trees provide food for them in the form of algae as the wood breaks down, says Lucas.

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