Thursday, December 26, 2013

We Know What You Should Do With Your Christmas Tree Now

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 8:45 AM

click to enlarge Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries staff sink leftover Christmas trees into Creve Coeur Park Lake which fish will use for habitat. Cement blocks tied to the trunk are used to get the trees to stay down. - MDC
  • MDC
  • Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries staff sink leftover Christmas trees into Creve Coeur Park Lake which fish will use for habitat. Cement blocks tied to the trunk are used to get the trees to stay down.

Wondering what to do with your tree now that Christmas is over? Let it sleep with the fishes!

The Missouri Department of Conservation is looking for families to donate their used natural Christmas trees for new fish habitats in St. Charles and in Creve Coeur Lake.

"A lot of lakes we work with are manmade, and there's not much fish cover in them, so we have to figure out how to put fish habitat in those lakes," says biologist Kevin Meneau. "Christmas trees are one of the best ways to do that in winter."

click to enlarge Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries staff sink leftover Christmas trees into Creve Coeur Park Lake using cement blocks. Fish will use the recycled trees for habitat. - MDC
  • MDC
  • Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries staff sink leftover Christmas trees into Creve Coeur Park Lake using cement blocks. Fish will use the recycled trees for habitat.

Woody trees make ideal habitats and food sources for smaller fish -- including bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and crappie -- boosting the lake's entire food chain.

"They also help young fish," Meneau says. "When adults spawn, their young can hide in those trees."

The conservation department submerges Christmas trees every year after the holiday season, building what they adorably call "the aquatic equivalent of an underwater condominium." The trees are tied to cement blocks and submerged four to seven feet deep.

click to enlarge Fisheries staff from the Missouri Department of Conservation leave after installing recycled Christmas trees into Creve Coeur Park Lake. The trees will find a new use as habitat for fish. - MDC
  • MDC
  • Fisheries staff from the Missouri Department of Conservation leave after installing recycled Christmas trees into Creve Coeur Park Lake. The trees will find a new use as habitat for fish.

Before you donate your tree, remove decorations, lights, garland and ornaments before dropoff. The fish don't need your holiday spirit.

Lake 34 in St. Charles' August A. Busch Conservation Area is particularly in need of new trees for fish habitats. Enter the park on Route D, two miles west of Highway 94, and follow the signs to the drop-off.

Or head to the Sailboat Cove Boat Ramp at Creve Coeur Lake, 13725 Marine Drive.

Trees are accepted through January 13, 2014.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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