A natural Christmas tree is a holiday season tradition in many households.
Cherished are the memories made around it and dreaded is the day when it must come down, even if the needles are dropping like confetti on New Year’s Eve revelers.
A Christmas tree’s usefulness doesn’t end when the holidays are over.
They may be recycled for mulch or donated to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to provide more cover for fish – and better opportunities for anglers.
The department is accepting natural Christmas trees free of lights, ornaments, tinsel, garland and any other decorations at more than 30 drop-off locations across the state through Jan. 15. To find the nearest location, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov. Click on the “Fish” tab and choose “Fishing Home” from the dropdown menu. A link for the Christmas tree recycling program appears on that page.
Fisheries personnel collect the donated trees and bundle them to create fish attractors that will be submerged in lakes across the state. These brush reefs provide new cover for all fish and nursery habitat for young fish. They also attract baitfish and algae, providing food for young fish and other aquatic organisms.
New habitat is placed in lakes year-round by fisheries personnel. The Global Position System (GPS) coordinates of these features are plotted on lake maps available on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website.