KDFW collecting used Christmas trees

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

Christmas trees are truly beautiful, especially live ones. They brighten up your home, get people in the Christmas spirit and are a place for family to gather on Christmas Day to open their presents.

But now that Christmas is over and you’re pondering what to do with your Christmas tree, we have an idea that you might be interested in instead of simply throwing it out to the curb.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is collecting used Christmas trees to sink in area lakes for fish and nesting habitat.

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The process in which these fish and wildlife officers have been doing this for decades is pretty neat.

To create the aquatic habitats, called “brush reefs,” staff members tie a few trees together, secure weight to the bottom of the wooded pile and place the trees upright in the mud – usually about 10 or more feet underwater.

Trees are placed in multiple depths at multiple sites to accommodate the rise and fall of water. That could include any state lake in the 16-county area – such as Barren River Lake, Shanty Hollow Lake and Green River Lake.

The wooded structures become homes to small fish and invertebrates and also provide a nesting and rearing habitat for fish. When fish hatch, for example, they’re small and can quickly get eaten by predators higher up on the food chain. The sunken trees give them a place to hide and give them a chance to grow and become part of a new generation of fish.

The brush reefs also offer another place of access for fisherman to catch fish. For those who don’t do much fishing, fish are attracted to structures such as stumps, rocks and sunken or partially submerged trees. These types of structures are what fisherman look for when they begin fishing in our lakes.

The department typically will receive 600 to 1,100 trees. This might sound like a lot, but staff placed 400 trees alone one year in the relatively small Shanty Hollow Lake.

That is a lot of trees to put into one lake with not a whole lot left over considering the large bodies of water in Barren River Lake and Green River Lake, which is all the more reason to donate your trees to this great cause.

Those interested in donating their trees for fish habitat need to remember to remove all tinsel, lights, ornaments and any other type of décor.

We do hope that people will participate in this program.

It keeps the tradition of fishing going, which is something that older anglers and their children really appreciate.

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Daily News of Bowling Green