FRANKFORT, Ky. - Many natural Christmas trees wind up in a landfill after the holidays. The fisheries division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has a better idea: Sink these discarded trees into lakes to provide more cover for fish.
The department is seeking tree donations from the public to help make this happen. "As our lakes age, we need to replenish the woody habitat that rots away with time," said Jeff Ross, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. "We need natural Christmas trees to construct habitat for fish to be placed in our 17 major reservoirs, our smaller state-owned lakes and even our small Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) lakes."
Fisheries workers place habitat in lakes on a small scale year round. Over the last several years on Kentucky, Cumberland and Barren River lakes, the fisheries division conducted large scale habitat renovation. Nolin River Lake, Green River Lake and Taylorsville Lake will receive habitat in 2012.
"This habitat provides protective cover for all fish and nursery habitat for young fish; it attracts baitfish and algae grows on it, providing food for young fish and other aquatic organisms," Ross said. "These structures also increase angler fishing success by providing productive structures for people to fish."
A map of Christmas tree drop-off locations is posted on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov or you can click the highlighted words above. The donated trees must be natural, clean and free of all ornaments, lights and tinsel.
"Only clean Christmas trees will be accepted at these drop-off locations", said Ross. "We don't want these sites to become a dump of unwanted materials."
In addition to the Christmas trees, the fisheries division is also seeking donations of wood or plastic pallets, cinder block, 5-gallon plastic buckets, clean PVC pipe, wooden stakes and other materials that could be used to anchor or construct fish habitat. These materials, however, must be approved by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Please contact Joseph Zimmerman at (502)-564-7109 ext. 4473 to schedule a delivery or a pickup for these additional materials.
The habitat structures that will be placed in all lakes by fisheries personnel will be GPS marked with the coordinates published on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov.
Christmas trees don't have to lose their usefulness after the holidays. When placed in the right locations, they can provide happiness for anglers for years to come.