MDC Seeks Recycled Christmas Trees For Fish Habitat

Christmas trees can have a second life after the holidays by providing home for fish.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is accepting used natural Christmas trees to create fish habitat in Lake 35 on the August A. Busch Conservation Area in St. Charles, and in Creve Coeur Lake in St. Louis County.

So how does recycling a used Christmas tree give fish something to celebrate? Turns out, a bunch of them can create the aquatic equivalent of an underwater condominium.
“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,” said Kevin Meneau, MDC Fisheries Management Biologist. “Christmas trees are one of the best ways to do that in winter.”

According to Meneau, the trees provide woody cover that makes excellent habitat for invertebrates. These are an ideal food source for smaller fish, which draws them in like a magnet. This in turn brings in bigger fish and creates a situation that gives a boost to the lake’s entire food chain.

Meneau said it’s best to drop off the entire tree, without cutting it up or removing any branches. Tree donors are asked to remove all decorations, including lights, garland and ornaments before drop off.

Recycled Christmas trees are requested at Lake 35 on the August A. Busch Conservation Area in St. Charles. The entrance to the conservation area is on Route D, two miles west of Highway 94. Signs on the area will guide visitors to the drop off point.

St. Louis County residents can bring their trees to Creve Coeur Park Lake, 13725 Marine Drive, where signs will lead them to the drop off point near the Sailboat Cove Boat Ramp.

Christmas trees can be donated at these lakes between now and January 13, 2013.