Recycle your Christmas tree by donating it to a local conservation department to create a habitat for fish and aquatic wildlife.
As the holiday season comes to a close, many of us are more than ready to get rid of our old Christmas tree. With curbside pick-up the norm across much of the country, little thought is given to alternative options. But this year, why not consider donating your Christmas tree to improve fish habitat?
Contact your local and state conservation department to learn about designated recycling locations in your area, as well as any regulations. Many agencies offer volunteer opportunities to help with the efforts to recycle trees into fish habitat.
Why Sink Your Christmas Tree?
When it comes to fishing, habitat is one of the most important aspects to angling success. In water bodies lacking structure and depth changes, baitfish will be heavily scattered. This often means finding your desired sportfish can be quite difficult. Without refuge, many fish remain inactive most of the day, suspending over deep water. Adding cover provides much needed nutrition for even the smallest of species, and with this the food chain will follow.
As woody plant tissue decomposes, Mother Nature jumpstarts a whole new series of vegetation at the lowest levels of life such as phytoplankton and various algaes. Zooplankton, also known as water fleas, populate and forage on the new vegetation, attracting small insects, mussels, snails, and crayfish who also eat on the phyto and zooplankton. The abundance of life then attracts small, non-predatory fish that eat on the small insects or zooplankton, and the larger, predator species we cherish. As the saying goes, “Find the Bait, and You’ll Find the Fish.”
Read more about Christmas Trees for improved habitat at Keep America Fishing
Where to Recycle Your Tree in Rhode Island
Please do not dispose of Christmas trees on the beach! While this practice can be helpful to trap sand and prevent erosion, it requires a coordinated community effort and location planning to be effective. A storm can easily wash them away, even trees that are secured with stakes, causing a cleanup challenge.
Instead, consider donating your tree for upcoming projects to restore river habitats in a collaborative effort with DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife and Trout Unlimited Rhode Island Chapter!
Christmas trees may be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., on Saturday, January 2nd and Saturday, January 9th at F&W’s Arcadia Check Station off RT. 165, Ten Rod Road at Wood River in Exeter.
*(No synthetic trees, trees with tinsel/other synthetic materials still attached, or trees sprayed with fire retardant chemicals.)