Christmas trees will soon help wetlands

NEW ORLEANS, LA - If you put your tree out for recycling, chances are it will soon be put to good use.  Thousands of repurposed trees are scheduled to be airlifted into Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in the next couple of weeks.  The project will help to create new wetland habitat for the thousands of migratory waterfowl and wildlife that call this area home. The annual "Christmas Tree Drop" program is expected to be carried out on Thursday, February 20th.

The trees were gathered curbside in Orleans Parish in the weeks following Christmas.  The trees were then bundled for transport by helicopter into the refuge. The trees are used to establish a breakwater in open ponds on the refuge. Many of these ponds have enlarged considerably in recent years as wave action eats away at the shoreline. This erosion also causes the ponds to deepen and become cloudy, inhibiting the plant growth that supports the refuge's large wintering waterfowl populations. The trees will help slow water movement and trap silt that encourages the growth of marsh grasses.

The Louisiana Army National Guard helps in with the effort, doing the "heavy lifting" in their helicopters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge complex consists of eight refuges and over 160,000 acres of a coastal wetlands system that includes marshes, bottomland hardwood forests, lakes, swamps and bayous.

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