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Repurpose Your Christmas Tree for Another Life of Service

It is after Christmas and you need to take the tree out of the house. What can you do with it now? How about helping out some fish with a new home for the holidays. .The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake are asking for your old Christmas trees to improve fish habitat. Donated trees will be bundled together to create underwater fish structures. These structures serve a variety of purposes such as providing feeding areas for fish of all sizes, refuge for small fish, and excellent fishing spots for anglers.

Christmas trees can be dropped off at any of the following three Rend Lake boat ramps or parking lot locations: Sugar Creek parking lot, located at the intersection of Licata and Mine 21 roads; Dam West boat ramp, located on the west end of the main dam; or Jackie Branch boat ramp, located north of Rt. 154 across from the Barren Township building. Christmas trees will be accepted at these locations until January 16, 2018. If you are closer to Mt. Vernon, Christmas trees may be recycled at the areas designated by signs at the Veterans Park women’s softball field; Forest Avenue; Optimist Park, 903 Pace Avenue; or Airport Park, 1101 Airport Road until January 5, 2018.

Two additional collection locations have been added through a partnership with the Marion Park District. The first location will be in Ray Fosse Park, which is located just north of Route 13 on the east end of Marion. The collection point will be located in the “Goofy Golf” parking lot, just behind the swimming pool, at 519 Parish Ave. The second collection point will be located at the northernmost picnic shelter parking lot as you exit Pyramid Park at 1300 Bevabeck Drive. Trees will be accepted until January 16, 2018 at the Marion collection sites.

Artificial or flocked trees (with artificial snow) cannot be accepted. Corps of Engineers Park Rangers ask that prior to dropping off trees all tinsel, decorations, stands, and plastic bags be removed from the tree.

Corps of Engineers employees, Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists, and volunteers will team up to drop the bundled and weighted trees in the lake sometime during the month of March. The exact date for the drop will be announced, at a later date, in a news release and on the Rend Lake Project Office/Visitor Center Facebook page. Volunteers and outdoor organizations interested in assisting with the collection of Christmas trees or the Christmas tree drop should contact Park Ranger Tim Bischoff at the Rend Lake Project Office at 618-724-2493.