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Recycle your natural Christmas trees to provide fish habitat

Help improve Kentucky’s fisheries by donating your natural Christmas tree to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ Christmas for the Fishes tree recycling program this holiday season.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will be accepting evergreen trees at more than 30 drop-off locations across the commonwealth from Dec. 26 through Jan. 15, 2023. Trees should be real, not artificial, and should be free of any lights, garland and decorations. Limbs, wreaths, brush or other plants will not be accepted.

Donated Christmas trees will be anchored to environmentally-friendly weights and submerged at various depths in different lakes and reservoirs across Kentucky to provide places for fish to feed, shelter and spawn. They make great refuge and feeding habitat for game fish, as well as small fish and invertebrates that are crucial for a thriving ecosystem.

“Fish require more than open water to thrive,” said Joseph Zimmerman, habitat program coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “They also require an environment that provides food, shelter and shade in summer. The trees will help replenish the woody cover in lakes and reservoirs that decays over time, leaving fish vulnerable to their surroundings.”

The locations where trees are installed generally become hot spots for fish species targeted by anglers such as bass, bluegill and crappie. These locations are marked with GPS coordinates and available through the “Lakes with Fish Attractors” page on the department’s website to help anglers.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is funded through the sale of fishing and hunting licenses, boat registrations and related grants. Conserving Kentucky’s fishes and their habitats and providing related recreational opportunities are important aspects of the department’s mission.

For more information about the Christmas tree recycling program or to find a drop-off location, visit the department’s website (fw.ky.gov) or call 1-800-858-1549, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Eastern) weekdays, excluding holidays.

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