Don’t put that Christmas tree out on the curb just yet — instead, see if that tree could be used as a fish attractor in one of your local fishing spots.
In Georgia, Florida and other warmer states, old Christmas trees can be recycled for use in fishing habitats around fishing piers. Environmental and conservation groups are encouraging people to dispose of them in this eco-friendly manner.
What is a fish attractor? This is the name given to trees and other structures that act as artificial reefs.
When used properly, small trees and brush can provide cover for fish, especially those in juvenile stages that require extra care. They can also serve as a habitat for fish and even provide food for them.
One such site looking for natural Christmas trees is in Augusta, GA, with the Hartwell and Thurmond Lake Project Offices, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Together, these groups are accepting any natural trees to be used as fish attractors.
Those who are interested in the recycling program can drop off trees for the Hartwell site through Feb. 15 and through Jan. 8 at Thurmond at select boat ramps and access sites.
Just be sure to remove tree trimmings and ornaments first, say authorities, so the trees are ready to be anchored with cinder blocks and used as fish attractors.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is also looking for trees for use at fisheries across the state. After experimenting with different types of wood and plants, they found that attractors made from evergreens help algae grow in order to attract insects, which are then eaten by small fish in the water; they also provide shelter for all sizes and species of fish.
If there isn’t a program for fish attractors nearby, however, those looking to discard their Christmas trees can place them into their private ponds.
Trees can also be chipped to produce mulch, as well. Some home improvement stores and other local businesses will provide this service to people looking to get rid of their Christmas trees.