Army Corps uses Christmas tree recycling program to spawn better fishing at Rend Lake

Army Corps uses Christmas tree recycling program to spawn better fishing at Rend Lake

(KFVS) - While most of us are usually more concerned with what's under the Christmas tree, Army Corps park rangers at Rend Lake want to know what you're doing with yours once the holiday is done.

Park Ranger Molly Rawlinson says Rend Lake's Christmas real tree recycling program started about 20 years ago in effort to create a better habitat at Rend Lake. The lake is well known for crappie and bass fishing, she adds.

Rawlinson says the Army Corps work with an Illinois Department of Natural Resources biologist to determine the best spots to drop the trees. When those coordinates are determined, Rawlinson says she'll publish them to the public.  Then, in March rangers and volunteers will make the strategic drop. 

Rawlinson explained that there's really no limit on how many trees they can take; there's plenty of room across the 19,000 acres of water.  As she explains, that's another reason why she's organized with retailers, like WalMart and Lowe's, to dispose of their unsold trees. Thursday the Corps picked up 88 trees from the Benton WalMart.

Overall, Rawlinson says not only is it a great program to work with, it's also one she likes personally.

"It provides a good habitat for the fish; a nice way for people to dispose of their Christmas tree that otherwise might possibly end up in a landfill.  So, this provides a good program all around," Rawlinson said.

If you drop off a tree, Rawlinson asks that you only leave real ones, and you clear it of any decorations or plastic wraps or binds.

You can drop your tree off at one of three locations:

  • The Jackie Branch boat ramp
  • Dam West boat ramp
  • Sugar Creek parking lot

You can drop off your tree now through January 16.

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