NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana residents who had real Christmas trees to celebrate the holidays are being asked to now help the state’s fisheries.
Jefferson Parish is seeking volunteers to help with its annual Christmas tree recycling program. It’s the parish’s 30th year doing the project.
Volunteers, especially people with shallow draft boats, are needed Feb. 1 to help move the trees out to Goose Bayou, according to Seamus Riley with the parish’s Coastal Management Department. The staging area is at Cochiara’s Marina in Lafitte and begins at 9 a.M.
The parish collects trees from residents and uses them to protect Louisiana’s coastline. The trees are used to build wave-reducing fences and to fill in man-made canals, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.
Since the program started, the wave-reducing fences have been constructed along 15,500 linear feet of shoreline, officials said, and six abandoned oil and gas canals have been filled near the town of Jean Lafitte.
In 2019, more than 6,000 Christmas trees were collected in Orleans Parish and airlifted by the Louisiana National Guard into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. The annual project is funded by the City’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability.
Only natural trees can be recycled. Artificial, flocked or painted trees can’t be used as part of the programs. Before putting trees at the curb, residents should be sure to remove all lights, tinsel, garland, ornaments and tree stands, officials said, and the trees shouldn’t be put in plastic bags.
In Orleans Parish, trees will be collected Jan. 8 through Jan. 11, while Jefferson Parish will pick up trees Jan. 9 through Jan. 11.
Trees are being accepted now at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds in Covington and the Old Levee Board property at 61134 Military Road in Slidell during daylight hours. Parish spokesman Ronnie Simpson said the trees are typically used in projects with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Big Branch.
Trees also can be taken to Pennington’s Hardware and Screenprinting in Madisonville to be recycled through Southeastern Louisiana University.
In St. Bernard Parish, curbside pickup of trees will run from Jan. 6 through Jan. 8. Residents can also drop off trees at the Parish Road Transfer Station in Chalmette or the E.J. Gore Station in Violet from Jan. 6 until Jan. 20.
The St. Charles Parish Public Works Department will do curbside pickup Jan. 9-11. Residents can also drop off trees in designated areas at the East Bank Bridge Park in Destrehan and the West Bank Bridge Park in Luling until Jan. 10. The trees will be used for coastal restoration in the Bayou Gauche area, parish officials said.
In Plaquemines Parish, trees will be picked up curbside through Jan. 17. Residents also can drop off trees at compactor locations in Belle Chasse or Port Sulphur. All trees from Plaquemines will be used as part of the Jefferson Parish tree recycling shoreline project.
Starting Jan. 6, trees can be dropped off at the Hammond maintenance facility, 18104 U.S. 190, next to Piggly Wiggly in Tangiapahoa Parish. Trees will be accepted through Mardi Gras. The Southeastern Sustainability Center in Hammond, will collect trees from Jan. 6 through the end of the month. And, beginning Saturday, trees will be accepted in Manchac at the drop-off site outside Middendorf’s Restaurant.
The trees will be used by Southeastern Louisiana University’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, which is on Pass Manchac between Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.