Recycle Christmas trees to aid marsh restoration
Contact: Tonya Lowentritt
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University environmental scientists are urging area residents to do their part to help restore area wetlands by recycling their Christmas trees.
“The recycled trees will be used in the Pass Manchac area at Jones Island and the Prairie to help gather sediment to build up the land and to develop barrier walls that cut down on erosion from wave action,” said Fred Stouder, marsh restoration coordinator for Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station.
Stouder said trees will be collected at five locations in Tangipahoa Parish Dec. 26-Jan. 14.
Turtle Cove was awarded two grants by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources for the coastal wetlands restoration project, a $15,500 grant dedicated to the Prairie in St. John Parish and an $18,000 grant for Jones Island in Tangipahoa Parish.
Stouder said the project is designed to enhance the deposit of suspended sediment by the formation of natural Christmas tree levees, reduce marsh erosion, and increase plant growth in the wetlands.
“The grant funds are used to continue building levees for shoreline protection and to purchase additional plants for the area,” he said.
Southeastern has been participating in a Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Christmas tree marsh restoration project since 1994. The project has helped place more than 32,000 recycled trees, and transplant more than 3,000 cypress trees and 19,000 other plants.
“Every two to four miles of wetlands decreases storm surge by one foot,” Stouder said. “People may not realize it, but by restoring and protecting our wetlands, we are also helping preserve a breeding ground for seafood.”
Stouder said the community can do its part by taking the time to bring Christmas trees to a recycling site.
The five Waste Management tree collection sites are:
▪ Hammond Recycling Center, 18104 Hwy. 190 East (near the Hammond Airport and Eastside Collision Center).
▪ Ponchatoula Maintenance Facility, 300 block of North 4th Street (behind the Community Center.
▪ Waste Management office, 14061 Hwy. 442, Tickfaw (behind Chevron Station).
▪ Parish landfill, 57510 Hano Road, Independence (I-55 Independence exit, west on Hwy. 40 for two miles, right on Hano Road).
▪ Kentwood Rotary Club, Avenue G (between Verges Dental Clinic and Peoples Bank).
“If these trees are brought to one of the collection sites, they will be used to protect our coast and our wetland areas,” Stouder said. “In addition to fighting erosion, the trees also help establish and preserve animal habitats extremely well for wetland animals such as ducks.
Stouder said only real trees without flocking, plastic wrapping or ornaments will be accepted for the project.
“Please bring your trees where they will do a great service for us all and keep them out of the already crowded landfill,” he said.