CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Don’t toss that Christmas tree in the garbage, it still has useful life below the water line.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are partnering for a ninth year to collect old Christmas trees to be recycled as fish attractors in lakes across West Virginia.

“We’re accepting any live, organic Christmas tree,” said Niki Davis with the DEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan. “All we ask is they remove all the lights, ornaments, and make sure it’s free of any debris.”

The collection is at Charleston’s Capital Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday January 4.  Staff will be on hand to unload the trees.

“All the trees will be placed in various lakes around West Virginia to create new fish habitat,” Davis said. “This year the lakes up for rotation are Beech Fork, Burnsville, Stonewall Jackson, and Summersville Lake.”

The trees are anchored with cinder blocks and sunk in marked locations to create cover for a variety of fish species.

Cheat Lake and Tygart Lake will also benefit from a tree collection staged for the first time by the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority.

“The collection is going to run through January 8th,” said Jessica Maple, Executive Director of the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority. “We’re going to collect live, pre-cut trees at our office in the Morgantown Industrial Park.”

It’s the first year for the tree collection in Morgantown.

“We’ve never collected Christmas trees because we had no viable output for them,” Maple said. “This year partnering with DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers we can get those out to those two lakes to help with fish habitat.”

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  • Cory Boothe

    Gretidea for fish habtat. I'm sure many of the state's smaller impoundments would benefit from this.