Christmas trees helping restore St. Charles coastal areas

Recycling them into tree fences that attract coastline

A Christmas tree can also be the gift that keeps on giving when it’s recycled for coastal restoration in the Bayou Gauche area.

Planning Administrator Earl Matherne said the more than 3,000 trees recovered last year became “brush fences” or the equivalent of 150 feet of fence in the area.

“All together, the Christmas tree projects have affected more than 1,000 acres of St. Charles Parish wetlands,” he said. “In the Bayou Gauche area, the trees have helped to shallow over 400 acres of ponds, allowing for submerged aquatic vegetation to begin to thrive.”

The Parish Public Works Department will collect the trees on the curb throughout the parish on Jan. 6 and Jan. 13.Drop-off sites will also be available at East and West Bank Bridge parks in Destrehan and Luling until Jan. 20. The trees will be collected, bundled and placed in coastal zones.

“All together, the Christmas tree projects have affected more than 1,000 acres of St. Charles Parish.” — Earl Matherne, parish planning administrator

Trees must be stripped of all decorations. Flocked trees will not be accepted.

“The best reason that the trees make good brush fences is that they’re free,” Matherne said. “Using them as fences also keeps them out of the landfill, so the program helps us both ways.”

A number of parishes statewide are participating in the project. It is funded by the Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs.

According to Matherne, “The recycling of Christmas trees has always been popular, mostly because it is easy to participate in. People are already buying the trees need a way to dispose of them when Christmas is over. This allows those trees to benefit the parish as a whole, by helping to restore some of our wetlands and by keeping the trees out of the landfill.”


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