Sunday, March 22, 2009

Christmas Trees for the Fishies


Saturday, we helped to give used Christmas trees a second life by dropping them into
Mark Twain Lake. In all, about 400 trees were dropped from 2 different locations. This was the fifth year that the Army Corp of Engineers (Corp) has run such a program at this lake. Prior to that they had recycled some trees without the help of boats -- walking them into the water at various places.

The water level can vary quite a bit on a Corp lake, depending on rain and water/flow control needed on the other side of the dam. However, the Corp says that the ideal depth for the trees is 5 to 20 feet. They want to be sure that boats won't hit the trees if the water level drops. And if the water level drops low enough that the trees become exposed to the air, then the trees will deteriorate too quickly.

To make sure the trees sink and stay in the targeted areas, we drilled a hole through the trunk of each tree, then laced a coated wire through the hole and through a cinder block.

Then we loaded the trees onto boats and they were taken to predetermined spots on the lake.

Among the 30 or so volunteers were various fishermen. As a bonus for their giving back to the lake that supplies them with food, fun and comaradarie, they also get a little inside knowledge about where the trees are located, giving them a bit of an edge in knowing where the bigger fish are likely to hang out in hopes of finding smaller fish that stray away from the protective branches of the sunken yule trees.

From the perspective of the volunteers of the Christmas Spirit Foundation, we salute the Army Corp of Engineers for their hard work in putting together an amazingly well organized effort that helps the environment! Kudos.