Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 3, 2013

Wildlife officials seek old Christmas trees

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — Still looking to get rid of your Christmas tree? Don’t just chuck it in the trash.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife can put it to good use.

The department is once again seeking to collect Christmas trees — natural ones only, please, and with all lights and ornaments removed — to use as fish attractors in area lakes.

In northeastern Kentucky, trees can be dropped off at two locations — the emergency spillway area at Grayson Lake and the Minor E. Clark Fish Hatchery near Cave Run Lake in Rowan County, said Jeff Ross, assistant director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Division.

According to Ross, in addition to serving as attractors, Christmas trees serve as habitat areas for aquatic life and provide cover for young fish.

He also said it was important for habitat areas in the lakes to be replenished periodically because “a lot our lakes or older and the habitat has degraded.”

Ross said Grayson and Cave Run would be the lakes that would receive most of this year’s focus in terms of habitat replenishment. When the trees are dropped in the lake, the GPS coordinates of their locations will be posted on the DFW’s website so the public will be able to access them, he said.

The DFW also will arrange for pickups of Christmas trees from retailers and others who have large numbers of them to dispose of, Ross said.

For more information, call Fred Howes at (606) 738-8650.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.