State and local officials are encouraging residents to recycle their Christmas tree to help protect and rebuild coastal wetlands. For 17 years, the state Department of Natural Resources has provided grants to parishes along the coast that use recycled Christmas trees to help protect wetland areas by slowing wave action and erosion.
In parishes that have established projects, wooden fences have been built in shallow open-water areas to hold the discarded trees. Citizens that discard their trees for recycling efforts are asked to leave them at the curb-side of their residence, free of flocking, bases, ornaments, lights, etc. For more information about the Christmas Tree program, contact Keith Lovell, DNR Coastal Restoration Project Manager, at 225-342-0202 and visit the website at www.dnr.louisiana.gov.
More detailed information has been provided by the following local parishes:
Jefferson Parish - All residents of unincorporated Jefferson Parish and Lafitte are asked to place their tree curbside on the evening of January 6 for collection on January 7, 8, and 9. Trees should be stripped of all tinsel, garland, lights, ornamentation, plastic bags and tree stands. Flocked or painted trees cannot be used in this project. Garbage trucks will make only one pass through each neighborhood, typically on the second scheduled collection day.
Jefferson Parish is looking for volunteers with shallow draft boats to assist with placing Christmas trees into pre-constructed shoreline fences located in Goose Bayou, near the town of Jean Lafitte. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at Cochiara’s Marina, 4477 Jean Lafitte Boulevard in Lafitte, Louisiana on the following four Saturdays: January 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2010. If inclement weather (rain or high winds), please call 731-4612 to check if scheduled event has been cancelled.
Volunteers must be at least 17 years of age. Volunteers should wear layered clothing including long pants, long sleeved shirt, and closed-toe, sturdy shoes. Hats and sunscreen are recommended. Gloves, safety glasses and life vests will be provided. Lunch and refreshments will be provided as well.
Lafourche Parish - Lafourche Parish Government is asking residents to help fight coastal erosion by recycling their Christmas trees. Each Christmas tree recycled through this program is placed along the coastline in Lafourche Parish to help restore the coast and lessen the impact of hurricanes which causes erosion. Curbside collection of Christmas trees will occur on January 7, 8 and 9 and again on January 14, 15 and 16. Residents wishing to participate can simply place their Christmas tree curbside, separate from garbage and trash items, for pick-up during these periods. Residents can also drop off their tree at any time in the designated bin at one of the three drop-off sites: Thibodaux High School, Central Lafourche High School, and South Lafourche High School.
Orleans Parish - The initiative collects used Christmas trees after the holiday season to be deposited in Bayou Sauvage as part of an ongoing wetland restoration project. Residents of Orleans Parish who would like to participate are asked to place their trees curbside on the evening of January 6 for collection on January 7, 8 and 9. Trees should be stripped of all tinsel, garland, lights, ornamentation, plastic bags and tree stands. Flocked or painted trees cannot be used for the project. Garbage trucks will only make one pass through each neighborhood.
Plaquemines Parish - The tree pickup will begin January 5. NATURAL TREES ONLY. (Painted, flock, and artificial trees not accepted).
St. Charles Parish - The Department of Public Works will be out starting Monday, January 4 through Friday, January 8 to pick up Christmas Trees to be recycled. Residents are being asked to put your trees by your curb for pickup. Please do not put trees in the roadways. For those unable to get their trees out that week, Monday, January 11 will be the final day for picking up the trees. Any trees not pickup will be the responsibility of the resident to dispose.
St. Tammany Parish - The annual Christmas tree recycling program is taking place in St. Tammany Parish. Starting Wednesday, December 30, citizens may drop off their discarded Christmas trees at two locations in St. Tammany: in Covington, at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds Florida Street (East) Entrance, and in Slidell, at the Slidell Parish Complex on Military Road just north of Brownswitch Road. Citizens may also call their individual waste haulers for information on tree pick up dates. Look at your bill to determine your waste hauler and phone number.
Terrebonne Parish - Crews will collect Christmas trees January 2 to January 9. Only green trees will be accepted. Flocked trees or trees with tinsel and decorations cannot be used. Only trees that meet these criteria will be picked up and used for this program. For more information, contact the Terrebonne Parish Solid Waste Department at 985-873-6739.