NEW ORLEANS, LA–More than 9,000 Christmas trees collected in Orleans Parish after the holidays were airlifted into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge on March 27, 2013 as part of a program to create new marsh habitat.
"I greatly appreciate the residents who participated in this program and the agencies that partnered with the City to make this program possible. Working together, we can all play a part in rebuilding and preserving our urban wetlands,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
The Louisiana National Guard dropped the trees in pre-selected coastal zones as determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The strategic placement of trees in wetland habitats will stimulate the formation of new marsh, providing vital habitat to wintering waterfowl, wading birds and other wildlife. Over the past few years, this project has reestablished approximately 100 acres of marsh in Bayou Sauvage.
The City's Department of Sanitation, Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs and the Materials Management Group led the effort to collect, sort, and bundle the Christmas trees gathered curbside in Orleans Parish. Additionally, the City's collection contractors, Richard’s Disposal, Metro Disposal and Progressive Waste Solutions, assisted with the Christmas tree recycling project.
This project was stewarded and funded by the Mayor's Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs at a cost of approximately $9,000 from its General Fund Budget.
The trees are used to establish a breakwater in open ponds on the refuge to trap silt and encourage the growth of marsh grasses. Many of these ponds have enlarged considerably in recent years as wave action erodes the shoreline. This "ponding effect" also causes the ponds to deepen and become cloudy, inhibiting the plant growth that supports the refuge's large wintering waterfowl populations.
Click here to view photographs from the Christmas tree drop.