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Friday, December 20, 2013

Recycle your Christmas tree to slow down coastal erosion

Posted By on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 4:57 PM

  • Courtesy of U.S. Corps of Engineers

Louisiana loses about one football field worth of wetlands every 45 minutes. By the way, what are you doing with your old Christmas tree this year?

Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced today that the city will once again be collecting Christmas trees after the holidays to help protect the Louisiana coastline. Naked Christmas trees, without tinsel or other trimmings, will be picked up curbside on regularly scheduled recycling days Jan. 9, 10, and 11. The city won't take flocked or artificial trees, and nothing in plastic bags.

According to Tyler Gamble, a spokesperson for the mayor, more than 9,000 Christmas trees were collected in Orleans Parish last year and airlifted into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge as part of program to create new marsh. The trees trap silt and help encourage the growth of marsh grasses.

"The Louisiana National Guard dropped the trees in pre-selected coastal zones as determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," Gamble said via email. "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."

“New Orleans is earning a great reputation as an eco-friendly city, and this service is one of the ways our citizens can help protect and restore our environment," Landrieu said in a statement. "Together, we can save thousands of trees from being thrown out to waste and also provide critical support to help preserve our wetlands."

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