Donate your used Christmas tree to Five Rivers MetroParks to help the fish population.
This January, Five Rivers MetroParks will be sinking hundreds of used holiday trees in Eastwood Lake to help the aquatic habitat flourish — and you can help!
The public can drop off bare holiday trees daily between Jan. 1-13 from 8 AM to 3 PM at Eastwood MetroPark, 1401 Harshman Rd. Trees must be free of decorations and cannot be artificially dyed or painted.
"The trees will bolster the lake's food chain," said MetroParks biologist Grace Dietsch. "It's a way to recycle used holiday trees for the benefit of all wildlife that visit Eastwood MetroPark."
The 185-acre lake is a favorite destination for boating, fishing and paddling. However, it's not surrounded by forests, which means large trees don't shed branches, twigs and leaves into the water. This natural debris provides food for tiny organisms and a place for baitfish to eat and hide from larger predators, such as bass.
MetroParks' new holiday tree sinking will make up for the lack of a forest surrounding Eastwood Lake. The trees will create much-needed habitat for fish and food for microscopic organisms. They also will provide more active fishing opportunities closer to shore.
"The trees will allow fish a place to lay their eggs, which will create more bait that are food for predator fish, and a chance for smaller predator fish to get bigger," said MetroParks outdoor recreation program specialist Kelly Kingery. "It won't take long before anglers see a difference when fishing at the lake."
The trees will be bundled into groups, tied to cinder blocks donated by Snyder Concrete and submerged all around the lake on Jan. 16. Volunteers from Fisherman's Headquarters and Miami Valley Fly Fishers will help MetroParks staff.
Dietsch expects to see more action around the tree structures by this spring, with activity peaking during the next few years.
A conservation agency, Five Rivers MetroParks' mission is to protect the region's natural heritage and provide outdoor experiences that connect people to nature.
"MetroParks protects more than 16,000 acres of land, but we don't stop there," said Dietsch. "Projects such as this are as beneficial for wildlife as they are for recreationalists, and it's a great way to get the public to participate in important local conservation efforts."