The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake is asking for your live Christmas trees to help improve fish habitat.
Donated trees will be bundled together to create underwater fish structures. These structures serve a variety of purposes such as providing feeding areas for fish of all sizes, refuge for small fish and excellent fishing spots for anglers.
Christmas trees can be dropped off at any of the following three Rend Lake boat ramps or parking lot locations: Sugar Creek parking lot, located at the intersection of Licata and Mine 21 roads; Dam West boat ramp, located on the west end of the main dam; or Jackie Branch boat ramp, located north of Rt. 154 across from the Barren Township building. Christmas trees will be accepted at these locations until Jan. 16.
Two additional collection locations have been added through a partnership with the Marion Park District. The first location will be at Ray Fosse Park, which is located just north of Rt. 13 on the east end of Marion. The collection point will be located in the "Goofy Golf" parking lot, just behind the swimming pool, at 519 Parish Ave. The second collection point will be located at the northernmost picnic shelter parking lot as you exit Pyramid Park at 1300 Bevabeck Drive.
Artificial or flocked trees (with artificial snow) cannot be accepted. Corps of Engineers park rangers ask that prior to dropping off trees all tinsel, decorations, stands and plastic bags be removed from the tree.
Corps of Engineers employees, Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists and volunteers will team up to drop the bundled and weighted trees in the lake sometime during the month of March. Volunteers and outdoor organizations interested in assisting with the collection of Christmas trees or the Christmas tree drop should contact Ranger Tim Bischoff at the Rend Lake Project Office at 618-724-2493.