Ledger Inquirer

Leave some trees for Oxbow’s fish

A few Christmas trees were at the recycling station at Cooper Creek Park on Friday.
A few Christmas trees were at the recycling station at Cooper Creek Park on Friday. mowen@ledger-enquirer.com

Somebody’s stealing the city’s Christmas trees.

Well, sort of.

Every year, the city has drop-off points for people to get rid of their Christmas trees. Some of them would be chipped for mulch and some would be used in lakes for fish habitat. The trees provide habitat for spawning fish, and then provide shelter for newly hatched fish from predators.

Apparently they make really good fish habitat, because lake management companies have been beating the city to the punch, snatching up all the dropped off trees before the city can collect them and then selling them to lake and pond owners, or using them in lakes they manage.

“For the last four years, as soon as they get dropped off, the lake management companies get them,” said Gloria Weston-Smart, executive director of Keep Columbus Beautiful, which runs the “Bring One for the Chipper” Christmas tree recycling program.

Weston-Smart doesn’t really mind the lake management companies taking the trees, except for two things: 1. The local program is part of a state “Bring One for the Chipper” program, and the state wants to know how many trees the local programs are getting; 2. The city has been wanting to put some of the trees into the lake at Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center.

“We want them to be used for lake habitat,” Weston-Smart said. “But we really wanted to have some to put out at Oxbow.”

Oxbow had been planning on putting about 200 trees into their lake, but only have gotten about 10 this year, Weston-Smart said.

“It didn’t work out this year,” Weston-Smart said. “Maybe we’ll figure out something next year.”

How about making Oxbow Meadows one of the drop-off points?

It is, Weston-Smart said, but apparently south Columbus residents don’t use live trees as much as people in other parts of the city.

The other drop-off points are Britt David Park, Cooper Creek Park, Shirley B. Winston Park and Dinglewood Park.

Anyway, since Christmas is now over (Happy Epiphany, y’all!) and the diehards are still taking down trees, consider taking yours to Oxbow Meadows. And lake management companies, leave a few behind for Oxbow.

Do it for the fingerlings.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.