Recycled Christmas trees helping to slow coastal erosion in New Orleans

Recycled Christmas trees find a second life as habitat for birds and fish and protection for the fragile coastline in New Orleans and the wider Louisiana state.

Every year after the holiday season, contract haulers collect Christmas trees in New Orleans which are then taken to landfill where they sit until after Mardi Gras, when the National Guard is available to move them by helicopter to the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge.

Two helicopters, each capable of carrying 10,000 pounds, shuttle back and forth between the landfill and the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, dropping bundles of 20 trees each into remote areas. Workers at the wetlands then move the trees to their final position in marshland. 

Since the programme started in 1991, more than 15,500 linear feet of shoreline wave reducing fences have been constructed and six abandoned oil and gas canals have been filled near the town of Jean Lafitte. The trees also create important habitat for birds, fish, crabs, crawfish and shrimp.

In 2021, more than 5,000 Christmas trees were collected in Orleans Parish and then airlifted by the Louisiana National Guard into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge to create new marsh habitat, according to New Orleans officials.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living

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