BENTON – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake are inviting community members to donate and repurpose their live Christmas trees to create fish habitats.
All donated trees will be bundled together, weighted, and placed in the lake to create underwater fish structures. The tree bundles serve as feeding areas for fish of all sizes, a safe refuge for small fish, and excellent fishing spots for anglers.
To donate alive Christmas tree, bring it to the following locations around Rend Lake, Mt. Vernon, or Marion:
Rend Lake: Sugar Creek parking lot, Dam West Boat Ramp, or Jackie Branch boat ramp. Tree donations will be accepted at all Rend Lake locations until January 15, 2022.
Mt. Vernon: Veterans Park Softball Field and Optimist Park. Tree donations will be accepted at the Mt. Vernon locations until January 8, 2022.
Marion: Ray Fosse Park at the “Goofy Golf” parking lot and Pyramid Park in the northernmost picnic shelter parking lot. Tree donations will be accepted at the Marion location until January 8, 2022.
All tinsel, decorations, stands, and plastic bags must be removed from the tree prior to drop off.
In March, Corps of Engineers employees, Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists, and volunteers will team up to place the bundled and weighted trees in the lake. Volunteers and outdoor organizations interested in assisting with the Christmas tree drop should contact Cassie Magsig at the Rend Lake Project Office at 618-724-2493.