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In Montana, Christmas trees are used to create habitat for fish



Helena, Montana – Through a scheme called Pines for Perch, Christmas trees can be recycled and given a use other than only for the holidays.

In 1999, the Pines for Perch program was established in response to diminishing perch populations.

The City of Helena, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the DNRC, and the Boy Scouts of America collaborated on the initiative.

The program seeks to gather holiday-season Christmas trees.

The trees are then brought to Canyon Ferry where they are cable-strung at the base and supported by concrete blocks.

The rope of trees is dropped into the lake using helicopters.

Fish have a place to spawn amid the trees because the trees drop to the bottom of the lake and serve as a habitat for perch.

“You know, we’re trying to do what we can, you know, at a smaller scale with the Pines for Perch. You know, there’s a lot of organizations involved. It’s a feel-good project. You know, everyone feels good at the end of the day that you’ve done something. And it’s a great way to recycle Christmas trees,” says Helena Area Senior Fisheries Technician for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Troy Humphrey.

The FWP attributes this initiative, in part, to the relatively stable perch population during the past ten years. Walleye consume perch, and the trees offer spawning and growth habitats for the smaller fish.

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