NEW ORLEANS–Today, 4,700 Christmas trees collected in Orleans Parish after the holidays were airlifted into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge as part of a program to create new marsh habitat.
“Now more than ever, the preservation of our coastline is essential to the continued success and safety of New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This program highlights the tremendous work that can be accomplished when City, State and Federal partners work together for the betterment of the environment.”
The Louisiana National Guard dropped the trees in pre-selected coastal zones as determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The trees are used to establish a breakwater in open ponds on the refuge to trap silt and encourage the growth of marsh grasses. Many of these ponds have enlarged considerably in recent years as wave action erodes the shoreline. This “ponding effect” also causes the ponds to deepen and become cloudy, inhibiting the plant growth that supports the refuge’s large wintering waterfowl populations, wading birds and other wildlife.
The City’s Department of Sanitation along with its solid waste contractors Metro Services, Richard’s Disposal and Empire Services; the City’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability; and Leaaf Environmental led the effort to collect, sort, and bundle the Christmas trees gathered curbside in Orleans Parish. This project was stewarded and funded by the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability.