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Christmas keeps giving to Oroville Fish

Fish habitats are being constructed out of recycled Christmas trees at Lake Oroville and the Thermalito Afterbay. They will help improve the survival of young fish, help recreational fishing and keep more Christmas trees out of landfills.

Posted: Jan 20, 2021 6:36 PM
Updated: Jan 20, 2021 7:08 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. - Fish habitats are being constructed out of recycled Christmas trees at Lake Oroville and the Thermalito Afterbay. They will help improve the survival of young fish, help recreational fishing and keep more Christmas trees out of landfills.

The Chico Boy Scouts and Biggs 4-H collected Christmas trees. In total, a little under 1,000 Christmas trees were collected. Recology retrieved the donated Christmas trees and delivered them to Lake Oroville and Thermalito Afterbay. There, the California Conservation Corps, hired by the California Department of Water Resources, are constructing fish habitats out of the recycled Christmas trees. 

This year there are just under 1,000 Christmas trees a part of the project. This is about the average number they receive every year. Its the 28th year for the project. 

"They will be here for about 2 weeks constructing these habitat structures. They drill holes into the bases of the trees and then they will take some stainless steel cable and string the trees together to create a habitat structure. Then, when the lake rises, the trees will be submerged and it provides habitat for the fish in the area," said Kryssy Mache, Environmental Scientist, California Department of Water Resources. 

The slopes of Lake Oroville are bare, so more fish habitats will be a benefit to the ecosystem.

Benefits of the program include:

  • Improved survival of juvenile fish.
  • Improved fish health.
  • Increased recreational fishing opportunities.
  • Less Christmas trees in landfills.

The following fish species will benefit from the program:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Spotted bass
  • Channel catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Green sunfish

"Its really nice to be able to contribute to my local lakes. These are places I've grown up and its really nice to be able to give back and build something cool and keep these Christmas trees out of our landfills. So we're doing something with them," said Sarah Tryon, California Conservation Corps.

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