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Discarded Christmas Trees May Help Lake Elsinore Fish Habitat, Officials Contend

According to county officials, the DFG is attempting to fortify Elsinore, Gregory, Hemet and Perris lakes to preserve small fish populations by protecting them from larger predatory fish.

Riverside County supervisors Tuesday will consider a proposal to give all the Christmas trees collected this year for recycling to a state program aimed at securing fish habitat – including habitat in Lake Elsinore.

The county's Department of Waste Management expects to collect around two tons of discarded trees in the post-holiday season and wants to turn the load over to the California Department of Fish and Game.

According to county officials, the DFG is attempting to fortify Elsinore, Gregory, Hemet and Perris lakes to preserve small fish populations by protecting them from larger predatory fish.

"Trees are sunk to a depth of 10 to 15 feet in lakes that have very little vegetation to provide a place for the smaller fish to hide," according to a waste management document. "Each tree is drilled at the base, and a rope is tied to a concrete block weight and then sunk."

State officials expressed an interest in taking all the trees that the county cares to spare.

Every Dec. 26 to Jan. 9, the county operates a recycling program in which discarded trees collected by waste management at curbsides and at the Lamb Canyon and Badlands landfills are transported to a green waste processing facility for recycling.

If a majority of the Board of Supervisors approves, the state will receive the deadwood instead.

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