Project Yuletide Resumes
Blessings can often be found in unlikely places. Last year, thousands of donated Christmas trees were burned before they could be used in Project Yuletide which helps restore marsh areas along Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish. Because of the loss of last year’s trees, the project funds were carried over into 2007 to fund an even bigger project for this year’s trees.
Nine sections of parallel fences, in three areas, have been built in the Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge and are waiting to be filled with the discarded trees. The trees will form a new habitat for wildlife and help in the creation of new marsh land.
“These fences have been built in the marsh between Lacombe and Slidell and will be used to slow the tidal exchange between Lake Pontchartrain and the interior marsh,” said Parish Environmental Specialist Brian Fortson. “If we slow the water down enough, it will deposit sediment in the area, thereby creating new marsh in areas that are subject to scouring by fast moving water.”
The fence sections are south of what is commonly referred to as the ‘engineers canal,’ an abandoned pipeline canal dug years ago. “The fences will slow the tidal exchange where the canal has contributed to the acceleration of marsh loss rates over the years,” continued Fortson.
This is the 17th year St. Tammany Parish has participated in Project Yuletide.
“Rebuilding our marshes is critical,” said Parish President Kevin Davis. “We lost over 7 square miles of marshland in Hurricane Katrina. We need to build it back, acre by acre.”
Natural Christmas trees can be donated to this project by bring the trees to the grassy area on the right side of the Florida Street entrance to the Covington Fairgrounds or to the Levee Board Building on Military Road in Slidell, just north of Brownswitch Road.
Trees must be cleaned of all decorations including tinsel, lights and any other decorations. The parish asks that citizens not bring flocked or treated trees as they cannot be used in this project because of the chemical treatment process.
Some waste haulers may be picking up trees curbside. Contact your waste hauler directly for further information.