The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is asking folks living in Orleans, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa, and Terrebonne parishes to save their Christmas trees for projects to help restore coastal marshes.

The plan — the Christmas Tree Recycling Program — wants what once were live trees destined for landfills to be put to use in building brush fences to slow erosion.

The five parishes continue collecting trees, and more information on the program can be found on CRCL’s new webpage:

“CRCL was instrumental in getting the original program off the ground 30 years ago,” executive director Kim Reyher said. “Although we aren’t directly involved with collecting and placing the trees in the marsh any longer, we still get tons of calls after the holidays. This new webpage is a way for us to support the great work these parishes are doing and help get the word out.”

Roel Boumans, a LSU graduate student from The Netherlands, came up with the plan, one that copies a practice he said had been used for hundreds of years in his home country. After using disposed trees in St. Charles Parish in 1989, as many as 15 coastal parishes joined in the collection, and the recycled trees have been used in 16 parishes.

Reyher said the trees trap sediment and provide a buffer against wave action. He said while curbside collection dates vary by parish, by late in the week the CRCL’s website will list those collection dates. He said only formerly live trees stripped of lights, ornaments and tinsel — not flocked nor painted trees — will be collected for recycling.

Joe Macaluso