SLU Christmas tree recycling, wetlands restoration program to continue

Southeastern Louisiana University will continue to use Christmas trees in wetlands restoration efforts.

The university’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, on Pass Manchac between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas, will use discarded trees to help build up marshland, particularly the area on Jones Island in Lake Maurepas.

Turtle Cove Director Rob Moreau said the state has discontinued funding for the program, but he intends to use resources and assistance from the city of Hammond and private companies to continue the Tangipahoa Parish Christmas tree program.

Moreau said the Lowe’s store in Hammond again will donate any unsold Christmas trees to the project as well True Value Hardware of Hammond.

Trees will be collected through the end of January at two area locations: the city of Hammond maintenance facility at 18104 U.S. 190 E, next to the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket and at Middendorf’s Restaurant on U.S. 51 in Manchac.

Moreau asks that trees be stripped of any ornaments, lights, tinsel or flocking. The trees will be placed on the shoreline to help reduce coastal erosion by limiting the impact of waves and helping to collect sediment in subsiding marsh areas.

“We’ll continue to concentrate our work in the Jones Island area on Lake Maurepas,” said Moreau, an instructor of biological sciences at Southeastern. “This program, which goes back about 15 years, has been effective in reducing coastal erosion, and we don’t want to see it discontinued.”

Moreau’s class in Environmental Awareness will assist in the deployment of the trees during the spring semester.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Moreau at rmoreau@selu.edu. Donations to help support the activity should be sent by check payable to “Friends of Turtle Cove” and mailed to Southeastern Box 10585, Hammond, LA 70402.