Annual Christmas Tree Drop

Helicopter lowering trees into marsh with airboat in foreground at Christmas Tree Drop

Helicopters will be spotted near East New Orleans on Thursday, March 28, 2019 as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts its annual “Christmas Tree Drop” in Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). Almost eight thousand repurposed Christmas trees from New Orleans residents will get a new life as breakwaters in refuge impoundments. These breakwaters will slow wave and water movement, trap silt, and encourage the growth of marsh grasses.

Thanks to this recycling project, the wetland ecosystem that helps protect the city during storm events, shelters native wildlife and provides migratory waterfowl habitat will be revitalized by Orleans parish sustainability efforts. The transporting of the trees via helicopter provides the Louisiana Army National Guard a valuable training exercise. The City’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability provides funding and collaborates with the Department of Sanitation for this effort. Last year Orleans Parish residents put more than 8000 trees into the recycling program giving them an important role in coastal restoration.

In addition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, many other agencies work collaboratively to implement the Christmas tree project. These agencies includes the City of New Orleans Department of Sanitation, City of New Orleans Office of Resilience and Sustainability, Gulf Corps, Limitless Vistas, LEAAF Environmental and the Louisiana Army National Guard.