Old Christmas trees being dropped into Saguaro Lake to make fish habitats

In the days after Christmas, thousands of Arizona's families need to get rid of dried-out Christmas trees.

There's plenty of places to bring them, but there's one new spot in the state where these dead trees are being used to create more life: Saguaro Lake.

The living room trees once decorated in lights and ornaments, were dragged along Butcher Jones Beach on Jan. 9.

Those trees, left in Mesa tree recycling centers last week, were collected by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and brought here to be tied up to concrete blocks.

"We’ll put them on the boat, and take them out and dump them," said David Weedman from Arizona Game and Fish.  Weedman worked with employees and volunteers to load them up on a pontoon after they were tied together.

The dried and dead trees will bring new life to fish in the lake for the first time in decades.

"There’s parts of the lake that kind of look like...a flat sandy bunch of nothing," said Weedman. "The fish that live in this lake - big mouth bass, blue gill catfish - they like to hang out around some structure."

FOX 10 went aboard their pontoon and headed to a nearby cove, where there wasn't much vertical structure in the waters - a perfect spot to drop off some trees.

The relics of Christmas 2020 are now becoming homes to a whole new world.

"Substrate plankton can grow here, small fish can eat it," said Weedman. "They’ll hang around the trees because they can hide in it, and big fish will come around and eat the little fish and create a whole ecosystem right around these trees where we put them."

Eventually, the Department will put out a map of all the sites trees were placed.

Let's call it a belated Christmas gift for Arizona's fishermen.

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