The site of the tidal marsh restoration project at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point. Photo provided by Mark LaSalle, director of the Center.
If you need to dispose of your live Christmas tree now that the holiday is over, consider donating your tree to restore a local marsh habitat.
The Pascagoula River Audubon Center is seeking donations of live Christmas trees after the holiday season for a project that aims to restore a quarter-acre of tidal marsh in Rhodes Bayou by the Center in Moss Point.
Mark LaSalle, director of the Center, said they have partnered with Jackson County and other agencies to create the restoration project through a five-star urban waters restoration project grant. The tree donations will play a major role in the process.
“Adding the trees will help speed up the process,” LaSalle said. “They will help slow the water down to raise the level of sediment accumulation at the bottom of the marsh.”
Currently, there is a wooden fence outlining the area where the restoration project is taking place, and that is where the donated trees will be placed. The trees will create a barrier to slow down the water to keep it from sediment washing away. The end goal, LaSalle said, is to be able to plant grass in that area within a year or so.
The restoration project is a result of damage from the area because of saltwater intrusion when historic dredging of the Escatawpa River occurred 50 to 60 years ago. The salt water damaged the fresh-river marsh area and washed the established sediment away. Now, LaSalle said, the Center is helping to restore part of what was lost.
“We’re happy to honor our wonderful partners and help restore the marsh,” LaSalle Said. “And at the same time we can promote the beautiful tidal marsh habitat.”
LaSalle added that the donated trees need to be as environmentally-friendly as possible – this means they cannot have been flocked, cannot contain ornaments, tinsel or other items and must be live trees (not artificial). The Center hopes to receive anywhere from 50 to 100 trees, but LaSalle said they are happy to take all they can get for the project. Those who would like to donate their trees can drop them off at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center located at 5107 Arthur Street in Moss Point. For more information on the project please call 228-475-0825.