Divers create reef with recycled Christmas trees - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Divers create reef with recycled Christmas trees


At the bottom of Lake Pleasant lies a reef.  It's called "Christmas Tree Reef."

"We created a nice reef assortment on the bottom with an archway and a wall of Christmas trees," said Paul Wagenseller with Scuba Professionals of Arizona.

Eventually, underwater, the needles on the tree will fall off, and what's left would be the tree itself.

"The branches and the formation of the trees create a wonderful habitat for fishing, and the fish all spawn here.  It's a great thing," added Wagenseller.

A few years back, Maricopa County tried a pilot program where trees could be dropped in the lake.  But it's not allowed anymore.

"It's basically flooded desert.  We used to see when the lake was first flooded, remains of saguaro cactus and things like that.  And of course that never bothered the lake," Wagenseller  said.

Dawna Taylor with Maricopa County Parks and Recreation said the program simply "wasn't working" since the trees are not native to the lake.

"Pine trees are part of Arizona.  And most people who buy their Christmas trees, they end up in the dump," said Wagenseller.

Divers say setting up a recycling guideline would help prevent unwanted consequences.

"There should be some rules on what you apply here, like if you're going to take a bunch of trees and use a lot of plastic and wire, that could cause a pollution issue over time," said Wagenseller.

Taylor said that the habitat has changed over the years, and they'd have to work with Game and Fish if they were to consider resurrecting the practice.

"It's a program that needs to be fired up again.  And I think it would really promote diving as well as help the lake," Wagenseller said.

Wagenseller hopes that other divers could get together and pitch the advantages to the county and perhaps they'll reconsider the program.

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