Bring One for the Chipper campaign begins Monday

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Recently receiving the Community Greening accolade, the Lake Allatoona Fish Habitat program will once again benefit from Keep Bartow Beautiful’s Bring One for the Chipper campaign.

From Dec. 26 to Feb. 1, area residents can participate in the recycling effort by delivering their Christmas trees to various collection sites across Bartow.

“[Keep Bartow Beautiful] needs its citizens to bring their live, undecorated Christmas trees to one of our collection centers or to one of the sites the Corps of Engineers has designated,” said Missy Phillips, KBB’s director of programs. “Trees will either be used for mulch that may end up in one of our garden projects or they will be a part of the fish habitat structures.”

Last year, 1,862 trees — 624 for the fish habitat effort and 1,238 for mulch — were recycled through the Bring One for the Chipper campaign.

“Keep Bartow Beautiful submitted this project and our partners, Georgia State [Department of Natural Resources] Fisheries and Lake Allatoona Corps of Engineers, for this state level award from Keep Georgia Beautiful,” said Phillips, referring to the Community Greening award. “This nomination competed with over 80 other affiliates’ entries. The Lake Allatoona Fish Habitat program hits almost every possible criteria for this recognition. Because KBB often uses it as an example of water quality, healthy ecosystems and habitat diversity, it certainly qualifies as environmental education. And, because Bartow County is its own National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) it is required to complete community outreach programs that focus on water.

“The Bring One for the Chipper/Fish Habitat program is one of our most successful programs and so we use it to report to the EPA every year. The project also enhances public areas while working with public parks. Fishing is a huge industry, and due to the documented benefits of improved fishing due to fish habitat areas, Bartow has benefited from the added economical benefit.”

To view a list of Bring One for the Chipper collection sites, visit Keep Bartow Beautiful’s page on http://www.bartowga.org.

“We were extremely proud to have been a part of an environmental award with Keep Bartow Beautiful and our other partners,” said Christopher Purvis, lead ranger over partnerships, volunteers and project security for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “This has been a very successful part nership for over a decade now and to receive recognition for your efforts is always welcomed.

“The Christmas trees are anchored down with wiring to concrete pilings that were built into the lakebed over the last decade,” he said.

“The most recent concrete tie downs were added last February in Cooper Branch by a Boy Scout Eagle Scout.

“Yearly, residents are asked to donate trees at several locations either managed by the Corps or Keep Bartow Beautiful. The Corps usually uses every tree that is donated at their sites for fish habitat, KBB will use some of their trees for habitat and others will go to the chipper. In the new year, a workday will be set up where partners such as the Marietta BassMasters, State DNR Fisheries Division, KBB, local volunteers and Corps rangers will attach the Christmas trees to the concrete supports.

“These areas are usually covered by water in April and begin creating habitat for fish. Older lakes, such as Allatoona, that have fluctuating lake levels often have very little aquatic vegetation or structure. By adding Christmas trees, this creates artificial habitat that provides cover for small fish.”