Transforming Christmas Trees into Underwater Crappie Habitats

In a commendable effort to bolster fish habitats and promote environmental sustainability, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) has initiated a unique program that repurposes used Christmas trees to create underwater structures in lakes. This groundbreaking approach not only benefits the aquatic ecosystem but also enhances the angling experience for fishing enthusiasts. The success of this program underscores the potential for other state wildlife departments to adopt similar initiatives, fostering community engagement and ecological conservation.

The AGFC Christmas Tree Program

Arkansas's Innovative Approach to Fisheries Conservation

Loading Christmas trees onto a boat to dump for crappie habitats.

Arkansas's Christmas Tree Program, spearheaded by the AGFC, has gained recognition for its ingenuity in transforming discarded Christmas trees into thriving underwater havens. By strategically placing these trees in lakes, the AGFC has not only found a sustainable solution for recycling holiday decorations but has also contributed significantly to fisheries conservation.

Community-Driven Model for Environmental Impact

The program operates on a community-driven model, allowing individuals to drop off their used Christmas trees at designated locations throughout the state. These trees are then strategically submerged in various lakes, providing valuable shelter for baitfish and young sport fish. Anglers, in turn, benefit from the increased fish population, creating a win-win situation for both the environment and the fishing community.

fisherman taking christmas trees for crappie habitats.

Benefits of the Program

  • Environmental Sustainability: The AGFC's Christmas Tree Program exemplifies a creative and environmentally friendly approach to recycling. By repurposing Christmas trees that would otherwise end up in landfills, the program reduces waste and promotes a sustainable use of resources.
  • Enhanced Fish Habitats: The submerged Christmas trees serve as effective fish habitats, attracting crappie and other species. The additional cover contributes to increased fish populations, supporting the overall health and diversity of the aquatic ecosystem.
  • Community Engagement: The program encourages community involvement by providing drop-off locations across the state. This engagement fosters a sense of responsibility among residents, promoting a shared commitment to environmental conservation.

Call to Action for Other State Wildlife Departments

The success of Arkansas's Christmas Tree Program serves as an inspiration for other state wildlife departments to explore similar initiatives. Adopting this model could empower anglers to actively participate in the creation and maintenance of fish habitats, fostering a sense of stewardship and community pride.

State wildlife departments can leverage existing partnerships with local communities to establish drop-off locations and coordinate efforts to sink Christmas trees in strategically chosen bodies of water. This collaborative approach not only enhances fisheries conservation but also strengthens the bond between wildlife departments and the communities they serve.

illustration of fish swinging around brush piles under water.


The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's innovative Christmas Tree Program stands as a testament to the positive impact that community-driven conservation efforts can have on both the environment and recreational activities. By transforming used Christmas trees into underwater havens, the AGFC has set a precedent for other state wildlife departments to follow suit, ultimately contributing to the preservation of aquatic ecosystems and the enhancement of fishing experiences nationwide.


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