Recycled Christmas Tree Habitats

By Fred Hicks

Lake Quality Advisory Committee Member (LQAC)

The LQAC would like to thank all the residents that donated Christmas trees to be recycled into our lakes.  In total 137 Christmas trees were collected and placed within the lakes creating 27 underwater habitats on January 22nd, 2022. We had 13 community resident volunteers, and 7 volunteers from Kern River Fly Fishers. Kern River Fly Fishers is a local fly fishing club located in Bakersfield that has assisted the LQAC with lake habitat improvement projects.  This project utilized multiple trucks with trailers, and three large 18–20-foot boats with outboard motors to place the trees in specific locations. These locations were pre-selected to improve the Young of the Year (YOY) survival rate and increase angler success.  The Christmas tree recycling program proved to be a cost effective first step towards correcting the habitat deficiency currently within our lakes.    

Underwater aquatic habitats will provide the base building block for a food web to begin.   First microorganisms, and small insects attach to the bark and thrive. Small fish are then attracted because of the small organisms upon which they feed.  Small fish also utilize the space between the branches and trunks for safety, and shelter.  Larger fish are then attracted by the smaller fish which they prey upon.  Within the Bear Valley lakes birds, and turtles are at the top of the food pyramid and will utilize these habitats as they feed upon the fish that reside around and within them.   Essentially, think of these aquatic habitats as your refrigerator and if you’re like most people (fish in this case) your most comfortable chair is relatively close to the fridge not on the farthest end of the house.    

In the accompanying maps you will be able to see the four areas that were selected for the habitat placements.  The maps can also be found on the BVSA website at the following address: https://www.bvsa.org/amenities/lakes.  The marked locations are accompanied by Google gps coordinates which are also listed so you can easily locate the habitat on your next angling adventure.  Each location contains approximately 35 trees over a 30’ wide *30’ long triangle so be careful where you cast if you want to get your lure back.  We hope you have a wonderful May and please share some of your angling/lake photos with BVLQAC@gmail.com.  Photos were provided by BVS resident George Stuffelbeam who happened to be out walking and was able to document the action.