Old Christmas trees are being sunk in Eastwood Lake today.
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"It will improve the aquatic habitat in the lake, and it will improve fishing," Kristen Wicker, a spokeswoman for Five Rivers MetroParks, said of the project. "It not only improves the aquatic habitat, it improves life for a lot of animals around the lake."
A popular site for bird watching, boating and fishing, Eastwood Lake is fed by water from the Mad River and contains saugeyes, large bluegill and other fish.
Waterfowl, osprey, shorebirds, gulls and other migratory birds hunt at the lake.
The project is in response to a survey from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that showed Eastwood Lake’s larger fish were not getting enough to eat because baitfish populations weren’t abundant enough.
“They could be getting better nutrition” Wicker said.
“By sinking these trees, we’re adding a natural resource that will bolster the food chain starting at the lake’s lowest levels of life,” said MetroParks biologist Grace Dietsch. “It’s a belated holiday present to the inhabitants of Eastwood Lake and gives the public a way to recycle their used holiday trees for the benefit of all wildlife that visit Eastwood MetroPark.”
The trees are bundled into groups, tied to cinder blocks donated by Snyder Concrete and submerged.
The lake is not surrounded by forests, which can present a challenge for the animals that call Eastwood Lake home.
Typically, large trees in a forest shed branches, twigs and leaves, which fall into surrounding bodies of water. This natural debris provides food for tiny organisms and a place for baitfish to eat and hide from larger predators, such as bass.
MetroParks’ new holiday tree sinking will make up for the lack of a forest surrounding Eastwood Lake. The donated trees will act as a catalyst, creating much needed habitat for fish, as well as food for microscopic organisms.
“The trees will allow fish a place to lay their eggs, which will create more baitfish that are food for predator fish, and a chance for smaller predator fish to get bigger,” said MetroParks outdoor recreation program specialist Kelly Kingery. “It’s a win-win, and it won’t take long before anglers see the difference the trees can make when they’re fishing at the lake.”