Carlyle Lake Christmas Tree Recycling Project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Dec. 20, 2022
Updated: Dec. 20, 2022

CARLYLE LAKE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake will be collecting used, real Christmas trees for the annual Christmas Tree Recycling Project. The Corps of Engineers, along with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, uses these trees to provide effective and economical fish habitat at Carlyle Lake. 

Christmas trees can be donated through January 29, 2023, at the following locations: Plant Land (located on Old Route 50 east of Breese), Allen Branch Boat Ramp, and the Little Prairie Nature Trail parking lot located in the West Spillway at Carlyle Lake. All decorations, including garland and tinsel, must be removed. No artificial trees or wreaths.

Every spring, volunteers from various conservation minded organizations and clubs donate their time to help submerge the trees in the lake as fish shelters. These fish shelters provide breeding areas, resting places, and protection. They give young fish much needed living spaces where they can feed on plankton and avoid being preyed upon by larger fish. The protection provided by the trees allow young fish to grow to maturity and ultimately provide more fish for anglers.

If you are interested in volunteering to help place Christmas trees in the lake in the spring, contact the Carlyle Lake/Kaskaskia Navigation Project Office at (618) 594-2484 or email at


Darren Murphy
Kim Hammel

Release no. 23-003