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Christmas is over. So, what should you do with your live Christmas tree? The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have an alternative to throwing it out on the curb.

Both organizations are asking people to donate spent Christmas trees for fish habitat.

Only real trees are being accepted, and ornaments and lights should be removed prior to drop-off. 

Trees may be dropped at the IDNR District Office just south of the Old Illinois 13 and Illinois 148 intersection west of Marion. Trees will be accepted until Feb. 24, 2018, which is when the annual Crab Orchard Lake fish attractor project is scheduled to take place. 

Local municipalities and businesses are also encouraged to call the IDNR office to donate collected or unsold trees.

For more information, contact Chris Bickers or Ana Tooley at 618-993-7094.

The Army Corps of Engineers is accepting trees for fish habitat in Rend Lake at three Rend Lake boat ramps or parking lot locations until Jan. 16: Sugar Creek parking lot at the intersection of Licata and Mine 21 roads; Dam West boat ramp at the west end of the main dam; and Jackie Branch boat ramp north of Illinois 154 across from the Barren Township building.

The corps is also accepting trees in Mount Vernon until Jan. 5 at Veterans Park softball field, Forest Avenue; Optimist Park at 903 Pace Ave.; and Airport Park at 1101 Airport Road. Trees will be accepted in Marion until Jan. 16 at Ray Fosse Park in the "Goofy Golf" parking lot behind the pool at 519 Parrish Ave. and at the northernmost picnic shelter parking lot in Pyramid Park at 1300 Bevabeck Drive.

For more information about the Army Corps project or to volunteer, call Park Ranger Tim Bischoff at the Rend Lake Project Office at 618-724-2493.

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