Organizers of an annual Christmas tree recycling event that places the yuletide decorations along Oregon’s Yaquina River for fish habitat have had to cancel it to prevent the possible spread of an invasive pest.
“Some retailers in the Willamette Valley and other locations purchased Christmas trees from North Carolina this year that have been feared to be infected with the elongate hemlock scale parasite or its eggs,” explained Tom Simpson, secretary of the U Da Man Fishing Tournament.
The scheduled March 2 habitat project would have been the local group’s sixth annual “Coho Ho.”
The trees are placed on otherwise barren banks in tidewater to give outmigrating salmon refuge from predators.
“After researching the problem and hearing concerns from the Oregon Department of Forestry, the local watershed council, ODFW and others, our local group made the decision to cancel
this years project as we are unable to determine where and from what retailer the donated Christmas trees came from,” Simpson said.
He said his organization didn’t want to risk the coastal river’s habitat if the insect were to spread to the watershed’s conifers.