Christmas trees collected as part of the program to create new marsh habitat will be airlifted into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday.

The Louisiana Air National Guard will drop 5,000-6,000 trees that were gathered curbside in Orleans Parish in the weeks after Christmas. Led by the Mayor's Office of Environmental Affair, the trees were bundled by volunteers, including students from Howard University who completed the work during their Spring Break two weeks ago.

The trees are used to establish a breakwater in open ponds on the refuge to trap silt and encourage the growth of marsh grasses. Many of these ponds have enlarged considerably in recent years as wave action eats away at the shoreline. This "ponding effect" also causes the ponds to deepen and become cloudy, inhibiting the plant growth that supports the refuge's large wintering waterfowl populations.

In addition to the Office of Environmental Affairs, several governmental agencies and businesses have participated in the project, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Miradelta LLC, Bayou Land RC&D, Home Depot, Winn Dixie and the Louisiana Air National Guard.