PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Instead of tossing out your Christmas tree this year, consider donating it to Oregon non-profit groups that help the state’s wild fish population.

Trout Unlimited is a national organization that protects North America’s coldwater fisheries and watersheds. According to the organization, wild coho salmon — which are native to the North Pacific Ocean — once stood at a population of over one million, but a mere 50,000 wild coho returned to their natal spawning streams in 1996.

To support the species’ declining population, Trout Unlimited’s Tualatin Valley and Clackamas River chapters are collaborating for the annual Christmas for Coho event.

The Tualatin Valley chapter organizes the annual C4C to encourage Oregonians to recycle their Christmas trees and repurpose them as habitats for wild and native salmon, sea-run trout, and steelhead. Since 2010, the chapter reports that over 3,000 trees have been recycled following their event.

“The trees quickly provide shade and shelter for juvenile fish and a nurturing breeding habitat for invertebrates the fish feed on,” Trout Unlimited said in a press release. “Thousands of young fish have been observed feeding and hiding among the trees, and no doubt this habitat enhancement is helping young fish thrive during the critical rearing period before they swim out to the ocean.”

On Saturday, Jan. 7, and Saturday, Jan. 14, people can drop off their used Christmas trees from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here are the drop-off locations.

  • Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters at 10910 NE Halsey Street, Portland, OR, 97220
  • Old Fire Station next to Royal Treatment Fly Fishing at 6000 Failing St., West Linn, OR, 97068

Each tree will be priced at $10 to pay for transportation and related expenses. Trout Unlimited won’t accept trees with flocking or tinsel to protect water quality.