SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hartwell and Thurmond Lake Project Offices will accept natural Christmas trees for recycling Dec. 26 through Feb. 15, 2015 at Hartwell and Dec. 20 through Jan. 8, 2015 at Thurmond.
The recycled trees will be used as fish attractors at both sites. Trees will be tied in bundles, weighted with concrete anchors, and submerged in locations marked with fish attractor buoys. Corps rangers and volunteers will place submerged trees around fishing piers to improve fishing habitat. At Thurmond, additional trees will be staged at select ramps around the lake site.
“Small trees and brush provide cover for fish, particularly as nursery areas for juvenile fish,” said Corps park ranger Jess Fleming. “In addition, they provide habitat for aquatic insects – essential food during the early stages of most fish species.”
All tree trimmings, including ornaments, tinsel, lights and garland, must be removed before dropping off trees, said Fleming.
At the Hartwell project, Christmas trees may be dropped off at the Big Oaks Recreation Area or Poplar Springs Access in Georgia, and the Twin Lakes or Coneross boat ramps in South Carolina.
From Dec. 26 through Jan. 15, trees may also be dropped off at a designated area near the entrance of Mount Lebanon Elementary School in Pendleton, South Carolina.
At the Thurmond project, Christmas trees may be dropped off to Riverside Middle School in Evans, Georgia.
Recycled trees may be picked by fishermen any time for personal use until Feb. 15 at any of the Hartwell drop-off locations except Mount Lebanon Elementary School. Trees should be anchored in eight-to-12 feet of water.
Dumping Christmas trees, wireframe wreaths, yard debris, and household trash in the main lake channels or around private docks is strictly prohibited.
For more information or to volunteer, contact the Hartwell Lake Project Office at 888-893-0678 or the Thurmond Office at 800-533-3478.
~Chelsea Smith, Public Affairs Specialist