Turn your used Christmas tree into fish habitat at Hartwell & Thurmond lakes

If you purchased a natural Christmas tree this holiday season, consider recycling it at Hartwell or Thurmond lake. The fish will thank you.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is collecting used, natural Christmas trees (no artificial trees, please) to enhance fish habitat at the lakes.

The trees will be tied in bundles, weighted with concrete anchors, and submerged in various locations marked with buoys.

Christmas Trees at Hartwell Lake

The submerged trees provide cover for fish and enhance nursery habitat for juvenile fish, according to Jamie Sykes, Corps’ fisheries biologist.

“They also provide a substrate for algae and aquatic insects, which creates a feeding area for smaller fish,” Sykes said. “The small fish attract larger species, thus creating an enticing “hot spot” for anglers.”

Christmas trees can be dropped off at the following locations. Please be sure to remove all ornaments, decorations and tinsel before drop-off.


Dec. 26 through Feb. 15:

  • Big Oaks Recreation Area (Hart County, Ga.), located on U.S. Hwy. 29, one mile past the Hartwell Dam.
  • Twin Lakes boat ramp (Pickens County, S.C.) From Interstate 85 in South Carolina, take exit 14, Hwy 187 going north toward Pendleton, S.C. Immediately after passing the Clemson Research Center, turn left on Fant’s Grove Road. Follow signs to park.
  • Coneross boat ramp (Coneross Park, S.C.) From Interstate 85 in South Carolina, take exit 11 on Hwy 24 toward Townville. 1.5 miles past Townville, turn right onto Coneross Creek Road. Follow signs to park entrance.
  • Poplar Springs boat ramp (Franklin County, Ga.) From Lavonia, Ga., where Georgia Hwy 328 crosses Interstate 85, go north on Hwy 328 for 3.5 miles, then follow signs to Poplar Springs.

(Trees can be picked up by fishermen any time for personal use until Feb. 15 at any of the above locations. Trees should be anchored in eight-to-twelve feet of water. Trees are prohibited from being placed in the main lake channel or around private docks.)

Dec. 26 through Jan. 15:

  • Mount Lebanon Elementary School (Pendleton, S.C.) The school is located at 2850 Lebanon Rd. The drop-off area will be roped off near the entrance to the school.


Dec. 20 through Jan. 8

  • Riverside Middle School, 1095 Furys Ferry Road in Evans, Ga.

For more information about the tree recycling program, or to obtain a list of GPS coordinates locating the submerged trees, contact the Hartwell Lake Office at 1-888-893-0678 or the Thurmond Lake Office at 1-800-533-3478.

For a list of current fish attractor locations and GPS coordinates at Hartwell Lake, visit the Hartwell Lake fishing webpage at: http://1.usa.gov/1iA49Xj

Thanks for reading us!

~Tracy Robillard, Public Affairs Specialist


About U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District oversees a multimillion dollar military construction program at 11 Army and Air Force installations in Georgia and North Carolina. We also manage water resources across the Coastal Georgia region, including maintenance dredging of the Savannah and Brunswick harbors; operation of three hydroelectric dams and reservoirs along the upper Savannah River; and administration of an extensive stream and wetland permitting and mitigation program within the state of Georgia. Follow us on Twitter @SavannahCorps and on Facebook.com/SavannahCorps
This entry was posted in Recreation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.