News: Corps collecting used Christmas trees to enhance fish habitat at Thurmond Lake
Story by Tracy Robillard
SAVANNAH, Ga. - This holiday season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District is turning used Christmas trees into fish habitat at J. Strom Thurmond Lake at Clarks Hill, S.C.
The Corps will accept used, real Christmas trees (not artificial trees) for recycling Dec. 19 through Jan. 9. The recycled trees will be placed in various locations throughout the lake to enhance fish habitat.
“The submerged trees attract fish because they provide cover for small fish as well as a substrate for algae growth, which creates a feeding area for smaller fish,” said Jamie Sykes, Corps of Engineers’ fisheries biologist. “These small fish attract larger species, thus creating an enticing 'hot spot' for anglers.”
Trees can be dropped off at Riverside Middle School at 1095 Furys Ferry Road in Evans, Ga. All decorations such as tinsel, lights, garland and bulbs must be removed from the trees before dropping them off. Dumping of wireframe wreaths, yard debris, and household trash at the site is strictly prohibited.
Corps rangers and volunteers will place submerged trees around fishing piers and in other locations to improve fishing habitat. Additional trees will be staged at select boat ramps around the lake for anglers to use. To obtain a list of locations where the trees will be available, contact the Corps’ Thurmond Lake Office at 1-800-533-3478 after Jan. 10.
“Our annual tree recycling effort is labor intensive and requires a partnership with Riverside Middle School, the U.S. Forest Service, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Corps of Engineers,” Sykes said.
The Corps of Engineers has held the tree recycling program for about 20 years at Thurmond Lake and collects between 1,000 and 1,200 trees annually.
“It provides a great service to the local community by reducing materials handled by local landfills, and it provides a great resource to lake visitors looking for a great place to spend a few hours fishing,” said Ken Boyd, Corps’ wildlife biologist.
For more information or to volunteer, contact the Thurmond Lake Project Office at 1-800-533-3478.