Boundary Line Maintenance at J. Strom Thurmond Project

USACE, Savannah District
Published Nov. 16, 2023

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Workers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, at J. Strom Thurmond Project have begun work to inspect and re-paint approximately 50 miles of the existing boundary line trees with bright orange paint, normally a 4-inch band around half of each tree. The work will continue through the autumn and winter and wrap up before spring arrives.

R&D Maintenance Services, a contractor with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, uses bright orange paint to make boundary line “witness trees” more visible and easier to identify, as well as trimming heavy brush to clear the boundary line between witness trees. This routine boundary maintenance does not move present property lines. The work makes existing property lines more visible. Workers scrape old paint off the trees and apply fresh paint on witness trees to mark the boundary line. If in-ground boundary survey pins are not visible, workers will dig where pins were placed to expose them.

This year, crews will start work in Lincoln County near Double Branches Road, by the Knox Boy Scout Camp and end north of Highway 378, near Dunaway.  The work will encompass boundary line in Pleasant View Estates, Maxim Village, Maxim, Wells Creek, Lakeview, Long Leaf, Joy Acres, Whitstone, Parton, Azalea and Dunaway Estates Subdivisions and Soap Creek Marina.

“Painted trees are a guide to locating the physical boundary pins installed in the ground,” Heather Killips, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Thurmond Lake shoreline chief ranger, said. “When buying property or planning to build on your land adjacent to public property, a professional survey is a good investment. Monument pins should never be disturbed from their permanent locations. If you don’t see a pin, please call our office so we can help you and correct the situation.”

Contractors will complete the work on foot with hand tools. In most cases, workers will avoid crossing onto private property. In the event the contractor cannot access public land without first crossing over private property, all efforts will be made to contact the owner for permission, and to avoid impacts to private property. To make the boundary line less obtrusive in adjacent subdivisions, the witness tree blaze width is reduced to 2 inches and painted on one quarter of the tree. The marked trees do not delineate the exact boundary; instead, they “witness” the approximate boundary line. The exact line can only be located by surveying the monuments and pins.

“It’s important to know the location of the boundary line when removing trees or vegetation from private property,” Killips said. “It’s illegal to remove trees from public land without a permit. It’s like going on your neighbor’s property and removing their trees. If trees are removed without permission, the penalty can be a combination of fines and a requirement to replace trees.”

Adjacent property owners should remove any personal property items which may have wandered across the government line, and pets should not be unattended on public land, especially when workers are present. For questions or concerns call the Thurmond Lake office at 800-533-3478, ext. 1140.

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Cheri Pritchard, Senior Public Affairs Specialist
912-677-6039 (cell)

Release no. 23-028