Don’t Throw Away Christmas Trees; Recycle Them at Hartwell, Thurmond Lakes

USACE, Savannah District
Published Dec. 11, 2023

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Forest, Fish, and Wildlife Section will accept real Christmas Trees for recycling as fish habitat at J. Strom Thurmond Lake from Dec. 18, 2023, through Jan. 14, 2024, and at Hartwell Dam and Lake Project from Dec. 26, 2023, through Jan. 26, 2024.

Artificial trees will not be accepted. Real trees may be dropped off at the following locations:


  • Big Oaks boat ramp (Hartwell)
  • Poplar Springs boat ramp (Hartwell)
  • Amity Day Use Area, boat ramp area (Thurmond)
  • Keg Creek Boat Ramp (Thurmond)


  • Twin Lakes boat ramp (Hartwell)
  • Coneross boat ramp (Hartwell)
  • Primary location with sign: Below Dam Day Use Park (Thurmond coordinates 33.658390, -82.195938)
  • Dorn Boat Ramp, boat ramp area (Thurmond)
  • Parksville Day Use Area, boat ramp area (Thurmond)    

All decorations, tinsel, lights, garland, bulbs, etc., must be removed from the trees before dropping them off. Dumping of wireframe wreaths, yard debris, artificial trees and household trash at the sites is prohibited.

At both lakes, trees will be tied in bundles, weighted with concrete anchors, and submerged in various locations marked with fish attractor buoys by Corps personnel. This creates shelter and food for bait fish which attracts crappie, bass, and sunfish species. Ultimately, the recycled trees benefit the fish as well as the angler.

Also at both lakes, anglers can pick up recycled trees to create fisheries habitat at a location of their choosing. Christmas Trees should be anchored with concrete blocks at depths of 15-20 feet (at Thurmond) and 8-12 feet (at Hartwell) out of the main navigable channels and away from private docks. 

At Thurmond, contact Conservation Biologist, Evan Brashier at 864-333-1159 or and at Hartwell, call 888-893-0678 for more information. For a map of submerged fish attractor locations at Thurmond visit Fish Attractor Map and to see GPS coordinates at Hartwell, visit Fish Attractor GPS Location.

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Cheri Pritchard, Media Operations Chief
912-677-6039 (cell)

Release no. 23-032