EVANS, GA (WFXG) - This holiday season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is turning used Christmas trees into fish habitat at Thurmond Lake.
The Corps is accepting real Christmas trees for recycling until Jan. 8. 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 they are dropped off.
The Corps will not accept wireframe wreaths, yard debris, and household trash at the site.
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 get a list of GPS coordinates locating the submerged trees, call the Corps' Thurmond Lake Office at 1-800-533-3478 after Jan. 10.
"Fish and other aquatic species need these areas for cover. Using recycled Christmas trees allows us to supplement our existing underwater structures on the lake," said Ken Boyd, wildlife biologist with the Thurmond Lake office.
"We also mark these areas around the lake," he said. "Most folks who fish Thurmond Lake with any frequency know that these areas are a good place to catch a fish."
The Corps of Engineers has held the tree recycling program for more than 20 years at Thurmond Lake. Last year, volunteers collected between 1,000 and 1,200 trees.
For more information or to volunteer, contact the Thurmond Lake Project Office at 1-800-533-3478.