U.S. Army Corps offers eco-friendly alternative for real Christmas trees


ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hartwell Lake Project has begun collecting real Christmas trees to recycle them into Lake Hartwell for fish habitats.

The annual program bunches the donated trees, anchors them with concrete blocks and submerges them at various locations throughout the lake.

The trees serve several purposes: fish attractors, habitat for aquatic insects, cover, essential food source and nursery areas of juvenile fish.

Park Ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dale Bowen said the program has been going on for years, and many of the same donors come back year after year.

Collection runs from Thursday, December 26 through Sunday, January 26, 2020.

This year five donation spots, around the lake are collecting trees at the donor’s leisure:

  • Twin Lakes & Friendship boat ramps
  • Mount Lebanon Elementary School in Pendleton (Collection runs through January 17)
  • Big Oaks & Poplar Springs boat ramps in Georgia

James Hand is a big fan of having a real tree at Christmas, and said he appreciates this eco-friendly initiative.

“I think it’s a great idea. I mean, reusing something, you know, for putting it to a better purpose,” Hand said.

Cairy Lester explained that he likes real trees but is more a fan of artificial trees. He supports the program but questions its longevity.

“I question the value of it because when people use plastic Christmas trees, they’re not getting Christmas trees that are getting cut down annually. So, there’s a benefit that flows from that. I wonder if it net-net is still a benefit to do that,” Lester said.

Bowen said donated trees can also be picked up by fishermen any time for personal use. Trees should be anchored in 8-12 feet of water.

For more information about the program, click here.

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