Bridge demolition debris turns into fish attractors at Thurmond Lake

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The concrete leftover from a bridge demolition project will soon find a new home as fish attractors at the bottom of J. Strom Thurmond Lake, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers news release.

The Georgia and South Carolina Departments of Natural Resources, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and Scott’s Bridge Company joined in to develop a plan to re-use concrete from the Highway 378 bridge, at the border of Lincoln and McCormick counties.

"We worked with our state partners to find a win-win solution," said Chris Spiller, natural resources manager with the Corps' Thurmond Project. "The state can adequately clear out the unwanted concrete materials, while benefitting deep water fish habitat at the reservoir."

According to Jamie Sykes, Corps fisheries biologist, the concrete pieces will work like an artificial reef in the reservoir.

"This material will provide shelter and cover for small fish; and provide a substrate for algae growth, which benefits feeding habitat," Sykes said. "This type of habitat attracts larger predatory fish such as Striped Bass, a popular sport fish at the reservoir. Anglers will be able to fish over these areas and will likely see positive results."

From now through late August, crews will drop pieces of concrete throughout the lake. The concrete will be placed in six different clusters—three on the Georgia side and three on the South Carolina side of the lake. Each cluster will span 40 to 50 feet of the lake bottom and will be piled about 8 feet high with concrete pieces. Clusters will be placed south of the Highway 378 bridge downstream to the mouths of the Little River in South Carolina and Soap Creek in Georgia.

Crews may be placing fish attractors during early morning and late afternoon hours and on weekends. Boaters are advised to stay clear of transport barges and construction areas.

Once all the fish attractors are submerged, the Corps will post a list of GPS coordinates with locations to the fish attractor areas on its website.

Photo by USACE

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