Boundary line maintenance at J. Strom Thurmond Project begins

USACE, Savannah District
Published Nov. 17, 2020

SAVANNAH, 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. 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.

Crews will primarily work on the boundary in Columbia and McDuffie counties in Georgia, beginning at Mistletoe State Park and ending on Clarks Hill Wildlife Management Area. The work includes boundary lines in Winfield, Rousseau and Boyd subdivisions, as well as Raysville Marina and Raysville Campground.

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.

“Painted trees are a guide to locating the physical boundary pins installed in the ground,” Rebecca Downey, Shoreline Ranger at Thurmond Lake, 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 work on-foot with hand tools. In most cases, workers will avoid crossing 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 avoid impacts to private property.

The bright orange paint used to mark the boundary line on trees is normally a 4-inch band around half of each tree. To make the boundary line less obtrusive in adjacent subdivisions, the witness tree blaze width is reduced to 2 inches 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 is also important to know the location of the boundary line when removing trees or vegetation from your private property,” Downey said. “It is illegal to remove trees from public land without a permit. It is like going on your neighbor’s property and removing trees. In instances where 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.

“Work to repaint the government boundary line will continue through the autumn and winter and wrap up before spring arrives”, Downey said. For questions or concerns call the Thurmond Lake office at 800-533-3478, ext. 1140.


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Billy Birdwell, Senior Public Affairs Specialist
912-677-6039 (cell)

Release no. 20-026