ANDERSON, S.C. - The Army Corps of Engineers is warning some landowners near Lake Hartwell about clear cutting trees.

The Anderson Independent Mail reported the corps has told seven property owners that they have removed too many trees, brush and undergrowth near the water. They've been ordered to restore the plants.

Corps spokesman Billy Birdwell said Tuesday that the agency could revoke shoreline permits for the landowners if they fail to comply.

The trees, bushes and undergrowth that ring lakes Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond create a buffer zone between the lakes and the homes, preventing soil, waste from septic systems and lawn-care chemicals from washing into the water.

Corps officials say the natural filters protect water quality wildlife and the 2 million people who rely on the river basin for water.

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Information from: Anderson Independent-Mail, http://www.andersonsc.com