Hardin Creek Restoration Partnership
Click here to read a January 2015 article about the project that was published in the High Country Press.
Hardin Creek is a headwater stream in the New River watershed within the town of Boone. The stream has experienced significant impacts from growing impervious cover (roads, parking lots, rooftops, and other surfaces that prevent rain from soaking into the ground). Every time it rains, "flashy" urban runoff erodes the stream bed and stream banks, leading to highly unstable stream habitat and sending tons of sediment downstream into the South Fork of the New River. Critters of Hardin Creek (i.e. aquatic insects, crayfish, molluscs, etc.) reflect the degraded conditions--upstream of the urban runoff there is a diverse and abundant community of aquatic life whereas downstream only a few highly tolerant insects persist. Hardin Creek is a classic example of "urban stream syndrome."
A reach of this stream that flows through Watauga County property along a Town of Boone greenway path, and adjacent to Watauga County High School, has excellent restoration potential. This site has the potential to become not just a higher quality stream, but also a site for ongoing education of high school students, ASU students, and the larger community about what happens to streams in our communities and how we can best steward them.
Restoration of Hardin Creek also offers opportunity for a rich community partnership. Participants in the conversation thus far have included representatives of:
- Watauga High School
- Mountain Alliance
- Watauga County—Planning & Inspections
- Watauga County Soil & Water
- Town of Boone—Planning & Inspections
- Town of Boone—Public Works
- New River Conservancy
- Trout Unlimited, Stone Mountain Chapter
- NC Cooperative Extension, Watauga County Office
- Appalachian State University
As of January 2015, we are in the process of presenting the project to local elected bodies. We seek their approval for the partnership to proceed with applying for external grant funding for the project.