North Fork/South Fork Hardware River Watershed

     You might expect to find hammers, nails, drop cloths, and screwdrivers in the Hardware Watershed, but we have found none of these in the Hardware River. Instead, the forks of the Hardware are attractive rivers that meander through forests, fields, and farms. The two forks of the Hardware comprise the headwaters of the Hardware River Watershed (a major tributary system of the James River), and their drainage areas roll across 30 square miles of Southern Albemarle. The two forks meet just west of Carters Bridge to form the main stem of the Hardware River. Communities within this watershed include Red Hill, North Garden, South Garden, Alberene, and parts of Covesville. The watershed is ringed by mountains: Dudley Mountain and Carters Mountain to the north and east, Long Arm Mountain and Israel Mountain to the west, and Boaz Mountain and the Fan Mountains to the south. Land uses are primarily farms and forest, with scattered subdivisions and a few businesses along Route 29 South. The County's Walnut Creek Park is located in the watershed off of Route 631.
     Compared to the Rivanna River and its tributaries (including the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir), little monitoring and few studies have been conducted in the Hardware Watershed, although the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) maintains a monitoring station on the North Fork Hardware. The forks of the Hardware Watershed are fairly undeveloped.