A tributary to the Mohawk River, the Schoharie Creek flows through Schoharie County from south to north. With a watershed of approximately 930 square miles, the Schoharie Creek drains the northwestern Catskill Mountains. The terrain within the watershed is a mix of mountainous landscapes and flat, narrow valleys. Ground elevations range from an average of about 1,200 feet in the northern limestone plateau section of the county to approximately 2,000 feet in the higher plateaus in the southern part of Schoharie County, with the headwaters in Greene County at an elevation of 4,000 feet. The Schoharie Creek basin is particularly prone to flooding due to a number of factors, including the location of the headwaters in the Catskill Mountains; the low permeability of the mountainous landscape; the lack of wetland habitats or lakes within the watershed to retain stormwaters; and the prevalent winds, which during coastal storms push storm air masses up and over the mountains, causing cooling and subsequently high amounts of precipitation. As the wettest region in New York State with over 60 inches of precipitation annually, individual rainfall events of 5 inches are common. These and other factors contribute to the flash flood conditions within the basin.
In 2017, the Schoharie County Soil and Water Conservation District (SCSWCD) retained Milone & MacBroom, Inc. (MMI) to complete a Flood Mitigation Study for the Lower Schoharie Creek watershed. Funding for this study was provided under the New York State Department of State's (NYSDOS) Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The study is integral to implementation of Phase 1 of the Mohawk River Watershed Coalition's Watershed Management Plan.