A watershed (also known as a basin, drainage basin, or catchment) is the defined geographic area that drains precipitation and surface water into a specific river, stream, or other waterbody. This geographic area is known as the “drainage area”, and is defined by the shape – or topography – of the land. All of the land on Earth is part of a watershed. On a map, the watershed area can be delineated – or outlined – to show the separation of different watersheds.
The Schoharie Reservoir was created through the damming of Schoharie Creek. Below the dam, Schoharie Creek continues flowing north and eventually drains into the Mohawk River. The drainage area of the Schoharie Reservoir watershed (also referred to as the Upper Schoharie watershed) is approximately 315 square miles. That drainage area includes over 700 miles of streams— nearly 540 miles of which are located within Greene County.


Schoharie Reservoir Watershed Towns
The Schoharie Reservoir watershed includes portions of 12 towns in Greene, Delaware, and Schoharie Counties – with the Greene County towns making up the majority of the Watershed.

  • In Greene County, the entirety of Windham, Jewett, Ashland, and Prattsville are included, as well as parts of Hunter, Lexington, and Halcott.
  • In Delaware County, parts of the towns of Stamford and Roxbury are included.
  • In Schoharie County, parts of the towns of Conesville, Gilboa, and Jefferson are included.


Major Streams of the Schoharie Reservoir Watershed
The Schoharie Reservoir watershed includes several major streams and their tributaries. The major streams within the Schoharie Reservoir watershed include Schoharie Creek, West Kill, Little West Kill, Johnson Hollow Brook, Bear Kill, Manor Kill, Huntersfield Creek, Batavia Kill, and East Kill. Of those streams, only the Schoharie Creek, Johnson Hollow Brook, Bear Kill, and Manor Kill drain directly into the Reservoir. The rest are upper Schoharie Creek tributaries – making Schoharie Creek the largest stream in the drainage system.
Each of the major streams listed above have their own specific amount of land that drain to them, meaning that each of these has their own watershed. These are all subwatersheds (or sub-basins) of the greater Schoharie Reservoir Watershed. The subwatersheds within the Schoharie Reservoir watershed are shown in the map to the xxx.


The Schoharie Reservoir Watershed's Role in the NYC Water Supply System
The NYC Water Supply System provides approximately one billion gallons of clean drinking water per day to 8.8 million residents in New York City and another 1 million in some smaller municipalities located north of the city. Altogether, the System provides water to nearly half of the population of New York State!
The Schoharie Reservoir (Schoharie, hereafter) is the northernmost reservoir in the entire 19-reservoir system. The Schoharie and Ashokan Reservoir make up the Catskill portion of the NYC Catskill/Delaware (also known as West-of-Hudson) Water Supply watershed. Placed into service in 1926, the Schoharie is almost 6 miles in length and holds 17.6 billion gallons at full capacity.


GCSWCD's Schoharie Reservoir Watershed Programs
The GCSWCD administers two programs that help Schoharie Reservoir watershed municipalities and landowners secure technical assistance and grant funding:

  • Schoharie Watershed Stream Management Program (SWSMP): Established in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 1996, this program seeks to advance state-of-the-art watershed management projects, policies, and programs to improve and protect streams within the Schoharie Reservoir watershed. Initiatives for municipalities and landowners overseen by the SWSMP include:
    • Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI)
    • Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP)
    • Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC)
    • Education & Outreach
    • Stream & Floodplain Restoration Projects
    • Stream & Watershed Assessments
    • Stream Management Plans
    • SWSMP Action Plans
  • Watershed Assistance Program (WAP): Established in 2002, the WAP provides additional assistance to municipalities and landowners within the Schoharie Reservoir watershed region. The WAP advocates sustainable economic development and a proactive approach to watershed management.