Recent improvements could prevent flooding in Schoharie County


Residents in some of the Capital Region’s biggest flood-prone areas are bracing for more wet weather.

In Schoharie County, several stream projects may work in helping to protect residents and their property. The Schoharie Creek is peaceful now but after a major storm, the surrounding area could be underwater!

Work being done along several creeks and streams may help in keeping the waters from raging.

The images were unforgettable and the damage immense. After 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene, and then smaller subsequent storms and flooding, the focus in Schoharie County was placed on streams and creeks.

“These aren’t your grandpa’s rainstorms that we are seeing,” Peter Nichols, with Schoharie County Soil and Water, said. “The hydrology has changed the statistics have changed.”

Nichols says several stream remediation projects seem to be working.

“What we try to do is look at an area of the stream that maybe survived the flood or held itself together pretty well, and we try to mirror those conditions as best as possible.”

“Tree limbs, branches, bicycles. You’d be surprised,” Chief Ray Parsons, of Sharon Springs Fire, said.

A 40-foot deep natural sinkhole is notorious for flooding Route 20 and basements during heavy storms.

“It wasn’t draining fast enough so it would back on into the road,” Parsons said.

The state later came in and cleaned old debris out.

“Roto-Rootered it. It’s made a big difference.”

Also making a difference is emergency management.

“One of my jobs was I ran the Joint Operations Center for the Division of the Military and Naval Affairs for both Hurricane Lee and Irene and Sandy,” Michael Hartzel, Director of Schoharie County Emergency Services, said.

Hartzel brought his skills from the military to his job as emergency services director by keeping a close watch on any rising water.

“Everyday we look at this and I was receiving phone calls last night from the power authority talking water levels and conditions.”

The creek is not expected to overflow, but you never know what the future will hold.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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