Urban Construction Site Runoff Diorama
Monroe County, NY

Grantee: Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $1,700
Non-federal Funds: $995
Project Duration: 09/1994 - 08/1995
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Urban sprawl-type development in the suburbs of the city of Rochester is increasing stormwater runoff and associated pollutant loadings to the tributaries that lead to Lake Ontario. The results are stressed creek channels, stressed aquatic habitats and increased pollutant loading to Lake Ontario.

Diorama of sediment movements from construction sites.

The goal of the Urban Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Diorama is to foster a better understanding of the negative impacts of urban stormwater runoff on the Great Lakes water quality by building a three-dimensional display (diorama) that depicts how stormwater runoff from construction sites and storm sewers ends up in a stream.

Suburban growth in Monroe County around the city of Rochester is causing high volumes of stormwater runoff and pollutant loadings. The runoff enters, and impacts, Lake Ontario, the major source of Monroe's potable water supply and the focal point of recreation dollars for the community's tourist industry. The diorama will provide a visual demonstration of the effects of urban stormwater runoff on a waterbody in an effort to improve the general public's and local officials' awareness and understanding of the nonpoint source pollution problem. If local decision makers are made aware of the need to invest time and money to long-term stormwater management and construction site erosion and sediment controls, the area's water quality could be greatly improved.

The Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District, in consultation with the Monroe County Department of Health, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and a professional model-making firm, designed and constructed a 3-D model depicting sediment movements from construction sites, effects of properly engineered practices to control erosion, where storm sewers exist, and riparian land impacts. A backdrop depicting (by photos and text) actual “good” and “bad” practices from construction sites around the country is also displayed.

The diorama has been presented/displayed at the Conservation District's Western New York Stormwater Management Conference and trade show (180 people), the Conservation District Annual Banquet meeting (100 people), the Livingston County Fair (500 people), and the Pittsford Harvest Festival (1000 people). The diorama is planned for use in many future educational workshops.

Contact: Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District, (716) 473-2120


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150.  projects.glc.org. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner