Single Family Dwelling Construction: Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Education
Ontario, NY

Grantee: Cornell Cooperative Extensive of Ontario County
Basin Program Funds: $5,850
Non-federal Funds: $2,550
Project Duration: 04/1995 - 03/1996
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Soil erosion resulting from construction of single family homes has been identified as one of the most significant sources of sediment entering Canandaigua Lake and many of the other Finger Lakes. Damage to the home site, the natural surroundings, and to the lake from uncontrolled runoff is of great concern.

Sample Handbook page: Diversion

The purpose of this project is to create an education package promoting the reduction of soil erosion from single family dwelling construction sites in an effort to protect surface waters in the Great Lakes Basin from sediment contamination.

Subdivisions of five or more houses are typically covered by local subdivisions zoning requirements for soil erosion and sediment control but there is no such regulations for single family dwelling construction. Single units are usually the preponderance of active construction sites in any watershed.

The Great Lakes Basin Program is spending $5,850 to: 1) develop a user-friendly handbook of soil erosion and sediment control techniques appropriate to single family dwelling construction; 2) conduct workshops for realtors, mortgage lenders, builders, excavation contractors, prospective home owners and the general public focusing upon the importance and methods of soil erosion and sediment controls for single family dwelling construction; and, 3) create a video featuring the above workshop and demonstration of the management techniques described in the handbook.

Handbook cover

A handbook of simple soil erosion control techniques has been completed. Demand for the handbook has been high with only 400, of the 2,000 copies printed, remaining after only three months in print. The handbook is designed to help persons engaged in building a single family home protect their investment in the natural beauty of their location, guard against the damaging effects of uncontrolled runoff and soil erosion, and ensure the continued purity of adjacent streams and lakes. Some of the sediment control techniques discussed in the handbook included the importance of vegetation preservation; recognition of risk factors; construction and placement of bale dikes, silt fences, retention ponds, vegetative buffers; and other effective management practices. Several bulk requests for the handbook have been received for distribution at various conferences and workshops (e.g. Finger Lakes Builders Association Annual Convention)

Sixty copies of a Soil Erosion Control For Single Family Dwelling Construction video were made. Video production was broadcasted on public access stations in the Finger Lakes Area including FLTV in Canandaigua and the public access station in Watkins Glen. The video features demonstration of the management techniques described in the handbook. The video was distributed to code enforcement/zoning board officers of the 13 municipalities in Canandaigua Lake watershed and to CEOs in the twenty-two municipalities of Ontario County. Copies were also given to Ontario and Yates County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Water Resources Councils and Cooperative Extension offices; the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Commission; and area public libraries for loan to citizens.

A Lawn Care and Soil Erosion Control Workshop was held in Canandaigua, NY on May 28. The workshop attracted more than 50 people and featured the handbook and video.

Contact: Cornell Cooperative Extensive of Ontario County, (716) 394-4110


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. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner