Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Roads Maintenance Program

Program Overview: 

The Westmoreland Conservation District administers the Dirt, Gravel, & Low Volume Roads Program (DGLVR) in Westmoreland County. This statewide conservation program was established in 1997 stemming from an initiative by conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited. The program provides funding to municipalities and other entities to reduce sediment pollution to streams while improving the quality of low-volume (low-traffic) unpaved public roads. Most of Pennsylvania’s unpaved roads are in rural areas and often run adjacent to some of the area’s best quality waterways – the good, high-quality, and exceptional value streams.

The program directs funding to “worksites” where road runoff is affecting water quality. This program funds Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance Practices (ESM) designed to reduce sediment pollution, encourage infiltration, and reduce long-term maintenance cost on public roads.

 

ESM Principles:

  • Avoid concentrating drainage.
  • Minimize flow volumes.
  • Reduce effects of concentrated drainage.
  • Prevent surface erosion, and
  • Reduce maintenance cost and frequency.
paver machine at worksRecent (DSA) Driving Surface Aggregate Application, Westmoreland County

In November 2013, the PA Transportation Funding Bill (Act 89 of 2013), made significant changes to Pennsylvania’s Dirt and Gravel Road Program.

Some of the biggest changes were a significant increase in funds for the program (from $4 million to $20 million annually), and a broadening of the program’s scope so that it also includes low-volume, paved public roads.

An additional $8 million was set aside for work on these paved or tar and chipped roads that have average daily traffic of less than 500 vehicles per day. Road owning entities must  verify traffic counts according to the SCC policy. (CLICK HERE)

Paved roads have been added because they likewise can present environmental challenges when they function as drainage collectors that carry stormwater, sediment, and other pollutants into our waterways. Many of the existing practices for unpaved roads apply to paved roads as well.

Therefore, this aspect of the program is NOT intended to simply pave or re-pave roads. Although, paving costs may be an eligible expense as part of a larger road and environmental improvement project.

In 2017, the Westmoreland Conservation District will receive an annual allocation of $165,953 for Dirt and Gravel Roads and $266,215 for Low Volume Roads (paved or tar and chipped).

 

How do I apply for funding?

The Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission provides the funding to implement Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance practices on unpaved and paved roads, and the Westmoreland Conservation District administers these funds within Westmoreland County.

Municipalities and other entities that own public roads are eligible to receive funds to perform environmentally sensitive road maintenance on their roads.

To apply for the funds, a one page application with a work plan for the proposed road site is submitted to the Westmoreland Conservation District. Each worksite is reviewed by the Conservation District technical staff to ensure that it meets the program requirements. Qualified project applications are then reviewed by the District’s Quality Assurance Board (QAB), which consists of one representative each from Natural Resource Conservation Service, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, and District’s Board of Directors. The District Board of Directors, upon recommendation from the QAB, then awards road owning entities grants to use Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) Practices on the roads to reduce sediment and other pollutants and so improve our county’s watersheds.

Grant Application Packet:

Grant Application: One-page application submitted by the road-owning entity to the Conservation District. This becomes “Attachment A” to the contract between the Conservation District and the Grant recipient.

Work Plan: Project sketch detailing proposed work. Can be on the back of the grant application. This becomes “Attachment B” to the contract between the Conservation District and the Grant recipient.

Expenditure Sheets: Two optional sheets, one for grant requested funds and one for inkind contributions, that can be attached to the grant application if needed.

 

How do I become eligible for DGLVR funds?

To qualify for funding, one member of the eligible entity (municipality, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, PENNDOT, Pennsylvania Game Commission, County Parks, etc.) must attend a no-cost, two-day Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance course presented by the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies.

This course is held at various locations throughout the state and is a classroom session focused on providing the knowledge and tools necessary for road owners to maintain roads in a cost efficient and environmentally sensitive manner. (CLICK HERE) for course dates, locations and registration information. At least one person from the eligible entity must attend the Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance course every five years to maintain program eligibility.

Upon completion of the Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance training, the qualified entity can apply to the Westmoreland Conservation District for funds to perform environmentally sensitive maintenance work on their roads.

The following entities have completed this training and are eligible to apply for funding

Eligibility List: (CLICK HERE) List of attendees from past trainings within five years.

 

Clipper paving croppedGrant Funded Projects

Click on the year.

2015

2016

 

Other Program Benefits:

The program provides education and outreach along with technical assistance for improving private roads, lanes, and driveways.

The Westmoreland Conservation District regularly hosts a public workshop program to help owners of farm lanes, gravel driveways, and private roads reduce erosion and maintenance costs. As part of this program our staff may visit attendees’ sites and recommend the most appropriate conservation measures.

Please contact us for more information and to find out when the next workshop is scheduled.

 

RESOURCES:

The Westmoreland Conservation District will notify eligible applicants when a DGLVR Grant Round is open to apply for funding. Applicants will be notified by regular first class U.S. Mail

The Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Roads Program (DGLVR) is based on “Local Control” to allow Conservation Districts to tailor the Program to fit their local needs to the largest extent possible.

  • The Quality Assurance Board will rank dirt, gravel and low volume road projects based on the following grant evaluation form (Click Here).                                              

For more information about the Dirt, Gravel, Low Volume Road program see the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies website (CLICK HERE).

Off Right-of-way Consent Form: Before working outside the right-of-way, the applicant must obtain written permission from the landowner. Even if project work is confined to the road right-of-way, landowner’s permission may be required when downslope property will be impacted by road practices (new drainage pipe outlets, turnouts, etc.) A sample landowner agreement can be found at (CLICK HERE)

Note: Grant recipients can use their own landowner agreements as long as they are in a form and manner similar to the example provided.

 

Rob Cronauer webContact: Rob Cronauer,  Watershed Program Manager, Rob@wcdpa.com Chelsea 2 crop Contact: Chelsea Walker, Watershed Specialist, Chelsea@wcdpa.com