Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Maintenance Program
Jenna St. Clair
570-622-3742, ext. 3335
Schuylkill Conservation District administers the state’s Dirt, Gravel, & Low Volume Road Maintenance Program. The objective of the program is to achieve environmental improvement through environmentally-sound road maintenance practices.
For more information and updates, please contact:
PA Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies
Schuylkill County Quality Assurance Board
The Schuylkill Conservation District’s Dirt, Gravel, & Low Volume Road Quality Assurance Board (QAB) last met on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at 8:30am at the Conservation District office at 1206 Ag Center Drive, Pottsville, PA 17901. Participants also are welcome to participate remotely via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3540857257 or by calling 1-646-558-8656 and entering the meeting ID 354 085 7257.
Meeting times may change so please call 570-391-3335 to confirm.
In Pennsylvania, more than 25,000 miles of unpaved roads, of which about 17,500 are owned by local municipalities, provide access for the state’s agriculture, mining, forestry, and tourism industries as well as over 3.6 million residents. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, non-point source pollution is responsible for 88% of all impaired stream miles in PA. Dirt and gravel roads have historically been large contributors of non-point source pollution in the form of sediment and dust.
By providing financial incentives for local officials, the Dirt, Gravel, & Low Volume Road Maintenance Program seeks to prevent several forms of non-point source pollution including sediment in streams, airborne pollutants, and chemicals. Environmentally sensitive maintenance practices have been developed to provide road maintenance techniques that address the impacts of roads on streams.
On November 25, 2013, PA House Bill 1060 was officially enacted and increased funding to the PA Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program from $5M to $35M annually. Notable changes include the expansion of Program to include low-volume sealed or paved roads with less than 500 cars per day.
Through allocations from the State Conservation Commission, funds are placed in a non-lapsing, non-transferable account restricted to the Dirt, Gravel, & Low Volume Road Maintenance Program. The Schuylkill Conservation District then provides grants to local municipalities and other eligible entities in accordance with the law.
Public entities that own public roads in Pennsylvania that are open to public vehicle travel are eligible to apply to Schuylkill Conservation District for Program funding, including, but not limited to, municipalities, PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT), PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), county and other government entities, and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) Training
The person in charge of work plan development and project implementation from the entity that has applied for funds from the Program must have attended Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) training within the past five (5) calendar years to apply for funding. A re-certification can also be obtained by attendance at the Program’s Annual Maintenance Workshop.
Attendance by individuals not directly involved with the project design and implementation (interns, secretaries, etc.) do not qualify an applicant to be eligible for funding. Engineers on retainer or others who serve multiple municipalities are welcome to attend the ESM training, but their attendance does not count as “ESM Certification” for the municipalities they represent. Alternatively, if an engineer is on staff at a particular eligible entity, it would count as ESM certification for that municipality.
Training dates and locations:
The Schuylkill Conservation District will accept applications on a rolling basis. The deadline for application submissions for the current year is September 1st of the current year. For example, applications received by September 1, 2024, will be reviewed and ranked for funding in 2024. Applications received after September 1, 2024, would be reviewed after September 1, 2025.
Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to arrange an onsite meeting with Schuylkill Conservation District to discuss the potential project before an application is submitted for funding. The pre-application meeting allows the District to provide input on the potential project at an early stage before the applicant has invested a large amount of time and resources in developing a plan.
Applicants MUST have attended Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance Course or Annual Maintenance Workshop within the last five (5) years to be eligible for funding.