Pennsylvania contains thousands of miles of unpaved roads that provide service to local residents and businesses including agriculture, forestry products, and oil and gas extraction. Unpaved roads are relatively inexpensive to maintain but over time can become major sources of sediment pollution to adjacent streams.
The Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program was enacted into law in April 1997 as Section 9106 of the PA Vehicle Code, with $5 Million in annual funding for "environmentally sensitive road maintenance". The goal of the Program to create a more environmentally and economically sustainable low-volume road network through education, outreach, and project funding. The program provides funding and training to local road owning entities to help prevent sediment pollution to streams.
The State Conservation Commission's (SCC) administers the program which annually provides $4 million to county conservation districts who administer the program at the local level. The Conservation District works with local road-owning entities to develop a work plan to correct verified pollution problems on unpaved roads. Municipalities are required to attend a two-day Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) of Dirt and Gravel Roads Training every five years to be eligible to apply for funding.
The Clinton County Conservation District annually receives funds from the SCC for the Dirt and Gravel Road Program. A Quality Assurance Board (QAB) ranks municipal applications for funds based on several factors and makes recommendations to District Board of Directors on which projects should be funded.
The Grant Process
- To be eligible for funding an employee of the municipality must have attended an Environmentally Sensitive Road Maintenance training in the last five years.
- Municipal Officials are recommended to have a field meeting with district staff to discuss planned work.
- A one-page Grant Application is to be completed describing work that will be done during the project. The applicants are to calculate cost figures for the project expenditures and in-kind services.
- Once the application is submitted the QAB reviews all applications and recommends eligible applications to the Conservation District Board of Directors for funding.
- The Conservation District Board of Directors discusses and votes on applications in an open public meeting.
- Once the Board of Directors award a grant, a contract is prepared for the grantee. The contract has attachments containing information about the Dirt and Gravel Program and awarded Grant:
- Attachment A - Grant Application
- Attachment B - Work Plan
- Attachment C - General Contract Provisions
- Attachment D - Dirt & Gravel Roads Program Statement of Policy
- Attachment E - Quality Assurance Board Standards
- Attachment F - Schedule of Payments
- Attachment G - Project Performance Report
When the contract is signed by the applicant and District Manager, the municipality may request 50% of the awarded grant to cover the cost of materials or any advance expenditures. Work can begin after the contract is signed and a pre-construction meeting is held. Work done before the contract is signed cannot be paid for under the contract. The grantee has one year to complete the approved contract. If unable to complete in one years' time, the grantee may request in writing for a one year extension on the project. Projects must be completed to be eligible to participate in future grant application rounds.
More information about the Dirt and Gravel Road Program, including the required training to be eligible for funds, can be found at the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies or by contacting the District at 570-726-3798.