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 affects water quality. This program funds Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance Practices (ESM) designed to reduce sediment pollution, encourage infiltration, and reduce long-term maintenance costs on public roads.
1. 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 Information
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.
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.
2. 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. 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.
ESM Course Dates, Locations + Registration
3. The recent heavy rains and flooding washed out many gravel driveways and private roads. What can I do?
Identify where the source of the water is coming from – and take the necessary steps to get the water off your driveway or road.
If water is running down your driveway or road, you can add practices to help direct the water off the road and into the nearby terrain.
If water is running across your driveway or road, you can reduce it by adding pipe, clean stone, and fabric in a trench under the driving surface.