ESM Course

The Center's Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) Course is an intense two-day classroom session focused on providing the knowledge and tools necessary for road owners to maintain roads in a more cost-efficient and environmentally sensitive manner. The Center holds approximately 12 ESM Courses at locations around Pennsylvania every year. The course runs from 8 am to 4 pm for two days and includes lunch. The course is free to municipal, county, and state agencies involved with PA's Dirt and Gravel Road Program. The course is also free to private contractors participating in DGLVR projects.  Out-of-state attendees must pay a fee of to attend. This course provides 1.3 Continuing Education Units and 13 PDH credits (Professional Development Hours) through the PSU College of Engineering.

Current training dates and the course registration link can be found in the tabs to the left.


Program Eligibility

Anyone involved in the maintenance of unpaved and/or low volume roads will benefit from the practices taught in this course that are designed to reduce sediment pollution and long-term road maintenance costs. Personnel who have previously attended the ESM training can also become re-certified by attending an Annual Maintenance Workshop (RE-certification only, must have attended ESM training in past). All entities interested in the Dirt & Gravel Roads Program are encouraged to attend, i.e. District Staff, QAB, Staff Assistant, etc.

Potential Grant Applications: In order to be eligible to apply for Program funds, the person in charge of work plan development and project implementation from the road-owning entity must have attended environmentally sensitive maintenance (ESM) training within the past five (5) calendar years. This training, and all past 2-day ESM trainings, counts as eligibility to apply for BOTH Dirt and Gravel and (paved) Low Volume Road funds for a period of five (5) calendar years.

Conservation Districts: ESM training is mandatory for at least one district representative on the QAB, and for the district staff person(s) most involved with the Program, and is valid for (5) calendar years.

Bureau of Forestry: ESM training is mandatory for at least one person involved with the Program in each Forest District, and is valid for (5) calendar years.

Other Personnel: Any other personnel involved in the Program (i.e., PADEP, PennDOT, etc.) who are interested in receiving ESM training every 5 years to maintain Program eligibility.

Private Entities: Private entities involved in DGLVR projects (such as bidders and contractors) are encouraged to attend this training free of charge, but their attendance does NOT count as certification for municipalities.  Someone from the road-owning entity must still attend to become eligible to apply for funding.  Private contractors NOT involved in DGLVR projects, or other entities, such as homeowners associations or private conservancies, should contact the center about attending, and will have to pay a fee.


Course Resources

  • Regional ESM Brochure (128 KB): 2019 Regional Training Dates and Locations. (Updated 1/25/2019)

  • Currently Registered Attendees: A list of the currently registered attendees with their class location and affiliation. Coming Soon

  • Eligibility List (588 KB): List of attendees from past trainings. Townships in PA are required to have attended the ESM Course within the past 5 years in order to be eligible for Dirt and Gravel Road Program Funding. (Updated 8/6/2019)

  • ESM Training Guide and Take-Home Reference Book (7.12 MB): The follow along training guide and take-home reference book provided at each training. (2018)

  • ESM Field Guide: Field Guide for Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance of Unpaved Roads.


For Additional Information

Center for Dirt and Gravel Roads
215 Transportation Research Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 865-5355
Fax: (814) 863-6787
Toll-free: (866) NOTOMUD (866-668-6683)
E-mail: dirtandgravel@psu.edu