Gravel Road


Definitions of common terms and acronyms used in this manual.


Act - The Act of April 17, 1997 (P.L. 6, No. 3) amending the Vehicle Code by adding the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program at 75 P.S. §9106.

Administrative Funds (at the district) – up to 10% of a district’s allocation that can be used to administer the Program at the county level.

Advance Working Capital – the portion of a conservation district’s allocation that is received up-front from the Commission.

Allocations – Funding distributed from the Commission to conservation district for both Dirt and Gravel, and Low Volume Roads.

Assessment – The process of evaluating a road to determine which sections are having negative environmental impacts.

Average Daily Traffic Count – A traffic count that meets the standards described in section 7.3.6 of this manual.

Bankfull – The stream channel width at the dominant channel forming flow, typically with a recurrence interval between 1 and 2 years.

Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies – Non-profit entity at Penn State that provides education, outreach, and technical assistance to entities involved in the Program.

Certification – Relating to Driving Surface Aggregate: A notarized form provided by the quarry detailing specifications of the DSA material being provided.

Cooperating Organization – An organization approved by the Commission to assist in implementing the Act.

Demonstration Project – A “Demonstration Project” is a project that is funded by the Conservation Districts that does not follow the lifecycle of the “typical project” above. Demonstration Projects can be implemented by the Conservation District to showcase a particular practice or project without the typical application submittal and ranking process using the district’s educational or administrative funds.

Dirt and Gravel Road – A public road with an unbound surface layer.

District - A conservation district as defined in the Act of December 19, 1984 (P.L. 1125, No. 221, §2) known as the Conservation District Law, 3 P.S. §849-864.

Driving Surface Aggregate (DSA) – A specification of crushed aggregate that is designed to achieve maximum density and resist erosion. DSA is the only approved surface aggregate for unpaved roads in the Program.

Education Funds (at the district) – up to 10% of a district’s allocation that can be used to for educational efforts at the county level.

Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) – a term used to describe a suite of principles and practices that are designed to create a more environmentally and financially sustainable public road system. They are long term practices designed to reduce erosion and maintenance within the road area.

Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance Training (ESM training) – 2-day training course that potential grant applicants must attend in order to be eligible for to apply to their district for funding.

Exceptional Value – A stream or watershed which is designated as an exceptional value water pursuant to 25 Pa. Code Chapter 93.

Geographic Information System (GIS) – A systems of interconnected digital maps and databases use to store large amounts of spatial data.

Grant Applicant / Recipient – A public road-owning entity such as a municipality or state agency who is eligible to apply to the district for Program funding.

High Quality - A stream or watershed which is designated as a high quality water pursuant to 25 Pa. Code Chapter 93.

In-kind – Materials or services contributed to a project by the grant recipient.

Low Volume Road – For the purposes of the low volume road, a low volume road is a paved or sealed road with an average daily traffic count of 500 vehicles or less.

Paved or Sealed Road – For the purposes of the low volume road program, a “paved” road is defined to include any road surfaced with asphalt, “tar and chip”, “chip seal”, bitumen, concrete, or other asphalt-like coating.

Performance Standards – Administrative policies and/or technical requirements adopted by the Commission for the implementation of the Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Road Maintenance Program, including standards that prohibit the use of materials or practices which are environmentally harmful.

Project Area –A worksite that has been designated for funding through the Program. see also “worksite”

Project Completion Report – A two page form signed by the district and grant recipient that summarizes the funding and work for a particular project.

Project Participant – A municipality or state agency eligible to participate in a Dirt, and Low Volume Road Maintenance project under the Act.

Quality Assurance Board (QAB)  – The 4-member administrative board impaneled by each district to administer the Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Road Maintenance Program locally, pursuant to 75 P.S. §9106(e).

Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QAQC) – A visit and review of an individual districts program administration and implementation by Program and Center staff.

Replenishment – Process for districts to claim remaining funding from the Commission after expenditure of advance working capital.

Right-of-way – A publicly owned corridor surrounding the road, in many cases extending 33’ from the centerline of the roadway.

State Conservation Commission (Commission) – Administrative home of the Program at the PA Department of Agriculture in Harrisburg.

Sunshine – Public meeting notification requirements that apply to QAB and Conservation District meetings.

Worksite – A section of road that have been identified to be a source of sediment or other pollution to a waterway.


ADT: Average Daily Traffic Count

ASR: Annual Summary Report

BMP: Best Management Practice

CD: Conservation District

CDGRS: Penn State Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies

COE: Corps of Engineers

DCNR: Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

DEP: Department of Environmental Protection

DGR: Dirt and or Gravel Road (unbound surface)

DGLVRP: Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Roads Program

DSA: Driving Surface Aggregate

DRBC: Delaware River Basin Commission

E&S Plan: Erosion and Sedimentation Pollution Control Plan

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency

EV/HQ: Exceptional Value/High Quality (stream designations)

ESM: Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance

FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency

G2: Growing Greener Program

GIS: Geographic Information System

GP: General Permit

GRS-IBS: Geos-synthetically Reinforced Soil – Integrated Bridge system

LVR: Low Volume Road (Under 500 Cars ADT) MOU: Memorandum of Understanding

MS4: Municipal Storm Sewer System Separate from a Sanitary System

NACD: National Association of Conservation Districts

NICET: National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies

NPDES: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

NPS: National Park Service

NRCS: Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA)

PACD: PA Association of Conservation Districts

PDA: PA Department of Agriculture

PEC: PA Environmental Council

PEMA: PA Emergency Management Agency

PFA: PA Forestry Association

PFBC: PA Fish and Boat Commission

PGC: Pennsylvania Game Commission

PNDI: Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory

PSATS: PA State Association of Township Supervisors

QAB: Quality Assurance Board (Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Roads Program)

QAQC: Quality Assurance / Quality Control Visit

RCSOB: Rachel Carson State Office Building

ROW: Right-of-Way

SCC: State Conservation Commission

SOP: Standard Operating Procedure

SRBC: Susquehanna River Basin Commission

TMDL: Total Maximum Daily Load (Watershed Conservation 303d)

TU: Trout Unlimited

USDA: United States Department of Agriculture

USFS: United States Forest Service

USFWS: United States Fish and Wildlife Service

USGS: United States Geological Survey