Gravel Road

Program Details

Program Purpose

The purpose of the Program is to create a better public road system with a reduced environmental impact.  The Program focuses on “Environmentally Sensitive Road Maintenance Practices” that reduce the impact of road runoff and sediment to local streams, while reducing long term road maintenance costs.  

Program Structure

Statewide funding and guidance comes from the State Conservation Commission.  Local conservation districts, and their associated Quality Assurance Boards, develop local policies and award grants to public road-owning entities. Public entities such as townships and boroughs apply to the conservation districts for funding and complete the project work.


State Conservation Commission

The State Conservation Commission (Commission), a departmental administrative commission under the concurrent authority of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the PA Department of Agriculture (PDA), administers the Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Road Program.  The Commission determines statewide Program policies, allocates funds to conservation districts, and implements a quality assurance / quality control effort.  The role of the Commission is detailed in Chapter Error! Reference source not found. of this manual.


Conservation Districts and Quality Assurance Boards (QABs)

Pennsylvania’s conservation districts administer and implement the Program at the county level.  Conservation districts accept applications for funding from potential applicants, and award grants to local road owning entities.  District staff is responsible for working with grant applicants to develop projects, project oversight, financial tracking and reporting, and general administration of the Program at the county level.  District staff should work closely with the QAB described below.

Each conservation district is required to form a Quality Assurance Board (QAB) made up of 4 members including district staff, PA Fish and Boat Commission, and Natural Resource Conservation Service. The QAB acts in an advisory capacity to the conservation district board. The QAB, working closely with district staff, is responsible for recommending local Program policies, developing application ranking criteria, and recommending projects for funding.  All policies and funding recommendations by the QAB must be adopted by the conservation district board.  


Grant Applicants

Any state or local public entity that owns and maintains public roads is eligible to apply for Program Funding.  The majority of applicants are townships, but other entities such as boroughs, cities, counties, PA Game Commission, PennDOT, PA Fish and Boat Commission, and others are eligible to apply.  Applicants are encouraged to work closely with Conservation districts, starting with a pre application meeting.  Successful applicants will enter into contracts with county conservation districts to complete project work.  Applicants can complete project work themselves, or by hiring contractors.


Penn State Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies (Center)

The Center was formally created in 2001 to address the education, training, and technical assistance needs of the Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Road Maintenance Program.  The duties of the Center include: development and delivery of a 2-day training course for Program eligibility, holding annual maintenance workshops, providing technical and administrative assistance to Program stakeholders, approval of new products, maintenance of GIS project tracking system, development of technical reference material, and supplying general support to the State Conservation Commission and conservation districts.