the road less traveled
The Newsletter of the Center for Dirt and Gravel Roads at Penn State
August 2016
In This Issue
Upcoming Events

+ GIS Training
+ Admin Training


ESM Training

Q & A
What funding can a Conservation District use to take a paved road back to unpaved ?

In most cases in the DGLVR Program, the choice of what funding stream to use (D&G or LVR) is automatic, based on the exiting surface of the road. The only exception where Districts can choose to use either source of funding is when the road surface will be converted from paved or sealed, to unpaved as part of the project.  As outlined in section 7.3.3 of the Program's Administrative Manual, Districts can use either D&G or LVR funding on such projects.

Center for Dirt & Gravel
Road Studies;
Larson Transportation Institute;
Penn State University
201 Transportation Research Building, PA  16802
Toll-Free 1-866-NO-TO-MUD

The Center provides education, outreach, and technical assistance related to PA's Dirt, Gravel, and Low-Volume Road Maintenance Program. 

 Support provided by:
PA State Conservation Commission

2016 Annual Workshop Registration Open
The 2016 Dirt, Gravel, and Low-Volume Road Annual Maintenance Workshop will be held in York, PA on September 27-29th, 2016.  This year's workshop will be very "field-heavy", including 5 separate field trips to over 20 different sites.  We will also have concurrent classroom sessions on 9/28, and optional events on 9/27 including a GIS training, administrative training, and urban LVR field trip.  Russell Redding, PA Secretary of Agriculture, will be the keynote speaker. Details and registration here.
Hotel block and reduced rate expires August 25, 2016.
The Heritage Hospitality,  2700 Mt. Rose Ave,  York, Pa  17402
717-755-0123 ext 580  Validation Code: DIR09262016 
Don't forget about the photo contest for the 2017 DGLVR Calendar. Details here.
DGLVR Stream Crossing Policy 
Policy: QAQC visits and technical assistance requests indicate that there is still some confusion about the SCC's "Stream Crossing Structural Replacement Policy" enacted in 2014.  While the policy allows the replacement of all structures where the existing opening is 36" in diameter or less, it still requires the new structure to span the bankfull channel width. In other words, a 3' round pipe is automatically eligible for replacement with Program funds, but if the bankfull channel width is 5', the new structure is required to also have a 5' opening (regardless of structure type). The policy is detailed in Section 7.1 of the DGLVR Administrative Manual (page 48).

Additional Guidance: Bankfull determinations are becoming a frequent topic of technical assistance across the state.  In order to further assist Districts, the Center is working on several fronts including:
  • A full field trip at the workshop will be dedicated to bankfull determination and understanding the stream crossing replacement policy.
  • The Center has developed a "bankfull determination cheat-sheet" that will be available soon and will be included on the back of the Program's existing bankfull measurement sheet.
  • The Center is working with Trout Unlimited to hold additional bankfull and culvert assessments in the field, possibly as soon as this fall.
Bottomless arch pipe installation in York County.
DGLVR Administrative Manual Update

The Program's current Administrative Manual was approved by the SCC in November of 2014.  SCC and Center staff have been working on an update to the manual, including clarifications, several new and updated appendices, and a few policy changes.  The current plan is to solicit feedback from the Program's Advisory Work-groups in August; provide a comment period for all Districts in September; hold an update and feedback session as part of the workshop on September 28th; and have the updated manual ready for SCC approval in November or January. 
DCNR Forestry ESM Training Held 

55 representatives of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources attended a "DCNR-specific" 2-day ESM Training in State College on August 9-10.  The core content of the training is the same as the training attended by Conservation Districts and grant applicants.  This DCNR-specific training allows more time to focus on issues such as demonstration projects, research efforts, and policies related directly to the Bureau of Forestry's implementation of the Dirt, Gravel, and Low-Volume Road Maintenance Program.
LVR Sharing Sessions Wrap-up

Four "LVR Project Sharing Sessions"  were  held  around  the State in July.  The purpose of  these sessions was  to let Conservation Districts show off  some of their potential and completed projects to neighboring Districts, and to SCC and CDGRS  staff.  45 CD staff attended one of the sessions, and  most were willing to present pictur es and details fro some of their proje cts. There were excellent  discussions of projects, practices, and policies
Underdrain installation on an LVR in Lawrence County 
during these  pre sentations.    The  sessions were valuable not only to CDs, but also to SCC and Center staff  as they provided a better picture  of the types of projects being  funded  across the state. The sessions were very well received by Districts in attendance, and additional sharing sessions will likely be scheduled over the Winter.
Center Receives "Leadership Training Excellence Award"
from SCC

The State Conservation Commission awarded the PSU  Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies with their 2016 "Leadership Training Excellence Award" at the PACD/SCC Meeting on July 27th in State College.  Th e award comes in response to the Center's increase in training efforts over the past two years as the Program adjusts to increased funding and the addition of Low-Volume Roads.  The Center thanks Karl Brown and the SCC members for this honor.
New Product Approval Process

At their July meeting, the SCC approved revisions to the Program's process for approving products (largely dust suppressants and stabilizers) for purchase with Program funds. The changes were meant to clear up "gray areas" in the previous protocol, and to better align the Program's requirements with similar work being done through USGS and EPA.  Currently approved products will have to meet the new requirements (no grandfathering), and approvals will have a 5 year lifespan.   Details here.
In Other News...
this recurring feature highlights related topics beyond the Program.

Arkansas Dirt and Gravel Road Program     
For the past several years, the Center has been working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Arkansas to assist in their development of a Dirt and Gravel Road Program.  Those of you in attendance at the SCC briefing session on 7/27 heard an update from Clay Knighton (TNC Arkansas) on their efforts.
      Clay was on a two week "shadowing" assignment accompanying Center staff on various demo projects, tech assists visits, and even a QAQC.  The Center has held two mini-workshops in Arkansas over the past few years, and much of their Program is based closely on what PA has established.  2015 saw the passage of legislation in Arkansas and an initial investment of $250K into the Program.  TNC is working to implement the first round of road improvement projects in 2016, and hopes to grow and expand the Program in the coming years.   More information here.
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