Potter County’s important role in the development of the Pennsylvania Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program is spotlighted in a feature story appearing in the Aug. 19 edition of the Centre Daily Times. An article by outdoor writer Mark Nale recalls the foundation of a program that has kept thousands of tons of sediment from entering prime trout streams. Sediment is a significant stream pollution problem. It fills in stream channels — smothering trout eggs and destroying aquatic insect habitat.
Back in 1990, Nale pointed out, members of the God’s Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited hosted a meeting at Big Moore’s Run Lodge in Potter County to draw attention to the worsening erosion and sedimentation problem. Less than three years later, PennDOT helped to organize a volunteer task force to devise road maintenance standards and techniques for correcting the excessive sedimentation problems. Penn State graduate students produced a map of every dirt and gravel road near an exceptional value or high quality cold water fishery. Trained volunteers from local TU chapters, including Potter County, assisted by surveying their local streams.
By 1996, more than 700 “sediment hotspots” were identified statewide. Finally, in April 1997, the legislature passed Act 3, providing $5 million annually to improve and maintain dirt and gravel roads: $1 million to the Pa. Bureau of Forestry and $4 million to be distributed by local conservation districts. Since that time, more than 2,300 projects have been funded. An estimated 7,500 new drainage and stream pipes have been installed. Close to 600 miles of driving service aggregate has been placed, and upwards of 200 miles of road ditch and banks have been stabilized.
Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.