Cumberland Times-News

Local News

June 3, 2012

‘Better road, cleaner streams and less cost’

Instructors share techniques to reduce erosion, lessen sediment

FROSTBURG — Dirt and gravel roads throughout the region can expect to get some environmentally sensitive maintenance from those who attended a recent training session on the campus of Frostburg State University.

And, the techniques taught by instructors from the Center for Dirt & Gravel Road Studies at Penn State are also less expensive than traditional ones. The idea behind the training is to keep sediment from running into streams and rivers.

“Who could be against that? Better road, cleaner streams and less cost,” said Donnelle Keech of The Nature Conservancy. That organization, paired with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources sponsored the training.

Sixty-five attended the two-day training, some representing distant agencies such as the Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District.

“We can help with some funding to get people started using these techniques,” said instructor David M. Creamer. “When we know we have had an impact is when they start to use those same techniques with their own dollars.”

Traditionally, erosion on roads was corrected by digging up the entire roadbed and placing a 100-foot pipe beneath it, according to Creamer. The center teaches an approach whereby a 20-foot pipe is inserted through a bank on one side of the road, providing equal or superior erosion control.

Creamer tells students not to use more equipment than necessary because it would be “like picking your nose with your elbow.”

Bo Sliger is the maintenance chief for the Potomac-Garrett State Forest where he and his crew of three have 25 miles of dirt and gravel roads in Garrett County.

“Our road work is pretty much dependent on getting grants,” Sliger said. “We have gotten a number of them, mostly for $30,000. Our forest roads get used not just by motor vehicles but by ATVs, hikers and others.”

This week, the forest crew will be maintaining Piney Mountain Road near Cranesville. Snaggy Mountain Road is another that requires regular attention, Sliger said.

As the manager of the Allegany County Soil Conservation District, Craig Hartsock works with private landowners to help them maintain roads.

“Every farm has a farm lane or a woods road with bridges or stream crossings,” Hartsock said. “We have cost-sharing programs to help them improve roads and reduce erosion.” These projects are contracted, he said. “We have up to 200 of those projects a year.

“We also approve all forest harvest roads for loggers,” Hartsock said. “There are 40 or 50 of those every year.”

One inch of rain that falls in an hour can cause 13 to 54 tons of sediment to be discharged into streams, according to the maintenance specialists. The techniques taught by the center are meant to reduce that discharge. In the case of the Potomac River drainage, that would mean less sediment flowing to the Chesapeake Bay.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at

Text Only
Local News
  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fourmile Ridge wind project approved, moves forward

    The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the Fourmile Ridge wind project in eastern Garrett County and site preparation started April 7, according to Frank Maisano, a wind industry spokesman. The current notice listed on the FAA website for the project is for a small change in turbine location.

    April 17, 2014

  • Oakland back to normal after toppled tanker closes business district

    The town of Oakland returned to normal activities Thursday, one day after a tanker full of liquid propane overturned in the heart of the business district.
    Shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday the toppled tanker was removed and its 10,000-gallon load transferred to another tanker.

    April 17, 2014

  • Students back Southern Middle School renovation

    Students from both Southern and Northern middle schools presented a list of reasons why Southern Middle needs to be renovated during the Garrett County Commission meeting Tuesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Trial run Trial run

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 72nd anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo 72nd anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo

    Friday, April 18, has another special meaning for me besides Good Friday.
    April 18, 1942, proved to be a pivotal day for American morale, following the deadly air attack and destruction conceived and executed by Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lara Courrier seeks re-appointment to Mineral school board

    I, Lara Courrier, am seeking re-election to the Mineral County Board of Education to continue the work I’ve done the last four years. Having served as a school counselor at the Burlington Center School and the Chick Buckbee Juvenile Center for nearly six years, as well as approximately 20 years total working with children, I have insight into the needs of kids and the importance of the actions of the school board. Having three sons and several nieces and nephews in Mineral County schools, I have an added incentive to continue to work hard to ensure the efficient running of our school system. 

    April 17, 2014

Must Read
News related video