Rural Roads Program

For many residents, property owners and land managers in the Santa Cruz mountains the only access to their properties are only along private rural roadways that are often steep and unpaved. Erosion and washouts of both paved and unpaved roads disrupt access and can lead to costly repairs and annual maintenance. Additionally, the soil erosion and runoff from these roads can pollute streams with excess sediment causing damage to habitat for fish and other wildlife, and increase flooding issues downstream. Keeping these roads in good condition is even more urgent now to ensure safe ingress and egress in the event of a wildfire.

Assistance for Private Road Owners. The RCD provides private road associations, County Service Areas (CSA), and individuals with on-site technical and financial assistance to help improve the conditions of rural roads. We help identify erosion and drainage problems, develop erosion control plans, and may be able to provide cost share assistance to help construct road improvement projects on both private and public lands for qualified projects. Some of our recommended improvements include installing properly sized culverts, contouring the road surface, and applying rock to unpaved roads and culvert outlets to minimize erosion.

We also hold technical trainings and workshops for local residents and contractors related to best management practices for both paved and unpaved roads. We also maintain a library of publications related to private road maintenance and repair.

Formation of Road Associations. A road association is a voluntary organization of property owners that share road access. Road associations can be useful for providing overall road maintenance and improvement plans, ensuring access for emergency vehicles, sharing the costs of road maintenance and improvements, and developing a communications network for a localized community disaster plan. Road associations do not necessarily need the involvement of governmental associations to form and operate. We have compiled a library of resources for individuals or groups interested in forming a road association.

Need Assistance With Your Private Road?

Conservation benefit: Protect and improve habitat for aquatic species by helping to reduce road derived sediment in local waterways.

City of Santa Cruz Water Department
San Lorenzo Valley Water District
County of Santa Cruz
Integrated Watershed Restoration Program

US Environmental Protection Agency
Regional Water Quality Control Board
County of Santa Cruz

Rural Roads Resource Library

RCD Contact: Angie Gruys

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