A REPORT ON FEDERAL HISTORIC PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INA SPIRIT STEWARDSHIP of 2021
An independent federal agency, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation promotes the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of our nation’s diverse historic resources and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. It also provides a forum for influencing federal activities, programs, and policies that affect historic properties. In addition, the ACHP has a key role in carrying out the Preserve America program.
Chairman Rick Gonzalez, AIA, Vice Chairman John G. Finley, General Public John H. Frey, General Public Kristopher B. King, Expert Luke A. Nichter, PhD, Expert Jordan E. Tannenbaum, General Public Jay D. Vogt, Expert Reno Keoni Franklin, Indian Tribe Member Governor Hon. Robert Simison, Mayor, Meridian, Idaho Secretary of Agriculture Secretary of Defense Secretary of Education
Secretary of the Interior Secretary of Transportation Secretary of Veterans Affairs Architect of the Capitol Administrator, General Services Administration President, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers General Chairman, National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers Chairman, National Trust for Historic Preservation Secretary of Energy, Observer Council on Environmental Quality, Observer National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, Observer
ACHP Foundation, Observer Preserve America Youth Summit Director, Observer
Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Front Cover Photo: A conservator works on designs etched into the parapet of level 4 of the Desert ViewWatchtower at the Grand Canyon; colorful ceiling mural overhead (NPS/M.Quinn) Opposite Page: The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780) departs Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, a National Historic Landmark, after completing a scheduled dry-docking maintenance period in 2020. (Navy/Amanda R. Gray)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
4 ACHP MESSAGE 6 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 8 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND ACHP PROGRESS REPORT 16 CHAPTER 2: DEVELOPING, USING,AND MAKING AVAILABLE DIGITAL INFORMATION ON HISTORIC PROPERTIES 24 CHAPTER 3: MANAGING AND MAINTAINING FEDERAL HISTORIC PROPERTIES 46 CHAPTER 4: LEVERAGING FEDERAL HISTORIC PROPERTIES FOR COMMUNITY BENEFITS 58 CHAPTER 5: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 70 AFTERWORD
February 15, 2021
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), with assistance from a variety of federal agencies with real property management responsibilities, is pleased to present the sixth triennial report prepared pursuant to Executive Order 13287, “Preserve America,” on stewardship achievements of federal agencies in managing historic properties.
The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) committed the federal government to demonstrating leadership in preserving places important to our nation’s heritage. It also created important partnerships with states, Indian tribes, and local governments to carry out the federal historic preservation program. Each agency has unique assets and responsibilities. Federal agencies submitting progress reports in 2020 on the status of their efforts to identify, protect, and use their historic properties have affirmed the crucial role partnerships provide to achieve preservation results, with benefits flowing to both agencies that own and maintain historic properties, as well as to the communities they serve. In this report, the ACHP profiles partnerships that leverage federal historic preservation efforts for needed training opportunities in skilled preservation trades, local economic development and heritage tourism, and research and survey work contributing to a deeper understanding of our historic places and landscapes. The feasibility of successful preservation achievements is enhanced when partnerships involve the private sector. The ACHP formed a Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings Working Group in 2019 to explore how public-private leasing partnerships for federal historic buildings can be encouraged to save taxpayer dollars while spurring preservation and reinvestment relative to new construction on or leasing privately owned property. The Working Group’s forthcoming
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findings and best practices have informed the recommendations in this report and serve as a continuation of a recommendation from the ACHP’s previous report under the Preserve America Executive Order. The ACHP supports federal agency efforts to preserve the diverse historic properties in their care while carrying out their missions. Federal Preservation Officers (FPOs), located within federal agencies, provide critical oversight for preservation activities and fulfillment of NHPA responsibilities and are a vital part of how agencies cultivate a preservation ethic and balance these goals. The ACHP encourages federal agencies to share the successful stewardship strategies profiled in this report within their organizations to further broaden federal leadership in historic preservation and integrate it with other sustainability-related goals. I would like to thank the FPOs for their continued engagement and the expertise they provide to the ACHP and look forward to their continued progress in implementing the recommendations in this report in order to advance the protection and sustainable use of our nation’s historic resources. The ACHP looks forward to the new Administration’s leadership and interest in historic preservation. This responsibility can provide an opportunity to thoughtfully manage federal historic resources, understand their correlation to addressing climate change, and enhance the usefulness of these assets now and in the future.
Rick Gonzalez, AIA Vice Chairman Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
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This is the sixth report to the President, required every three years under Executive Order (EO) 13287, “Preserve America,” addressing the state of the federal government’s efforts to identify, protect, and utilize their historic properties and their contribution to local economic development. EO 13287 reinforces the role of federal agencies as stewards of their historic properties and underscores the importance of federal agency efforts to inventory, protect, and use these properties. Federal historic properties play a diverse range of roles, from providing infrastructure critical for agency missions, to housing members of the military and federal offices, as sacred places important to Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, to sharing stories of American history with visitors. Information in this report is derived primarily from the 22 federal agency progress reports submitted to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the Secretary of the Interior. Agency reports focused on progress made in identifying, protecting, and using historic properties in federal ownership since the last report in 2018. Federal agencies continue to provide creative examples of historic properties adaptively reused and rehabilitated to be energy efficient and resilient, as well as historic properties leased or disposed to parties responsible for their preservation. Collectively, these reports also demonstrated that there remains wide-spread support among the public for the protection and use of historic properties, and that federal efforts to do so strengthen communities and contribute to a stronger economy through the creation of jobs.
In 2019,White Sands National Monument was re-designated White Sands National Park, making it the 62nd designated national park in the National Park System. (NPS)
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This 2021 report continues the level of reporting established in the 2018 report by being designed from the start to be web-based, with links to other documents and preservation resources mentioned in the text and containing examples and case studies of successful federal agency stewardship to better illustrate the breadth of historic properties owned by the federal government, the myriad ways agencies care for them, and how they can contribute to the goals of economic development and resource independence. In addition to the review of the agency progress reports, the challenges and recommendations presented in Chapter 5 of this report also are informed by the ACHP’s extensive, and nationwide, interaction with federal agencies and preservation partners on various undertakings, programs, and initiatives over the last three years. The preservation findings and conclusions identified over the current reporting cycle include the following:
FINDING: Leasing historic federal buildings to nonfederal partners promotes their productive use and contribution to local economies, often increasing public access and even transferring maintenance and capital improvement costs to partners in certain circumstances. However, outleasing programs remain small due to inconsistencies among federal agencies in their scope and application, conflicting policies and priorities, limited awareness of these programs, and local economic conditions affecting the availability of partners. FINDING: Agencies are advancing in the use of digital tools to better inform real property management, but further improvement is needed to fully integrate historic property information and realize all potential benefits from increased review efficiency for federal and nonfederal project planning. FINDING: While the primary benefit of partnerships is to leverage limited federal resources and assist federal agencies in the identification, protection, and use of historic properties, partnerships also contribute important community and educational benefits, including those that enable job training. FINDING: Agencies have effectively used Section 106 program alternatives to tailor Section 106 project reviews for multiple land- and property-managing agency benefits, including focusing limited resources on preservation priorities and contributing to comprehensive historic property management strategies. Program alternatives have also improved efficiency and effectiveness of project reviews for infrastructure projects affecting historic properties on federal lands. FINDING: Agencies should ensure timely involvement of and active collaboration with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations in property management activities and infrastructure planning. FINDING: As more properties associated with the role of the federal government in advancing science and technology in the late 20th century become eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, they present unique management challenges for federal agencies in preserving their significant characteristics while enabling ongoing use.
Recommendations to address these findings are presented in Chapter 5.
The ACHP is committed to assisting federal agencies in implementing these recommendations so that future actions proposed by the Administration, departments, and agencies recognize historic properties as important public assets that should be included in federal real property management strategies and initiatives that address infrastructure renewal, energy efficiency, resiliency, and long-term preservation.
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INTRODUCTION AND ACHP PROGRESS REPORT
The federal government is the steward of thousands of historic properties of all kinds across the country and in all its territories, including buildings, structures, traditional landscapes of religious and cultural significance to Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs), archaeological sites and districts, scientific and highly technical properties and objects, and others. Executive Order 13287, “Preserve America,” issued in 2003, focuses on affirming the stewardship responsibilities of federal agencies for historic properties, which began with the Antiquities Act of 1906, were expanded in the Historic Sites Act of 1935, and were reinforced in 1966 in the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and its subsequent amendments. Section 3 of EO 13287 requires federal agencies to report every three years to the ACHP and the Secretary of the Interior on the status of their progress in identifying, protecting, and using for economic benefit the historic properties they own. The ACHP reviews and analyzes the submitted information and presents its findings in a report to the President. This is the sixth triennial report on the status of federal agency historic property stewardship. The ACHP is an independent federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of the nation’s diverse historic resources and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. The ACHP also oversees implementation of Section 3 of the EO. The full text of the EO, past reports, and information about Section 3 can be found on the ACHP’s website. The goal of the EO and related provisions of the NHPA is to ensure federal agencies are good stewards of historic properties for the benefit of the American people while still meeting mission needs and, where appropriate, pursuing partnerships to promote the
Stars dance in the night sky above an Ancestral Puebloan ruin at Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico. (NPS/Bettymaya Foott)
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preservation of the nation’s heritage and its economic benefit to communities. The NHPA sets forth broad affirmative responsibilities for federal agencies with respect to balancing mission needs with historic values. Section 110 (54 USC Ch. 3061) directs that historic preservation is to be integrated into the programs of federal agencies. Agencies meet this responsibility by taking steps to identify and thoughtfully manage historic properties in their care as well as through compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA (54 USC § 306108). Section 106 requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their projects and programs on historic properties and provide the ACHP a reasonable opportunity to comment on them. The ACHP’s regulations implementing Section 106 36 CFR Part 800 detail this consultative review process. The EO further directs agencies to advance good preservation stewardship by pursuing partnerships with state and local governments, Indian tribes, and the private sector to promote the preservation of the unique cultural heritage of communities and to realize the economic benefit that these properties can provide through activities like heritage tourism, housing businesses and organizations that can operate in harmony with an agency’s mission, or contributing to the ongoing vitality of small towns and city centers as focal points of civic activity. The ACHP continues to see the use of partnerships to identify, protect, and use historic properties trending upwards. As in the 2017 progress reports, federal agencies are increasingly receptive to, and entering into, preservation partnerships in their management of historic properties. Throughout this report the term “historic properties” is used as defined in the NHPA as those buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts that are listed in, or are eligible for listing in, the National Register of Historic Places (National Register). The term includes National Historic Landmarks (NHLs), which are designated by the Secretary of the Interior for their exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the nation.
LIST OF ALL AGENCIES SUBMITTING A 2020 SECTION 3 PROGRESS REPORT
›› National Institute of Standards and Technology ›› National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ›› National Park Service ›› Tennessee Valley Authority ›› U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ›› U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ›› U.S. Forest Service ›› U.S. Geological Survey ›› U.S. International Boundary Water Commission ›› U.S. Postal Service
›› Armed Forces Retirement Home ›› Bureau of Land Management ›› Bureau of Reclamation ›› Department of Defense ›› Department of Energy ›› Department of Homeland Security ›› Department of Labor ›› Department of Veterans Affairs ›› Federal Aviation Administration ›› General Services Administration ›› Maritime Administration ›› National Aeronautics and Space Administration
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Rehabilitating a WWII Black Officers’ Club Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
In 2011, Fort LeonardWood, Missouri, seriously considered the complete demolition of Building 2101.Today, the building serves as a training facility featuring classrooms, offices, and an unexpected history lesson for its visitors. Building 2101 is one of two remainingWorldWar II-era black officers’ clubs in the nation. Its 2018 rehabilitation preserved one of the few tangible pieces of the segregated Army’s history.The central focus of the building’s restoration and reuse is the hand-painted 1945 mural by Staff Sergeant Samuel Countee. Countee was stationed at Fort LeonardWood where the former Black Officers’ Club now bears his name as Staff Sgt. Samuel A. Countee Hall.The rehabilitation of the building was the result of a successful Section 106 consultation process that involved the Missouri SHPO, the ACHP, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Pulaski County NAACP, Rolla NAACP, SammieWhiting Ellis (Countee’s niece), Missouri Preservation, and Center for Sustainable Solutions.
Countee Hall acts as a setting for the story of theWWII-era segregated Army to be told.The rehabilitation allowed for the mural and stonework constructed by German prisoners of war to survive in its original context.Without the building, the stonework would be an incongruous feature on a forgotten corner of the installation.The Countee mural, while impressive in its own right, taken out of context loses some of its significance because it would no longer be viewed within the setting of the WWII-era club. In March 2020, the project was awarded the ACHP’s Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation.“There was an enormous outpouring of support for preserving one of only two remaining black officers’ clubs so that the story of African American soldiers during a time of segregation could be told to future generations,” then-Chairman Aimee Jorjani said.“The United States Army worked with federal, state, and local partners, as well as individuals with family ties to the historic building. We honor the U.S.Army’s commitment to preservation and applaud the efforts of the partners to bring this project to fruition.”
The award presentation; from left to right: Paul Edmondson, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Hon.Alex A. Beehler, former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment; former Chairman Aimee Jorjani; SammieWhiting Ellis, Countee’s niece; Major General Donna Martin, former commander of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence at Fort LeonardWood; Charlie Neel, chief, Environmental Division, Fort LeonardWood; Stephanie Nutt, cultural resources manager, Fort LeonardWood. (ACHP)
SSG Countee’s mural, considered the defining feature of the building, depicting a couple at a picnic. (U.S.Army)
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From an obscure piece of survivingWWII history to a showpiece for the installation and the Department of the Army, Countee Hall strikes the perfect balance between mission needs and historic preservation. The property stands as an example of how the Army can come to a decision through meaningful consultation that is in the best interest of both the historic property and the Army. Countee Hall will continue to be a viable facility that meets the current needs of the installation, while preserving the original features of the building and telling the story of the WWII-era segregated Army, the German POWs interned at Fort LeonardWood, and artist and soldier Samuel Countee’s life and works. To see a commemorative video produced for the Chairman’s Award presentation ceremony click on the image below.
Countee Hall pre-rehabilitation (U.S.Army)
Countee Hall post-rehabilitation (U.S.Army)
SSG Countee posing with his completed mural in 1945 as reported in the installation’s newspaper. (U.S.Army)
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IMPLEMENTATION OF PREVIOUS REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS
Challenges and opportunities identified by federal agency reporting and the recommendations in the 2018 Section 3 report generated several preservation initiatives carried out by the ACHP over the last three years. Efforts to increase the efficiency of infrastructure project delivery were highlighted in the 2018 report with a finding recognizing the importance of accessible digital information to federal agency decision makers, real property managers, and project planners. Historic property inventories function best as planning tools when they are complete and accurate and can inform siting decisions early in project development. In recognition of the significance of digital information, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, to increasing the efficiency of Section 106 reviews and offering greater opportunities for historic property avoidance, the ACHP formed a Digital Information Task Force in the fall of 2018. The Task Force considered how to improve the availability of digital and geospatial information about historic properties to inform federal project planning and reported its recommendations in March 2020. As of this writing, the ACHP is implementing the Digital Information Task Force’s recommendations, including actions in support of raising awareness among federal decision makers and the public about the utility of digital cultural resources data, identifying opportunities for funding and resource enhancement, finding ways to enable cultural resources GIS data exchanges among participants in the federal preservation program, and encouraging the proper management and security of sensitive cultural and geospatial resources. These recommendations are relevant to how federal agencies identify and protect the historic properties in their ownership, and the need for further progress on the use of digital tools to track and appropriately share cultural resources information is reflected in the findings of this report.
USIBWC Cultural Resource Manager Mark Howe at U.S.- Mexico International Boundary Marker Monument 32 in New Mexico (USIBWC/Mark Howe)
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The importance of digital tools and online access to data about historic properties was placed in sharp relief with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a shift to telework and took many consultation processes online. The ACHP expanded the use of its e106 Documentation Submittal System and processed all correspondence in electronic format. The ACHP also responded to questions from federal agencies, states, Indian tribes, and other stakeholders about how to navigate new challenges in federal historic preservation reviews generated by these unprecedented circumstances by posting a suite of frequently asked questions, links, and other advice on its website. Due to the ongoing nature of pandemic emergency response efforts, the ACHP extended the time within which the special emergency review procedures in the Section 106 regulations can be used for undertakings responding to COVID-19, set to expire on March 31, 2021. Another finding identified an avenue for improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of project review for infrastructure projects affecting historic properties on federal lands through strengthening and expanding the use of Section 106 program alternatives. Over the last three years, the ACHP has worked with numerous agencies in evaluating, developing, and implementing programmatic approaches to property management and infrastructure project review, including Department of the Army Program Comment for Inter-war Era Housing (2020), Department of Veterans Affairs Program Comment for Vacant and Underutilized Properties (2018), Program Comment to Exempt Consideration of Effects to Rail Properties within Rail Rights-of-Way (2018), and the USDA-Rural Development Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for Sequencing Section 106 (2018). Other actions designed to enhance the efficiency of infrastructure project reviews while ensuring consideration of historic properties included the ACHP’s participation as a member of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, the Broadband Interagency Working Group, and as a signatory to the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding Implementing One Federal Decision Under Executive Order 13807. The ACHP assists other federal permitting and land-managing agencies in coordinating their NHPA responsibilities with other environmental laws and regulations when collaborating in these initiatives. Participation in interagency coordination efforts has helped contribute to the improvement of permitting processes and promoted consideration of historic properties at both the project and policy levels. The ACHP also took steps to help agencies identify opportunities to improve coordination, collaboration, and support for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and Indian tribes in Section 106 reviews on infrastructure projects, such as through new Guidance on Assistance to Consulting Parties in the Section 106 Review Process (2018) and Early Coordination with Indian Tribes in Pre-Application Processes: A Handbook (2019). The ACHP encouraged early coordination with Indian tribes by distributing the new Handbook to federal agencies and the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and by speaking at conferences to tribal, federal, and industry audiences. In 2018, federal agencies’ reports noted their efforts to comply with “Reduce the Footprint” requirements and identified challenges in balancing the need to dispose of or find alternative uses for federal property with preservation approaches. The report urged further development of policies and procedures to assist them in considering historic properties in fulfilling these requirements and noted how reuse of historic facilities by federal agencies or others creates cost-effective preservation outcomes. In October 2019, then-Chairman Aimee Jorjani formed a Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings Working Group to help the ACHP develop recommendations for overcoming obstacles to increased leasing of federal historic buildings to nonfederal partners, and to provide guidance on
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agency reuse and consolidation in federal historic buildings. The strategies and successes it presents are a direct result of federal agencies identifying their preservation challenges through the Section 3 reporting process and then partnering with the ACHP in exploring solutions. Partnerships have been a highlight of Section 3 reporting since its inception. The 2018 report recognized that partnerships can leverage limited federal resources and provide important benefits to federal agencies in the identification, protection, and use of historic properties. During the last three years, the ACHP has encouraged federal agency partnerships with preservation stakeholders in its approach to major preservation issues identified by federal land- and property-managing agencies in the last reporting cycle. The ACHP’s Digital Information Task Force emphasized data exchange between federal agencies and state, tribal, and local governments in considering how to increase the availability of historic properties’ survey data to project planning. The ACHP’s Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings Working Group closely considered how partnerships between private developers and federal agencies can help ensure the long-term preservation of federally owned historic buildings. Beneficial partnerships between agencies and those who play key roles in the Section 106 review process were highlighted in the 2018 Guidance on Assistance to Consulting Parties in the Section 106 Review Process . The ACHP’s Preservation Trades Training Task Force demonstrated the value of partnerships allowing future skilled craftspeople to learn preservation trades while also contributing to the maintenance of federal historic properties. These efforts remain faithful to the NHPA’s vision of the federal preservation program as a partnership with roles divided between the federal government and state, tribal, and local governments while recognizing that collaboration around shared interests has the potential to amplify the impact of federal agency preservation leadership into communities across the country.
Apollo 11 Flight Director Gene Kranz is surrounded by grand opening participants at the ribbon cutting ceremony including former ACHP Chairman MilfordWayne Donaldson. (NASA Johnson)
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NASA Restoration of Mission Control Center Completed Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
In the 2018 Section 3 Report, the ACHP highlighted the ongoing restoration of the Mission Control Center (MCC) National Historic Landmark at Johnson Space Center (JSC).The restoration has recreated the scene back to 1969 down to the last detail–the carpet, wallpaper, and replicated ceiling tiles; the modules in the refurbished original consoles were configured to harken back to the Apollo program. Even original chairs, ash trays, bookcases, and trash cans were either obtained or reproduced.Also restored was theVisitor Viewing Room, which included significant repairs and cleaning to original carpet and the original theater-style chairs.The Simulation Control Room was outfitted with original, nonworking Apollo consoles and hanging monitors, and the “Bat Cave” rear-projection mirror system was re-utilized using modern projectors. The ACHP assisted with the funding of the project by managing the $4 million raised by Space Center Houston and the City ofWebster, Texas. NASA cannot accept public donations that have a targeted purpose, but through provisions in the National Historic Preservation Act, the ACHP has the flexibility to accept donations and designate the funds for specific historic preservation projects.This was the first time this authority had been used to assist an agency preservation project. On June 28, 2019, former ACHP Chairman MilfordWayne Donaldson attended the ribbon- cutting and grand opening ceremony. In July 2019, the project was awarded the ACHP’s Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation. “JSC prioritized historic preservation and recognized not only the historical value of restoring the MCC, but the educational value,” former Vice Chairman Leonard Forsman said. “This is a huge testament to JSC’s commitment to preserving the past to inform the future–a future that offers much promise and hope.”
To see a commemorative video produced for the Chairman’s Award presentation ceremony click the image below.
The restoration included obtaining or reproducing the original chairs, ash trays, bookcases, and trash cans. (NASA Johnson)
Installation of reproduced equipment. (NASA Johnson)
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DEVELOPING, USING, AND MAKING AVAILABLE DIGITAL INFORMATION ON HISTORIC PROPERTIES
Accurate, up-to-date inventories of historic properties in federal ownership, control, or care form the foundation for determining management priorities for those properties. Only with an understanding of their historic properties—their condition; the historical, economic, and educational values they embody; and the agency resources needed and realistically available to care for them—can agencies design management policies and shape plans that address their federal preservation responsibilities arising from the NHPA. Federal agencies were requested to report on whether their identification methods changed during 2017-2020 and approximately what total percentage or portion of their real property inventory has now been surveyed and evaluated for the National Register. A number of agencies noted advances in collection of survey information about historic properties in digital format, enabling direct population of agency GIS layers or other databases. For example, in 2020, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) rolled out a mobile application for the agency’s Forest Service Heritage Web/Mobile database that allows users to download data for viewing in the field as well as to enter data on tablets for direct upload to the agency database. DIGITAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT In its 2018 Section 3 report the ACHP recommended that multiple agencies, in consultation with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) and the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO), review currently available systems and take steps to promote the development of an electronically available inventory of previous surveys and the presence of historic properties that meets national inventory standards. The ACHP addressed this finding through the formation of a Digital Information Task Force in fall 2018. The Task Force’s findings and recommendations, presented to the ACHP membership in March 2020, recognized that states, Indian tribes, and local governments are primary managers
Shipwreck of the Norman , a 296-foot bulk carrier. Sunk in collision with the Canadian steamer Jack on May 30, 1895. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, MI ( NOAA)
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of cultural resources data and recommended that federal agencies seek ways to enable cultural resources GIS data exchanges with these partners. As historic properties data is increasingly managed in electronic format, it can move much more efficiently between agencies and State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) to enable decision making about historic properties stewardship and project planning decisions on or affecting federal properties. A key consideration for this efficiency, however, is securing the data and restricting access where appropriate, as may be the case to protect archaeological sites or to ensure the confidentiality of information about properties of religious and cultural significance to Indian tribes or NHOs. Data sharing arrangements with SHPOs are a component of many agency and facility historic preservation programs. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) successful Cultural Resources Data Partnership (CRDP) with 11 western SHPOs continues to operate, helping ensure SHPOs and BLM have consistent information about properties identified on BLM land, and that such information can also inform project planning led by other entities. In July 2018, BLM released a policy defining a National Cultural Resource Management Data Standard, establishing consistent fields for historic properties inventories on BLM-administered lands. The standard developed out of the CRDP and is implemented through the National Cultural Resource Information Management System (NCRIMS), a geospatial database and online web application maintained by the BLM National Operations Center. NCRIMS is helping BLM save on costs in the project review process and create “measurable efficiencies” in its project reviews and land use planning activities. BLM reports, “Cultural resource data are more broadly available, aiding large- scale analyses, enabling predictive modeling, enhancing the BLM’s response to wildfire and other emergency situations, improving the accuracy of project budgets, and enabling national level access to key program reporting metrics.” Data sharing through online platforms and GIS layers raises other questions about information security and access control, however. Not all cultural resources data is suitable
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for online mapping, such as properties of significance to Indian tribes or information that could expose sensitive archaeological sites to harm. Digital tools that enable access to sensitive or protected information for authorized users must include appropriate security measures and access controls. As the ACHP noted in its 2020 Digital Information Task Force Recommendations and Action Plan, participants in the federal preservation program lack best practices for managing digital cultural resources data. Further work is needed to ensure long-term data security. HIGHLIGHTS ›› The first phase of the USFS Heritage Export Tool (HET) started as a partnership with the Washington
SHPO and allows National Forests in Washington to share geospatial and tabular data with the SHPO. The tool makes USFS data readable through common database and GIS applications. Region 6 archaeologists and historians are now working on a companion tool to enable the upload of USFS data to the Washington SHPO’s database. USFS is also exploring a way to import data obtained from consulting parties to the Forest Service’s Heritage Web/Mobile database. In 2020, the USFS began the second phase of work on the HET to expand it into an agency-wide tool for data sharing from the Heritage database. ›› The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Albuquerque District maintains internal cultural resources GIS databases and a data sharing agreement with the New Mexico SHPO. The District uses customized data requests for geospatial information from the New Mexico Cultural Resources Information System to examine potential impacts to sites resulting from lake level fluctuations or drawdowns. ›› The USACE St. Paul District gathers field survey information online that directly populates the District’s cultural resources GIS database. Digital tools are enabling other efficiencies in historic property management. Online tools offer new opportunities to link relevant data across multiple databases and to more fully integrate awareness of historic properties into agency planning and management procedures. GIS layers serve as a planning tool for federal agencies and others who plan projects that may affect or involve federal historic properties. Where accurate and up-to-date information is mapped, project planners can anticipate and adjust project plans to avoid or minimize adverse effects. In the case of the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) online GIS-based inventory tool, the planned addition of historic district designation status could assist potential tenants or lessees exploring locational options by ensuring they are aware of the historic status of a building. For energy companies and utilities seeking right-of-way across federal lands, the availability of historic properties information in GIS format facilitates informed early planning that can help avoid adverse effects to historic properties. Digital tools can also support pro-active coordination between federal agencies and Indian tribes. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Tribal Directory Assistance Tool (TDAT), for example, could, if regularly updated, provide
Water screening techniques for archaeology data recovery, Appomattox Court House National Historical Park,VA (NPS)
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Building Trust and Providing Access to BLM Lands Arizona and California
TheWest Mojave Route Network Project (WEMO) is a large-scale planning area encompassing 3.1 million acres of public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California state office. In 2019, the BLM authorized theWEMO project, and amended the California Desert Conservation Area Plan to permit implementation of nine travel management plans that will improve access to public lands for recreation and other purposes, as well as addressing livestock grazing needs in the area.To ensure cultural resources within the planning area are managed properly, the BLM worked with consulting parties including Indian tribes, the Off HighwayVehicle community, avocational groups interested in historic preservation, and recreation advocates to create a multi-faceted strategy for identification and evaluation of historic properties.The BLM developed a GIS predictive model based on cultural site locations and public use intensity to guide needed cultural resource inventory and evaluation within the planning area, eliminating the need to complete field survey for the entire management unit.
National Cultural Resource Information Management System Interface (BLM/F. Kirk Halford)
The accuracy of the model improves as new inventory data is added annually and affords application of adaptive management methods that benefit resource management.An evaluation plan containing a pre-contact research design for the area and a historic trails context study are in development.These documents will reduce consultation timeframes for completing National Register of Historic Places eligibility determinations for cultural sites. In 2017, the BLMArizona state office initiated the process of converting cultural resource data to a digital, geospatial format.This effort will bring Cultural Heritage Program data into conformance with the BLM’s National Cultural Resource Management Data Standard, providing a common digital data set accessible to BLM Cultural Heritage Specialists across the country. The pilot project focused on scanning and geo-referencing USGS 7.5 minute quadrangles, digitizing geometry for site and survey data from existing BLM records and a database managed by the Arizona State Museum, and populating attribute data from content in paper records housed at the Sonoran Desert National Monument.Work associated with the pilot project was completed by a GIS intern through the Arizona Conservation Corps and guided by several BLM cultural resource and geospatial program subject matter experts. BLMArizona is in the process of adding data from the Arizona Strip District and the Lake Havasu Field and Yuma Field Offices. Completing this work will align BLMArizona Cultural Heritage Program data with BLM policy and national data standards, and support land use planning to realize BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mandate.
WEMO interns conducting archaeological excavations (BLM/Shannon LaBelle)
IN A SPIRIT OF STEWARDSHIP: A REPORT ON FEDERAL HISTORIC PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 2021 | 19
contact information for Indian tribes based on their counties of ancestral and current interest. Agencies and project proponents can use the database to identify and contact interested tribes about their concerns when planning projects that may require federal permits, licenses, or other approvals. During the reporting period, the ACHP worked with the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and HUD to plan for upgrades to TDAT so that it might serve as a regularly updated, government-wide tribal contact information resource. Reliable and accessible information about areas of tribal interest enables early coordination efforts, which can be beneficial for both the protection of historic properties and for efficiencies in the Section 106 review process. HIGHLIGHTS ›› GSA’s Historic Building Documentation Resource, launched in 2019, allows GSA to consolidate National Register nominations, Building Preservation Plans, paint analysis results, and other documents so employees can access the body of available documents by building name and other search factors. ›› U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has developed a Desktop Survey Program to quickly and easily provide survey information for portions of the agency’s portfolio that either do not meet the National Register criteria or for facilities that have previous determinations of which CBP has not been aware. By integrating data from SHPO databases, the National Register Information System, and other sources of past survey information, the program is developing a more complete picture of CBP’s historic property inventory. The program has proven an efficiency that allows CBP to focus its survey efforts on portions of the portfolio where information is lacking and/or is more likely to be National Register-eligible. ›› The USACE St. Paul District uses an online GIS cultural portal to accurately identify previously surveyed areas and historic property locations. The portal allows field viewing of data as well as direct uploads to the database. It enables cultural resources staff to streamline reviews and connect the District’s projects and studies into a single database. ›› The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Environmental Tracking System (NETS) database provides a unified platform for cultural resources data management, recordkeeping, and reporting. Used since 2010, the database lists all properties in NASA’s inventory with relevant information about dates of construction and National Register status, including whether assets are located within a historic district or are managed according to the provisions of a Section 106 Programmatic Agreement. Historic properties evaluation information input into NETS is imported to the agency-wide real property management database and GIS system each day. A key efficiency is provided by the system’s ability to house related documentation, such as survey and agreement documents, allowing sharing across the agency. ›› The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) also maintains related documentation about historic properties in its electronic Facilities Management System. The system stores and organizes compliance correspondence, National Register evaluations and nominations, covenants and easements, Section 106 agreements, and images in addition to tracking essential facility management data points, including historic property status.
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›› The Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) is working on an update to its web- based cultural resources management platform based on the Arches open source software program, the Information and Resource Inventory System, to add a module to facilitate Section 106 compliance workflow and increase Section 106 efficiency while drawing on the extensive data in the AFRH historic resources inventory. ›› While integrating different categories of historic property information and documentation into single systems improves identification and management efforts for federal agencies, some agencies are further developing the capabilities of their historic property databases to enable document exchange and communication with stakeholders, including consulting parties in Section 106 reviews. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has undertaken comprehensive updates to its cultural resources database, adding functionality so that it now operates as the agency’s Cultural Resources Management System. In addition to functioning as a database, the system also offers file sharing with consulting parties, task automation, and a mobile app. After entering 9,000 legacy records into the system, cultural resources staff were able to create a project screening GIS layer based on the data that enables project managers to see where cultural resources surveys have been carried out in the past and thus anticipate Section 106 compliance needs.
INNOVATIVE IDENTIFICATION EFFORTS
Federal agencies also report using digital tools to carry out their identification efforts. For some agencies, technological tools like drones enable survey in areas that were previously impossible or difficult to access through traditional pedestrian or vehicle-based survey methods. HIGHLIGHTS ›› Several Forest System units use LIDAR (light detection and ranging, using a laser mounted in an aircraft) to identify historic properties. LIDAR offers archaeologists a remote way to identify cultural landscapes such as the Boise Basin historic mining district which dates to the gold rush that began in 1862 in Idaho. Since the 1970s, Boise National Forest archaeologists have documented hundreds of mining sites on Forest lands in the basin. However, the relationship of these sites to each other across the large, complex cultural landscape remained unknown until using LIDAR. The National Forest entered into an agreement with Northwest Nazarene University for drone surveys of mining landscapes in the area. The drone footage is being combined with LIDAR imagery collected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to enable a more comprehensive understanding and interpretation of the area’s cultural landscapes and to enable more informed planning for areas that could be affected by federal undertakings. ›› The Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) Upper Colorado Basin Region, Provo Area Office, signed an agreement with Utah State University to collect and interpret geospatial data to investigate modern, historic, and pre-contact irrigation systems and patterns within Utah using multiple lines of evidence such as LIDAR, photogrammetry, aerials, and subsequently ground-truthing the data. BOR intends to share collected data with the Utah SHPO to facilitate broader access to the information.
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›› For the Horseshoe Grazing Coordinated Management Plan within Agua Fria National Monument, BLM Arizona used LIDAR to facilitate Section 106 review for a range improvement project. The imagery led to the identification of 13 previously undocumented pre-contact archaeological sites. According to BLM, use of LIDAR technology expedited identification efforts for Section 106 consultation, streamlining the approval process for a much-needed project.
Nez Perce Tribal intern excavating a circular pit feature at Cooper’s Ferry archaeological site, ID (BLM/David Sisson)
CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS
Particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, agencies are finding increased value from their investments in technology enabling remote work, electronic recordkeeping, and communication with stakeholders. As the work of consultation has changed in response to changed working conditions, agencies have used digital tools to adapt while ensuring important efforts to support their missions and fulfill their historic preservation responsibilities continue. For example, the USFS Rocky Mountain Region developed a system to share files electronically rather than sending hard copies. This allowed the Region to maintain active lines of consultation with tribes that have been affected by COVID-19 and continue to work in telework status on critical projects. The Region hosted a training to explain the electronic file sharing process with interested Indian tribes.
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