The Eastern States Office is responsible for managing public lands and resources in 31 States stretching from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean. While the percentage of public lands in this large area is small compared to that in many Western States, BLM still conducts a wide variety of activities in and around large eastern population centers that pose unique challenges and opportunities in the management of cultural resources.
The Eastern States cultural program staff consists of two professional archaeologists located in Jackson, Mississippi, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Additional services and expertise are acquired through private consultants, universities, volunteers, and partnerships—a necessity given the small staff of the Eastern States program.
Eastern States archaeologists review and provide advice on a variety of section 106 (National Historic Preservation Act) undertakings. An active lands and realty program creates an ongoing need for section 106 review prior to the transfer, acquisition, and disposal of public domain lands throughout the East. Eastern States archaeologists also review and ensure compliance on more than 40 million acres of subsurface mineral and related oil and gas permit actions.
Additionally, the Eastern States Office manages three parcels of public lands containing significant cultural or traditional properties: the Jupiter Inlet Area of Critical Environmental Concern in southern Florida; the Lake Vermilion Management Area, containing over 80 islands in several lakes throughout northern Minnesota; and approximately 2,000 acres of property along the lower Potomac River in Maryland and Virginia. Cultural program staff members are integrally involved in land use and activity planning as well as the management of these parcels.
An important component of the cultural heritage program involves consultation with interested parties—including, but not limited to, Native American tribes, State Historic Preservation Offices, and local governments. Eastern States staff members also collaborate with a wide variety of potential and existing partners.
On public domain lands throughout the East, the Eastern States Office works closely with the United States Coast Guard on the transfer of more than two dozen historic lighthouses in the Great Lakes area and along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Partnerships such as these provide opportunities to educate the public and other agencies about BLM’s role in managing important archaeological and historical resources for future generations to enjoy.