BLM Preservation Board Report
December 7-10, 2010
Hotel Latham, 3000 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
In attendance: Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Preservation Officer Robin Burgess (WO), Deputy Preservation Officers (DPO) Robert King (AK), Charlotte Hunter (CA), Dan Haas (CO), Christopher Cook (ES), Gary Smith (MT), Tom Burke (NV), Signa Larralde (NM), Stan McDonald (OR), Byron Loosle (UT), and Ranel Capron (WY), District Manager Becky Heick (AZ), Field Manager (FM) Thomas Heinlein (UT), and field office (FO) Specialists Zane Fulbright (MT) and Diana Hawks (AZ). Members Michael Johnson, Kirk Halford, Mark Storzer, and Tim Smith were unable to attend. Additional BLM attendees were: Marcilynn Burke (Deputy Director), Richard Hanes (WO-240 Division Chief), and Emily Palus, Jerry Cordova, Lucia Kuizon and Michael Thomas (WO-240).
Attending in person from outside the BLM were Will Shafroth (Deputy Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks), Francisco Carrillo (Special Assistant for Historic Preservation), Elizabeth Carls (Solicitor’s Office), Andrew Lewis and Dr. Ruth Trocolli (District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office), Reid Nelson and Nancy Brown (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation), and Sarah Bridges and Dr. Chris Smith (National Resources Conservation Service).
Alice Baldrica (National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers) attended by conference phone.
Facilitator: Kathie Libby (WO-830)
The Board was welcomed to Washington by Deputy Assistant Secretary Will Shafroth who was accompanied by the Special Assistant for Historic Preservation Francisco Carrillo. Deputy Assistant Secretary Shafroth emphasized his willingness to assist the Board in its efforts to revise the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) programmatic agreement (PA) and discussed his role on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, as well as the Secretary’s priorities, and the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.
BLM Deputy Director Marcilynn Burke then welcomed the Board to Washington. She thanked the state and field office Board members for their work in support of the BLM mission. She provided an overview of the Bureau’s priorities and her involvement in developing a Department of Interior (DOI) tribal consultation policy.
District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office
C. Andrew Lewis, Senior Preservation Specialist, and Dr. Ruth Trocolli, District of Columbia (District) Archaeologist gave a presentation on the District’s historic preservation office and programs. They reviewed the scope and breadth of the District’s historic and archaeological resources – 500 National Historic Landmarks and 42 Historic Districts -- and roles and responsibilities in the compliance review and enforcement of over 4500 applications for construction and demolition permits per year. They highlighted the complexities of managing the review and consultation process given the multiple jurisdictions in the District and high level of public interest. They described the District’s public education programs, including the brochures, heritage trails, and awards and the application of its Geographic Information System (GIS) to management of archaeological data.
WO-240 Update and BLM FY2011 Priorities
WO-240 Division Chief Richard Hanes gave an update on the budget and an overview of the Division highlights for the past year. Tribal Consultation remains a focal point for WO-240, the BLM, and the DOI. The President and Secretary will be meeting with tribal leaders on December 16, 2011 the second such tribal leader summit meeting for President Obama. Richard is the alternate representative to BLM Deputy Director Marcilynn Burke for development of a Departmental tribal consultation policy. The group has completed a draft and anticipates its release in the near future.
Budget Planning and Priorities
Emily Palus reviewed the FY2010 budget. Of $16.5M, $12.1M was allocated to primary Program Elements, $670K to “N” codes (Law Enforcement), $930K to “DF,” (Resource Management Planning), and $2.8M to “X” codes, services (including our contribution to the operation of the mail room and technical support).
The FY11 budget proposed by the President is $16.7M, an increase of $200K. We are currently operating under a continuing resolution that expires on December 18. The Washington office (WO) will continue to rely heavily on the Budget Performance System for budget planning and Emily noted some states did not rank projects for FY 2011, but hope they would for FY 2012. Emily explained that one of the WO priorities is to balance program components to ensure that the less utilized work elements, including those for tribal consultation, Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act implementation, museum collections, paleontology, and Archaeological Resources Protection Act implementation, are represented, in addition to NHPA 110 work.
Update on Collections and Native American Graves Protection Act Implementation
The Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) report on museum collections had 13 recommendations and the Department concurred with some comments. Terry Childs, Museum Policy Manager for the Department is coordinating implementation of the Action Plan that includes tasks required for the bureaus. To direct implementation of the audit recommendations and steer museum property initiatives, the Executive Museum Property Committee was reconstituted and meets every other month to focus on backlogs in accessioning and updates to the Department Manual. Assistant Director Ed Roberson represents the BLM on the Committee. The Executive Leadership Committee directs the Interior Property Committee, for which Emily Palus represents the BLM.
Emily also reported on the status of the OIG Inspection Report on BLM facilities holding museum property, and that all findings related to the BLM facilities in Colorado, Montana, and Oregon were corrected.
The Governmental Accountability Office report on Federal agency implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act found the agency compliance to be generally deficient and the bureaus must complete a needs assessment by May 2, 2011 for consolidation into a Department-wide assessment. Emily stated that the Department was issuing a directive on this and that she would be relying on input from the states in preparing the BLM assessment.
Heritage Program Updates
Lucia Kuizon, Senior Paleontologist, Michael Thomas, Historian, Emily Palus, as Law Enforcement Liaison, and Jerry Cordova, Tribal Coordinator, provided highlights of their program achievements over the past year. Lucy briefed the Board on progress toward developing regulations to implement the Paleontological Resource Protection subtitle of the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009. She does not anticipate public hearings but there will be a Federal Register notice. In addition, Lucy is working on an effort to implement a permit tracking system based on the permitting software used by the minerals program. Lucy does not anticipate that the regulations will alter the BLM procedures or policies or increase the BLM workload.
Michael Thomas described his work to document the role of minorities in settling the public lands, support of the heritage education program initiative, and resource management plan reviews. Michael also described a recent partnership among the BLM, Coppin State University and Howard University. The partnership will result in research on the contributions of minorities to the west. Michael is also contributing to research on a ship that was built in the Baltimore Inner Harbor and used in the war of 1812.
Emily Palus gave highlights of the Bureau’s law enforcement efforts over the past year, including the Cerberus Action investigation into trafficking of looted artifacts in the Four Corners and Operation Bring ‘Em Back in Oregon. Emily also mentioned the collaboration of WO-240 and Law Enforcement to develop education and outreach programs.
Jerry Cordova summarized a year of significant achievements in Indian policy, including the engagement of the Obama administration with tribes of which the President’s summit in 2009 and the one scheduled for December 16 are examples. For tribes, the development of the public lands has great significance and sensitivity, and the new tribal consultation policy is anticipated to provide greater certainty to the process by which agencies consult with tribes before authorizing development. Jerry held a BLM tribal liaisons meeting this summer in Nevada and listed some of the observations that came from that group, including recognition of a disconnect between management and staff, a need for comprehensive tribal consultation policy and guidance similar to the former 8160 Manual Section, and requests by tribes for training in the BLM’s land use planning process.
Review of Responses to IM 2010-0194, Draft Programmatic Agreement (PA) Implementing the National Historic Preservation Act.
The Board members began a review of the September 3, 2010 draft revised PA with a facilitated discussion on state responses to Instruction Memorandum (IM) 2010-0194, Draft Programmatic Agreement Implementing the National Historic Preservation Act. In addition to thanking the field officials for their tribal consultation on the PA revision to date and a request that they continue that effort, the IM requested formal field office comments on the draft PA. The BLM developed the September 3, 2010 draft from the December 18, 2009 draft revision strategy (IM 2009-037, Tribal Consultation Outreach Update and Next Steps), comments from tribes and others, and input of the BLM Preservation Board, the ACHP and the NCSHPO. As envisioned in the PA revision strategy, sent to tribes and made available through a December 28, 2009, Federal Register notice, the draft contains more specificity on the BLM process for National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 compliance and reflects the 2004 revision to the 36 CFR part 800 regulations.
The responses from field and state offices to IM 2010-0194 identified a variety of comments and concerns, but most offices emphasized lacking the resources necessary to meet any new commitments. In addition, field and state offices are concerned about losing efficiencies and the state-by-state and field office-by-field office flexibility in carrying out NHPA Section 106 responsibilities that they have under the existing PA and state-specific protocols. The Board reviewed the responses and developed recommendations for addressing or responding to them and noted that the BLM should carefully weigh the benefits of a proposed revision against any commitments it makes that are above and beyond the 36 CFR part 800 regulations.
Discussion with the ACHP on the September 3, 2010 draft of the national PA
Reid Nelson and Nancy Brown of the ACHP, Alice Baldrica representing the NCSHPO, and Francisco Carrillo and Elizabeth Carls representing the DOI, joined the Board to discuss the ACHP’s comments on the September 3, 2010 draft of the PA.
Although comments on the September 3, 2010 draft of the PA were not provided by the ACHP, Reid indicated they were forthcoming, pending an opportunity for the new ACHP Chainman to meet with BLM leadership. However, he indicated that the ACHP Native American Advisory Group (NAAG) was frustrated by the extent of changes included in the September 3 draft as well as the extent of BLM’s consultation with tribes during draft development. As a suggestion, he recommended more specific language on standard compliance procedures and on the development of state-specific protocols. He recognizes that the protocols have been successful in streamlining consultation between the BLM and State Historic Preservation Offices, as well as in facilitating data sharing. However, he said the process must allow tribes and the public to be part of the discussion on what types of projects or resources will be reviewed through an expedited process. Reid said the ACHP remains committed to working with the BLM toward completion of the PA revision but will recommend a small course correction. He further recommended that the BLM, NCSHPO, and ACHP not rush to complete the document in order to meet a self-imposed deadline. The BLM asked that the ACHP comments include specific edits on the current draft and detailed information on ACHP expectations for additional tribal consultation for execution of a revision.
Review of Responses from Tribes, State Historic Preservation Offices, Non-Governmental entities, and private individuals to Director’s September 3, 2010 letter and draft PA
The Board, Nancy Brown, Alice Baldrica, Francisco Carrillo, and Elizabeth Carls next participated in a facilitated review of all the comments received from State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) and tribes and developed recommendations for addressing or responding to them. Alice emphasized the importance of the BLM-SHPO protocols in helping SHPOs, especially at a time when SHPOs are underfunded and experiencing furloughs and hiring freezes. Alice also expressed appreciation for the continuing efforts of the BLM to implement the recommendations of the NCSHPO-BLM task force. She said that SHPOs recognized the need to improve the conformity of the PA with the revised 36 CFR Part 800 regulations (for instance with regard to eligibility determinations) and said that most SHPOs were generally positive in their comments on the September 3 draft. Alice noted further that while there is room for individuality in the two party state protocols, they should be similar with regard to the 106 compliance process. Alice suggested that some of the information now in BLM manual be incorporated into the PA itself and also that the revised PA include a sunset clause. Nancy Brown agreed that moving material from the BLM manuals would remove some of the confusion concerning the BLM’s 106 process and lessen or remove the need for review of the manuals. Alice also emphasized that states did not want their two party protocols with the BLM to address how the BLM accomplished its tribal consultation responsibilities. The states only want assurance that the BLM has accomplished tribal consultation.
Following the discussion of tribal comments, Francisco asked the Board to consider if the BLM had done its due diligence regarding tribal consultation on the PA revision. He reiterated the Department’s support of and willingness to assist the Board’s efforts. He added that he hoped the new DOI consultation policy will be helpful in engaging senior management and in moving the DOI away from overly agency-centric perspectives. He said that he sees the PA revision as an opportunity and understands that revision will require continued discussion.
The Board, Nancy Brown, Alice Baldrica, and Elizabeth Carls next reviewed comments from non-governmental entities and private individuals and developed recommendations for addressing or responding to them.
Following the review, the Board broke into work groups to consider responses to the comments and make recommendations on revisions to the September 3, 2010 draft. Following the break-out session, the Board reassembled and reviewed the entire draft as a group.
Action Item: Robin will prepare a new draft PA based on the work of the Board. Chris Cook will help to finalize a matrix of specific comments and responses. The States will take the lead in preparing response letters to tribes and state-based organizations. The WO will prepare responses to national organizations.
BLM Liaison Lessons Learned:
Nancy Brown presented a brief report on her year as the ACHP liaison to the BLM. Nancy has been instrumental in advising the BLM on the BLM’s fast track renewable energy projects. She was also involved in a Wyoming field review, training, and the completion of several major project-specific programmatic agreements. Nancy offered to present 106 training in other states, based on the 36 CFR Part 800 and/or the BLM 106 compliance process. She noted that her schedule is filling up quickly and encouraged states to make training requests soon. Finally Nancy said she is looking at the liaison communication and coordination protocols to recommend changes based on her experience to date.
Action Item: Nancy will review the communication protocols and recommend changes if needed to improve 106-related communication between BLM offices, the ACHP and SHPOs.
Update on Heritage Program training: The Board training committee members, Bob, Signa, Kirk, Stan, and Emily, recently met in Phoenix with Pat Walsh of the National Training Center (NTC). Bob reviewed the status of the training program and plans for the future. He noted the excellent reviews received from 8100 course attendees, and the desirability of maintaining a classroom format for that course. He also mentioned the availability of web based training through the NTC’s Knowledge Resource Center and the inevitability of converting most classes to a distance learning format.
Bob also outlined a proposal that the NTC assist the WO with the roll out of the revised PA. He suggested that the NTC produce a module with Richard, Robin, and Jerry providing highlights on the changes to the PA. He also suggested that the Director or Deputy Director provide a brief introduction. When revisions to individual state protocols are complete, they will require state-specific training.
Roundtable on PA Implementation:
The Board next participated in a round table discussion on implementation of a revised PA. Several challenges were identified in this discussion:
- Lack of resources, especially travel dollars and staff time, to hold new meetings with each tribe, especially in California and Alaska where the majority of tribes are located.
- Difficulty of revising state protocols in a way that will meet new standards while retaining the advantages of efficiency and state-to-state and field office-to-field office flexibility in the current protocols.
- Difficulty of convincing state directors and other leadership that a protocol revision is worthwhile and can be successfully accomplished.
- Effort and time required to execute a new protocol. Some states estimated it will take 1-2 years to accomplish protocol revision.
Some states said they would recommend that their state return to operating under the 36 CFR Part 800 regulations. Other states said they needed more clarity on the standards for government-to-government consultation in order to execute a revision.
National Geographic Information Systems Strategy:
Cynthia McDonald, Acting Information Resources Management (IRM) advisor presented an overview of the steps to track cultural resources data as a BLM asset. It would involve reporting regularly on the investment to the Office of Management and Budget. WO 240 is the only program within the Renewable Resources and Planning Directorate that has no data investments. To avoid listing cultural resources data as a separate investment, it could be folded under the Enterprise Geographic Information System (EGIS) investment. If WO 240 and the Cultural Resources Data Sharing Program (CRDSP) chose this route, the EGIS project would do all the reporting.
Action: Kirk Halford (national CRDSP coordinator) will discuss the explore opportunities for improved coordination with Cynthia, including tracking cultural resources as an asset. Cynthia will make her informational presentation available to the Board.
June Action Item Updates:
- Collecting Policy (Tom): The Board discussed when tribal notification and tribal consultation should be required for issuance of various types of Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) permits and whether the current BLM manual policy needs updating. States identified a variety of different processes for permitting and field work authorizations. The Board will ensure that the 8150 Manual Section is consistent with ARPA.
Action: Board members will review Tom’s proposed manual section changes and send comments to Tom, and Tom will work with Chris Cook to make any necessary revisions. Tom, Byron, Chris, and Kirk will prepare a draft Instruction Memorandumthat incorporates other needed changes to the permit process.
- Grazing Permit Renewals (Ranel): The BLM is responding to several challenges on NHPA compliance for grazing permit renewals. Byron described efforts in Utah to develop a defensible process. Zane pointed out the importance of basing a reasonable and good faith effort to identify resources on the actual impacts and impact locations. Impacts are not “grazing” per se and may vary significantly depending on the type, number, and age of the grazing animals. This information should inform BLM compliance process for renewals.
Action: Richard and Robin will prepare a briefing for WO-200 on recent challenges to the sufficiency of BLM’s NHPA compliance for grazing permit renewals. State leads will post state-specific process on the SharePoint site.
- Homesteading Celebration (Bob): Bob reminded the Board that 2012 is the 150th anniversary of the signing by President Lincoln of the 1862 Homesteading Act as well as many other important anniversaries including the 200th anniversary of the General Land Office and the 100th anniversary of statehood for Arizona and New Mexico. He summarized plans for BLM's commemoration of Homestead Act noting that the idea began 2 years ago at the December 2008 Preservation Board Meeting, and by early 2009 led to the development of an active BLM committee that has met frequently by teleconference. Members are from most BLM western states. From that, several ideas for commemorating the anniversary emerged, including having regional and local events where feasible (perhaps tied to other local events and celebrations), and developing a new BLM Homestead website. Bob noted that there has been good progress with the website, including the development of content and the recent filming of certain BLM Homestead-related sites under a 2010 contract. More filming will continue into early 2011 with certain interviews to be added. Bob also told of BLM's continuing partnership with the Homestead National Monument of America in finding opportunities to jointly commemorate the anniversary including participation in a special conference in 2012. Zane suggested the WO enlist Michael Thomas to develop a multiple property nomination for homestead related properties.
- Preserve America (Robin): Robin reported the results of the teleconference on the Preserve America data call and 2011 report. Bob, Chris, and Charlotte have volunteered to help with the report writing and publication. Robin will send out a draft data call for Board comment.
Action: Robin will send a draft Instruction Memo for the Preserve America Data Call to the Board for review.
Rapid Carbon Assessment Program, Natural Resources Advisory: Ms. Sarah T. Bridges, Federal Preservation Officer for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Dr. Chris Smith, National Leader of Technical Soil Services for NRCS, gave the Board a presentation on the Rapid Carbon Assessment program. They then participated in a joint discussion on how to accomplish this important initiative and meet the BLM’s compliance requirements using a state-by-state approach. Sarah and Chris answered technical and programmatic questions from the Board, including the extent of ground disturbance and flexibility in selecting testing locations. The importance of a protocol for accomplishing future soil survey work was also discussed. Some states offered to point NRCS to previously surveyed locations to avoid new survey.
Action: Robin and Sarah will forward contact information for BLM and NRCS state and regional leads, respectively, and Sarah will suggest that NRCS offices reach out to BLM counterparts. This will ensure that field personnel in both agencies are informed about the status of the initiative and compliance with NHPA. Richard and Robin will also talk to the new BLM soils lead.
June and December 2011 Meeting: The next meeting will be hosted by the BLM Arizona State Office, June 7-10, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona. The December meeting will be held December 6-9 in Washington, DC.
Field Trip: The Board had lunch with Marilyn Nickels, former WO-240 Division Chief and went on a self-guided tour of the Dumbarton Museum and Gardens.