BLM Preservation Board Report
June 3-5, 2008
In attendance: Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Preservation Officer Robin Burgess (WO), Deputy Preservation Officers (DPO) Bob King (AK), Michael Johnson (AZ), Ken Wilson (CA), Dan Haas (CO), Gary Smith (MT), Tom Burke (NV), Byron Loosle (UT), Richard Hanes (OR) and Ranel Capron (WY), District Manager Glen Carpenter (UT), Field Office Manager Dayne Barron (CA), and Field Office Specialist Signa Larralde (NM).
Also Attending: Rebecca Lasell (WO), Alice Baldrica, Nevada Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and Chris Cook, Nevada Cultural Resources Data Sharing Partnership (CRDSP) Data Representative, Eric Ingbar (Gnomon, Inc.) and Brooke Brown, Field Office Specialist (OR). Nancy Brown, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), Rolla Queen (ACHP-BLM Liaison), Jeff Jarvis, National Landscape Conservation Service (NLCS), Emily Palus (WO), and Megg Heath (WO) attended by phone.
Location: Reno, Nevada
Tom Burke introduced Patrick Gubbins, Nevada State Office Branch Chief for Renewable Resources, who welcomed the Board to Reno. Robin Burgess then introduced the Board guests, asked members to introduce themselves and reviewed the agenda and goals of the meeting.
Nevada Cultural Resources Overview
Tom Burke and Alice Baldrica presented an overview of cultural resources and cultural resources management in Nevada. Nevada is about 85% Federal land, of which 2/3 is managed by the BLM. There are 27 federally recognized tribes in the State. About 7% of the State has been surveyed for cultural resources and resources include rock art and archaeological sites, mining sites, transportation corridors and historic trails. Principal management challenges are the expansion of energy development and increased demand for recreational opportunities. The SHPO reviewed 181 BLM projects last year and have reviewed 131 to date in 2008. The Nevada SHPO and BLM have a site stewardship partnership with more than 400 volunteer stewards.
Preserve America Initiatives
Robin and Bekki updated the Board on the Preserve America program, including efforts to implement Summit recommendations and complete ongoing initiatives this FY. Robin reported on the May 29 Senior Policy Official meeting, the WO-240 effort to develop criteria for a BLM Preserve America cultural resources award, and the new Preserve America Stewards program and partnership opportunity. The ACHP has approached the BLM to assist the ACHP in administering the Steward program. Bekki reviewed the timeline for the BLM 2008 Preserve America Section 3 report and reminded the Board that written reports are due to WO-240 Jun 27.
Jeff Jarvis, the Division Chief for the National Landscape Conservation System (WO-171), briefed the Board via conference phone on the recent changes in WO-170, the National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships. WO-170 now has two Divisions. Jeff’s Division is WO-171. This Division has 14 staff that supports the BLM's National Monuments, National Conservation Areas and similar designations, Wilderness, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Scenic and Historic Trails. The Division also has positions responsible for partnerships, science and outreach for the Conservation System. The Division of Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships (WO-172), headed by Mary Tisdale, will provide Bureau-wide support for Environmental Education, Heritage Education, Partnerships, Volunteers, Interpretation, and Geotourism. The BLM has created two new subactivities in FY09 and has reprogrammed $20M to these subactivities to support National Monuments and National Conservation Areas. The NLCS is developing guidance on showing cultural resources accomplishments when work is done in NLCS units and Jeff welcomed the Board’s suggestions.
National Historic Trails
Tom Burke briefed the Board on efforts of the NLCS National Scenic and Historic Trails Strategy Implementation Team, to which Tom serves as an Advisor. Nevada has more National Historic Trails than any other State. The team is working on performance measures, recreational use, documentation standards, and Visual Resource Management. The Team plans to develop an independent manual section for National Historic Trails in the future. The Board discussed the application of National Register of Historic Places eligibility and integrity criteria to National Historic Trails and recommended a review of existing guidance on that subject to ensure it was sufficient.
Action: Tom and Robin will send out existing 8100 manual guidance on National Register eligibility of National Historic Trail for the Board to review.
Heritage Education Initiatives
Megg Heath briefed the Board by conference phone on the new Heritage Education Branch within the WO-172. Megg emphasized that, although located within NLCS, the Heritage Education Branch will support the entire Bureau and wants retain a close relationship with the Cultural Resources program and the BLM Preservation Board. Megg described the successes of the Project Archaeology Shelter Unit, including the newest component on rockshelters. She also reported that their section would be looking at revisions to the Adventures in the Past website to maintain its currency and emphasize education. The Board looks forward to continuing our close relationship and wants to stay involved with the Adventures in the Past website.
Volunteer Initiatives: Roundtable on FY08 Passport in Time (PIT) and Site Steward Programs
Ken Wilson led a roundtable on FY08 Passport in Time (PIT) and Site Steward Programs. In FY08, the BLM joined the U.S. Forest Service in supporting PIT. In return the BLM received a reduced overhead rate and WO set aside money to cover part of that administrative cost. Members shared lessons learned from the FY08 PIT Initiative and on site steward and other volunteer programs/projects. Overall the Board thought the reduced price and WO assistance with PIT overheard was valuable, especially with reduced availability of 1050 dollars, but that offices may not have enough information on the PIT program. The Board also provided updates on site steward and other volunteer programs and noted the challenges of finding time to organize them and provide the necessary oversight.
Action: Robin will contact Statistical Research, Inc. and send an Instruction Bulletin to all Field Offices with information on how to do a PIT project in FY09.
BLM-NCSHPO-ACHP Partnering Initiatives
Robin, Alice Baldrica and Nancy Brown (by conference phone) reviewed the partnering activities among the BLM, NCSHPO and ACHP and the status of those activities. Robin reviewed the events of the past year, including the final report from the BLM-NCSHPO task force in July 2007 and approval of a series of actions to implement its recommendations in December 2007, the institution of a BLM liaison at the ACHP and liaison communication improvement initiatives, work with ACHP and NCSHPO to develop a plan of responsive actions to concerns that have been expressed by the ACHP staff and the ACHP Native American Advisory Group on the BLM 1997 national Programmatic Agreement (nPA), and the initiation of those actions with the issuance of Instruction Bulletin 2008-057, “On-Line Training in Working Effectively with Tribal Governments.”
Nancy Brown then gave the ACHP perspective, and emphasized that our respective leadership have recognized the importance of the relationship and the issues and were meeting regularly. She also emphasized that some of the issues have been under discussion for several years and that parties other than nPA signatories, the BLM, ACHP and NCSHPO, have an interest in the outcome.
Alice Baldrica said that many of the concerns the NCSHPO BLM task force centered on the problem of people not talking to each other and the need to reexamine the relationships between BLM State Offices and their counterpart SHPOs. Much of what was needed has now taken place. She noted that SHPOs appreciate their ability to address remaining issues on an individual basis.
Action: Robin and Richard will update the NCSHPO-BLM implementation plan as soon as the BLM-ACHP Action Plan is finalized.
New BLM-ACHP Liaison
Rolla Queen, the new BLM-ACHP liaison introduced himself. Rolla is the BLM Desert District archaeologist and is on detail to WO-240 to serve as the ACHP liaison for 6 months. Rolla brings extensive experience, not only from BLM CA, but from the office of the Florida SHPO, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service. Rolla described his 6 month work-plan and priorities.
BLM-SHPO Cultural Resources Data Sharing Project (CRDSP)
In the absence of Kirk Halford, CRDSP Coordinator, Chris Cook and Eric Ingbar (Gnomon, Inc.) briefed the Board on ongoing CRDSP initiatives, including the annual meeting in April 2008 and results of recent surveys of BLM offices and SHPOs. Eric Inbar gave a national overview of these efforts and the CRDSP 2 and 5 year goals. Two year goals include quantitative information on cost savings, training, development state work plans, and assessment of data entry turn-around time. Five year goals include eliminating data entry backlog, advancing electronic submittal, and improving turn-around time. Chris Cook then talked about the importance of the Data Rep position, recent progress in meeting CRDSP objectives, and the Nevada survey results. In the recent survey, a number of Nevada field specialists expressed dissatisfaction with the capabilities of the current system. Alice Baldrica and Chris Cook explained the background and context for these survey results and plans for addressing them through education and improved technology.
Updates on Pending Action Items
The Board reviewed the Dec 2007 Board Action items and reported on status. Dan Haas noted that his State Director, Sally Wisely, encourages the Preservation Board to move forward on this initiative. The Board agreed to continue with its strategic planning effort with the understanding it will have to conform the DOI and BLM Strategic Plans and also that the next WO-240 Division Chief will bring a new perspective. The Board also agreed that the Strategic Plan, the Risk Assessments and the Field Reviews should be an integrated effort. Richard will post the existing document on the Preservation Board Sharepoint site for further discussion and comment.
Action: Robin will reactivate the permit work group and prepare an IM on use of the reauthorized ARPA permit application form by 1 Aug 08.
Action: Robin will order new Preservation Board briefcases by 1 Nov 08.
Action: Richard Hanes will incorporate discussion on the rough draft Strategic Planning statement and post it on the Preservation Board Sharepoint site.
Action: The Board will send any final comments on the communications improvement protocols, field review plan and frequently asked questions by 30 Jun 08.
Action: The workgroup on Interested Parties Consultation Guidance will review the new National Environmental Policy Act Handbook H-1790-1 before finalizing a draft Instruction Memorandum to the Board.
Bekki gave a semi-annual assessment and budget forecast, briefing the Board on the budget and other programming matters. She then asked for the Board’s input on distribution of flex funding for non NLCS projects. This will no longer be pro-rated among the States. The Board discussed alternatives of establishing a team that includes State Office representatives and establishing more specific criteria and recommended formation of a team to develop criteria for rating and ranking projects.
Action: Richard Hanes, Ken Wilson and Mike Johnson will work with Bekki to recommend criteria for ranking flex-funded projects.
Ranel Capron briefed the Board on the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-123 requirement that Directors sign annual assurance statements and the 2007 DOI Office of Inspector General finding that internal controls were deficient. Ranel also presented the WYO approach to preparing these assessments and asked for the experience of other States. The Board discussed the need to tie risk assessments to the strategic plan and also the role of program reviews, and specifically field reviews, in the internal controls.
Emily Palus briefed the Board via conference phone on the status of various collections initiatives. Emily thanked the Board for their help in providing documentation that allowed closure of the 1999 OIG audit Finding. Emily reminded the Board that the OIG will revisit this issue in 5 years and that WO continues to compile documentation, including Memoranda of Agreement with repositories. She also noted the 2000 OIG audit on NAGPRA compliance. The development of reburial guidance remains a priority. WO is working with the Solicitor’s office and will reassemble the workgroup when this coordination is complete.
There is some money at WO for collections initiatives and DOI will be asking for FY09 proposals at the end of this FY. A workshop to complete the 8160 manual section was approved but may be postponed if it exceeds the travel ceiling. Emily reported that the DOI training had 6 BLM registrants and that 7 more are planning to attend the training at the end of June.
Action: Emily will schedule a teleconference with the Reburial guidance workgroup as soon as she has completed coordination with the Solicitor's Office.
Robin thanked the Board for their work earlier this calendar year on a plan for two field reviews. The plan was based on a template prepared by BLM-ACHP Liaison Bekki Lasell from a plan developed by Ken Wilson. Tom Burke reported on the Field Office review he had just carried out with Alice Baldrica and Ken.
Action: Ken Wilson will send out the interview questions used in the May 2008 Field Review, for the information and use of other DPOs.
BLM Cultural Heritage Program Training
Stan McDonald and Bob King updated the Board on the National Training Center (NTC) cultural heritage training program, including approval to hold a Fundamentals Class in February 2009. The last offering had the highest possible class rating and there is a demand for another session. The NTC has the outline for the ACHP module that was developed by Bekki in response to our nPA partner’s recommendations and will look at this suggested change in connection with training needs identified by the field.
Stan gave the Board a briefing on the increased number of energy transmission projects in Idaho and the unique cultural resources issues they have raised. The Board recommended the establishment of a work group to develop a project for the BLM-ACHP Liaison, Rolla Queen.
Action: Stan, Dan, Tom, Ranel and Michael will develop a proposal for a project that could be carried out by the BLM-ACHP Liaison before Dec 2008. Ideas included a model agreement, a lessons learned summary, and information for consultants.
Planning for Tribal Meetings
Robin and Bekki asked the Preservation Board to brainstorm on making proposed tribal meetings effective. They asked for logistical needs, state assistance, materials, goals and how to consolidate the result. The Board shared ideas for making the meetings productive.
Review Meeting Goals and Establish New Priority Action Items
Robin reviewed the meeting goals and open action items from the December Board meeting and updated the list.
The next Board meeting will be in Washington, D.C. on December 2-4, 2008. CA will host the June 2008 meeting.
The Board was given a tour of Hidden Cave by Jim Carter of the BLM Carson City District and of Grimes Point by Angus Quinlan, Ph.D. of the Nevada Rock Art Foundation.