Resource Guide for Site Steward Partnership Programs

IB 2012-033
Information Bulletin

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENTWASHINGTON, D.C.  20240http://www.blm.govJanuary 26, 2012In Reply Refer To:8100 (240) PEMS TRANSMISSION 01/31/2012Information Bulletin No. 2012-033To:                   All Field OfficialsFrom:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and PlanningSubject:           Resource Guide for Site Steward Partnership Programs This Information Bulletin (IB) disseminates information to encourage stewardship programs for monitoring the condition of archaeological sites, trails and historic structures, and to assist state and field units in starting or improving volunteer stewardship programs. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reports to the Department of the Interior (DOI) on the condition of archaeological sites and historic structures, in accordance with the performance measures that support the DOI Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2011-2016 Mission Area 1, Goal 2, Protect America’s Cultural and Heritage Resources.  In reporting conditions, public lands resources benefit from partnerships that recruit, train, and oversee volunteer site stewards.  In fact, most monitoring of cultural properties on BLM-administered lands is accomplished by Site Steward, Trail Steward or Adopt-a-Site volunteers, augmented by the BLM cultural and recreation specialists, law enforcement rangers, and the Civil Air Patrol. With additional training and education, some Site Stewards can also assist the BLM staff with cultural resource inventory and recording. Site Stewards have also assisted with travel management actions, such as signing roads and trails, and reporting on current road and trail conditions.At a national level, the BLM partners with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to administer the Preserve America Stewards program that provides recognition for volunteer site stewards programs.  The following BLM partners have received the First Lady’s Preserve America Steward designation:  San Juan Mountains Association, the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership and Public Lands Institute, Kaibab Vermillion Cliffs Heritage Alliance, the New Mexico Site Watch, and Passport in Time.Recent publications by the Department of Defense and the National Park Service have identified the some key components of a successful site steward program.  Links to the publications are found in Attachment 7.Key Components of a Successful Site Steward Program:

  • Partnership.  Partnering can provide additional funding and other resources, as well as administrative support for the BLM’s cultural resource program, and promote public land stewardship and education. 
  • Leadership.  Partners provide an effective chain of command to facilitate communication.
  • Dedicated Staff.  Dedicated site stewards with a sincere interest in the resources can assure continuity between visits, even over the lifetime of the program, but must be vetted and trained. Consider recruiting by word of mouth.  
  • Training.  Training programs and detailed training manuals ensure that volunteer site-stewards record information on site conditions accurately, consistently, and at the appropriate level of detail.  Opportunities for continued learning and advancement are also very valuable.
  • Code of Ethics.  Require volunteers to abide by a code of ethics and sign confidentiality forms. 
  • Baseline Condition Data.  Baseline data includes the cultural remains currently visible on the surface and, therefore, more likely to be adversely affected by impacts or threats.  The necessary information is often absent on site forms and is important for future effective monitoring visits.
  • Appropriate Scheduling.  Timing and frequency of site visits should be based on the monitoring needs of each site.  Not all sites are appropriate for monitoring by volunteers. Consider that site steward monitoring can cause unintentional impacts to sites, such as by creating a well-used access road or foot trails to a site where limited or no public visitation has occurred in the past.
  • Systematic Photo Stations.  Systematic photo stations established from cardinal directions at specific intervals are recommended for general site condition photographs. 
  • Database.  A database for maintaining monitoring results can facilitate incorporation of monitoring results into planning documents, such as Land Use, Travel Management, and Cultural Resources Management plans.  They can also be used to adjust monitoring and management strategies.

Volunteer Recognition and Celebration.  Tracking hours of volunteers and recognizing them for their efforts on a regular basis, makes the program both fun and rewarding.  Consider annual volunteer appreciation events that can provide public recognition of accomplishments and education opportunities.More detailed information is attached for your reference and use as appropriate, including examples of the BLM’s successful site steward partnerships (Attachment 1); samples of a site steward partnership agreement document (Attachment 2); sample training plan (Attachment 3); sample code of ethics and confidentiality agreement (Attachment 4); sample monitoring forms (attachment 5); a comprehensive program check list (Attachment 6); and links to selected resources available from other agencies (Attachment 7). Signed by:                                                                   Authenticated by:Robin Hawks                                                              Robert M. WilliamsActing, Assistant Director                                          Division of IRM Governance,WO-560Renewable Resources and Planning7 Attachments     1 – BLM Site Steward Programs (3 p)     2 – Sample Partnership Agreement (6 pp)     3 – Sample Volunteer Training Plan (2 pp)     4 – Sample Code of Conduct/Confidentiality Agreement (4 pp)     5 – Sample Monitoring Form (9 pp)              6 – Program Check List (2 pp)     7 – Links to Site Steward Resources (1 p)


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