Guidance for Implementation of National Cultural Resource Management Data Standard

Instruction Memorandum

United States Department of the Interior
National Headquarters, Western Office
Grand Junction, CO 81506
United States

In Reply Refer To:

8100 (HQ-240) P

To:All Field Office Officials
From:Assistant Director, National Conservation Lands and Community Partnerships
Subject:Guidance for Implementation of National Cultural Resource Management Data Standard
Program Area:Historical, Cultural Heritage, Tribal Consultation, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This Instruction Memorandum (IM) provides guidance for implementation of the National Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Data Standard.

The CRM data standard creates a landscape and interstate level database for cultural heritage resources/sites and investigation/inventory data, which can be used to consider cultural heritage resources during large scale analyses such as resource management plans or programmatic environmental impact statements. The core attributes answer business questions and inform BLM land use planning, multistate regional analyses, high-level modeling, and national level cultural heritage resource management. Each state is directed to implement the CRM data standard in accordance with the associated standards’ documentation and implementation guidelines (Attachments 1 and 2).

Administrative or Mission Related:



This IM directs cultural heritage and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) staff at Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state offices to work in conjunction with their State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) partners to apply the CRM data standard by following the implementation guidelines and data standard documentation found in Attachments 1 and 2. The CRM data standard will be maintained in a National Operations Center (NOC) geodatabase. All BLM staff, contractors, and other appropriate partners are directed to use the CRM data standard for the collection and management of all BLM cultural data.

The CRM national dataset is intended to be an aggregate dataset that contains a processed and generalized version of the detailed source data from the SHPOs and/or BLM state offices. For example, only the most recent resource eligibility determination and resource conditions are needed in the national dataset, whereas each state may keep all such records following each visit to a source. To ensure that data are updated at the national level, Extract Transform and Load (ETL)[1] processes will be developed that periodically gather detailed data from each state and migrate it to fit into the CRM national data standard.

To implement the CRM data standard, the Division of Education, Cultural, and Paleontological Resources (HQ420) and the NOC will coordinate with state offices, which will then work with their SHPOs and/or state data managers to ensure compliance with the standard. Each state’s data will be migrated through an ETL process designed for and specific to that state. That ETL process will be applied either to the SHPO or BLM managed datasets. Following data transfer, the NOC and HQ420 will then complete quality assurance for the data standard.

To facilitate a smooth transition to the CRM data standard, Headquarters and NOC, with GIS contractors, developed the standard with subject matter experts and conducted an initial migration of SHPO and state data into the standard as a test. The NOC will develop an automated process for migrating the data in 2023 and will regularly update the data and create eGIS services to provide for access to, viewing, and use of the data.

State offices will coordinate their Cultural Resources Data Partnership (CRDP) initiatives with the implementation of the CRM data standard to facilitate the employment of the ETL process with SHPO datasets. The standard has been a frequent topic during Cultural Data Sharing Partnerships meetings with SHPO partners over the last three years. A few states have adopted the standard, while others have promised an effort to meet it. To further encourage the SHPOs in meeting the standard, CRDP assistance agreements and contracts will include requirements for implementation of the CRM national data standard.


This IM is effective immediately.

Budget Impact:



The CRM data standard provides a set of rules the BLM will follow to track and store GIS boundaries for cultural resource management and investigations. The BLM Cultural Heritage program investigates, records, evaluates, and manages cultural heritage resources on BLM-administered public lands and in areas of BLM responsibility. The BLM management of cultural heritage resources (archaeological, historic, and socio-cultural properties) is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended and other authorities.

The CRM data standard applies most directly to historic and prehistoric resources. The standard provides a common data format for compiling spatial and non-spatial data about cultural resources and the investigations associated with those resources. Data collected in accordance with a standardized data format are more useful and effective for cultural analysis and land management by a wide variety of programs and individuals. The CRM data standard provides the ability to determine where and when investigations occurred and what area was covered. The standard provides the ability to determine where resources have been identified in an area, what type of resources were found, and the regulatory status of each resource.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected:

 MS-8110 Manual - Identifying and Evaluating Cultural Resources (Release 8-73, 12/03/04).


For further information, contact Dayna Ables, Senior Archaeologist, Division of Education, Cultural and Paleontological Resources, HQ420,; or David Jenkins, Division Chief, Education, Cultural and Paleontological Resources, HQ420,


The process identified in this policy was developed with the assistance of multiple BLM field offices, state offices, the NOC, HQ420, and the Preservation Board.

Signed By:
Thomas Heinlein
Assistant Director
National Conservation Lands and Community Partnerships
Authenticated By:
Robert M. Williams
Division of Regulatory Affairs and Directives,(HQ-630)