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Tribal Energy and Environmental Information Clearinghouse: Environmental resources for tribal energy development
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Cultural Resources Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce cultural resource impacts from hydrokinetic energy development.

The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce project impacts to cultural resource by a project depending upon site- and project-specific conditions. Impacts to cultural resources are related to the project activities (e.g., land disturbance, erosion, changes in runoff patterns, hydrological alterations, and water releases). Many impacts can be reduced or avoided when considered during the siting and design phase.

Develop a final set of mitigation measures for the project in consultation with the appropriate tribal governments, federal and state resource management agencies, and stakeholders. Conduct these consultations as part of the project development process, preferably prior to final project siting and design.

Siting and Design Mitigation Measures

Siting and design considerations that mitigate impacts include:

  • Conduct a records search to determine the presence of known archaeological sites and historic structures within the project area. Identify the need for an archaeological and/or architectural survey. Conduct a survey, if needed.
  • Determine whether sites and structures within the project area meet the significance criteria for listing as eligible sites on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
  • Consult with tribal governments early in the planning process to identify traditional cultural properties, sacred landscapes, and other issues and concerns of the proposed hydrokinetic energy development.
  • Evaluate the visual impacts to historic trails if the project includes remnants of a National Historic Trail, is located within the viewshed of a National Historic Trail's designated centerline, or includes or is within the viewshed of a trail eligible for listing on the NRHP. Include mitigation measures for visual impacts as stipulations in the Plan of Development.
  • List mitigation measures to minimize the project's visual impacts as stipulations in the Plan of Development.
  • Prepare a cultural resources management plan, if cultural resources are present at the site or if areas with a high potential to contain cultural material have been identified.
  • Use existing roads to the maximum extent feasible to avoid additional surface disturbance.

General Mitigation Measures

General mitigation practices and principles that could apply to any or all phases of a hydrokinetic energy project include:

  • Utilize the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) mitigation strategies for identification, evaluation, and avoidance of offshore cultural resources.
  • Follow guidance in the cultural resources management plan. For example:
    • If resources eligible for listing on the NRHP are present, modify the Plan of Development to avoid significant cultural resources. If avoidance is not possible, conduct appropriate cultural resource recovery operations or alternative mitigations as determined in consultation with the appropriate State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and Native American tribes, as required under the National Historic Preservation Act.
    • Conduct periodic monitoring of significant cultural resources in the vicinity of the development (including areas where new road access has been provided) to reduce the potential for looting and vandalism. Should loss or damage be detected, consult with the appropriate SHPOs and Native American tribes immediately to determine additional protective measures or further action to mitigate the impact.
    • An unexpected discovery of cultural resources during any phase of the project shall result in a work stoppage in the vicinity of the find until a professional archaeologist can evaluate the resources.
  • Educate workers and the public on the consequences of unauthorized collection of artifacts.
  • Keep equipment and vehicles within the limits of the initially disturbed areas.