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Missouri Case Study
Case Study - Missouri
Statewide PA for Phased Identification of Archaeological Properties In Missouri
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM:
Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) has seen many recent undertakings complicated by its inability to access new parcels for archaeological surveys prior to acquisition of the right-of-way. The regulations (36 CFR 800.4[b]) allows federal agencies to use a phased approach to identification and evaluation of historic properties in cases where access to the property is restricted. This Programmatic Agreement lays out specific requirements for phasing the identification of archaeological properties in this situation.
WHO PARTICIPATED IN CONSULTATION?
The PA was negotiated among the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), MODOT, Missouri State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). FHWA consulted with Federally-recognized Indian tribes with historic ties to the state of Missouri, Certified Local Governments, and the public in developing the PA. The Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska both commented on the PA and the Peoria Tribe is expected to be a concurring party.
ANALYSIS OF CONSULTATION AND AGREEMENT:
The agreement is straight-forward and limited in scope. Missouri FHWA operates under a statewide PA for the streamlining the review of minor, which was executed in 2009. That PA eliminates case-by-case review for certain minor projects that are processed as categorical exclusions under NEPA. The MODOT, SHPO, ACHP, and FHWA all agreed to develop a separate PA for phased identification so that it could apply to all Federal-aid Highway projects; not just categorical exclusions. The PA does not eliminate any of the requirements of the regulations, but it details a two-step approach to phasing archaeological identification and coordination with SHPO, tribes, and consulting parties during this effort.
WHY THIS IS A GOOD AGREEMENT:
ACHP staff was initially concerned that deferring identification efforts until after new right-of-way is acquired could limit FHWA’s options for avoiding effects to archaeological sites that may be located within those parcels. The PA, therefore, includes language, consistent with that in new Categorical Exclusions developed under SAFETEA - LU, clarifying that the acquisition of new parcels will not preclude the selection of a different alternative; and that no decision to approve the project will be made until after all identification and evaluation is completed. The Agreement allows for a consistent approach to carrying out identification when access to new parcels cannot be gained until after acquisition.
Click here to see a copy of the PA.
Updated August 19, 2014
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