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Home Working with Section 106 ACHP Case Digest Fall 2003 California: Streamlining Consultation on Fuels Reduction Projects
Agencies: Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service
Through cost-sharing programs for fuels reduction projects on private lands in California, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provide funding to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF).
Activities such as prescribed burns to reduce fuels that can cause wildfires are covered under a new Federal-State agreement on the treatment of historic properties in California (photo courtesy of BLM)
Because of this Federal funding, the Forest Service has been carrying out Section 106 compliance for the fuels reduction projects through a delegation of tasks to CDF under a 1996 Programmatic Agreement among CDF, the Forest Service, the ACHP, and the California State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO).
In October 2002, the Forest Service and CDF initiated consultation with the other parties to expand the scope of the agreement to include additional Federal agencies, notably BLM.
In December 2002, as the agreements lead Federal agency, the Forest Service initiated government-to-government consultation with Indian tribes and organizations in California. Through consultation with tribes, the Forest Service invited the three Tribal Historic Preservation Officers in California to sign the agreement.
Most recently, in September 2003, the ACHP commented on a draft of the agreement, which will streamline consultation by allowing CDF to carry out identification of historic properties on non-Federal lands in California and apply the criteria of adverse effect on behalf of the funding Federal agency. If no historic properties will be affected, Federal agency or SHPO review will not be required.
If adverse effects to historic properties cannot be avoided by a federally funded project, however, the project either will be canceled or the Federal agency will take over and conduct consultation to resolve the adverse effects.
While the Forest Service and BLM intend to sign the final agreement, other Federal agencies funding CDF programs may also sign the agreement through an addendum. The agreement is a good example of how a Federal agency program such as cost-sharing can be handled so that it meets the intent and purposes of Section 106.
Notably, no other region of the Forest Service or BLM has an agreement for fuels reduction cost-sharing programs. Federal agencies in some other States do not view their funding of these programs as Federal undertakings, although the work that is done with the funding has the potential to affect historic properties.
Many fuels reduction projects have little potential to affect historic properties. Others, however, such as timber sales, may adversely affect historic properties if such resources are not identified and avoided by damaging ground disturbing activities.
Through this PA, CDF, the Forest Service, and BLM demonstrate that it is possible to tailor Section 106 review to meet the special needs of these programs while ensuring that historic properties are not damaged or destroyed.
Posted October 30, 2003
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