The NRCS has various policy and procedural reference and guidance in place to consider cultural resources affected by emergency work in the Emergency Watershed Protection Program or as lead agency in accordance with the Unified Federal Environmental and Historic Preservation Review (UFR) Process for Disaster Recovery Projects. Preservation of human life and property shall be the primary concern and focus of the emergency measures while taking into account the effects on cultural resources to the fullest extent practicable.
Where FEMA or its designee is the lead, NRCS (USDA) works under the Memorandum of Understanding Establishing the Unified Federal Environmental and Historic Preservation Review (UFR) Process for Disaster Recovery Projects. If the NRCS State office has not developed specific procedures for responding to exigencies, the NRCS can:
- Follow the UFR Guidance for Environmental and Historic Preservation Practitioners (July 29, 2014) issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Service (DHS, FEMA), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP);
- Unless specific procedures have been established for responding to disasters and emergencies, the NRCS follows 36 CFR Part 800 and its policies and procedures to comply with Section 106. For further guidance please see the ACHP’s guidance, Role of Section 106 in Disaster Response - Frequently Asked Questions.
- NRCS shall notify the SHPO/NHO/Indian tribe immediately or within 48 hours of the emergency determination, following the NRCS’ Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) final rule (see Section 216, P.L. 81-516 Final Rule, 7 CFR Part 624 (April 2005).
As an agency the NRCS has several programs that address emergency response. Frequently, Section 106 undertakings associated with disasters or emergencies involve NRCS grant and/or assistance. Refer to these links for additional information.