Cultural Resources Management

Recognized as a leader of water development projects in the Western States, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) has also contributed significantly to our knowledge of the nation’s prehistory and history. Archaeological sites, historic buildings and structures, landscapes, and objects are the fabric of our national heritage. Collectively known as cultural resources, they are our tangible links with the past. As an agency of the Federal government, Reclamation is responsible for protecting and managing these irreplaceable resources in a spirit of stewardship for future generations. A Cultural Resources Management (CRM) program was established at Reclamation in 1974 to manage the rich array of cultural resources under its jurisdiction. Since then, the program has expanded significantly as cultural resource laws, requirements, and public concerns continue to increase and become more complex. The Federal Preservation Officer, located in Denver, coordinates Reclamation's CRM program with many responsibilities delegated to regional and area office staff. These include professional archaeologists, historians, architectural historians, museum specialists, and physical anthropologists. If you have questions relating to Reclamation's cultural resources, please feel free to contact any one of our staff.

News and Announcements

  • Rule Publication

    The Department of Interior Announces the Publication of a Final Rule to Implement the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA)

    The Department of Interior published the PRPA final rule on August 1, 2002 in the Federal Register. The rule provides standards for the management of fossil resources on Bureau of Reclamation managed land, as well as land managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service (DOI Press Release). For more information on the final rule and its application to Reclamation managed land, see the Fossil Resources web page.

    National Register Addition

    Columbia Basin Project Irrigation Division Headquarters Office

    Accessible Alt Text

    The Columbia Basin Project Irrigation Division Headquarters Office located in Ephrata, Grant County, Washington, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) on June 21, 2019. Completed in 1951, the office served as the home for the centralized administrative operations of the Columbia Basin Project and Grand Coulee Dam. Serving a nine-county area, the Columbia Basin Project was a major twentieth century Bureau of Reclamation undertaking, directly responsible for aiding in the transformation of the Columbia Plateau into one of Washington State's most productive agricultural regions. The office currently serves as the Ephrata Field Office for the Columbia-Pacific Northwest Region of the Bureau of Reclamation.


Last Updated: 8/30/22