Cultural Resources Program
The Bureau of Reclamation is committed to preserving historical and archaeological sites as required by the National Historic Preservation Act and other pertinent laws. The NHPA created the National Register of Historic Places and the list of National Historic Landmarks. The NHPA also allowed for the formation of State Historic Preservation Offices to play critical roles in carrying out historic preservation.
Section 106 of the NHPA requires Federal agencies to consider the potential effects of a proposed Federal undertaking on historic properties. Historic properties are any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in, or eligible for inclusion in, the NRHP. Federal agencies consult with the SHPO as projects are planned and implemented to ensure that cultural resource laws are followed. This includes deciding whether a cultural resource is eligible for listing in the NRHP, and the effect the proposed Federal undertaking may have on historic properties.
Historical and archaeological sites are termed "cultural resources." Cultural resources are defined as physical or other expressions of human activity or occupation. Cultural resources are evaluated for significance in terms of NRHP eligibility. The significant criteria applied to evaluate cultural resources are defined as the quality of significance in American history, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, association and:
- That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
- That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
- That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
- That have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
When a Federal undertaking will have an adverse effect on cultural resources which are eligible for listing in the NRHP, the Federal agency consults with the SHPO, Native American tribes, local governments and the public to determine appropriate measures the agency will take to mitigate the adverse effect.
The SHPOs and Reclamation keep copies of the mitigation documentation; however, these materials are not easily accessible by the public. To increase the public benefit of these materials, Reclamation has developed this webpage to provide public access to materials developed on cultural resources affected by Reclamation's undertakings