Environmental laws and review processes at the federal, state, and local level typically require consideration be given to protecting significant historic, archaeological, and traditional cultural sites from damage or loss during development. The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) works with agencies, tribes, private citizens, and developers to identify and develop protection strategies to assure that Washington’s cultural heritage is not lost.
Each year DAHP reviews more than 9,000 federal, state and local government projects for effects on cultural resources. As a result, significant archaeological, historic and cultural properties are protected for Washington’s citizens and future generations. Typically consultation is done through lead agencies whom hire professional cultural resource managment personel to complete the various tasks.
Compliance programs reviewed by DAHP staff include:
The National Historic Preservation Act requires that all federal agencies consider cultural resources as part of all licensing, permitting, and funding decisions. As part of that process, each agency must consult with DAHP to assure that cultural resources are identified, and to obtain the formal opinion of the Office on each site’s significance and the impact of its action upon the site.
Environmental laws such as the National Historic Preservation Act and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) require that impacts to cultural resources be considered during the public environmental review process. Under SEPA, the Department is the sole agency with technical expertise in regard to cultural resources and provides formal opinions to local governments and other state agencies on a site’s significance and the impact of proposed projects upon such sites.
The Forest Practices Rules establish standards for forest practices such as timber harvest, pre-commercial thinning, road construction, fertilization, and forest chemical application (Title 222 WAC). They give direction on how to implement the Forest Practices Act (chapter 76.09 RCW) and Stewardship of Non-industrial Forests and Woodlands (chapter 76.13 RCW). The rules are designed to protect public resources such as historic and cultural sites while maintaining a viable timber industry.
Executive Order 0505 (GEO 05-05) requires that all state agencies with capital improvement projects to integrate the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs (GOIA), and concerned tribes into their capital project planning process in order to protect the public interest in historic and cultural sites.
HUD-assisted projects typically require an evaluation of the impacts to historic properties. This includes projects where HUD assistance is proposed for property repair, rehabilitation of an existing structure, conversion of use, demolition, new construction, or the acquisition of undeveloped land. This environmental review with the State Historic Preservation Office is required under federal law (24 CFR 58.5(a) or 24 CFR 50.4 (a)).
The Shoreline Management Act requires that development permits issued by local governments in areas with archaeological sites require a site inspection or evaluation by a professional archaeologist in coordination with affected Indian Tribes prior to issuing development permits.