MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – The U.S. Army Reserve’s 63rd Readiness Division supports more than 40,000 Soldiers across California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Ensuring that cultural resources are protected across such a broad geographic area forces the division’s Cultural Resources Management team to develop a wide spectrum of partnerships with local, state, federal, and tribal organizations.
Although the challenge is monumental, the CRM team has successfully addressed the everyday tasks with a proactive approach, ensuring that the Army Reserve has been successful in protecting cultural resources while maintaining lands available for Soldiers to meet their training requirements.
While providing operations and building support, the CRM team also works with regulatory agencies to ensure compliance. This partnership is necessary and required for all installations; however, the 63rd RD’s ability to manage and coordinate these activities with seven states is remarkable.
Some of the agencies the CRM team work with regularly include the Council on Environmental Quality, which oversees implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which oversees the State Historic Preservation Offices and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Other agencies include the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Defense, which provide uniform regulations and regulate access to archaeological resources on Federal and Native American lands. The CRM team also interacts with 194 federally recognized tribal partners.
Within each of these agencies, installations must navigate various permits and site reviews, and the CRM team works to streamline these processes.
An example of this process is a negotiated programmatic agreement with the California SHPO, which covers 21 facilities across the state. This agreement will eliminate the need for a case-by-case consultation with the ACHP and SHPO regarding the Section 106 process.
Section 106 requires Federal agencies to consult with SHPOs, Tribes, and other interested parties to identify historic properties, determine whether and how such properties may be affected, and resolve adverse effects. The new agreement provides an opportunity to submit all the projects under one agreement and one consultation, avoiding time-consuming review processes.
In addition, the Cultural Resources Program manager interacts with tribal representatives in formal conferences, individual meetings, and through tribal participation to aid in the execution of their cultural programs. The manager tracks correspondence meticulously and engages with tribes throughout the 30-day review period required for project implementation. This open communication results in an awareness of issues that are sensitive to tribes and helps state and federal agencies understand why certain topics of interest are important to them.
During an environmental workshop, the CRM team invited representatives of the Navajo Nation Heritage and Historic Preservation Office to provide an overview of cultural resources management within the Navajo Nation. This perspective gave the CRM team a better understanding of the Navajo people and their interrelationship with nature, and how the Navajo’s worldview does not separate nature and culture; they are one in the same.
The 63rd RD, like other Army organizations, is required to develop an Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan. The division sustains its ICRMP and supplements the plan with detailed archeological and cultural studies that support specific actions. By taking an integrated approach that utilizes both staff resources and the work of outside contract resources, the 63rd ICRMP and the 63rd RD Environmental Division seek to maximize results with the efficient use of resources.
“We have shown how the ICRMP for the 63rd RD has risen to the challenge of addressing cultural resources showing a dedication to program management, robust stakeholder interaction, and an eye to cultural resources program implementation that promotes mission success,” said Laura M. Caballero, cultural resource manager and environmental chief.