Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce cultural resource impacts from an energy transmission project.
The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce cultural impacts of a project depending on site- and project-specific conditions. Impacts to cultural resources are related to the project footprint (e.g., land disturbance) and altered access to the project area. Many impacts can be reduced or avoided when considered during the siting and design of a project during the site evaluation phase.
Develop a final set of mitigation measures for any project in consultation with the appropriate federal resource management agencies and stakeholders. Conduct these consultations in the project development process and preferably prior to final project siting and design.
Siting and Design Mitigation Measures
Siting and design considerations that mitigate impacts include:
Conduct a records search to determine the presence of known archaeological sites and historic structures within the area of potential effect. Identify the need for an archaeological and/or architectural survey.
Consult with Native American governments early in the planning process to identify traditional cultural properties, sacred landscapes, and other issues and concerns regarding the proposed energy transmission project.
Evaluate the visual impacts to historic trails if the project includes remnants of a National Historic Trail, is located within the viewshed of a National Historic Trail's designated centerline, or includes or is within the viewshed of a trail eligible for listing on the NRHP. Include mitigation measures for visual impacts as stipulations in the Plan of Development.
Prepare and follow a cultural resources management plan, if cultural resources are present at the site or if areas with a high potential to contain cultural material have been identified.
Use existing roads to the maximum extent feasible to avoid additional surface disturbance.
General Mitigation Measures
General mitigation practices and principles that could apply to any or all phases of an energy transmission project include:
Follow guidance in the cultural resources management plan. For example:
If resources eligible for listing on the NRHP are present, modify the Plan of Development to avoid significant cultural resources. If avoidance is not possible, conduct appropriate cultural resource recovery operations or alternative mitigations as determined in consultation with the appropriate State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), and Native American tribes, as required by the National Historic Preservation Act.
Periodic monitoring of significant cultural resources in the vicinity of the development may be required to reduce the potential for looting and vandalism. Should loss or damage be detected, consult with the appropriate SHPO and Native American Tribes immediately to determine additional protective measures or further action to mitigate the impact.
An unexpected discovery of cultural resources during any phase of the project shall result in a work stoppage in the vicinity of the find until the resources can be evaluated by a professional archaeologist.
Educate workers and the public on the consequences of unauthorized collection of artifacts.
During all phases of the project, keep equipment and vehicles within the limits of the initially disturbed areas.