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Last Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012 11:30 AM


Exhibit 6.2 Historical Resources Evaluation Report (HRER) Content and Format

Exhibit 6.2 PDF version here.

Historical Resources Evaluation Report (HRER) Format

HRER Format
  • Title page
  • Summary of Findings
  • Table of Contents
  • Project Description
  • Research Methods
  • Historical Overview
  • Field Methods
  • Description of Cultural Resources 
  • Resource Significance (if applicable)
  • Findings and Conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Preparer(s)’ Qualifications
  • Maps
  • DPR 523 Forms
  • Other Attachments

The Historical Resources Evaluation Report (HRER) is used to document identification, recordation and evaluation efforts for historical archaeological resources, built environment resources, such as buildings, structures, objects, districts, and linear features.

While the level of detail will vary depending on the nature and scope of the project, its potential to affect historic properties, and the significance of the identified resources, HRERs should adhere to the following basic format and content guidelines. The content may vary depending on the types of properties discussed. This exhibit offers guidance on what to include in the HRER, with appropriate sections detailing differences when reporting on built environment properties versus archaeological resources. A single HRER may discuss both built and archaeological resources where that is feasible; however, multiple HRERs may be prepared for an undertaking depending on the complexity of resources, degree of effect, or whether consultants will evaluate specific resources.

Title Page

The title page contains the following information to identify the project and preparer(s) of the report:

Name of the study and the project

  • County, route, and postmile/kilometer post or local street or road name
  • Expense Authorization (EA) number
  • Project contract number (if prepared by consultants)
  • Name, title, location, and signature of the Caltrans District Branch Chief for whom the report was prepared. The Environmental Branch Chief's (EBC) signature on the title page indicated approval and acceptance of the document
  • Name, title or Caltrans PQS certification level, as appropriate, location, and signature of the preparer(s)
  • Name, Caltrans PQS certification level, location and signature of Caltrans PQS approving the report (if different than preparer)
  • Date (month/year) HRER was prepared (appears at bottom of page)

Summary of Findings (Abstract)

This section briefly summarizes, in one page or less, the intent, methods and results of the study. It includes:

  • A concise description (abstract) of the proposed project. 
  • Purpose and scope of the investigation.
  • Results of the investigation. State the total number of properties that required evaluation and summarize the consequent findings. 
  • For each National Register-eligible property: state the name, location, applicable criteria, and period and level of significance, and
  • State which resources are/are not historical resources for the purposes of CEQA. 

Table of Contents

A table of contents facilitates review of the document because it allows a reviewer to locate information more efficiently. List the major sections, subsections, appendices, maps, figures, tables, and exhibits of the HRER with corresponding page numbers.

Project Description

While the District Project Development Team typically provides the project description, it is important that the cultural resource specialist present this information in a way that is relevant to cultural resources:

  • Describe major design features concisely, but with sufficient illustrative detail to ensure that a reviewer not familiar with the project or project area has a clear understanding of its potential to affect historic properties and/or historical resources. Discuss the scope of proposed project activities and components (e.g., addition of passing lane, new alignment with intersection) and the need for new right-of-way or temporary construction easements.
  • Describe the Area of Potential Effects (APE).
  • Include a statement about the general environment, such as whether the project lies in an urban or rural area.
  • Reference all pertinent maps (Project Vicinity, Project Location, APE, etc.).

Research Methods

Briefly, discuss sources and methodology used in conducting pre-field, background, and resource-specific research. Cite the standard sources of information used, such as National Register and California Register of Historical Resources listings, and California Historical Landmarks and California Points of Historic Interest listings (See Chapter 4 and Exhibit 4.1), and a statement regarding the areas (themes) of research used to establish the historical context in which the resources within the APE were evaluated (see Chapter 7). Note the names and locations of research facilities utilized. This section also serves to document any public participation and consultation to date, including contacts with local historical societies, planning agencies, or interested individuals, and interviews with knowledgeable persons.

Field Methods

List the date(s) that fieldwork was conducted and identify the participants. Describe explicitly the survey methods that were used. For historical archaeological sites, include any archaeological field methods that were employed (e.g., mechanical or hand excavation, broad area exposures, or number and spacing of excavation units). Include a section on laboratory methods, as appropriate.

Historical Overview

The historical overview provides the broad context in which the cultural resources within the APE were evaluated for historical significance. Summarize the results of the background research, focusing on the areas or themes directly related to the resource(s) under evaluation, as identified in the Research Methods section. The historical overview is not intended to provide the definitive history of an area or historical person(s) except as the person(s) can be directly associated with an evaluated resource. Rather, it provides the frame of reference within which the cultural resources were evaluated. Unrelated information should not be presented.

The overview begins with a general, but brief, historical introduction, then narrows the focus to the regional level and ends with a discussion of topics directly related to the resources being evaluated. Topics that are relevant may include, but are not limited to: initial settlement, economic development and demographic factors, historic events that occurred in the area, factors of industrial and commercial development, and transportation and supply networks.

Archaeological Research Context

For undertakings involving historical archaeological resources, include general research themes, and theoretical/methodological orientation for the proposed study. This section should be well grounded in comparative studies on similar site types that serve to focus the research potential of the sites in this study.

For properties that may have the potential to yield important information (research importance), identify the important historical research questions that are applicable. Summarize their degree of resolution in previous studies. Pay specific attention to the kinds of information needed to address such questions. The known (or likely) presence of such values in the cultural resource provides the basis for establishing its significance under National Register Criterion D and California Register Criterion 4. 

Description of Cultural Resources

DPR 523 forms should include the following information in the statement of significance section:
  • Previous research - summarize relevant previous research for it type of resources, relevant local, regional, and where appropriate, state, and, national historic contexts. 
  • Statement of significance – summarize whether the resource meets the National Register and whether it is a historical resource for the purposes of CEQA. 
  • For properties that do not meet National Register criteria or are not historical resources under CEQA, explain why (no historical associations, lack of integrity, etc.).
  • For properties that are eligible for the National Register or are historical resources under CEQA, include the specific criteria, period and level of significance, and boundary descriptions. List character-defining features, if applicable, and contributing and non-contributing elements.
  • State whether the resource is a National Register criteria consideration or a California Register special consideration. See Chapter 4 and Exhibit 2.16 for more details

Because DPR 523 forms typically provide sufficient detail regarding the physical descriptions of recorded resources and their integrity, it is a duplication of efforts to repeat the information for built environment resources in the HRER. Rather, this section summarizes the broad range of cultural resources encountered within the APE and the general environment (rural, urban, suburban, etc.) in which they are located.

Provide a brief description of any National Register eligible resources and refer, by Map Reference Number, to the appropriate DPR 523 form(s) for a more detailed description.

For historical archaeological resources, include component features (if applicable) and identify any known or suspected archaeological deposits. Describe the physical components of each site with specific emphasis on information-bearing features that support the site’s eligibility under Criterion D. Discuss integrity in relationship to the site’s ability to address important research questions, or to the site’s ability to convey significance under other National Register criteria if appropriate.

Be sure that the attached DPR 523 forms discuss the overall size, boundaries, and layout of the resource and refer the reader to the appropriate appended DPR 523 inventory forms, records and maps. If they are known, the DPR 523 forms need to include dates of construction or occupation, ownership, historical function, and other pertinent data. Also, be sure that the DPR 523 forms discuss the integrity of the cultural resource(s). The discussion should include the overall integrity of the cultural resources and if applicable, the integrity of its components. Note any modifications and disturbances to the resource and its setting, basing the comments on the field observations, historical records, and/or interview data.

Resource Significance

This section is included in the HRER only when evaluated resources include historical archaeological sites.

For properties that have yielded or may be likely to yield important information (research importance), this section identifies the important historical research questions that are applicable. Summarize their degree of resolution in previous studies. Pay specific attention to the kinds of information needed to address such questions. The known (or likely) presence of such values in the archaeological resource provides the basis for establishing its significance under National Register Criterion D and California Register Criterion 4.

Evaluation of historical archaeological resources requires a closely integrated assessment of both physical and historical evidence. In arguing the case for or against eligibility, clearly explain the information recovered through analysis of the artifacts and their distribution throughout the site and how that information contributes to an improved understanding of important research themes identified above.

Findings and Conclusions

A.  Findings

In this section it is important to quantify and identify each evaluated cultural resource by its National Register and CEQA status. Because all National Register listed and eligible properties are automatically listed in the California Register and are already considered historical resources for the purposes of CEQA, list them under the appropriate National Register category. It is not necessary to list them again under other categories. In the Summary of Findings and Conclusions sections, however, it will be necessary to state that these historic properties are also historical resources under CEQA.

State the total number of cultural resources in the APE, the number that fall into the following categories, and list the evaluated cultural resources in their appropriate categories: 

  1. Historic properties listed in the National Register.
  2. Historic properties previously determined eligible for the National Register.
  3. Resources previously determined not eligible for the National Register.
  4. Historic properties determined eligible for the National Register as a result of the current study (refer to relevant evaluations in attached supporting documentation).
  5. Resources determined not eligible for the National Register as a result of the current study (refer to relevant evaluations in attached supporting documentation).
  6. Resources for which further study is needed because evaluation was not possible (e.g., archaeological sites that require a test excavation to determine eligibility).
  7. Historical resources for the purposes of CEQA [resources in this category would include California Register listed or eligible (per State Historical Resources Commission determination) resources, resources identified as significant in surveys that meet State Office of Historic Preservation standards, resources that are designated landmarks under local ordinances, and resources that meet the California Register criteria as outlined in PRC §5024.1.]
  8. Resources that are not historical resources under CEQA, per CEQA Guidelines §15064.5, because they do not meet the California Register criteria outlined in PRC §5024.1.

When listing the evaluated cultural resources under the applicable categories above, include their identifying information. 

To facilitate SHPO’s ability to maintain the Office of Historic Preservation’s computerized inventories of resources, the identifying information for the resources needs to follow a specific format that includes the name of the property (if there is one), location information, the community the resource is in (or the nearest community) and the Map Reference Number that is keyed to the APE map, and OHP’s historical resource status code, if available.

For example:

The following properties have been determined eligible for inclusion in National Register as a result of this study:

Name Address/Location Community OHP Status
Code
Map Ref. #
Smith House 451 Main St. Anywhere, CA 2 MR #1
Ortega Feed Store 10097 Highway 4 Anywhere (vic.), CA 2 MR#5

The following properties have been determined not eligible for inclusion in the National Register as a result of this study:

Name Address/Location Community OHP Status
Code
Map Ref. #
Able’s Prune Packing Plant 35 E. Canterbury St. Someplace, CA 6 MR #10
Melville Apts. 8012 S. Oceanview Dr. Someplace, CA 6 MR #15
Little River RR Viaduct Next to SR 43, KP 10.7 El Nido, CA 6 MR #18

Repeat this format for each of the applicable categories. If there is a category that does not apply, it is acceptable to state that there are no cultural resources in that category. For example, “There are no National Register listed historic properties within the APE.”

Do not list properties that qualified as exempt pursuant to Section 106 PA Attachment 4. Instead include the appropriate paragraph as follows:

[Name of Caltrans architectural historian or qualified consultant architectural historian], who meets the Professionally Qualified Staff Standards in Section 106 PA Attachment 1 as an Architectural Historian or above, has determined that the only other properties present within the APE, including state-owned resources, meet the criteria for Section 106 PA Attachment 4 (Properties Exempt from Evaluation).

[Name of Caltrans archaeologist or qualified consultant archaeologist], who meets the Professionally Qualified Staff Standards in Section 106 PA Attachment 1 as a Lead Archaeological Surveyor or above, has determined that the only other properties present within the APE meet the criteria for Section 106 PA Attachment 4 (Properties Exempt from Evaluation).

Provide the site trinomial (e.g., CA-TRI-433) for each archaeological site covered in the document. As some Information Centers have a backlog in assigning trinomials, using a primary number is acceptable for those counties. However, every effort should be made to acquire a trinomial for evaluated archaeological sites.

The OHP Historical Resources Status Codes were revised in August 2003. Among other changes California Register listings and eligibility determinations have been added as extensions to the code. For example “1S” means a historic property individually listed in the National Register and also listed in the California Register, while “1CS” means a property individually listed in the California Register only. As of August 2003 status code “4” applies only to state-owned resources that are included in the Master List through the PRC §5024 compliance process. See the Office of Historic Preservation's (OHP) Historical Resources Status Codes for a full list of the codes.

B. Conclusions

Summarize the results of the study. For each National Register eligible property and historical resource under CEQA, provide a brief statement that includes:

  • Historic and/or common name. Add the bridge number if the resource is a bridge or the Trinomial if the resource is a historical archaeological site.
  • Map Reference Number, address or location (unless it is an historical archaeological site for which the location is confidential)
  • Applicable National Register and California Register criteria and the reason it meets the criteria (e.g., “It is eligible under Criterion C for its engineering significance.”) If a National Register criteria consideration or California Register criteria consideration, include the appropriate letter or number.
  • Period of significance.
  • Level of significance (local, state, national).
  • Rough boundary descriptions; and
  • Contributing and noncontributing elements.
  • If applicable, include all state and local designations.

For example, the Smith House (Map Reference #1), 451 Main Street, Anywhere, is eligible for inclusion in the National Register at the local level of significance under Criterion C as a finely crafted example of the Mission Revival style. Its period of significance is 1900. The house is also a historical resource for purposes of CEQA. The boundaries are the assessor’s parcel boundaries. Contributing elements include its massing, setback and siting on the parcel, red-tiled roof, curvilinear gables, parapet and coping, patchwork textured stucco walls, arcaded entry, all windows and exterior doors, front walkway and drive; matures hedges, olive trees and trellis in the front and side yards, stucco fence enclosing the rear yard, entry foyer and living room with beamed ceilings, archways, built-in cabinetry and Spanish tile floors throughout the house, and the stucco fireplace in the living room. Noncontributing elements include the new detached rear garage, c.1960s lanai on the rear elevation and remodeled kitchen. The Smith house is also designated as Landmark #318 under the City of Anywhere’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and is California Point of Historical Interest #ZEB-995.

The summary paragraph for each eligible resource plays a pivotal role in later Section 106 documents and should be written concisely so that it can be inserted in its totality in to Findings of Effects, Memoranda of Agreement, and appropriate environmental documents, as needed. In addition, under the Section 106 PA, when SHPO responds to Caltrans’ requests for concurrence on eligibility, SHPO must reiterate the criteria, period and level of significance. It saves considerable time for the SHPO reviewer when the information is contained succinctly in one paragraph. See Exhibit 2.17 for guidance on summary paragraphs.

Bibliography

The lead author will determine the appropriate citation format. Acceptable formats include Chicago Manual of Style, American Antiquity, or other standard humanities or scientific styles. All citations made in the HRER text will be included in the form of endnotes, footnotes, and/or a list of references cited.

Preparers Qualifications

Briefly summarize the professional qualifications of each person who contributed to the report. For Caltrans PQS it is sufficient to list their names, PQS level and that their qualifications are on file in the Caltrans Division of Environmental Analysis Community and Cultural Studies Office. For consultants, include name, classification or job title, qualifying degree(s) and major(s) and a one or two sentence description of qualifying experience. Exhibit 2.17 contains guidance for documenting preparer(s)’ qualifications.

Maps

All maps should display the district, county, route, post miles, kilometer posts, and expenditure authorization. The Location Map and Project Map should have north arrows and graphic (analog) scales. The following maps must be included in the HRER:

  • Project Vicinity Map
  • Project Location Map
  • Project APE Map. The APE map must be of sufficient scale to show project features, including construction limits, existing and new right-of-way limits, the limits of the APE and the locations and boundaries of historic properties/historical resources under CEQA. For state-only projects, the map would be a Project Area Map.

DPR 523 Forms

Include all relevant DPR 523 inventory forms, with a Map Reference Number assigned to each evaluated built environment resource.

Other Attachments

Maps and charts: Include detailed maps and copies of historic maps and charts, as appropriate.

Figures: Photographs, lithographs, and other graphic materials. Figures should be adequately captioned to identify the subject, view and date, with credit given to the source of that image.

Additional Resource Records: Previously prepared records that are used to support the evaluation of a cultural resource within the APE.

Historical archaeological site reports: Reports that document excavations at historical archaeological sites should include a catalog or tabulation of recovered materials and the reports of any specialized consultants. Copies of pertinent legal documents, such as deeds and other supporting historic materials, also may be attached if they are relevant.

Peer Review and Approval

For historical archaeological resources Caltrans PQS certified at the Principal Investigator level for historical archaeological resource must peer review the draft HRER. For built-environment resources, Caltrans PQS certified at the Principal Architectural Historian must peer review the draft HRER. Peer reviewers in both disciplines should follow the guidelines in Exhibit 2.14: Guidelines for Peer Review of Cultural Resources Reports. Peer reviewers’ names should be kept on record and comments retained in the project files. Chapter 2 Section 2-5.5 and Exhibit 2.11 Table C contain additional guidance on peer reviews and reviews for approvals.

Only Caltrans PQS certified at the Principal Investigator Historical Archaeology or Principal Architectural Historian level may review final HRERs for approval by the EBC. The Caltrans PQS or consultant who prepares the HRER signs, dates and includes his/her discipline, PQS level (as applicable) and District/Headquarters or affiliation. The Caltrans PQS reviewing the HRER for approval likewise signs, dates, and includes his/her PQS discipline, level and District. Finally, the EBC approves the HRER by signing and dating the document. See Chapter 6 Section 6-10.5 and Chapter 7 Section 7-11.4 for more detailed information.