- Vol 1: General -
- Vol 2: Cultural - Overview
- Chapter 1-- General Information
- Chapter 2 – Cultural Resources Procedures
- Chapter 3 – Native American Cultural Studies
- Chapter 4 – Cultural Resources Identification
- Chapter 5 – Prehistoric Archaeological Resources: Evaluation and Treatment
- Chapter 6 – Historical Archaeological Resources: Evaluation and Treatment
- Chapter 7 – Built Environment Cultural Resources: Evaluation and Treatment
- Cultural Resources Templates
- Vol 3: Biological
- Vol 4: Community
- Storm Water
- Emergency Projects Environmental Process and Requirements
- Other Guidance
- Forms & Templates
- Policy Memos
- Scoping Tools
- Training On Demand
- Acronyms and Abbreviations List
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Last Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012 11:30 AM
Volume 2 Cultural
This section of the SER is designed for cultural resource specialists. It contains more detailed information than Chapter 28 of Volume 1. Click the links in the left column for specific chapters and exhibits.
NOTICE: In July 2007, Caltrans assumed all FHWA responsibilities for compliance under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This includes FHWA's Section 106 responsibilities. Under NEPA delegation, the Caltrans Division of Environmental Analysis Cultural and Community Studies Office (DEA-CCSO) has assumed FHWA's Section 106 responsibilities. Therefore, wherever FHWA is mentioned in the Caltrans Standard Environmental Reference (SER) Environmental Handbook volume 2-Cultural Resources, it refers to DEA-CCSO. Using the process outlined in volume 2, the appropriate Caltrans district environmental staff will continue to process Section 106 compliance documentation for Caltrans projects and for FHWA-funded local agency projects. Consultants will continue to submit their Section 106 documents to the appropriate district Heritage Resources Coordinator for processing.
For more information on NEPA delegation, please refer to Chapter 38 of the SER. Questions regarding DEA-CCSO's FHWA Section 106 responsibilities, should be directed to the appropriate District Heritage Resources Coordinator.
View the entire Table of Contents of Volume 2 in Adobe format. Be aware that the hyperlinks in the Adobe document are not active.
The consideration of cultural resources is a critical part of all phases of project development, construction, permitting, right of way, and maintenance activities. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) must comply with federal and state environmental laws and regulations designed to protect cultural resources significant in American archaeology, architecture, history, culture, and engineering.
To meet legal requirements for cultural resources management, Caltrans personnel must follow the guidelines outlined in the Environmental Handbook, Volume 2. Following is a synopsis of this handbook.
The first chapter introduces Volume 2. It summarizes federal and state historic preservation laws and provides general background information on cultural resources management. This chapter identifies Caltrans' cultural resources policies and directs all units of the Department to follow these policies. Chapter 1 also describes the organization, roles and responsibilities, and staffing requirements that Caltrans uses to manage cultural resources.
The chapter discusses in detail the Section 106 Programmatic Agreement that governs Caltrans cultural resources actions on federally-assisted state and local projects: the Programmatic Agreement Among the Federal Highway Administration, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the California State Historic Preservation Officer, and the California Department of Transportation Regarding Compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act as it Pertains to the Administration of the Federal-Aid Highway Program in California (Section 106 PA). This agreement is included as Exhibit 1.1of the handbook. All actions taken under the Section 106 PA must be conducted by or under the supervision of Caltrans Professionally Qualified Staff (PQS).
Chapter 2 contains instructions for processing cultural resources documents in compliance with federal and state laws. It specifically discusses compliance requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its relationship to Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, and at the state level, the California Environmental Quality Act and the Public Resources Code. Parallel segments for federal projects and for state-only projects describe pertinent legislation and compliance procedures, including identification, evaluation, and mitigation. The chapter discusses the types of reports required to document that cultural resources have been considered in Caltrans project planning.
Chapter 3 presents Caltrans policy and procedures for coordination with Native Americans regarding cultural resources. It describes pertinent legislation and regulations that address Native American concerns and resources, including the federal and state Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The chapter sets forth the policy and procedures for obtaining a Native American Monitor, the roles of Monitors and Most Likely Descendants, and the issue of confidentiality relative to Native American cultural resources. It also defines Caltrans' relationship with the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC).
Chapter 4 discusses the process and procedures for identifying cultural resources within the project area. The chapter describes the types of cultural resources that Caltrans is expected to identify and the appropriate sequence of steps to follow for determining whether recordation and evaluation would be necessary. It covers such topics as defining an Area of Potential Effects, background (or pre-field) research, initial archaeological and reconnaissance surveys. The final section in the chapter offers guidance for requesting the appropriate specialists to evaluate cultural resources that were identified in the initial steps as warranting evaluation.
Caltrans’ methods and procedures for the evaluation and treatment of prehistoric archaeological resources are discussed in Chapter 5. There are sections that summarize Caltrans archaeological policies and describe Caltrans procedures to define and evaluate archaeological sites, conduct data recovery, and prepare the pertinent technical reports. Guidance is offered for field safety, preparing Archaeological Survey Reports (ASR), Excavation Proposals, Extended Phase I reports, Archaeological Evaluation Reports (AER), Phase III proposals and reports, and Data Recovery Plans. The chapter provides information on construction monitoring, environmentally sensitive areas, archaeological permits, and archaeological procedures to follow in the event of post-review discoveries or for activities not related to projects.
Chapter 6 details Caltrans' methods and procedures for evaluating and treating archaeological sites from California’s historic period. There are sections that summarize Caltrans archaeological policies and that describe Caltrans procedures to define and evaluate historical archaeological sites, conduct archival research and interviews, evaluate sites without excavation, prepare excavation proposals, conduct data recovery, and prepare pertinent technical reports. Guidance is offered for preparing Historical Resources Evaluation Reports (HRER) that evaluate historical archaeological sites, as well as Excavation Proposals, Extended Phase I and Phase II Reports, Treatment Plans, and Data Recovery Plans. There is also a section on field safety with particular emphasis on hazardous materials that may be encountered in historical archaeological sites.
Chapter 7 outlines Caltrans' methods and procedures for recording, evaluating, and treating buildings, bridges, structures, objects, non-archaeological sites, and districts composed of such built features. There are sections that summarize Caltrans history and architectural history policies and that describe Caltrans procedures to evaluate built cultural resources, the relationship between research and evaluation, and step-by-step procedures for processing HRERs. Chapter 7 offers mitigation options to be considered when historic properties may be affected by proposed transportation projects. Lastly, the chapter also explains Caltrans' legal responsibility for maintaining its historic buildings and structures.