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


Exhibit 2.17: Cultural Resources Information to Include in Environmental Documents

Exhibit 2.17 PDF version here.

Cultural resources technical studies and findings of effects documents all include summary paragraphs and descriptions that should be used in the appropriate level federal and state-only environmental documentation. These summaries should contain the same types of information and, in most cases, can be used wholesale in the environmental documentation. Staff or consultants who are reviewing or preparing cultural resources documents or environmental documents should ensure that the following information is included.

Summary descriptions of historic properties – What to look for

Summary descriptions of properties eligible for or listed in the National Register of Historic Places need to be included in environmental documents. These descriptions may be excerpted from the Historic Property Survey Reports or its attached technical studies.

  • Historic name and location (unless location is confidential)
  • Applicable National Register criteria A, B, C and/or D with brief statement as to how the property meets those criteria.
  • Level of significance (local, state, and/or national)
  • Period of significance
  • Verbal description of the National Register boundaries
  • Maps depicting National Register boundaries

For CEQA documents include summary descriptions of resources eligible for or listed in the California Register of Historical Resources, California State Historical Landmarks, and/or locally designated landmarks (historical resources under CEQA). Summary descriptions contain the same information described above, with the appropriate state regulations cited. These descriptions can be excerpted from the Historical Resources Compliance Report or its attachments.

Real-Life Example: Located approximately 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) north of the Town of Mendocino in Mendocino County, the Russian Gulch Bridge (10-151), also known as the Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge, is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C. It also is a historical resource for purposes of CEQA, because it meets CEQA Guidelines §15064.5(a)(3)(C).

It is eligible under Criterion C, for its design and construction, because it embodies the distinctive characteristics of mid-20th-century designs for open-spandrel reinforced concrete arch bridges. It is also eligible under Criterion C for being the work of a master bridge designer, Henry E. Kuphal, whose aesthetic and technical achievements as a bridge designer in California are conveyed by this example from the second half of his career. The Russian Gulch Bridge (10-151) is eligible at the local and state levels of significance; its period of significance is 1939-1940. The boundaries of the historic property include the bridge itself and adjacent right of way. Contributing elements include the main spandrel arch, concrete bents, concrete spans, arch ribs, pointed-arch window railings, cantilevered walkways with curbs, and bridge railing ends that contain the incised date, 1939. Because it is an anachronistic feature, the bronze memorial plaque is a noncontributing element, as is the asphalt overlay on the roadbed itself and the metal guardrails at the north- and southbound approaches to the bridge.

Summary Descriptions of Effects – what to look for in the Finding of Effect

For effects to historic properties, include in the environmental document why there is an effect. This information can be taken from the Finding of Effects (FOE) report prepared for Section 106 compliance.  

  • Name of historic property
  • Brief description of how the property is sited in its environment
  • Description of what each alternative will actually do to the property
  • Description of how the effect is adverse or not adverse
  • Appropriate regulatory citation.

Example (fictional composite): The Bayview House faces west, fronting on Longshore Road with contributive views of the bay; the house is visible through the low perimeter hedges from Longshore Road and the existing freeway. Access to the property is from Longshore Road. Alternative 1 proposes to take a portion of the Bayview House parcel for the freeway widening project, shift Longshore Road eastward forty-five feet (and onto the Bayview House property), relocate the driveway (access to the house), and construct a sound wall at the edge of the freeway, which runs in front of the house, obstructing the house's contributive bay views.

This alternative would result in: 1) physical destruction of and alteration to part of the Bayview House property [36 CFR 800.5(a)(2)(i)]; change of the physical features within the property's setting [36 CFR 800.5(a)(2)(iv)]; and introduction of visual elements that are out of character with the Bayview House [36 CFR 800.5(a)(2)(v)]. 

Conditions that avoid an adverse effect to a historic property will be summarized in the project’s Finding of No Adverse Effect and should be used in the appropriate level federal environmental documentation. Mitigation measures for historic properties are summarized in the Memorandum of Agreement and can be summarized in the federal environmental documentation.

For CEQA documents, the summary of effects to historical resources, and appropriate mitigation measures are contained in a single document, the Historical Resources Compliance Report. These descriptions can be taken from the Historical Resources Compliance Report to use in the CEQA documentation.

Cultural Resources Document Preparers

The qualifications for those who prepared cultural resources documents must be included in federal and state environmental documentation. For this reason it is necessary to include them in the cultural resources documents.

The list of environmental document preparers should include all those who prepared the technical studies including the cultural resources reports. All cultural resources reports should already contain this information.

The CCSO maintains the official file of qualifications for all Caltrans cultural resources specialists who have been certified as PQS. Under the Preparer’s Qualifications sections of the cultural resources documents, put the name(s) of the preparers and indicate the level at which they are certified as and that their qualifications are on file in the Cultural and Community Studies Office (CCSO), Division of Environmental Analysis, Department of Transportation in Sacramento. District Environmental Branch Chiefs are responsible for ensuring this information is included in the appropriate level state and federal environmental documentation, in addition to the appropriate cultural resources documents.

All consultant and non-Caltrans cultural resources specialists must be able to establish that they meet the PQS qualifications outlined in Section 106 PA Attachment 1 and make that documentation available for inspection. Caltrans, however, does not certify consultants or cultural resources specialists who are not Caltrans staff. The preparer’s qualifications sections of the cultural resources documents must contain the following for all cultural resources specialists who are not certified as Caltrans PQS.

District Environmental Branch Chiefs are responsible for including summaries of this information in the appropriate level of state and federal environmental documentation:

  • Name
  • Classification or Job Title
  • Appropriate educational degree(s) (e.g. M.A. Public History, University of California, Santa Barbara or Ph.D. Anthropology, University of California, Davis)
  • Number of years relevant experience conducting cultural resources studies, etc. (e.g. ten years with Quoins & Architrave Consultants, Inc. conducting architectural resources/archaeological surveys; three years as cultural resources planner for the City of Metropolis conducting Section 106 and CEQA compliance)