Cultural resource review

Projects that are funded by certain grants and loans must be reviewed by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and Tribes to qualify for that funding. Cleanup activities, especially those that disturb the ground, can affect or reveal cultural resources that may need protection or preservation.

Cultural resources can include:

  • Archaeological sites or objects.
  • Buildings older than 50 years that are on the historic register or eligible for the historic register.
  • Objects such as boundary markers, fountains, or monuments.
  • Locations of significant events or pre-historic or historic occupation of activity, such as trails, petroglyphs, village site, or battlefields.

Grants that require cultural resource review

How it works

The goals of a cultural resource review include:

  • Identifying any cultural resources that could be affected by the proposed remedial action.
  • Assessing the effects of the remedial action.
  • Seeking ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects on historic properties and cultural resources.

For ground-disturbing remedial actions to be eligible for grant funding, Ecology or another state or federal agency must consult with the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and affected Tribes before cleanup actions begin. This helps identify any potential impacts to cultural resources. This funding condition is required by Executive Order 21-02 (which recently replaced Executive Order 05-05).

If Ecology is the lead agency for your project, you’ll need to complete our Cultural Resources Project Review Form to initiate that consultation.

This video details the proper procedures to plan for and implement an Inadvertent Discovery Plan.

Inadvertent Discovery Plans required

For all projects involving potentially ground-disturbing activities, you’ll also need to complete a Public Inadvertent Discovery Plan (IDP) in the event of an unanticipated discovery of human remains, or historic or prehistoric resources. This written plan must be available onsite at all times.

You can use the Ecology-approved IDP form linked above, or draft your own. If you draft your own plan, be sure it includes all necessary and relevant information – what to look for, what to do, who to call, etc.

We have created an inadvertent discovery training video to guide you through the inadvertent discovery process. It is a valuable resource that you can use to help train staff who will be working in the field.

For more information

State and local regulatory standards for conducting cultural resource reviews vary by project type, funding type, and location. To learn more, visit the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) webpage.