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Cultural Resources

NRCS employee measuring cultural resource in the field. See photo information at bottom of page.

Cultural Resources are evidence of past human activity. These may include pioneer homes, buildings or old roads; structures with unique architecture; prehistoric village sites; historic or prehistoric artifacts or objects; rock inscription; human burial sites; earthworks, such as battlefield entrenchments, prehistoric canals, or mounds. These nonrenewable resources often yield unique information about past societies and environments, and provide answers for modern day social and conservation problems. Although many have been discovered and protected, there are numerous forgotten, undiscovered, or unprotected cultural resources in rural America.

More specifically, a Cultural Resource is usually more than 50 years old. It can be a site, structure, object, or district that relates to the past. Federal laws protect “significant” sites, which means sites that are important to our past.

The NRCS's Role in Protecting Cultural Resources

NRCS considers cultural resources in its conservation planning for the same reason it protects the natural resources — the soil, water, air, plants and animals — on private and public property. Keeping natural resources in balance helps provide the basis for a healthy and profitable farm environment; keeping cultural resources provides the basis for understanding our human past. The stewardship of these nonrenewable resources is an important link in the conservation ethic that underlies the NRCS mission.

Several Federal, state, and local laws have been enacted to preserve cultural resources. The most important of these is the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Under this and other legislation, Federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, are required to protect cultural resources. The procedures used by New Jersey NRCS are in accordance with a State Level Agreement (SLA) with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO).

These documents require the use of Microsoft Word.

Undertaking Review Sheet Fillable Form (99 kb)  This form is used by NJ NRCS staff. Complete this form and send electronically, with required documentation to the Cultural Resources Coordinator;  OR print, complete and mail, with required documents, to the Cultural Resources Coordinator at the NJ NRCS State Office.

This document requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Undertaking Review Sheet for printing (27 kb)

Additional Links

Top Right Photo Information: Roylene Rides at the Door-Waln, NRCS Resource Conservationist measures the diameter of a tepee ring located on a ranchers pasture near Shelby, MT. Tepee rings were used in place of tent pegs before the use of steel. Montana taken by Bob Nichols 1997. (NRCS Photo Gallery)

New Jersey’s NRCS Cultural Resources Coordinator: ShayMaria Silvestri

 

Last Update October 25, 2010