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Cultural Resources

Cultural Resources-1

Cultural resources are evidence of past human activity and represent important, nonrenewable resources. They can include indigenous villages, trails, or tool and food processing areas; buildings and old roads; structures such as stream crossings and irrigation ditches; historic-era and indigenous artifacts or objects; rock inscriptions and formations; and marked and unmarked human burial sites.

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 throughout California.

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Cultural Resources Management Team

Emily Castano, M.A., RPA
State Archeologist (Davis)
(530) 792-5621
Robert McCann
Cultural Resources Specialist (Red Bluff)
(530) 737-5223
Kelly Ervin
Cultural Resources Specialist (Hollister)
(831) 902-2346
Phillip Bauschard
Cultural Resources Specialist (Auburn)
(559) 772-3634
Laura Cowie
Cultural Resources Specialist (San Bernardino)
(951) 684-7895
Jessica Sharp
Archeologist (Red Bluff)
(530) 737-5222
Jake Pluim
Archeologist (Red Bluff)
(530) 737-5228
Denise de Joseph
ACES Cultural Resources Specialist (Davis)
(530) 792-5629
Gissel Ruiz
Cultural Resources Specialist (Woodland)
(530) 207-6525

Scott McGaughey
Cultural Resources Specialist (Petaluma)

Cultural Resources Specialist (Madera)

Natalie Lawson
Cultural Resources Specialist (San Bernardino)









NRCS Cultural Resources Regulatory Compliance

As a federal agency, NRCS is mandated to responsibly consider cultural resources during the conservation planning and implementation process in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as other relevant regulations and policies. As a conservation agency, NRCS is committed to identifying and protecting important cultural resources for the enhancement of the environment and the benefit of future generations.

CRM_Team_05It is the policy of NRCS California to avoid effects to cultural resources whenever possible. Following the regulatory process outlined at 36 CFR Part 800, our Cultural Resources Management Team conducts a full review on all NRCS projects that could potentially affect cultural resources. This includes determining the area of potential effects, conducting background research, completing a record search of the California Historical Resources Information System (CHRIS), field surveys, consultation with local tribes, and consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO).

For more information about NRCS’ cultural resource reviews and what it means for your conservation plan, please see the “Cultural Resources and Your Conservation Plan” brochure that is linked above.

Consultation Information for Tribes

NRCS strongly values our relationship with tribes and the incorporation of tribal perspectives and knowledge into our conservation planning. To this end, NRCS California has an active Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC), specific programs for tribes, and we work closely with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). Beyond conservation assistance, NRCS also seeks to meaningfully consult with tribes on the potential impacts our activities may have on cultural resources in compliance with above mentioned regulations and policies.

With the staff and resources available, the Cultural Resources Management Team proactively works to build relationships with tribes statewide and to generally understand potential tribal concerns. Given the breadth and depth of conservation resource concerns in California, approximately 900 to 1,200 fast paced projects are reviewed by the Cultural Resources Management Team annually. These projects are primarily small scale cost-share opportunities with private landowners who are voluntarily implementing conservation practices on their lands.

NRCS Consultation Process

CRM_Team_07NRCS maintains a contact list of approximately 200 state and federally recognized tribes across California. The NRCS Tribal Liaisons and State Archaeologist update the list regularly based new information from tribes and annually with information provided by the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC). If your tribe is not receiving communications from the Cultural Resources Management Team and you feel that you should be, please contact the NRCS State Archaeologist immediately.

Tribal Responses

For each project receiving a cultural resources review, NRCS sends a letter to the Tribal Chairperson, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO), or the tribe’s preferred contact initiating the consultation process and providing a map of the project area. If a tribe receives this information and has no concerns about the proposed project or does not wish to engage in consultation, they simply do not need to respond. However, if a tribe has concerns, such as known cultural resources within the project area or knowledge of the area’s sensitivity, the NRCS requests that they respond as quickly as possible so that we can continue consultation.

CRM_Team_02NRCS’ goal for tribal consultation is to identify important cultural resources within the project area and develop avoidance methods that will adequately protect the cultural resource during conservation implementation. This is not possible without direct tribal input on a project-by-project basis, so we welcome tribal engagement in our cultural resources review process. All information provided by tribes will be kept in the strictest confidence by the Cultural Resources Management Team, as is required by regulation and policy.

Contact Us!

Please reach out to the NRCS State Archaeologist if you have questions about our overall environmental review and compliance process, are seeking to provide NRCS information about important cultural resources, have feedback on how NRCS could make the consultation process more accessible to your tribe, or just generally want to get to know each other.


Emily Castano, M.A., RPA
State Archeologist
Davis State Office
(530) 792-5621


Updated: 10/19/2021