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Federal Columbia River Power System
Cultural Resource Program

​​​The Columbia and Snake Rivers cleave through thousands of years of history, shaping cultures and communities throughout the Pacific Northwest region. Traces of this history remain along the banks of our region's rivers in the form of archaeological and traditional cultural sites that continue to be important to living communities today.
 
Operation and maintenance of 14 federally owned dams that are part of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) affect these traces of our history by causing erosion that washes away archaeological sites, and by limiting Native Americans’ access to traditional village sites, legendary sites that hold stories about tribal history, and important natural resource gathering areas.
 

1934 overlay map of The Dalles area prior to inundation. Note darker blue (1934) original river path. Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Esri.
 

 News and Highlights

 
 

 ​Agency Contacts

 

Kevin Cannell
FCRPS
Cultural Resource
Program Manager
Bonneville Power Administration kgcannell@bpa.gov
503-230-4454

Gail Celmer
Regional Archaeologist/Program Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Gail.C.Celmer@usace.army.mil
503-808-3850

Sean Hess
Regional Archaeologist
Bureau of Reclamation
shess@usbr.gov
208-378-5316

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires Federal Agencies to consider the effects of their actions on "historic properties", which are the physical traces of our nation's history considered to be "significant". When a historic property is negatively affected by a federal action, agencies must develop management strategies to protect the property or to mitigate for those effects.
 
In order to effectively manage historic properties, the FCRPS Cultural Resource Program (Program) was created in 1997 as a jointly-administered effort overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration to address NHPA section 106 compliance. Work is guided by a programmatic agreement for management of historic properties affected by the operation and maintenance of the FCRPS.
 
The Program is also a partnership with state, tribal, and federal technical staffs that participate in Cultural Resource Cooperating Groups. Together, specialists in Columbia River Plateau archaeology and cultural resources share information and develop creative solutions in the management of cultural resources within the FCRPS.
 
Program Status as of October 2016
  • 14 dams and reservoirs            
  • 775,108 total acreage for all projects
  • 23 program participants including 10 federally recognized Native American tribes
  • 4,235 known cultural resource sites
  • 200-400 sites monitored for their condition annually