Development of Cultural Resources Management Plan and Programmatic Agreement for the Soo Locks
TO: All INTERESTED AGENCIES, PUBLIC GROUPS, AND CITIZEN
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Detroit District, proposes to update the Cultural Resources Management Plan for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, St. Marys Falls Canal (Soo Locks), Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Attachment 1) and develop a new Programmatic Agreement (PA) to implement the updated CRMP. The Soo Locks is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and has been designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL). This notice is provided pursuant to Section 800.6 of 36 C.F.R Part 800, Protection of Historic Properties, and Section 106 of 54 U.S.C. Subtitle III, National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). A copy of this public notice can be provided upon request or can be reviewed online at http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/ by clicking on the link to “Other Public Notice” in the bottom left corner.
The Section 106 process is the process by which a federal agency evaluates the effects its actions may have on a property eligible for or listed on the NRHP or a property that is an NHL. The Section 106 process does not require any course of action be taken, and federal agencies are the final decision makers regarding the action taken.
For NHLs, Section 110(f) of the NHPA requires that the federal agency, to the maximum extent possible, undertake such planning and actions as may be necessary to minimize harm to any NHL that may be directly and adversely affected by an undertaking.
Congress has directed the USACE to operate and maintain the Soo Locks to ensure that vessels can cross the St. Marys Falls. To fulfill that mission, the USACE must frequently make changes to the Soo Locks to ensure the facility can fulfill its historic and modern purpose of allowing vessel transit.
Given these obligations, an updated CRMP and PA can help the USACE manage the Soo Locks and ensure the facility can carry out its primary function while remaining in compliance with Sections 106 and 110 of the NHPA.
Presently, the cultural resources at the Soo Locks, including historic buildings and archeological sites are managed under the Cultural Resources Management Plan for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, St. Marys Falls Canal (Soo Locks) Property, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (2005 CRMP). The 2005 CRMP includes a list of structures, objects, and other physical elements which are categorized as either contributing (i.e., they contribute to the historic nature of the Soo Locks) or non-contributing (i.e., they do not contribute to the historic nature of the Soo Locks) and also includes a list of activities that the USACE is allowed to complete without consultation under Section 106 of the NHPA with the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and National Park Service (NPS), as long as those activities meet the applicable Secretary of the Interior Standards (Standards), and cause “no adverse effect” to the historic nature of the Soo Locks.
Due to the number of changes that have occurred at the Soo Locks since 2005, the current CRMP’s list of contributing and non-contributing elements is outdated and will be further outdated upon completion of the New Lock. The USACE has also identified additional routine tasks it could complete in accordance with the Standards and would have “no adverse effect” on the historic nature of the Soo Locks. The USACE therefore proposes to develop an updated CRMP containing the following elements:
- An updated list of structures, buildings, properties, and archaeological sites and whether each contributes to the historic nature of the Soo Locks.
- A list of activities relating to historic buildings and structures, which meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, cause “no adverse effect” to the historic nature of the Soo Locks, and therefore do not require consultation with the SHPO, NPS and federally recognized Tribes. The USACE would provide a biannual report to all consulting parties regarding work completed under this section.
- A list of activities requiring consultation with the SHPO, NPS, and federally recognized tribes
- A detailed inadvertent discovery plan regarding the discovery of cultural material or human remains for any project taking place at the Soo Locks.
- Standards for when archeological and tribal monitoring will occur during ground disturbing work.
- A procedure for easily updating the CRMP as additional changes are made to the Soo Locks to assist with future compliance.
- Historic structure reports for the Davis Building, Administration Building, Unit 10 Powerhouse, and the Maintenance Supply Building, including a detailed list of contributing and non-contributing elements for each building and suggestions for future changes and rehabilitation. These buildings were selected as they are the buildings utilized the most by USACE staff and the buildings most likely to require updates and maintenance in the near term.
The USACE will also develop a PA to govern implementation of and compliance with the CRMP. A PA allows federal agencies, SHPO, and other consulting parties to develop a specific set of processes or actions to be taken regarding a particular property or project. By developing a PA, the CRMP may include specific tasks that can be carried out without consultation with the SHPO, NPS, public or federally recognized Tribes, provided those actions meet certain requirements and cause “no adverse effect” to the historic nature of the Soo Locks. This list of actions and requirements is developed in consultation with NPS, SHPO, federally recognized Tribes, and other consulting parties.
In accordance with Section 800.14(4)(b)(ii) of 36 C.F.R Part 800, the USACE is requesting any comments or concerns regarding the development of a proposed PA and CRMP be submitted within thirty (30) days from the date of this notice. If no comments are received by the end of the thirty (30)-day review period, it will be assumed that no comments are forthcoming. Please provide all comments by email to LRE-NHPA-Comments@usace.army.mil.