Federal Government

Continuing Resolution Funding Historic Preservation Programs at FY 2008 Level.  On September 30, 2008, President Bush signed into law a continuing resolution (HR 2638) funding most government agencies, including the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, at FY 2008 levels until March 6, 2009.  The continuing resolution was needed because Congress did not pass 12 annual appropriation bills by the end of the 2008 Federal fiscal year (FY).  The FY runs from October 1 through September 30.

 

Preserve America Program.  As a result of last year’s Preserve America Summit, the DOI and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) assembled a 10 person expert panel to evaluate the current federal historic preservation program and make recommendations.  Their first meeting was May 8.  Their report is to be released this fall.  None of the panel members is an archaeologist.  Under the Preserve America program, every three years federal agencies, including the ACHP, are to submit progress reports to the President on their efforts to identify, protect, and use historic properties in their ownership.  Agencies have until the end of FY 2008 (Sept. 30) to submit their progress reports.  The ACHP’s report is due by Feb. 19, 2009.  At a recent meeting reporting on the status of these reports hosted by the ACHP, senior federal officials discussed the need to have a clear set of updated standards for professional qualifications in historic preservation, including archaeology.  The Secretary of the Interior’s professional qualification standards date to 1983 http://www.nps.gov/history/local-law/arch_stnds_9.htm.  Revision of the standards was proposed in 1997http://frwebgate4.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/PDFgate.cgi?WAISdocID=75019312460+0+1+0&WAISaction=retrieve, but not promulgated as a final rule.

 

Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Project.  After years of research and collaboration, the “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States” was completed and recently presented by the National Park Service to Congress http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/rev1812/preserve.htm.  For additional information, go to http://home.nps.gov/applications/release/Detail.cfm?ID=799

 

2008 American Battlefield Protection Program(ABPP) Grants Pertaining to Ohio.  Civil War Preservation Trust (in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia), $95,000.  Provide detailed GIS mapping data for 30 Civil War battlefields identified by the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission (http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/battles/tvii.htm) as among the most significant and most endangered. This data will help identify parcels that are currently unprotected, and clarify priorities for land protection.  Ohio Civil War battlefields are Buffington Island and Salineville (the site of Morgan’s surrender).

Great Lakes Historical Society, $18,000.  The 1813 Battle of Lake Erie swung the tide of the fighting on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812 in favor of the United States.  Define the boundaries of the battlefield through an underwater archeological survey of the naval engagement.  The condition of any remaining resources will be assessed. 

Ohio Historic Preservation Office, $45,000.  Update inventory and survey data collected for nine Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields in Ohio (Revolutionary War - Fort Laurens, Pickaway Settlements, Lichtenau, Gnadenhutten, and Crawford’s Defeat; War of 1812 - Fort Meigs I, Fort Meigs II, Dudley’s Defeat, and Battle of Lake Erie).  This project will build upon surveys conducted by the OHPO for the ABPP in 2002.

 

The Colonel Charles Young Home National Historical Site Study Act (HR 6616), http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.6616, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Hobson (R-Springfield, Ohio) on July 24, 2008, and referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.  H.R. 6616 directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of the Colonel Charles Young Home in Xenia, Ohio, and other associated locations (none are in Ohio) to determine if those locations should be included as a unit of the National Park System, to include those locations if the Secretary concludes that they meet the criteria for inclusion, and for other purposes.

 

New National Park Service (NPS) Technical Brief on Archeology and Civic Engagement.Archeology can play an important role in efforts to strengthen communities and promote public dialogue, particularly as archeological projects increasingly involve the communities in which they occur and various stakeholders.  This new technical brief provides explanations of civic engagement and social capital as well as case studies and suggestions for ways that archeologists can participate in these efforts.  NPS Technical Briefs can be found at http://www.nps.gov/archeology/pubs/techBr/index.htm.

 

State Government

127 th (2007-2008) Ohio General Assembly

Information about bills, legislators, the legislative process, etc., can be found at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/.  After June 30, 2009, bills not enacted into law need to be reintroduced and the legislative process begun anew when the 128th Ohio General Assembly convenes on July 1, 2009.  We are monitoring the status of these bills and have prepared or are preparing written testimony on them should they come before the committees to which they have been assigned.  The November election saw control of the Ohio House of Representatives go to Democrats.  As a result, bills introduced by Democratic legislators will have a better chance of moving through the legislative process. Republicans retained control of the Ohio Senate.      

 

Ohio House Bill HB 16/Senate Bill 336, establishing the Ohio Historical Society income tax contribution fund creating a matching grants program for history and historic preservation organizations in Ohio, for which the OAC would be eligible.  The bill was introduced into the House by Rep. Chandler (D) on February 20, 2007, and assigned to the Ways and Means Committee.  The companion bill, S 336, was introduced in the Senate by Sen, Wagoner (R) on May 12, 2008, and assigned to the Ways and Means and Economic Development Committee.  Neither committee has held hearings on the bill.  An effort will be made on Statehood Day (see below) to get the bills heard in committee.  The Legislative Services Commission has prepared a bill and fiscal note and local impact analysis of HB 16.     

 

OHB 69, permitting counties, townships, and combinations of counties, townships, and municipalities to adopt regulations establishing transfer of development rights (TDR) programs within their zoning codes or by joint agreement, was introduced by Rep. Larry Wolpert (R) on February 27, 2007.  Conservation of historical and archaeological sites is one of the purposes for which TDR programs can be established.  Transfer of development rights refers to a method for protecting land by transferring the "rights to develop" from one area and giving them to another.      

HB 69 was assigned to the Local and Municipal Government & Urban Revitalization (LMGUR) Committee, which Rep. Wolpert chaired.  Rep. Wolpert was term limited in 2008; he will not return to the Ohio House of Representatives.  The LMGUR Committee did not hold hearings on the bill, and its future is in doubt.  The Legislative Services Commission has prepared a bill and fiscal note and local impact analysis.

OHB 639, establishing procedures for the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to extend state recognition to Native American tribes, groups, and special interest groups, and to extend such recognition to the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band, was introduced by Rep. Fred Strahorn (D) on November 19, 2008.  Under the bill, a state recognized tribe is authorized to conduct business in Ohio for which it is authorized to do so under Federal law.  However, state recognition could not be used for purposes of the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which permits Indian tribes to operate certain types of gaming (gambling) establishments.

HB 639 was assigned to the State Government and Elections (SGE) Committee.  Rep. Strahorn was term limited in 2008; he will not return to the Ohio House of Representatives.  The SGE Committee has not held hearings on the bill, and its future is in doubt.  The Legislative Services Commission has not prepared a bill and fiscal and local impact analysis of the bill.   

         

Comments Regarding Proposed Archaeological Investigations at the Mid-Ohio Development Corporation’s (MODC) Proposed Ohio Department of Development’s Job Ready Site (JRS) Project at the Abandoned Wehrle Stove Company Site in Newark, Licking County, Ohio.  At the invitation of the OHPO and the Newark Earthworks Center, on July 29, 2008, the OAC submitted comments to both parties regarding the need for archaeological investigations at the abandoned Wehrle Stove Company, formerly the site of a cemetery associated with the Newark Earthworks.  We advised that it was only through careful and controlled scientific archaeological investigations that any remnants of the site could and should be identified, and advised the confirmation of the production of land mines and other munitions at the plant during WW II.  If confirmed, we recommended that prior to undertaking archaeological investigations, a munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) survey be conducted over the area where archaeological investigations would be conducted to clear the site of munitions and explosives, and to delineate areas where archaeological investigations should be prohibited because of the presence of MEC.  Furthermore, we advised that before archaeological investigations commenced, the archaeologists should be apprised of the location of all hazardous and toxic wastes present at the project site so appropriate precautions could be taken.  We recommended that the archaeologists implement a health and safety plan for the environmental conditions present at the site, and that they demonstrate sufficient liability insurance and implementation of a health and safety plan including trenching and excavation, heavy equipment, personal protective equipment, and related programs that meet the relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards.  Subsequently, the MODC did not apply for the JRS grant, and the project appears to be on hold.     

 

Comments to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) Regarding Archaeological Sites and Wind Energy Projects.  In September, comments were submitted to the OPSB regarding draft rules for siting wind farms.  We found the rules simplistic, vague, and extremely difficult to work with, and recommended revision in consultation with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.  We commented that the draft rules were “significantly flawed and displays unfamiliarity with established, workable processes and procedures for considering the effects of government funded, permitted, licensed, and otherwise authorized projects on archaeological resources, and the work of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.”  The OPSB replied that it had a “long-standing working relationship with the State Historic Preservation Office as it pertains to cultural resources…and that the [OAC’s] concerns are addressed without making the proposed modifications to the rules.”  The entire text of the OAC’s comments can be found at http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/TiffToPDf/A1001001A08I25B34457G52488.pdf.  

 

American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) grants to Study Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in Ohio.  In 2008, the National Parks Service’s ABPP made grants to three organizations to study Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in Ohio.  The Ohio Historic Preservation Office received a grant to update survey and inventory data to their 2002 study of nine sites in Ohio (Fort Laurens [1779] in Tuscarawas County, Pickaway Settlements Battle site [1780] in Clark County, Lichtenau Massacre site [1782] in Coshocton County, Gnadenhutten Massacre site [1782] in Tuscarawas County, Colonel Crawford Battle [Crawford’s Defeat] site [1782] in Wyandot County, Fort Meigs 1, Fort Meigs 2, and Dudley’s Defeat site [1813] in Lucas County, and the Battle of Lake Erie [1813] in Ottawa County).  The study will be undertaken by a consultant.  The Great Lakes Historical Society will conduct an underwater archaeological survey to help define the boundaries of the site and assess the integrity of any extant cultural resources related to the battle.  The Civil War Preservation Trust will provide GIS mapping identifying unprotected parcels of land pertaining to Ohio’s only Civil War battlefield, the Battle of Buffington Island in Meigs County, and Morgan’s Surrender site in Salineville in Columbiana Coutny, and revise priorities for protecting the parcels.  For further information see http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/index.htm.

 

State budget cuts are crippling the Ohio Historical Society (OHS).  OHS recently announced that it faces a $1.2 million budget deficit as a result of the Governor’s most recent cut of 5.75%, which follows a 4.75% reduction in October of 2008.   Since the state of Ohio faces a projected $7.3 billion-plus budget shortfall in FY 2009-2010 (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2011), further reductions are likely.  To address the budget crisis, OHS will close its historic sites and museums, including the Ohio Historical Center and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, and furlough staff the week of March 28 - April 3, 2009.  OHS is also increasing the number of historic sites that will be managed by local partners.  Currently, half (29) of OHS’ 58 sites are operated through partnership agreements with local organizations or governments, and OHS is looking to add up to 10 more sites to this mix before June 30, 2009.  These partnerships are increasingly important because of the combination of long-term state underinvestment in OHS and the recent budget crisis.   

 

OAC Members Appointed to the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board (OHSPAB).  Recently, OAC Secretary Andrew Schneider and member Shaune Skinner were appointed to three-year terms on the 17-member OHSPAB by Governor Strickland.  The OAC’s Board of Directors encouraged their nominations.  OHSPAB’s duties include suggesting legislation to the Ohio Historical Society so it can fulfill its mission to locate, designate, restore, preserve, and maintain state historical and archaeological sites and artifacts; encourage the designation of suitable sites on the National Register of Historic Places and under related Federal programs; and provide general advice, guidance, and professional recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer in conducting a statewide survey of historic and archaeological sites, preparing a state historic preservation plan, and carrying out other duties and responsibilities of the State Historic Preservation Office.  A majority of OHSPAB members must professionals in the disciplines of history, archaeology, architectural history, architecture, and historical architecture.  Public members also sit on OHSPAB.

 

Statehood Day 2009 is Tuesday, March 3 http://www.ohiohistory.org/about/lu/sd.html.  Early registration is $25 and ends Feb. 6. After Feb. 6, the cost of registration is $30.  Registration includes a buffet lunch.  To attend Statehood Day, please rsvp to Jerolyn Barbee via email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), telephone 614-297-2326, or online at http://www.ohiohistorystore.com/Statehood-Day-2009-P8408C61.aspx.  Meetings with state legislators will be arranged for you by OHS staff.  Statehood Day is a joint effort among the Ohio Historical Society, Heritage Ohio, the Ohio Archaeological Council, the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums, the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board, Preservation Ohio, the Ohio Genealogical Society, and the Society of Ohio Archivists.  Statehood Day 2008 (March 5) saw a small number of OAC members among the more than 200 people participating.  As a result of this effort, Sen. Wagoner (R) introduced Ohio Senate Bill 336, a companion bill to HB 16 (see above).  On behalf of the OAC, on November 19, 2008, Al Tonetti attended a Statehood Day 2009 planning meeting.  Al is on the committee’s legislative priorities subcommittee.  This year, priorities will be divided into short-term and long-term issues.  The priorities will not significantly change from those in 2008:

  • Reinforce the state’s commitment to historic preservation by 1) fully funding the Ohio Historic Preservation Office to help expedite reviews of economic development projects, 2) encouraging the preservation of public historic buildings, and 3) strengthening the state’s policy regarding the impact of public improvements on historic properties.
  • Improve student achievement and strengthen citizenship skills in the underemphasized core subject of Social Studies by increasing the availability of high quality teacher training and classroom resources.
  • Enact HB16 and SB 336 establishing an income tax check-off that would create a new competitive matching grants program, leveraging public investments in local historical, archival and preservation organizations.
  • Establish a dedicated, sustainable source of funding for the efficient management and preservation of local government records.
  • Establish a Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and invest in activities and educational programs statewide in recognition of Ohio’s prominent role in the Civil War.
  • Develop a statewide system of Heritage Areas that promotes and preserves Ohio’s geographically and thematically grouped natural, cultural, historical and recreational resources through technical assistance and funding to develop unique visitor experiences, stimulate community and economic development and compete more effectively with our neighboring states for tourism dollars

 

OAC’s Legislative Priorities.  In the spring of 2008, the OAC’s Government Affairs Committee developed, and the Board of Directors approved, a set of legislative priorities.  On several occasions in 2002, the OAC testified before the Ohio House Select Committee Studying the Effectiveness of Ohio’s Historical Programs and Partnerships.  In this testimony, available on the OAC’s website, we asked the state legislature to address a number of issues.  It did not do so.  Some of these issues are reiterated in our priorities.  

 

Enforcement and Clarification of Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 149.53: Impacts of Public Improvements on Archaeological and Historic Sites

ORC 149.53 states, in relevant part, “All departments, agencies, units, instrumentalities, and political subdivisions of the state shall cooperate with the Ohio historical society and the Ohio historic site preservation advisory board in the preservation of archaeological and historic sites and in recovery of scientific information from such sites and for such purposes shall, whenever practical, by contract or otherwise provide for archaeological and historic survey and salvage work during the planning phases, before work on a public improvement begins or at other appropriate times; and require that contractors performing work on public improvements cooperate with archaeological and historic survey and salvage efforts and notify the society or the board about archaeological discoveries.”  As we testified to in 2002, state government and political subdivisions of the state generally ignore this law, and the Ohio Historical Society and the Governor-appointed Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board currently lack the ability to enforce it.  No rules implementing the law exist.  Enforcement of ORC 149.53 and clarification of how state government and political subdivisions of the state are to comply with it are needed.

 

Enactment of a State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) or a State Historic Preservation Act

The OAC supports enactment of a SEPA, as proposed by the Ohio Environmental Council, or state historic preservation legislation.  This would require the State and its political subdivisions to make reasonable and good faith efforts to identify important archaeological sites (as defined below) on private terrestrial and publicly owned terrestrial and submerged land in Ohio.  An exception would be federal property.  These efforts include measures to assess, avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate project impacts on such sites before project funds, licenses, and permits are approved by the state.  These efforts would only occur on land that the State Historic Preservation Office determines:

1.      Is a high or medium probability area for containing important archaeological sites; or

2.      Contains archaeological sites recorded in the Ohio Archaeological Inventory; or

3.   Contains important archaeological sites, defined as those sites that meet the criteria for evaluation for the National Register of Historic Places, the State Registry of Archaeological Landmarks, or locally designated landmarks.  State law pertaining to public improvements affecting archaeological sites is contained in ORC 149.53, but this law is ignored and not being enforced (see above).  State actions, including the funding, licensing, and permitting of projects proposed by local governments and the private sector likely to affect important archaeological sites, should require these efforts. This process would be similar to that of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. 

 

Revision of ORC 1514:  Industrial Minerals Mining Permits

Industrial minerals mining has a substantial impact on important archaeological sites because such mining, particularly quarry and open pit mining, is often located in the most extremely archaeologically sensitive environments:  river valleys and stream terraces, and certain uplands.  Presently, state law regulating industrial minerals mining does not allow the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to consider impacts on archaeological sites.  ODNR officials have indicated that they will not consider such impacts until the General Assembly authorizes them to do so.  A SEPA or State Historic Preservation Act, as defined above, would address this situation.  The OAC asks the state legislature to revise ORC 1514 to require an applicant for an industrial mining permit to make a reasonable and good faith effort to identify such sites and assess, avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate the proposed mining’s impacts on such sites as a condition of the ODNR’s permit approval process.      

 

Protection of Unmarked Human Burial Grounds and Abandoned Cemeteries

In 2002, the Ohio House Select Committee on Ohio’s Historical Programs and Partnerships recommended that the Ohio Historical Society develop a program to protect unmarked human burial grounds and abandoned cemeteries.  The Ohio Historical Society, after holding a meeting of interested parties, recommended that such a program, though badly needed, should be the responsibility of a state agency, not a private, non-profit organization such as itself.  The state of Ohio is one of the few states that do not provide adequate protection for unmarked human burial grounds and abandoned cemeteries.  Preservation of abandoned cemeteries is also a legislative priority of the Ohio Townships Association.  The OAC supports the enactment of legislation requiring the State Historic Preservation Office to develop and implement an unmarked human burial ground protection program, including creating an inventory of human burial places, and funding for its operation.  We also support legislation protecting abandoned cemeteries.

 

Revise ORC 149.54 Clarifying When a Permit is Needed to Conduct Archaeological Investigations on State Land and Land Owned by a Political Subdivision of the State, and Increasing the Penalty for Archaeological Investigations on Such Land Without a Permit from the Ohio Historical Society from a Misdemeanor to a Felony.

In 1983, Amended House Bill 373 exempted state agencies and political subdivisions of the state from complying with 149.54 and the rule (Ohio Administrative Code 149-1-02) implementing it. This allows state agencies and political subdivisions of the state to authorize anyone to conduct archaeological investigations on public land without considering the person’s qualifications or requiring that the investigations be conducted according to industry standards and guidelines for such investigations adopted by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.  Furthermore, most state agencies and political subdivisions of the state do not have personnel qualified to determine when such permission should and should not be granted.  The result is damage to and destruction of irreplaceable, publicly owned, archaeological sites and the scientifically important information they contain.  The law needs to be clarified indicating when a permit is necessary and when it is not, who may issue such permits, etc.  The penalty for violating 149.54 is a second-degree misdemeanor.  Similar violations in most other states and on Federal lands are felonies.  The state should increase the penalty for violations of ORC 149.54 to a felony in order to serve as stronger deterrent to looting archaeological sites on state land.          

 

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