Surveys & Assessments

The initial steps of the cultural resource management (CRM) process

Archaeological Survey in Cranbury, NJ.
Archaeological Survey in Cranbury, NJ.
Initial Environmental Review
In order to determine if the CRM process is necessary, applicants provide initial information to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) or the appropriate local agency (such as the City of New York-Landmarks Preservation Commission). This information generally includes the initial proposed action. The regulatory agency reviews this information and makes a determination on the potential effect, thus initiating the CRM process.

Phase IA Documentary Study
If the SHPO or the appropriate local agency determines construction may impact possible buried historic structures or other historically significant cultural resources, if the project area is listed on the City, State, or National Register of Historic Places, or if the property falls within a City, State, or National Historic District, the agency requires a Phase IA Documentary Study be undertaken. This limited study, usually conducted by a CRM firm in order to conform to regulatory guidelines, incorporates regional historical and site-specific information with the analysis of historic maps into a single report. The report then makes recommendations as to whether or not any significant buried historic remains may be uncovered during the project.

This phase also includes a survey of the project area.

In general, the coordination effort, once the regulatory agency makes the initial determination that a Phase IA is required, is minimal. The CRM firm will produce the required Phase IA Report, which the contractor will approve prior to sending to the regulatory agency for formal approval.

If the report determines that there is no significant risk to historic material, the cultural resource process ends at this stage.

If the report determines that there may be some significant historic material at risk within the project area, the next phase begins.