MnDOT Cultural Resources Review
For questions concerning cultural resources work with the tribes, please send an email to Teresa Martin, the Office of Tribal Affairs Cultural Resources Specialist or call Teresa at (612) 283-0982
An important MnDOT responsibility is the review of proposed undertakings for potential impacts to cultural properties. MnDOT's Cultural Resources Unit (CRU) performs this work. As part of MnDOT's Office of Environmental Stewardship , the CRU balances the state’s transportation needs with historic preservation. CRU staff work with federal, state and local agencies, tribal governments, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPO), the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and others to ensure that impacts to Minnesota’s historic properties are considered early in the transportation planning process. Federal and state laws and regulations guide these efforts.
Visit the MnDOT CRU website for a list and description of the regulations that govern cultural resource reviews of MnDOT federal and state funded projects: MnDOT Cultural Resources Regulations
Federal agencies are responsible for complying with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. This Act requires federal agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to consider the impacts of their undertakings on historic properties. This includes projects funded (in whole or in part), licensed or permitted by the federal agency.
The FHWA has delegated its responsibilities, to a certain extent, for compliance with Section 106 in accordance with Federal law to the professionally qualified staff (as per 36 CFR 61) in MnDOT's CRU, although the FHWA remains legally responsible for all findings and determinations charged to the agency official in 36 CFR 800.
When MnDOT carries out a project with state funds only and no federal permits, the CRU reviews the projects for compliance with state statutes, including:
- Minnesota Historic Sites Act (Minnesota Statute 138.666): Directs state agencies to consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) if projects agencies undertake or fund will impact properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, in the State Register of Historic Places, or included in the State Historic Sites network.
- Minnesota Field Archaeology Act (Minnesota Statute 138.31 - 138.42): Directs state agencies to consult with the SHPO and the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) when projects occurring on lands they control will impact known or suspected archaeological sites.
- Minnesota Private Cemeteries Act (Minnesota Statute 307.08, subd 9-10): Directs state agencies to cooperate with the OSA and the MN Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) when known or suspected burial grounds may be affected by agency activities. Also requires agencies to submit construction development plans to the OSA for review when human burials are known or suspected to exist in a project area.