Cultural resources (also known as heritage assets) include: archaeological sites (both prehistoric and historic and their associated documentation), buildings and structures, landscapes, objects, and historic documents. These items form a tangible links with the past. As an agency of the Federal government, the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is responsible for, and committed to, protecting and managing these irreplaceable resources in a spirit of stewardship for future generations to understand and enjoy. A Cultural Resources Management (CRM) program was established at USFWS in 1970s to manage the rich array of cultural resources under its jurisdiction. Its primary goal is to:

  • identify, evaluate, and encourage preservation of cultural resources
  • manage museum property collections
  • consult with a broad array of interested parties
  • promote heritage education
  • provide expertise to FWS programs such as, Federal Assistance, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Realty, Endangered Species, Refuges, Fire, Planning with respect to Cultural Resource needs

A Closer Look at FW 614

The 2016 FWS Cultural Resources Policy (FW614 1-6) updates content to better reflect the cultural resources laws and FWS responsibilities with respect to those laws. FW 614 does not change agency requirements under these laws nor does it alter our consultation responsibilities vis a vis any of our preservation partners.

This FAQ series is designed to offer details and examples that apply to 614 so that FWS staff and our partners can better see the policy in action and how it illustrates cultural resources compliance at the FWS.

FAQ-FW 614 1 (39KB PDF)

FWS issues permits for archaeological (and paleontological) research on FWS lands.  These permits are required under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) and the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009 (PRPA).

If you have questions relating to the USFWS cultural resources or about obtaining a permit, please contact your Regional Historic Preservation Officer 

On Dec 9, 2016, the Refuge System approved a new award for Cultural Resources. The award highlights efforts by program leads and staff and project leaders and staff who go above and beyond to help manage, protect, of otherwise draw attention to the importance of cultural resources.

Nominations are open now through February 3rd, 2017.

Cultural Resources Award

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is responsible for protecting tens of thousands of archaeological and historic sites, sacred and traditional areas and scientifically-important museum collections that reflect the long and diverse history and traditions of our nation.

Every day, National Wildlife Refuge System staff perform outstanding work in support of the National Historic Preservation Act’s objectives that help meet our conservation mission.

The National Wildlife Refuge System Historic Preservation Award  will be used to recognize hard work and outstanding results in the protection and use of cultural resources that we manage.

Please follow the links for award criteria and submission instructions. If you have any questions, contact  Eugene Marino, Service Archaeologist.

Historic Preservation Award Past Winners