NAVFAC Launches Website Seeking Comment on Historic Sites to be Impacted by Buildup

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Guam – Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific today [Thursday] began seeking public input regarding the identification and evaluation of historic properties for several proposed actions associated with Marine Corps relocation efforts from Okinawa to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). The NAVFAC web site: www.bitly.com/NAVFAC-GuamPA

Mail-in comment forms are available at the Guam State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). In addition to accepting comments by mail, NAVFAC Pacific set up a Cultural Resources Information (CRI) website at www.bit.ly/NAVFAC-GuamPA for the public and consulting parties to participate in the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 process, by providing comments directly to the Navy.

“During the process of developing the Programmatic Agreement (PA), the Guam State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), Lynda Aguon, strongly emphasized the importance of providing the maximum amount of opportunities for the public to participate in the consultation process, and we agreed that the CRI website would be the most appropriate avenue to reach out to the public,” said NAVFAC Pacific Archaeologist Val Curtis.

The cultural resources information website is important because it affords the public an opportunity to provide comments on the identification and evaluation of historic properties that may be affected during the build-up process.

The relocation of Marines from Okinawa enhances the readiness of U.S. joint forces in the Pacific theater and operational capabilities of the III Marine Expeditionary Force. To support this effort, and in accordance with the PA, the CRI web site was set up to identify areas under study for the determination of cultural or historic eligibility, and to provide information and appropriate supporting documentation regarding the Navy’s identification and evaluation process for specific project sites.

The PA is an agreement among signatories to ensure appropriate consideration of historic sites and cultural resources on Guam and the CNMI in those areas where construction projects may affect historic properties. It is a component of Section 106 of the NHPA, which requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their projects on historic properties.

“It took awhile to get signed, but we know the final version of the PA is a great win-win for the DoD and the people of Guam and CNMI,” said Dr. Eric West, supervisory archaeologist for NAVFAC Pacific. “We look forward to working with the parties to the PA and the public as we begin this important endeavor.”

All appropriate comments received during the comment period will be posted on the CRI website. NAVFAC Pacific will take into account comments received within 45 days of the date of delivery of PA memos to the SHPO, and public notification of the memos on the CRI website.

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