Any project that has the potential to impact natural or cultural resources requires consultation with the relevant tribes even if the project is not located on tribal land. Examples of activities that require tribal review are listed below.
- Ground disturbances; examples include digging to create foundations, footing, or the installation of new water lines
- New construction in undeveloped natural areas; undeveloped natural areas include, but are not limited to, canyons, mountaintops, and islands
- Incongruent visual changes; an example of this is construction of a structure that blocks a viewpoint or detracts from the natural character of the region
- Incongruent audible changes; any increase in noise levels above acceptable decibel levels
- Incongruent atmospheric changes; an example of this is the introduction of lights that interfere with the natural night sky and create skyglow
- Work on a building with significant tribal association; such as rehab of a native tribal structure or former home of an important person
- Transfer, lease or sale of a historic property of religious and cultural significance; such as leasing a property that contains archaeological sites
Consulting with tribes is important because many projects have the potential to impact the natural and cultural resources that are important to tribal communities that wouldn’t be recognized by the state historic preservation officer nor the professional performing the review. These resources can include sacred sites, traditional hunting and fishing grounds, and other areas of cultural or spiritual significance.
In addition to preserving historical artifacts and resources, many tribal communities have unique knowledge and perspectives on the environment that can be valuable in assessing potential impacts of a project. This knowledge may be based on centuries of observation and traditional ecological knowledge and can help to identify potential environmental impacts that might not be apparent from a purely scientific perspective.