New Mexico Geothermal Cultural Resource Assessment(11-NM)
New Mexico’s Cultural Properties Act provides for the identification, preservation, protection and enhancement of structures, sites and objects of historical significance within the state. Developers should consult with the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division (NMHPD) to determine if a cultural survey is necessary. If developers discover cultural resources on-site during the project, then they will be required to comply with specific requirements. If human remains are discovered on the site, the necessary requirements are more stringent.
Developers are required to undergo consultation with the NMHPD prior to engaging in any ground-disturbing activity on state lands in New Mexico. NMHPD will then determine if a cultural survey will be needed. If necessary, the developer hires a qualified archaeologist to apply for a General Permit for Archaeological Investigations. NMAC 220.127.116.11-9. The archaeologist, upon approval, will conduct the archaeological investigation. NMAC 4.10.15. If cultural resources are discovered, then the archaeologist must meet certain obligations before a developer may continue with the project. Where cultural resources are discovered and it is determined that the project will result in an effect on those resources, the developer will be required to comply with a treatment/mitigation plan. NMAC 18.104.22.168.
Developers must comply with strict notice and action requirements if unmarked human burials or burial grounds are discovered on New Mexico state lands at any time during the project. NMAC 4.10.11. Developers are required to provide notice to local law enforcement upon discovery, and a Medical Investigator will determine if the burial has medicolegal significance. Absent medicolegal significance, the developer must employ a qualifying archaeologist who then applies for a Permit to Excavate Human Burials. The archaeologist determines during the application process whether the burials are Native American or non-Native American and comply with differing notice requirements based on that determination. NMAC 4.10.11. The archaeologist then develops a Disposition Plan and submits the plan to NMHPD for approval. NMHPD may comment or modify the plan. Upon approval, the archaeologist is responsible for carrying out the approved Disposition Plan.
If developers discover cultural resources on-site during the project, then they must comply with the cultural resource discovery process in New Mexico. NMAC 22.214.171.124. When the cultural resource is discovered, all ground-disturbing activity must immediately cease in the vicinity of the discovery. Developers will then be required to develop and implement a mitigation plan, which will be reviewed by NMHPD. NMAC 126.96.36.199.
Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply
Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.