An important function of the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Branch is the review of various state and federal undertakings on public lands (including submerged lands) to determine their affect on archaeological resources. This review process, which was mandated by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, applies to both government sponsored projects, such as channel dredging conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and to private development activities that require a permit from the USACE, or the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (CAMA).
UAB staff review plans for between 300 - 400 water-related construction projects each year to determine if these activities will affect significant archaeological sites. For those projects that have the potential for disturbing sites, Environmental Review Procedures have been developed to help archaeological contractors investigate and clear areas slated for construction prior to project commencement. To address the need to determine site significance, UAB staff provides guidance through management plans for small craft and barges, and National Register District descriptions for Civil War shipwrecks and derelict vessels along the Wilmington waterfront.