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 effect on archaeological resources. This review process, which was mandated by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and other federal legislation, 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).
Beginning about 1976, the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) took an active role in protecting submerged cultural remains through the review process. UAB staff review plans for between 300 and 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.
The 1982 review procedures (revised in 2004) outline the type of historical and archaeological data reviewed by UAB staff to determine the potential a prospective construction site has for affecting submerged archaeological resources. Click here to read the 2004 Environmental Review Procedures for underwater archaeological resources.