Cultural Resource Surveys and Assessments

Bruce Judd Consulting Group provides  cultural resource surveys and analysis reports to assist environmental consultants, developers and agencies with the identification of those historic resources that may be impacted by a development project.

Analysis reports include:

  1. Determination of whether or not the resource is historic
  2. If so, what are the character-defining features of that resource
  3. Determination of the negative impact, if any, on those features

Th C. S. Lewis College AuditoriumBruce Judd Consulting Group is distinctly qualified to perform these services because of the experience gained in evaluating cultural resources as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (8 years) and hands-on experience in hundreds of resource assessments performed all over the country. (For a listing of some of those projects, please click here.)


 Bruce Judd Consulting Group Services

Bruce Judd Consulting Group provides a number services regarding cultural resources. These include:

•            Federal Agency Coordination

•            State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) Coordination

•            Determination of Character Defining Features

•            Development and Analysis of Project and Alternatives

•            Cumulative Impact Analyses

•            Determination of Areas of Potential Effect (APE)

•            Preparation of Cultural Resource Section for State Environmental Quality Act Requirements

•            Preparation of Cultural Resource Section for federal Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Reports (EIR)

•            Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSI) Statements

•            Mitigation Plans

•            Public Meeting Planning and Implementation

 Cultural Resources

Generally speaking, cultural resources are defined as the collective physical materials resulting from past activities of humans.  Buildings, structures, objects, and natural features with special historic, cultural, archeological, architectural, community or aesthetic value are considered cultural resources.  All cultural resources are limited and are non-renewable resources that, if destroyed, can not be converted back to their former original state.

The Fresno Fulton Mall artwork and landscaping.The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) considers cultural resources to include prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, historic standing structures, bridges, cemeteries, and monuments, among others. Impacts to resources eligible for NRHP must be mitigated through excavation, avoidance, or preservation. All Federal, and most State, agencies are required to identify and protect cultural resources on the lands they manage.  Also, industries, whose projects are licensed by federal and/or state agencies, must identify and mitigate impacts to cultural resources in project areas before beginning construction activities.

Surveying and Analyzing Cultural Resources

Surveying and analyzing cultural resources is generally triggered by a proposed project or “undertaking” that might affect them. Environmental Impact Statements, Environmental Impact Reports and other products are a result of these assessments.

Frequently, cultural resource assessments are carried out as part of a larger environmental assessment that may include other types of impacts to resources such as traffic, and air and water pollution. Other resources such as wildlife and geology are also typically considered in environmental assessments.

Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice, CA - 1949-1951Resource surveys generally include both natural and man-made resources and consider other potential impacts beyond those to cultural resources. Government agencies have environmental checklists that are used to initially determine if there may be other environmental impacts to be considered.  These typically include impacts to: Aesthetics, Agriculture and Forestry, Air Quality, Biological Resources, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Cultural Resources, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Geology and Soils, Hydrology and Water Quality, Land Use/Planning, Population and Housing, Mineral Resources, Noise, Recreation, Transportation/Traffic, Public Services, and Utilities and Service Systems.

The first step is to determine if there are any potential cultural resources with in an area studied. Cultural resources in this context are generally considered to be buildings, sites, structure and other man made objects that may be more than recently constructed.

 The Many Acronyms: NEPA, EIS, EPA, NHPA, ACHP, EIR and Section 106

NEPA refers to the National Environmental Policy Act which is a federal law that requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental values into their decision-making process when proposing actions that might affect the environment.  They also need to consider reasonable alternatives to these actions.   To meet these requirements, federal agencies prepare Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which are detailed reports on the proposed action and any resulting negative environmental affects.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviews and comments on EISs prepared by other federal agencies, and maintains a national filing system for all EISs. Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) are typically done for state agencies or private developments.

The San Francisco Presidio National Historic LandmarkThe National Historic Preservation Act  (NHPA) is another federal law that establishes policies regarding cultural and “historic properties”.  These include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are included in, or are eligible for the NRHP.  Section 106 of the act requires that Federal agencies consider the effects of their actions on such properties, following regulations issued by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP).

Bruce Judd Consulting Group Projects

Numerous previous projects have involved cultural resource assessment analysis including:

• C. S. Lewis College Campus – assessment of site features and building character defining features for 35 historic buildings, developing recommendations for appropriate site improvements and building upgrades,

• Fresno Fulton Mall Renovation – surveying historic buildings and mall artworks, reviewing alternative plans for mall renovation, recommendations for selected plan, review of potential mitigation measures,

• Hall Winery, St. Helena, CA – environmental review for several historic buildings on the winery site and reports for Napa County environmental review.

• La Jolla and San Diego consulting, review of historic character defining features and recommendations for appropriate renovation treatments,

• The Varsity Theater, Palo Alto, CA – determining character defining features, recommendations for treatment and protection of historic features during construction, design recommendations to meet City requirements and preparation of required report describing compliance with preservation standards,

• Mound Bayou Survey and National Register District – survey of historic buildings within the city to determine which might be contributors to a National Register Historic District, determination of criteria for inclusion in the NRHP, preparation of documentation and submission to the National Park Service.

•   Surveys of numerous historic areas to determine character defining elements and historic reviews and nominations to landmark registers*, including:

National Historic Landmark Jacksonville, Oregon.City of Anaheim, CA

City of Davis, CA

Town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

City of Eureka, CA

City of Jacksonville OR,

City of Los Angeles Neighborhood Surveys: Balboa West Adams-Baldwin Hills-Leimert, Boyle Heights, Highlands, Garvanza, and Jefferson Park

City of Monterey, CA

City of Napa, CA

Oregon State Parks Survey

Palm Springs, CA, and

West Hollywood, CA

•  Environmental historic reviews for numerous development projects* including:

Clara Bow's Walking Box Ranch near Searchlight, NV.Fort Ord, East Garrison Development, EIR

Lincoln Place Apartments Development in Santa Monica, CA

Mark Taper Forum Theaters renovation, Los Angeles, CA

Napa Pipe Company Development, EIR

Presidio of San Francisco, CA

Sacramento Railyards Development, CA

Robinson May Beverly Hills Store Adaptive Reuse, CA

Walking Box Ranch University of Nevada Environmental Center, Las Vegas, NV

•  Environmental reviews and submissions for Historic Preservation Tax Act Credit projects*, including:

National Historic Landmark Mission Inn, Riverside, CA.Anaheim Preservation Planning Development

Krug Winery, Napa CA

Mission Inn, Riverside, CA

Napa Valley Opera House, Napa, CA

Village Green Apartment Development, Los Angeles, CA

Folsom Station Development, Folsom, CA

* completed while a Founding Principal at Architectural Resources Group.