By Frank Whitman, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas Public Affairs
TUMON, Guam (NNS) -- A group of Navy civilians recently received training in cultural resources management laws and regulations intended to enhance their performance as good stewards of the environment on Guam.
There were approximately 30 federal employees in attendance at the three-day course, Introduction to Cultural Resources Management Laws and Regulations, which was offered by the Naval Civil Engineer Corps Officers School (CECOS) at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa in Tumon, May 22-24.
"The Navy on Guam takes seriously our responsibility to the protection of cultural and natural resources," said Capt. Stephanie Jones, commanding officer, NAVFAC Marianas. "Educating our people is one of several significant investments that we've made toward our overarching objective to meet environmental stewardship responsibilities."
This educational opportunity is particularly timely in light of additional military construction in Guam to relocate 5,000 U.S. Marines and dependents, and community interest in the proper handling of the island's cultural and historic resources.
The course is based on the premise that, in order to be effective cultural-resource stewards, it is first necessary for participants to know the law and rules and regulations governing historic preservation.
The course focused on the responsibilities of the government under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their activities on historic properties and consult with the state historic preservation officer to determine what, if any, mitigations are needed to resolve any effects on the property.
The course was designed for non-archaeologists who may find themselves with responsibilities under Section 106. The range of job responsibilities among students in the class likely enhances effectiveness in the field.
Participants included Civil Engineer Corps officers and civilians from Joint Region Marianas, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas, Marine Corps Activity Guam, 36th Engineer Squadron (CES) Environmental Flight at Andersen Air Force Base, officer in charge of construction (OICC) Marine Corps Marianas, Naval Base Guam, 35th CES at Misawa Air Base Japan and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"This is a team effort," said Course Director Eric West of CECOS. In a previous position with NAVFAC Pacific, West worked on the planning team for Guam buildup for about 10 years.
"The only way we're going to be able to make this work is if everyone is pulling on the rope in the same direction. This class does that because it doesn't just target the cultural resources professionals. It really is trying to get at everybody who's a part of this team, be it the construction guys, the GIS guys, the environmental guys, the attorneys, everyone - the whole team is represented in this group," West said.