Cultural Resources Division

The CIRE Cultural Resources Division Principle Investigators the faculty and staff from which they draw routinely work with human ecology issues.  We have extensive experience in cultural resource data collection, management, and support functions.  We routinely work across a suite of federal agencies addressing regulatory implications of the Federal NHPA, NEPA, and NAGPRA.  The CIRE Cultural Resources Division works directly with past and presents human dimensions of natural resources.  We also have extensive experience in the interactions between environmental pollution, toxins, metal pollution and human health.  We have ongoing experience working with Native American tribal organizations and the legal requirements associated with NAGPRA.  CIRE has the ability to field teams of specialists for specific cultural resource projects, with professional archaeologists, linguists, cultural anthropologists, physical/biological anthropologists, ethnobotanists, technical specialists, preservation specialists, historians, and conservationists ready to serve.  We also have access to specialists in these fields who have military backgrounds.

Anthropological and Archaeological Resources

CIRE provides the top practices in sustainable Cultural Resource Management (CRM) and planning, including guidance and compliance with federal [e.g., Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)], state and tribal cultural resource and preservation legislation, for integration with environmental and human health policy statements of federal, state, and tribal authorities.  Following guidelines in the Federal Cultural Resources Program Area, CIRE cultural resource staff work with installation resource managers, drawing from an existing interdisciplinary support network grounded in collaborative projects within the UM Department of Anthropology, the Montana State University-Billings Drafting and Design Program, as well as partnerships with tribal organizations, numerous academic consultants on and off the UM campus, and private CRM and environmental consulting firms to ensure that regional expertise and stakeholder needs are included in planning and decision-making.  In order to provide on-site personnel support for cultural resource tasks, CIRE offers the services listed below.

We can guide or complete planning and inventory surveys of archaeological sites, historic structures, and cultural landscapes.  We can assist installation managers to fulfill cultural resource law requirements, (e.g., to ensure compliance with the Department of Defense’s Legacy Resource Management Program), and to promote the development of partnerships with tribal organizations, academic consultants and private consulting firms to ensure the documentation, protection, and preservation of archaeological and anthropological resources, including Traditional Cultural Properties.

We work with NRHP Districts, Certified Local Governments (CLGs), National Historical Landmarks (NHLs), federal and state agencies, including State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) to evaluate archaeological sites and structures to determine their eligibility for inclusion on the NRHP and/or to complete NRHP nomination forms.

We provide expertise to assist with the documentation, restoration, and preservation of historic buildings and structures, including guidance with Historic American Building Survey and Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER) standards.

We have full capabilities to conduct 3-D models and documentation of sites, structures, historic districts, and cultural landscapes.  The University of Montana’s Social Science Research Laboratory that is adjacent to our archaeological laboratory and has a history of long-term partnerships with our cultural heritage endeavors, has 3-D scanning and printing resources.  We also work routinely with Montana State University-Billings Drafting and Design Program to assist with documentation of 3-D models and field sites.

The University of Montana’s Social Science Research Laboratory is adjacent to our archaeological laboratory, with 20 work stations equipped with mapping software such as ArcGIS and Surfer, digital imagery and graphics production software, color printers and large format plotters. 

We provide training for the science and practice of heritage management in the 21st century, by offering workshops, seminars, short courses, or semester-long courses in topics that span cultural resource law, field documentation methods, and curation crisis management.

The UM’s Department of Anthropology maintains an Anthropological Curation Facility with in-house comparative archaeological, ethnographic, and faunal collections.  Our archaeological laboratory partners with an extensive reference library containing published materials and technical reports.  This also includes online, and physical access to the University of Montana’s Mansfield Library, the K. Ross Toole Archives and the Philip Wright Zoological Museum reference collections.

Business Innovation and Natural Resource Management

CIRE works with clients in Business and Innovation Initiatives focused on the business of ecological management that includes preservation and restoration.  In order to restore degraded environments, the various agencies, consultants, NGOs, and service contractors that engage in the process must unite with common purpose to achieve objectives.  In addition, new innovations in ecological management of federal lands and waters, and in the area of restoration ecology, must be implemented to ensure that best practices are utilized.  However, existing practices, routines, conflicting goals, incompatible performance metrics, and entrenched communication patterns can inhibit an agencies’ ability to change and achieve mandated management goals.  Furthermore, managing public perceptions, crafting communication messages to build goodwill with local stakeholders, and utilizing media effectively are essential.  CIRE also provides courses/short courses, workshops, and training in business innovation of natural resource and cultural resource management.

Managing relationships and goodwill (awareness, attitudes, preferences, related to a specific project or area) with local stakeholders (communities, landowners) are critical to achieving buy-in and accomplishing objectives.  CIRE has the capacity to conduct surveys and other protocols that can be used to assess local stakeholder needs and perceptions.

Effective project management requires appropriate messaging strategies to convey accurate information that is concise and understandable to stakeholders.  CIRE develops media strategies to leverage and disseminate critical information.

Inertia, status-quo thinking, risk avoidance, and familiarity all tend to favor old/existing approaches to natural resource management.  Yet, the science is an evolving discipline with the potential for new innovations to offer better ecological outcomes.  To enhance successful adoption of new approaches to natural resource management by field personnel, perceptual and other barriers must be identified and messaging carefully crafted to clearly articulate the relative advantage (value, benefits) of new approaches.

We develop and provide assessment strategies for complex projects with multiple conflicting needs, objectives, viewpoints, or approaches.  The CIRE team develops effective project management approaches to understanding how existing tensions and paradoxes pose barriers to personnel in their work.  Through astute in-depth interviews and surveys, tensions and barriers can be categorized and possible solutions identified to channel and re-direct effort and enhance organizational dynamics.

Environmental Human Health

CIRE has the capacity for studies in Environmental Human Health within the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, including toxicology and human health effects.  These include validated in vitro models using primary cells and cell lines from most tissues; in vivo exposure studies in various rodent models including sensitive and resistant strains, as well as obese and compromised rodent models; zebra fish for developmental studies; exposure assessment capabilities and epidemiology.  We also have the ability to work with clients on specific environmental health problems initiated by various environmental exposures and their contribution to diseases ranging from type II diabetes, lung fibrosis and asthma, atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases and central nervous system disorders and cancers.  In addition, we have expertise in evaluating the toxicity of nanomaterials and other emerging new materials.

A number of cell platforms have been validated as rapid screening tools for in vitro toxicity testing.  These include primary cells from humans and animals, as well as cell culture models.  Outcome measurements include cytotoxicity, proliferation, DNA damage, intracellular and transcellular signaling, and various omics assessments (proteomics, genomics, and epigenetics).  Supplementary assessment tools are used for flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, and laser scanning microscopy to evaluate changes in organelle function and changes in expression of proteins and protein function.

Most of the in vivo toxicity evaluations are conducted using murine models.  The murine models include genetically modified mice, obese mice, and disease compromised models.  Exposures can be conducted in our Inhalation Core Facility that is experienced in aerosol, instillation (respiratory, oral, injection and long-term osmotic pump) and through food or water.  Assessments include physiological (e.g., respiratory, cardiovascular), pathological (histology), and systemic (blood and urine).  In addition, to the tools described for in vitro assessment, hyperspectral imaging of cells and tissues is available to characterize exposures and subtle pathological outcomes.

A state-of-the-art zebra fish facility is available to evaluate developmental toxicity.  Zebra fish studies have become high-quality tools to examine potential developmental toxicity resulting from environmental impacts in aquatic systems.  These models provide a rapid screening method for testing known and potential (nanomaterials) hazardous materials and conditions in freshwater systems.

Studies can be conducted to determine the amount of contaminants in the air.  Equipment is available to do field studies to measure a number of particulates and conduct source apportionment of the particulates.  Source apportionment provides the ability to determine what might be the causes of any contaminates.  Using particulate collectors, sufficient material can be obtained and characterized for use in toxicology studies in vitro and/or in vivo.

Epidemiology studies can be conducted to determine if there is any increase in the prevalence of any environmental diseases in populations of interest.  These studies would involve accessing health records in hospitals and clinics in areas of interest.  Studies can also be conducted on humans using validated questionnaires, and/or collection of physiological data, as well as biological samples including exhaled breath condensate, blood, and urine for analysis.

Educational materials can be developed for dissemination using Unity software to generate 3-D video learning tools.  They can be made as direct instructional materials or incorporate interactive tools to enhance the learning experience.  Educational materials can be made for different experiential levels.

Environmental Law and Policy

CIRE works with clients on Environmental Policy and Legal Compliance in Resource Management in the legal policy areas of natural and cultural resources.  We provide capacity and approaches for best practices and adherence to legal requirements related to hazardous substances in natural environments, restoration ecology, and related inquiries.  We support assessment and implementation of policy and legal guidelines with attention to the environmental policy statements of the Corps and other federal and state authorities.  CIRE does not provide legal advice or practice law.  Rather, members of the CIRE team help by identifying legal issues and applicable standards to assist agencies (e.g., as the Corps of Engineers, USEPA) in achieving goals in line with legal policy and identified best practices.  CIRE provides legal research and assessment of applicable requirements for preservation of environmental amenities and values of areas subject to agency projects.  Restoration of degraded natural or cultural resources, such as historic sites, forests, grasslands, rivers, and wetlands requires assessment in light of legal requirements.  Data collection guidelines and other requirements set by regulation, memoranda of understanding, or another contractual undertaking all require monitoring and management in compliance with the mandated or chosen standards.

  1. Specific requirements often apply to projects as a result of federal and state agency policies.  These include time requirements to allow for consultation and meaningful input from the public and stakeholders, such as Native American tribes, Native Alaskans or Native Hawaiian, or members of affected groups (e.g., neighborhood associations and NGOs) in the process of assessing agency action.  CIRE personnel have the expertise to establish applicable timelines.

Agency understandings and goals often require consultation concerning options, possible solutions to problems, and reporting requirements.  CIRE provides expertise and oversight for compliance with applicable requirements and undertakings.

Qualitative and quantitative research standards may be required or recommended to meet agency and other stakeholder expectations.  CIRE has the capacity to formulate outreach strategies to meet legal consultation requirements.

Measuring progress in light of sampling protocols and other established best practices is a typical part of compliance.  Identifying, complying, and reporting benchmarks are essential steps in meeting such mandated or agreed obligations.

Social Dimensions of Natural Resources

CIRE works with agencies (e.g., Corps of Engineers) to assist in the area of Social Dimensions of Natural Resources through understanding of stakeholders involved in natural resource management, including recreationists, community members, NGOs, and interfaces with other agencies.  Through state-of-the-art research methods and engagement strategies, the public has improved representation in natural resource management.  Using both qualitative and quantitative methods CIRE helps the client better understand population parameters while embracing the complexity of natural resource issues.  Our approaches often include on-site surveys, mail/web-based surveys, focus groups, facilitated discussions, in-depth interviews, and other methods.  CIRE also works with managers to solve on-the-ground issues associated with recreation management like crowding and recreation conflict.  CIRE provides courses/short courses, workshops, and trainings for recreation and resource managers on these topics.

Understanding how many people recreate at a location or site can provide useful information to help manage a resource.  CIRE uses systematic sampling protocols to measure visitor use of recreational resources.  We develop both small and large scale visitor monitoring programs to help recreation managers implement management strategies.  Visitor monitoring is paired with on-site surveys to help gather critical information for recreation management including perceptions of crowding, social carrying capacity, motivations, and satisfaction.

Natural resource management challenges often require input from multiple stakeholders to solve problems effectively.  CIRE employs engagement and outreach strategies to help managers effectively work with people and provide the optimal platform for stakeholder engagement 

Surveys are used to gather information on key natural resource issues from stakeholders.  Quantitative data collection and analysis requires knowledge of social theory, sampling protocols, questionnaire design, and analysis techniques.  Through the use of cutting-edge methods, CIRE can help gather the right information to solve natural resource management challenges.

Planning can take on many forms; however, there are key planning frameworks that are used by recreation providers.  Through our knowledge of the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, Limits of Acceptable Change and Approaches, we help managers choose the correct planning framework for their resource.  We also provide guidance on recreation management challenges including crowding, motorized recreation, recreation conflict, and displacement.

Designing and installing interpretive offerings at resources enhances visitor experiences.  We offer consultation and design suggestions of verbal and non-verbal forms of interpretation including brochures, signs, and interpretive centers.