Public Involvement in the Approval Process
A plan for public involvment
A Northern Plains Heritage Area Public Involvement Plan draft was issued on July 29, 2009. We encourage you to read through the seven-page document.
Northern Plains Heritage Area Public Inolvement Plan draft in pdf.
The approval process
The following answers to questions by NDFB District 7 Director Wes Klein about the review process were answered by Sue M. Pridemore, National Heritage Partnerships Coordinator Midwest Regional Office of the National Park Service:
Question: Will the approval process be in the form of a formal hearing by the NPS and the Interior Dept?
Answer: Here is the NPS process for reviews of the management plans:
A) Regional Review held in the Midwest Regional Office (address below)
Every reviewer is given the legislation and a copy of the plan
Regional reviewers include historians, natural resource specialists, national register specialists, archeologists, cultural resource specialists, community planners, park planners, NEPA specialists, park managers and any applicable professional services staff (such as architects, engineers of all types, etc.).
We place documents on review for 3 to 6 weeks depending upon when they arrive (holidays and vacations can affect the review time)
B) Typically I am not a reviewer because I'm involved in the planning process (technical assistance) but instead I facilitate the reviews to assure that the specialists needed for review are individually encouraged to place this review on their priority list. In this case, however, I would also be a reviewer.
C) I compile the comments and furnish the coordinating entity with a list of findings they may choose to address.
D) A formal letter from the coordinating entity and how they will address each finding is sent to the Midwest Regional Office. In some cases, pages with changes are sent to our office and in others the entire document is re-written. In other instances, appendixes are added that address the changes and in others there is indications of how changes will be handled in the future. In some cases, the coordinating entity decides that they disagree with the findings and will not make changes. All findings and how they are being addressed are formally submitted by the coordinating entity. Depending on how the findings are handled, they may be removed from the findings list that then moves through the Washington Office and the Secretary's Office.
E) The Secretary of the Interior either approves the plan, provides a provisional approval based on a list of findings still to be addressed or returns the plan to the Midwest Regional Office with specific directions to the coordinating entity before they can receive approval
F) IF the plan is not approved, I would then attend a board meeting and discuss the findings that affected their approval and work with them to achieve success
Question: Will there be a comment period? Will people be able to testify at the approval hearing, by the NPS?
Answer: When the National Park Service conducts a management planning
process, we always include a final public review of the document, document all comments as an addition to the document and make changes as needed prior to finalizing the document. We also must put the document through an environmental assessment to assure that no decisions within the document would need individual assessments or indicate those decisions that would. If any public monies are used for the management planning process, environmental assessments are required. You will need to review your copy of their planning process to see if there is a final public review prior to submission to the National Park Service.
Sue M. Pridemore
National Heritage Partnerships Coordinator Midwest Regional Office
601 Riverfront Drive, Omaha, NE 68102