Historic Preservation for Environmental Scientists: Tools and Perspectives to Better Understand, Preserve, and Manage the Environment
Wessel, Barret M.
Linebaugh, Donald W.
Pogue, Dennis J.
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There is a substantial intersection between historic preservation and environmental protection that is rarely explored in the literature or in existing courses, though the relationship between the two disciplines is evident throughout the practice of each. One federal agency, the National Park Service (NPS), is tasked with preserving both natural and cultural resources, and manages the majority of both of these that are set aside for future generations in the US. Many of the same federal laws that are used to preserve historic sites are also used to preserve the environment. When historic sites are protected, this often inevitably protects a portion of the natural environment as well, and when areas are set aside for natural protection, this often has the result of preserving archaeological resources that these areas may contain. Many of the research tools used by historic preservationists can be of use to environmental scientists, and scientific results are sometimes used when decisions are made regarding the preservation, alteration, or demolition of historic sites and structures. This portfolio outlines examples of this intersection of disciplines including aquaculture and the preservation of working waterfronts, the importance of environmental setting to the preservation of a mill town, land records research, and erosion and cultural sedimentation. It closes with a proposed syllabus for a course in industrial archaeology, which can be built on to better explore the intersections and conflicts between environmental and historic preservation at industrial sites and adaptive reuse projects.