Since the late 1980’s, the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, housed within the Utah Division of State History (UDSH), has organized and convened the “Interagency Task Force” (ITF). Since its inception, the mission, direction, and membership have fluctuated, but the main goal remains consistent: to convene preservation and archaeological professionals from State and federal agencies, and others, to join in an informal dialogue about current issues in Utah.
Loosely organized with no formal bylaws, the Interagency Task Force promotes cooperation, data sharing, and professional discussion of topics relevant to both archaeologists and preservationists of the built environment. Recent topics in the ITF have included modifying the archaeological site form for Utah, emergency preparedness and resource sharing between agencies, archaeological site stewardship programs, sharing ideas for improving tribal consultation from the agencies, dissemination of changes to policy and guidance, state permitting and licensing, data sharing agreements, and current plans for increasing community preservation efforts.
Participants in the ITF are fluid but usually include architectural historians, archaeologists, program leads, and others from federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Army Corps of Engineers, US Air Force, US Army mixed with state agency leads from State Trust Lands, Wildlife Resources, National Guard, State Parks, Oil, Gas, and Mining, Utah Department of Transportation, among others. Recently, the ITF expanded to include an archaeologist from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has recently become deeply engaged in Section 106 consultation efforts as a consulting party.
With no formal bylaws, meeting minutes, or decision points, the ITF has been an effective and easily organized means of promoting inter-agency cooperation on a host of projects well beyond the three-hour meeting every quarter. Improved communication, resource sharing, and a sense of a growing and interlinked community are among the many benefits of the ITF.