Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009
While undertaking flood mitigation repair work on a railway line adjacent to the park in late 2007, employees of the Iowa, Chicago and Eastern (IC&E) Railroad, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, deposited rock and soil inside the external boundary of the park. An area of approximately 912 square feet was affected, all of which was part of a known prehistoric and historic archaeological site. As a result of an investigation by NPS staff into the factors contributing to the incident, it was determined that the strict liability civil penalty provisions of the Archaeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA) offered the most effective legal and resource damage mitigation remedy. Anne Vawser, archaeologist with the Midwest Archaeological Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, was assigned to complete the damage assessment, and determined that the archeological value of the area affected to be $41,966.60 and the cost of restoration and repair to be $19,809.50, thus equaling a total damage assessment of $61,776.10. As permitted by ARPA regulations, informal discussions were held between the NPS land manager and staff from the IC&E Railroad. These discussions produced an agreement in which the IC&E agreed to remove the deposited materials from NPS lands under NPS supervision, and in exchange, the NPS agreed to reduce the civil penalty to $19,809.50, which was equal to the governmentâs restoration and repair costs. The agreed-upon mitigation work was completed last November 11th and the civil penalty payment was received by the park on February 6th. As noted in 16 USC 470ff(a)(2)(B), in the case of a second or subsequent violation of ARPA by any person, the amount of such civil penalty may be double the amount which would have been assessed if such violation were the first violation by such person. Consequently, any federal land manager who may in the future have an ARPA incident involving the railroad now has an additional penalty option at his or her disposal.