IRP assists CDBG-DR program in archaeological assessment

Posted on Aug 30 2022


The Office of the Governor Infrastructure and Recovery Program is working closely with the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. to complete archaeological surveys on U.S. Housing and Urban Development-funded home sites to assist NMHC with Environmental Reviews for their Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Homebuyer-New Construction, Rehabilitation/ Reconstruction, and Affordable Housing Rental Programs.

The first batch of 31 archaeological surveys were provided to NMHC to submit for Historic Preservation Office (HPO) review on July 13, 2022. After the submission of the first batch, the IRP Archaeology staff and NMHC staff have already completed over 50 more surveys from NMHC’s priority listing and IRP is finalizing the reports for the submission of batch two.

Of the 31 homesites, IRP recommended six sites for a determination of No Historic Properties Affected and 25 sites for No Potential to Affect Historic Properties. These reports will be reviewed by the CNMI Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and 24 sites from the batch were concurred by HPO on July 24, 2022. Upon concurrence, the next steps leading to construction breaking ground are:

1. Determining the Preliminary Title Report;

2. Completing the Appraisal; and

3. The Loan Closing

The first batch of archaeological surveys were conducted in advance of homestead development in Kagman I, Kagman II, Kagman III, Kagman III Phase IV, Dandan, and also in the villages of As Gonno, Koblerville, Kannat Tabla, Chalan Laulau, As Teo, San Vicente, Capitol Hill, Papago, and As Lito.

Under the properties belonging or assigned to approved borrowers under NMHC’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR), the potential homesites must undergo site inspections followed by Environmental Reviews (ERs), including certification that all decisions and actions are in compliance with laws and authorities. NMHC CDBG-DR housing construction cannot commence new construction or rehabilitation/ reconstruction until these required ERs are completed.

The CNMI Historic Preservation Office advised NMHC that, “The archeological services firm shall assist NMHC in compliance with all regulations in the Protection of Historic Properties as stated in 36 CFR Part 800. The qualified archeological services firm must have a ‘Secretary of Interior Approved Archeologist” designation and shall assist the NMHC in compliance with the CNMI Historic Preservation Office (HPO).

The CNMI Infrastructure and Recovery Archaeological staff consists of Lead Archaeologist Jeremy Freeman, Archaeologist Scott Bierly, and Anthropologist Keona Torres. Both Freeman and Bierly meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards, allowing them to carry out this project.

According to NMHC CDBG-DR staff assigned to the Program, the collaboration between NMHC and IRP to complete these assessments have been effective and responsive.

As of May 16, 2022, 272 housing loan applications have been approved under the program. Of this number, 258 approved borrowers have completed the Homeowner’s Counseling Sessions; 210 have identified properties; 172 have completed site inspections; 47 have completed the required environmental assessments; 43 have secured preliminary title reports; 17 have completed appraisals on their properties; 4 closed their loans. The completion of this program would mean providing fair, affordable, safe, decent, and sanitary housing to eligible residents (low- and moderate-income individuals) three years following Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu.

For more information on the CDBG-DR Homebuyer-New Construction, Rehabilitation/Reconstruction, and Affordable Housing Rental Programs, please visit the CDBG-DR website:

For more information on the Office of the Governor Infrastructure and Recovery Program, you can contact us at (670)664-4775/76 or To view the IRP 2021 Annual Report, please click the following link: DGeDcEoPj-mWK6AHpg/view?usp=sharing. (PR)

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