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Archeological Studies at New Melones Dam in California

RCED-84-4: Published: Oct 25, 1983. Publicly Released: Nov 4, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO updated a report on the status of federal archeological and cultural resource studies at New Melones Dam.

Since 1979, the operation of the dam has been transferred to the Bureau of Reclamation and the archeological preservation work to the National Park Service along with a $2.2 million Corps of Engineers contract and $560,000 in unexpended funds. The Park Service reallocated some of its funds and increased the contract to $2.8 million to complete the work, but the funds ran out before completion of a final report and the Park Service terminated the contract. In May 1981, the Park Service awarded a contract for a $1.3 million study using a new research design to complete the archeological work at the dam, and 4 volumes of a 10-volume report have been completed. The GAO consulting archeologist and the Department of the Interior's consulting archeologist are satisfied with the contractor's work. However, Interior plans no more archeological studies at the dam at this time. If no new studies are done, it will have taken 18 studies costing $4.7 million over a 36-year period to meet federal requirements for archeological preservation at the dam. In June 1983, the Bureau of Reclamation completed a draft of a plan on how it expects to preserve and manage archeological and cultural resources at the dam.

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