Our Services and Expertise
JRP offers an array of historical consulting services, focused on environmental / natural resources and cultural resources, with four decades' worth of experience in meeting effectively the varied needs of our clients.
Water Resources / Land Use History
JRP's first projects concerned water resources and land use issues, and over the past four decades JRP historians have become recognized experts in the fields of Western water history and land use and development. We have worked on hundreds of water rights investigations - e.g., pre-1914 appropriative water rights claims in California, riparian water rights analysis, historical groundwater rights, and federal reserved water rights (for Indian reservations, military installations, and National Forests) - for private parties and public agencies. We have researched the historical navigability or susceptibility of navigation of rivers, lakes, and other water bodies for the purposes of establishing title or water boundaries, and have gathered historical engineering documentation of reclamation work, levee construction, and structure performance. We have compiled detailed chains of title, land-use histories, and corporate histories for mining properties and contaminated sites identifying potential responsible parties (PRPs) as part of federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) "Superfund" claims. JRP historians have also examined the history of rights-of-way over public lands (Revised Statute 2477), coastal areas, and roads, and have conducted extensive research into the history of federal and state legislation concerning natural resources and environmental issues.
Columbia Canal, Madera County
Cultural Resources Management / Historic Preservation
JRP offers a full range of cultural resources management and historic preservation services to clients such as local, state and federal agencies as well as private companies and individuals. We have undertaken cultural resources management projects large and small and studied a wide range of historic resources. Among the resource types that JRP has inventoried and evaluated are residences, commercial buildings, farmsteads, industrial complexes, public works facilities, bridges, water conveyance structures, military installations, historic districts and urban and rural landscapes. Some of these, such as federal military Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) projects, public transit projects, Caltrans highway construction projects, and a California state-wide bridge survey have each involved hundreds of resources. JRP staff has conducted fieldwork in an array of settings and performed research at a variety of repositories at the local, state, and national levels including libraries, archives, public agencies, and private collections to develop historic contexts and property-specific histories. The firm has the knowledge and the experience to facilitate both the federal and state environmental review processes through public agencies and in consulting with the staff of the California State Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) / State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) on historic properties documentation for transportation, public transit, and a variety of other undertakings.
View of Stilwell Hall and the Golden Gate Bridge from the shadow of the Doyle Drive high viaduct on the Presidio of San Francisco.
Expert Historian Services
JRP principals, partners, and senior historians are recognized expert historians, with considerable experience working at the National Archives and many state and local archives throughout the United States. We offer not only archival / primary records research for litigation support / dispute resolution, but also expert witness testimony. Founding partner and principal Stephen Wee has testified before the California State Water Resources Control Board on several occasions; served as an expert historian and consulting historian in stream adjudications in Idaho, California, and Oregon; and has given written as well as oral testimony in California Superior Court and Idaho District Court. Founding partner and principal Rand Herbert likewise has been deposed in disputes in California Superior Court; he gave expert testimony in Oregon’s Klamath River Adjudication, and was an expert witness in North Kern Water Storage District v. Kern Delta Water District and Paterno v. State of California. JRP partner Meta Bunse also gave expert testimony in Oregon’s Klamath River Adjudication, and has contributed to numerous land use studies, PRP investigations, and historical water use research projects. In addition, Ms. Bunse and JRP partner Christopher McMorris have testified before historical resources boards and commissions regarding historical resource evaluations and impacts on historical resources and historic properties. Mr. McMorris has also authored expert architectural historian reports that have been submitted to and cited in California Superior Court proceedings. Since 2006 senior historian Dr. Scott Miltenberger has participated in land and water use investigations with Mr. Wee and Mr. Herbert, and has led research efforts focused on historical flooding events, historic levee design/performance, and PRPs for toxics clean-up. Dr. Miltenberger has also given expert testimony in California Superior Court, and has testified in Arizona's San Pedro-Gila River Adjudication.
"Study The Past," the National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
Section 106 (NHPA) and CEQA Compliance
JRP has broad expertise in producing National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance documentation such as historic resource evaluation reports (HRER / HRIER), Findings of Effect (FOE), Memorandums of Agreement (MOA), Programmatic Agreements, and Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) / Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentation. As part of the Section 106 mitigation process, JRP has developed textual, photographic, and video mitigation and public outreach programs as part of MOA and treatment plan execution. In addition, JRP has experience drafting cultural resource management plans, National Register of Historic Places and California Register of Historic Resources nominations, Cultural Landscape Reports, National Historic Landmark nominations, and cultural resources sensitivity studies.
"Davis and Cowell's Lime Works, Santa Cruz," ca. 1866 (Library of Congress).