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Protecting the History of Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

Thursday, August 27
11:15–12:00 PM PT
 | 2:15–3:00 PM ET

About the Session

Knife River National Historic Site contains a rich history. Situated on the river bluffs and floodplains along the Missouri and Knife Rivers, the 1,748.8-acre park at the confluence of the Knife and Missouri Knife Rivers was established to help convey the story of thousands of years of human habitation in what is now North Dakota. Three large village sites—Hidatsa Village (Big Hidatsa site), Awatixa Village (Sakakawea site), and Awatixa Xi’e Village (Lower Hidatsa site)—are the park’s primary interpretive sites. The Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site Archeological Resources Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement (plan/EIS) was developed to directly address current environmental issues and provide a suite of proactive management tools to preserve archeological resources and manage and curtail existing threats to these resources, including climate change. Four primary issues were addressed by developing a tool box of mitigation measures: riverbank erosion (the most visible and documented threat to archeological resources), northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides) activity, vegetation encroachment, and infrastructure location.This plan was a first of its kind in the NPS for management of archeological resources by developing a process to prioritize archeological sites based on importance and level of risk to inform management decisions. This site prioritization tool is necessary because the majority of archeological sites in the park are affected by one or more resource threat, and funding and staffing limitations preclude the park from addressing all sites when initially implementing the plan. This session will discuss the tools that were developed and how they have been implemented in the park to address these threats, some of which, like river bank erosion, have been increasing in frequency and intensity.


  • Cultural and Historical Resources
  • NEPA

About the Speaker

Lori Fox Photo

Lori Fox
Associate Vice President

Ms. Fox specializes in planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis, with specialization in public involvement and facilitation and land use planning. Her 19 years of experience have included managing large-scale, complex, and controversial NEPA projects, many of which are a result of current or pending litigation. Ms. Fox is knowledgeable in a variety of agency NEPA implementing regulations, having conducting NEPA analysis for a wide variety of federal agencies including the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and others. She was the project manager for the recently completed Badlands National Park Development Concept Plan/Environmental Assessment, that envisioned a progressive future for the Cedar Pass area, while honoring the rich cultural heritage the site possesses, as well as the Knife River Indian Villages Archeological Resources Management Plan/EIS.

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