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Julia Pujo
Environmental Analyst
(805) 564-5470 x4467


MEA Guidelines Update


Master Environmental Assessment Guidelines for Archaeological and Tribal Resources

The MEA Guidelines provide direction for the archaeological review process in Santa Barbara. As the guidelines are now over 20 years old, they must be revised to provide guidance on more recent legislation pertaining to cultural resources and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and to address tribal resources. 

An Archaeological Resources Working Group will be formed of volunteer professionals in the field of archaeology and anthropology who meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards. The Archaeological Resources Working Group will review and provide input throughout the MEA Guidelines update process.

The City will conduct outreach to local tribal representatives, identified by the Native American Heritage Commission, to establish a Tribal Cultural Resources Working Group. The Tribal Cultural Resources Working Group will work with the City throughout the MEA update process, including development of tribal consultation protocols.

Revising and updating the MEA Guidelines will provide clarity to the agencies, applicants, tribal communities, archaeological consultants, and other stakeholders who are part of the cultural resources review process.

Prioritizing Santa Barbara’s Native American Identity

The City of Santa Barbara has a rich pre-history dating back over 10,000 years where numerous Barbareño Chumash villages settled within the area and contained one of the largest indigenous populations in California. The Chumash culture and social organizations significantly influenced the Spanish and Mexican settlements that followed and are an integral part of California history and prehistory.

The MEA Guidelines will provide direction about the treatment of tribal cultural resources, and ensure important tribal resources are protected from future development. The project is a priority for the City to ensure that Santa Barbara’s tribal cultural resources are protected, as they tell the story of the Native Chumash culture that is critical to ensure it is retained rather than erased. 

Funding Support

This project is funded by the Certified Local Government grant program from the California Office of Historic Preservation. The development of the City of Santa Barbara's MEA Guidelines update will be undertaken in a manner consistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards in Archeology.