Science & Research

Fall foliage looking down a wooded trail
Golden leaves cover the trail through the woods.

NPS Photo

Being a young park, First State National Historical Park (NHP) has little, to no data, and is looking for help conducting scientific research by qualified individuals. Although, it is not required to complete a project that the park has identified as a priority, a Scientific Research and Collecting Permit is required for any on-the-ground research in the park that is not conducted by the National Park Service. These permits are obtained through a system called the Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS), which is a web-based system used by researchers, park staff, and the public for completing and tracking the steps of requesting and issuing Scientific Research and Collecting Permits. Each approved applicant in the RPRS will complete an annual report of their study progress and research accomplishments through the Investigator’s Annual Reports (IAR). The IARs are a valuable source of information on previous research conducted in the park.

If you wish to conduct scientific research in the park, please visit the National Park Service's Research Permit and Reporting website for additional information regarding permits and to begin the application process. If you are interested in learning more about what scientific studies the park needs or if you have specific questions pertaining to research projects, please e-mail us or call (302) 478-2769.

 

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Scientific Research and Collecting Permit Process

Each permit application undergoes a formal, standard process for Scientific Research and Collection Permit review and issuance. The permit process starts by creating an account through the RPRS and submitting an application. Once the application is submitted it will be reviewed by the Scientific Research and Collecting Permit Coordinator, the Management Team, and the Superintendent. You may be contacted by someone from the review board for additional information. If the application is deemed to be an appropriate activity for First State NHP, the next step in the approval process is completing compliance with applicable federal and National Park Service regulations, policies and law.

We have established an integrated compliance process for all proposed permit activities. The primary compliance requirements that must be addressed prior to project approval include potential natural resource impacts (National Environmental Protection Act and Endangered Species Act) and potential impacts to cultural resources (National Historic Preservation Act). Some activities may require additional permits, such as a Special Use Permit, or approvals by other governing bodies before the National Park Service can issue a permit for scientific research or collecting in the park.

Researchers should allow up to 90 days for this review process.

Once compliance is completed, the permittee will be notified to review and sign the permit in agreeance to the terms stated therein. The permittee will then return the permit to the Scientific Research and Collecting Permit Coordinator. Once the permit has been approved by the Superintendent the permittee will be issued the approved permit to be used during the duration of permitted activities.

All permittee activities in First State National Historical Park are closely supervised by the National Park Service staff.


National Park Service Conditions

Permittees must adhere to all of the National Park Service General Conditions for Scientific Research and Collecting listed below:

The permittee is granted privileges covered under this permit subject to the supervision of the superintendent or a designee, and shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the National Park System area and other federal and state laws. A National Park Service (NPS) representative may accompany the permittee in the field to ensure compliance with regulations.

The permittee is responsible for ensuring that all persons working on the project adhere to permit conditions and applicable NPS regulations.

The permittee is prohibited from giving false information that is used to issue this permit. To do so will be considered a breach of conditions and be grounds for revocation of this permit and other applicable penalties.

This permit may not be transferred or assigned. Additional investigators and field assistants are to be coordinated by the person(s) named in the permit and should carry a copy of the permit while they are working in the park. The principal investigator shall notify the park's Research and Collecting Permit Office when there are desired changes in the approved study protocols or methods, changes in the affiliation or status of the principal investigator, or modification of the name of any project member.

This permit may be terminated for breach of any condition. The permittee may consult with the appropriate NPS Regional Science Advisor to clarify issues resulting in a revoked permit and the potential for reinstatement by the park superintendent or a designee.

No specimens (including materials) may be collected unless authorized on the Scientific Research and Collecting permit. The general conditions for specimen collections are:

  • Collection of archeological materials without a valid Federal Archeology Permit is prohibited.
  • Collection of federally listed threatened or endangered species without a valid U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species permit is prohibited.
  • Collection methods shall not attract undue attention or cause unapproved damage, depletion, or disturbance to the environment and other park resources, such as historic sites.
  • New specimens must be reported to the NPS annually or more frequently if required by the park issuing the permit. Minimum information for annual reporting includes specimen classification, number of specimens collected, location collected, specimen status (e.g., herbarium sheet, preserved in alcohol/formalin, tanned and mounted, dried and boxed, etc.), and current location.
  • Collected specimens that are not consumed in analysis or discarded after scientific analysis remain federal property. The NPS reserves the right to designate the repositories of all specimens removed from the park and to approve or restrict reassignment of specimens from one repository to another. Because specimens are Federal property, they shall not be destroyed or discarded without prior NPS authorization.
  • Each specimen (or groups of specimens labeled as a group) that is retained permanently must bear NPS labels and must be accessioned and cataloged in the NPS National Catalog. Unless exempted by additional park-specific stipulations, the permittee will complete the labels and catalog records and will provide accession information. It is the permittee’s responsibility to contact the park for cataloging instructions and specimen labels as well as instructions on repository designation for the specimens.
  • Collected specimens may be used for scientific or educational purposes only, and shall be dedicated to public benefit and be accessible to the public in accordance with NPS policies and procedures.
  • Any specimens collected under this permit, any components of any specimens (including but not limited to natural organisms, enzymes or other bioactive molecules, genetic materials, or seeds), and research results derived from collected specimens are to be used for scientific or educational purposes only, and may not be used for commercial or other revenue-generating purposes unless the permittee has entered into a Cooperative Research And Development Agreement (CRADA) or other approved benefit-sharing agreement with the NPS. The sale of collected research specimens or other unauthorized transfers to third parties is prohibited. Furthermore, if the permittee sells or otherwise transfers collected specimens, any components thereof, or any products or research results developed from such specimens or their components without a CRADA or other approved benefit-sharing agreement with NPS, permittee will pay the NPS a royalty rate of twenty percent (20%) of gross revenue from such sales or other revenues. In addition to such royalty, the NPS may seek other damages to which the NPS may be entitled including but not limited to injunctive relief against the permittee.

The permittee is required to submit an Investigator’s Annual Report and copies of final reports, publications, and other materials resulting from the study. Instructions for how and when to submit an annual report will be provided by NPS staff. Park research coordinators will analyze study proposals to determine whether copies of field notes, databases, maps, photos, and/or other materials may also be requested. The permittee is responsible for the content of reports and data provided to the National Park Service.

The permittee agrees to keep the specific location of sensitive park resources confidential. Sensitive resources include threatened species, endangered species, and rare species, archeological sites, caves, fossil sites, minerals, commercially valuable resources, and sacred ceremonial sites.

Travel within the park is restricted to only those methods that are available to the general public unless otherwise specified in additional stipulations associated with this permit.

The permittee must obtain all other required permit(s) to conduct the specified project.

If liability insurance is required by the NPS for this project, then documentation must be provided that it has been obtained and is current in all respects before this permit is considered valid.

No use of mechanized equipment in designated, proposed, or potential wilderness areas is allowed unless authorized by the superintendent or a designee in additional specific conditions associated with this permit.

The permittee should not anticipate assistance from the NPS unless specific arrangements are made and documented in either an additional stipulation attached to this permit or in other separate written agreements.

The permittee is required to remove all markers or equipment from the field after the completion of the study or prior to the expiration date of this permit. The superintendent or a designee may modify this requirement through additional park specific conditions that may be attached to this permit. Additional conditions regarding the positioning and identification of markers and field equipment may be issued by staff at individual parks.

Approval for any activity is contingent on the park being open and staffed for required operations. No entry into restricted areas is allowed unless authorized in additional park specific stipulations attached to this permit.

The permittee is required to contact the park’s Research and Collecting Permit Office (or other offices if indicated in the stipulations associated with this permit) prior to initiating any fieldwork authorized by this permit. Ideally this contact should occur at least one week prior to the initial visit to the park.

Permits expire on the date listed. Nothing in this permit shall be construed as granting any exclusive research privileges or automatic right to continue, extend, or renew this or any other line of research under new permit(s).

This permit includes by reference all stipulations listed in the application materials or in additional attachments to this permit provided by the superintendent or a designee. Breach of any of the terms of this permit will be grounds for revocation of this permit and denial of future permits.


Note: The “General Conditions” above apply to all researchers and parks across the entire National Park System. Following these (below) are the “Park-Specific Conditions” for First State National Historical Park. In addition, your Scientific Research and Collecting Permit may contain even more specific conditions and restrictions. You may note some overlap/redundancy amongst the three. The intent of conditions and restrictions is to protect park resources and values, and to ensure that the benefits of your research outweigh the impacts by minimizing/mitigating the latter as much as possible.


First State NHP Specific Conditions

This permit does not authorize the applicant to enter or conduct activities on private or neighboring lands within the boundaries of First State National Historical Park (NHP). Separate permission to conduct research on private or neighboring lands must be obtained from the landowner. It is the investigator’s responsibility to learn the location of these lands and obtain permission prior to entry.

The permittee is responsible for ensuring that all persons working on the project adhere to permit conditions, both applicable NPS regulations, the Superintendent’s Compendium, and park-specific conditions for research and collecting. Field staff must possess a copy of the permit at all times while in the field.

Some research activities may require a Minimum Requirements Analysis (MRA), Environmental Assessment, or other additional analysis. Researchers are required to adhere to the results and conditions of these additional analyses.

  • At least one week prior to research activities, all researchers must notify the Research and Collecting Permit Coordinator (302-478-2769), or a designated park liaison, when they expect to be in the park.

  • The day(s) of the research activities, the permittee will check in and out with their park liaison or park staff by calling 302-478-2769 or 302-544-6363. This ensures that park staff are aware research activities are ongoing and for safety in the event the permittee fails to make contact at the end of the day or reporting period.

  • Permittees are responsible for their own and their team’s health and safety when in a national park unit. The permittee must have a Safety Plan on file that addresses the range of activities that will be encountered while working in First State NHP. All personnel who enter the park to conduct work under this Scientific Research and Collecting Permit must review the Safety Plan prior to beginning work. At a minimum, a Safety Plan shall cover (a) training requirements and documentation that personnel have received training appropriate to the work being conducted (examples: tick safety, wildlife disease, working in inclement weather); (b) safety equipment (examples: gaiters, gloves, sunblock, insect repellent); (c) actions to take in case of an emergency (example: call 911, coordinates/directions to work location, nearest medical facility).

  • In the event of an emergency, contact emergency services (911) and when appropriate park staff by calling 302-544-6363.

  • To prevent the spread of invasive species into the park, clothing and other equipment should be cleaned and free of soil and plant material before entering the park. All vehicles used must be free of visible mud and plant material. Special care must be taken to prevent the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly.

  • Groups and classes exceeding 20 people must confer with the Scientific Research and Collecting Permit Coordinator to establish protocols to avoid trampling of plants and soils.

  • Cultural resources must not be adversely impacted by your activities. Ground disturbance (e.g., digging) must be specifically authorized in advance. Immediately report any archeological findings (e.g. artifacts, historical trash, rock cairns) to the Scientific Research and Collecting Permit Coordinator, 302-478-2769, or your designated park liaison.

  • The Permittee agrees to notify the superintendent of First State NHP of:

    • Every subject discovery or invention that relates in any respect to research Results derived from research studies at First State NHP
    • Use of any research specimens or other materials collected from First State NHP
    • Any materials that may be patentable or otherwise protected under the intellectual property (IP) laws of the United States or other jurisdiction.
  • Notification must occur within sixty (60) days of the time that an inventor or other agent of the Permittee reports such a subject discovery or invention to the person(s) responsible for patent or other proprietary rights matters in the Permittee's organization. Additionally, the Permittee agrees to notify the superintendent of First State NHP within thirty (30) days of filing any patent application or other IP claim in the United States or other country that relates in any respect to research results or other discoveries or inventions derived from research studies at First State NHP or any research specimens or other materials collected from First State NHP. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "subject discovery or invention" means any discovery or invention related to or derived from research studies at First State NHP, or research specimens or other materials collected from First State NHP. All invention disclosures shall be marked as confidential under 35 U.S.C. Section 205.

  • All filming associated with research permits must be reviewed and approved in advance. Depending on the type of filming a Special Use Permit may be required. Filming of certain research activities may be used for educational purposes using platforms which are password protected and the footage must clearly state that the research was conducted under a First State NHP, National Park Service Scientific Research and Collecting Permit. Any use, including social media, websites, newspapers, periodicals etc. of photos or videos from within closed areas or of research taking place in closed areas is prohibited without prior National Park Service approval. For further information, contact the Scientific Research and Collecting Permit Coordinator.

  • All geospatial data must meet the NPS Policies and Standards. All geospatial data, metadata or applications to be delivered to the park must be in a format compatible with the park's current GIS software and must be delivered to the park on media that are compatible with the park's current GIS hardware. You only need to submit final GIS data layer(s) developed as a result of your research, unless otherwise stated within the permit stipulations.

  • All records generated from research conducted on National Park Service lands including, but not limited to, plans, field notes, field maps, drawings, raw data sheets, tape recordings, photos, photo logs, instrument charts, map overlays, negatives, and remote sensing data (records) are, and remain the property of the National Park Service. The investigator will contact the Park Collections Manager to ensure that these records are properly accessioned. Final disposition of all records will be specified by the NPS in accordance with approved park policies and procedures.

  • The investigator is required to submit an Investigator’s Annual Report and copies of final reports, publications, and other materials resulting from the study. Instructions for how and when to submit an annual report will be provided by staff. The permittee is responsible for the content of reports and data provided to the National Park Service. The preferred method of submission of final reports is to submit them directly via the RPRS website under the ‘Submit Final Reports and Other Related Materials’ Option. Alternatively, documents should be submitted in PDF format by email to the Scientific Research and Collecting Permit Coordinator and to the Superintendent .

Last updated: June 23, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

New Castle Court House Museum
Attn: First State NHP
211 Delaware Street

New Castle, DE 19720

Phone:

(302) 544-6363
This phone number is not staffed. You can leave a message on the park's main phone number (302-544-6363) and we will return your call as soon as possible. If you are visiting one of the seven sites, and need specific information, please refer to the "Places to Go" page for phone numbers and addresses of each site.

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