Before You Submit

Due to many variables, the Section 106 process can be straightforward and quick, or involved and lengthy. The following information may help regarding the Section 106 process and what to do before submitting a project for review. Always remember, a key to Section 106 is to consult early and often.

What is a federal undertaking?

An undertaking is a project, activity or program funded in whole or in part under the direct or indirect jurisdiction of a federal agency, including activities carried out by or on behalf of a federal agency; those carried out with federal financial assistance; and those requiring a federal permit, license or approval.

Who is responsible for conducting the Section 106 Review?

The primary responsibility for meeting the requirements of Section 106 rests with the federal agency (and its designees, permitees, licensees or grantees). The federal agency remains responsible for all findings and determinations, and will enter into active consultation when an adverse effect to a historic property is found; when the agency and State Historic Preservation Office disagree during consultation; or when consulting parties object to findings and determinations.

What is a historic property?

A historic property is any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of properties recognized for significance in history, architecture, archeology and culture. Properties on the National Register of Historic Places can be significant locally, statewide, nationally or to Indian tribes. Federal agencies or designees, are required to make a reasonable and good faith effort to identify historic properties located within the Area of Potential Effect.

What is the APE?

The Area of Potential Effect, or APE, is the geographic area within which an undertaking has the potential to cause effects to historic properties, if such properties exist. It is important to remember that the Area of Potential Effect must include the area where either direct or indirect effects can occur. Both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the Area of Potential Effect must be considered.

Keep in mind that the Area of Potential Effect is supposed to be developed in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office (see 36 CFR Part 800.4(a)(1)). In some cases, programmatic agreements have been established with federal agencies. These agreements may have standardly-defined Areas of Potential Effect for certain types of undertakings. Please check with the responsible federal agency to determine if there is a current programmatic agreement for your undertaking.

What is a finding?

The federal agency must present the State Historic Preservation Office with findings and determinations on which to comment. There are three possible findings: No Historic Properties Affected [see 36 CFR Part 800.4(d)(1)], No Adverse Effect on Historic Properties [see 36 CFR Part 800.5(a)], or Adverse Effect on Historic Properties [see 36 CFR Part 800.5(b)].

What is an adverse effect?

A project is considered to have an adverse effect on a historic property if it alters the characteristics that qualify the property for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Adverse effects can be direct or indirect and include effects that are reasonably foreseeable and cumulative. Typical adverse effects include: physical destruction or damage; alterations inconsistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties; relocation of the property; change in the property’s use or setting; introduction of audible, atmospheric or visual elements that diminish the property’s significant features; and transfer, sale, or lease of the property out of federal ownership or control without appropriate preservation restrictions.

How long will the review process take?

If the information you submit is complete, the State Historic Preservation Office has 30 days for review once the information is received. If the State Historic Preservation Office agrees with the determination and finding, and the project results in a "No Historic Properties Affected" or a "No Adverse Effect" to historic properties, the consultation is complete. If the State Historic Preservation Office disagrees with the finding, needs additional information, or agrees to an adverse effect finding, consultation will continue. To expedite review, please submit comprehensive and accurate information.

What happens if the State Historic Preservation Office does not agree with the finding?

If the State Historic Preservation Office does not agree with the finding, formal comment will be issued with an explanation. Often, disagreements can be resolved with further consultation. This sometimes requires additional information being provided to the State Historic Preservation Office to better illustrate the reasoning behind the finding, or it might require slight modifications to the scope of work so that everyone is in agreement with the finding. If the disagreement cannot be resolved through consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will need to be invited to consult [see 36 CFR Part 800.5(c)(2)].

Please contact the State Historic Preservation Office with any questions regarding the Review and Compliance process.

Navigation