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          Important Links   Important References  
  What is section 106?   Section 106 is a clause or section of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act which simply states: "The head of any Federal agency having direct or indirect jurisdiction over a proposed Federal or federally assisted undertaking in any State and the head of any Federal department or independent agency having authority to license any undertaking shall, prior the approval of the expenditure of any Federal funds on the undertaking or prior to the issuance of any license, as the case may be, take into account the effect of the undertaking on any district, site, building, structure or object that is included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register..."     Important to the Section 106 process is the identification and investigation of Historic Properties which are sites listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.   



Blumenthal, Sara K. revised by Emogene A. Bevitt.  Federal Historic Preservation Laws.  Washington, D.C.:  National Park Service, Cultural Resource Programs, 1993.
National Trust for Historic Preservation, ed. With Heritage So Rich: Special Committee on Historic Preservation, United States Conference of Mayors. Washington, DC: Preservation Press, 1996.

Murtagh, William J. Keeping Time: The History and Theory of Preservation in America. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.

King, Thomas F. Federal Planning and Historical Places: The Section 106 Process. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2000.
King, Thomas F. Cultural Resource Laws and Practice: An Introductory Guide. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1998
  What is the national historic preservation act?   The National Historic Preservation Act, when first adopted in 1966, initiated various national programs intended to implement the recognition and preservation of Historic Properties.  Specifically, the NHPA created the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to oversee the accurate utilization of the NRHP, the list of National Historic Landmarks, the position of State Historic Preservation Officer within each of the United States, and the Certification of Local Governments for the benefit of local historic preservation matters.  Of this legislation, Section 106 specifically addresses federal involvement in historic preservation.  



  Why Section 106?  Where did the NHPA come from?  

Early in the 1900’s three basic building blocks of preservation were put into place:  the Antiquities Act of 1906, the National Park Service of 1916, the Historic Sites Act of 1935.  (Keeping Time p. 60).  Each of these organizations or acts were designed to recognize and protect America’s historic resources.  The National Historic Preservation Act, and consequently, Section 106 of its legislation, is federal law of the same caliber. 

The Lyndon Johnson Administration progressive programs known collectively as the Great Society were based upon idealism of Kennedy presidency.  Lady Bird Johnson had great interest in preservation as a tool for beautification; this influenced President Johnson who addressed preservation and a need to support the National Trust in his 1965 annual message to Congress.  That same year, the White House Conference on National Beauty, staffed partly by the National Trust, published “With Heritage So Rich” which was used as a tool to introduce preservation legislation, and the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966.




  What type of federal actions are subject to Section 106 review?   Federal actions affecting Historic Properties that are owned by the federal government are subject to Section 106 review.  Projects funded by federally assisted loans or grants and projects requiring federal permit or license are also subject to the Section 106 review process.  



  Who Are the Key Players in the Section 106 Review Process?   First, the Federal Agency and Department (more properly the head of any Federal agency) having direct or indirect jurisdiction over a proposed Federal or federally assisted undertaking; Federal agencies are responsible for deciding which of their activities are subject to Section 106 review and for making certain that the process is carried out, whether by themselves, or by a consultant.

Any one of the 59 American jurisdictions;

The head of a Federal department or independent agency capable of licensing an undertaking.

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO)

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO)

Local Governments

Consulting Parties

The public





  HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?   Section 106 requires a historic and an archaeological investigation for the area of potential effect (APE).  Set forth below is a brief outline of the three phases that comprise a historic and an archaeological evaluation. 
  Phase I Investigations  

The goal of a Phase I Investigation is to identify all properties that may be historic and potentially eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.  A precondition for this investigation is that the applicant and permitting agency define the Area of Potential Effect (APE) or area that will be affected by the undertaking  There are three components to the Phase I Investigation: Background Document Search, Field survey, and Final Report Preparation.

A) Background Document Search: The Background Documents Search requires that the state archaeological files and the state historic standing structures files be examined.  Additionally, it is required that old atlases and plat books for the APE be examined for any information on historic standing structures or potential for prehistoric or historic archaeological sites.  The Background Document Search data allows for a baseline historic context statement to be developed.

B) Field Survey: The Field Survey requirements are different for historic standing structures and archaeological sites.

All standing structures within the APE are to be photographed and evaluated.  Modern standing structures (less than 50 years old), historic standing structures, buildings or features (50 years old or older) are photographed.  One representative photograph of modern subdivisions or structures is required. All elevations and representative photographs of eaves or foundations of historic standing structures, buildings or features are required.

The APE will also be surveyed for prehistoric and historic archaeological resources.  This survey will consist of reconnaissance and shovel test survey.  Reconnaissance survey is conducted by a simple walk over of the APE.  If visibility is low, shovel testing will be conducted to locate any buried archaeological sites. Geomorphological testing to locate buried deposits on flood plains of all major rivers and also on smaller rivers is also required during the Phase I Investigations.

C) Final Report: After all the documentary research and field survey is completed a Final Report is prepared for submission to the permitting agency. In many cases the permitting agency sends the report to the appropriate State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) or requires that the applicant do so.  The Final Report may be prepared together for standing structures and archaeological resources.

Historic standing structures, buildings or features are evaluated for potential significance under the National Register of Historic Places Criteria.  This consists of evaluating the historic structures, buildings or features within the baseline historic context data gathered during the Background Documents Search.  Based upon the historic context and photograph evaluation, historic standing structures, buildings or features are either determined not eligible or determined to need additional documentation. If a historic standing structure, building or feature is determined to need additional documentation, the historic structure needs Phase II Investigations also referred to as a Determination of Eligibility (DOE).

  Phase II Investigations  

Phase II Investigations are required when a historic standing structure, building or feature and archaeological sites are encountered within the APE and if the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) concurs or determines that Phase II Investigations are necessary.  The goal of a Phase II Investigations is to determine if the property is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.  Often this process is referred to as a Determination of Eligibility or a 'DOE.'

A DOE is an evaluation of the standing structure or an archaeological site. This is done by applying the National Register Criteria for Evaluation to the data gathered from the property. 

A standing structure is evaluated for significance or integrity (exterior and interior).  This includes a rigorous development of the historic context statement and additional photographs will be necessary to document integrity. 

Archaeological sites will be subject to subsurface testing and excavation. This may be by hand or using heavy excavation equipment. Artifacts and other cultural material area collected from the site, analyzed and a report on the excavation is prepared.  This report forms the basis for determining if the site is eligible for National Register Nomination.  The archaeological sites must be determined significant and pass tests of integrity in order to be considered eligible.