Federal Agencies and Section 106

Introduction | Streamlining the Section 106 Process | Back to "About SHPOS"


Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) grants legal status to historic preservation in Federal planning, decisionmaking, and project execution.

Section 106 applies when two thresholds are met: 1) there is a Federal or federally licensed action, including grants, licenses, and permits; and 2) that action has the potential to affect properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Section 106 requires all Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their actions on historic properties. The responsible Federal agency must consult with appropriate State and local officials, Indian tribes, applicants for Federal assistance, and members of the public and consider their views and concerns about historic preservation issues when making final project decisions.

Effects are resolved by mutual agreement, usually among the affected State's State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) or the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO), the Federal agency, and any other involved parties. The ACHP may participate in controversial or precedent-setting situations.

For more information on working with Section 106, visit the ACHP's website by clicking here.

Streamlining the Section 106 Review Process

Since the 1979, federal agencies have had the option of devising alternate procedures for implementing Section 106. The 1979 Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) regulations defined two options: counterpart regulations and Programmatic Agreement (PAs).

Agencies have tended to tailor the Section 106 process to their needs through agency-wide Programmatic Agreements. Section 800.14 of the current regulations illustrate several scenarios where agencies might pursue Section 106 responsibilities through a PA. A number of agencies have executed PAs with the ACHP and the NCSHPO that address a wide range of programs or undertakings.

More recently, the ACHP has expanded upon the concept of program alternatives in its 2004 revised regulations. The regulations promote alternative procedures, rather than focusing on counterpart regulations. The intent of this was to remove the impediment of requiring formal regulations to substitute for the standard Section 106 process.

Currently, the NCSHPO is working with several federal agencies to revise the existing PAs. These include:

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