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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Summer 2004
Case Digest, Summer 2004
Protecting Historic Properties: Section 106 in Action

Introduction and Criteria for ACHP Involvement

Update: Demolition of the East and West Wings of the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey

District of Columbia:
Transfer of the Southeast Federal Center

Replacement of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge, Atchison

Landscaping of the Bureau of Reclamation Regional Office, Boulder City

New Jersey:
Development of Revolutionary War Battlefield, Edison (closed case)

Demolition of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Somerset County

Puerto Rico:
Rehabilitation of Defensive Walls, San Juan National Historic Site (closed case)

Development of a Programmatic Agreement for the Interstate Highway System

Implementation of the Department of Veterans Affairs CARES Plan


Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires Federal agencies to consider historic preservation values when planning their activities. In the Section 106 process, a Federal agency must identify affected historic properties, evaluate the proposed action’s effects, and then explore ways to avoid or mitigate those effects.

The Federal agency often conducts this process in consultation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), State Historic Preservation Officers, representatives of Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations, and other parties with an interest in the issues.

Sometimes a Programmatic Agreement (PA) or a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is reached and signed by the project’s consulting parties. A PA sets forth a tailored process to guide how an agency meets the requirements of Section 106, while an MOA provides specific mitigation measures for an agency’s project.

Each year thousands of Federal actions undergo Section 106 review. The vast majority of cases are routine and resolved at the State or tribal level, without involvement of the ACHP. However, a considerable number of cases present issues or challenges that warrant the ACHP’s attention.

The specific criteria for ACHP involvement in reviewing Section 106 cases are set forth in Appendix A of the ACHP’s regulations. In accordance with those criteria, the ACHP is likely to enter the Section 106 process when an undertaking:

  • has substantial impacts on important historic properties (Criterion 1);
  • presents important questions of policy or interpretation (Criterion 2);
  • has the potential for presenting procedural problems (Criterion 3); and/or
  • presents issues of concern to Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations (Criterion 4).

This report provides information on a representative cross-section of undertakings that illustrate the variety and complexity of Federal activities in which the ACHP is currently involved.

It illustrates the ways the Federal Government influences what happens to historic properties in communities throughout the Nation, and highlights the importance of informed citizens to be alert to potential conflicts between Federal actions and historic preservation goals, and the necessity for public participation to achieve the best possible preservation solution.

In addition to this report, ACHP’s Web site contains a useful library of information about the ACHP, Section 106 review, and the national historic preservation program.


Updated August 6, 2004

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