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June 19, 2013
Section 106 Implications for Many Properties on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered List for 2013
Every year the National Trust for Historic Preservation (Trust) highlights the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, historic properties that the organization wants to bring to public attention out of concern that their existence or historic integrity are threatened. At least five of the places on the 2013 list released on June 19 involve Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).
The fact that nearly half of the endangered places noted this year have direct Section 106 implications is an indication of how pervasive and important Section 106 is to preservation of the nation’s important historic places. Additionally, some remaining sites have potential for future Section 106 consideration. Click here for the entire 2013 list.
Section 106 is invoked whenever a project carried out, permitted, or funded by a federal agency poses the potential to affect a historic property. A “historic property” is one listed on, or considered eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places maintained by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Under Section 106, if the potential for adverse effects exists, federal agencies must consider how to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the impact on historic properties in consultation with key stakeholders including the public.
Section 106 is an important public tool for persons concerned with saving historic properties. See here for the Citizens Guide to Section 106 which explains how people can share in this process.
The five prominent examples on the current 11 Most Endangered list in which Section 106 has played, is playing, or may play a critical role are:
Gay Head Lighthouse at Martha’s Vinyard, Aquinnah, Massachusetts
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the lead federal agency in a current Section 106 review of a proposal to replace the lighthouse lantern, an action that is also undergoing review by the Massachusetts Historical Commission at the moment. USCG has announced the property eventually will be transferred out of federal ownership under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The lighthouse is in danger of collapse from erosion and a consortium of local non-profits and the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) are raising funds to help enable the move.
James River at James City County, Virginia
Dominion Virginia Power’s proposal to build a high-speed power transmission line across the James River includes approximately 1.5 miles on Dominion land at Surry Power Station in Surry County, 4.1 miles overhead utilizing 17 towers across the James River, and 2.3 miles on land in southern James City County. Because of the river crossing, the project may be subject to Department of the Army permitting under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. The project has the potential to affect viewsheds of significant historic properties. These include Carter’s Grove, a National Historic Landmark, Kingsmill Plantation, and other important sites. Should the construction of this transmission line require federal funds, permits, approvals, or licenses, Section 106 consultation will be necessary to consider the potential effects of this project on historic properties.
Kake Cannery at Kake, Alaska
In 2009, the Organized Village of Kake (OVK) was the applicant for federal grants for the construction of a multi-use dock facility at the Kake Cannery National Historic Landmark. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), with responsibilities for undertakings on tribal trust lands, worked with the OVK, Alaska State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), National Park Service, and other consulting parties to develop a Programmatic Agreement (PA) to resolve the adverse effects of the construction on the National Historic Landmark. The resolution of adverse effects included building assessments, development of rehabilitation plans, a public education component, and a long range preservation plan to be implemented through the PA.
Mountain View Black Officers Club, Fort Huachuca, Arizona
The ACHP anticipates any proposed action to modify or demolish this structure would require Section 106 consideration. Historic properties representing the history of the segregated Army are not widely known or understood for their context and/or contributions to the evolution of the Army, and the ACHP would seriously consider participating in such a case as part of the effort to highlight and build a more inclusive national historic preservation program.
Village of Mariemont, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in coordination with the Ohio Department of Transportation, proposes to fund the construction of a multi-modal transportation project near Cincinnati, Ohio. The FHWA has not yet commenced the Section 106 review for this undertaking. However, FHWA has begun the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and has engaged federal agencies such as the ACHP and the National Park Service (NPS) in addressing concerns about the project’s impact on the Village of Mariemont National Historic Landmark and other historic properties in the project area. The ACHP and NPS have been involved in early coordination meetings and plan to participate as consulting parties in the Section 106 process.
This information will be updated as more information becomes available and the Section 106 status of these cases progresses or alters.
While the chairman of the Trust belongs to the 23-member ACHP by statute, the purpose and actions of the two organizations are quite different. The Trust is the nation’s foremost private non-profit membership historic preservation organization, and the ACHP is an independent federal agency that oversees the Section 106 process, advises the President and Congress on historic preservation policy and issues, and accomplishes various other preservation activities involving the federal government. Look here to see what organizations and individuals are ACHP members.
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