ACHP Section 106 News |
Greetings from the Office of Federal Agency Programs
In recent months, the conversation in Washington, D.C., has turned to infrastructure, particularly for those of us working with federal environmental permitting and authorizations. Many of these discussions include ideas about making environmental reviews more efficient for infrastructure projects, which may have potential implications on historic preservation reviews. The ACHP is actively participating in interagency efforts aimed at improving infrastructure permitting, such as the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, and the development of the Administration’s infrastructure initiative via working groups of federal agencies. This includes the Aug. 15
Executive Order on Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure. In this edition, we share news from some of these efforts in the stories below. Read more.
Focus on Infrastructure
The ACHP has been involved in numerous efforts related to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Section 106 reviews for infrastructure development. We highlight a few of them in this article. Read more on other recent developments in the infrastructure discussion. See the next story about the new infrastructure section of the ACHP website.
New Section 106 and Infrastructure Projects Web Page Launched
To assist federal agencies, states, tribes, and other preservation partners in carrying out Section 106 reviews for infrastructure projects, the ACHP has recently posted a new web page. It includes a collection of tools, resources, and case studies that agencies, applicants, and other stakeholders may use in carrying out Section 106 reviews for infrastructure projects.
ACHP Reports on Improving Tribal Consultation in Infrastructure Projects
The ACHP recently released a Section 106-focused report, Improving Tribal Consultation in Infrastructure Projects. It is a companion to a separate report issued in January 2017 by the Departments of the Interior and Justice and the Army Corps of Engineers regarding tribal input in infrastructure decisions. The ACHP developed its report as a roadmap for federal agencies to carry out more effective tribal consultation while planning infrastructure projects and, in turn, realize efficiencies in the Section 106 process.
Section 3 Report Guidance Available
The ACHP recently issued updated guidance to federal agencies on how to report on their progress in identifying, protecting, and using historic properties in their ownership or control, consistent with the requirements of Section 3 of Executive Order 13287, “Preserve America.” This year’s report will highlight connections between federal stewardship of historic properties and the maintenance and improvement of important infrastructure, as well as the role federal historic properties play in economic development and community revitalization. Every three years, the ACHP produces a report to the President
on the status of federal stewardship of historic properties. Information provided by agencies this year will form the basis of the next report due in February 2018.
The Section 3 advisory guidelines are available here. While the use of these guidelines is encouraged, they are not mandatory. Federal agencies with real property management responsibilities may independently determine how they will report on the progress of their efforts to identify, protect, and use historic properties. For more information or questions about the report, contact Section3@achp.gov.
Communications Program Comment Issued
On May 5, the ACHP issued a Program Comment for Communications Projects on Federal Lands and Property to assist federal land and property managing agencies in permitting and approving the placement of communications infrastructure more efficiently. The new Program Comment complements measures the ACHP has taken in recent years to make Section 106 reviews for wireless and broadband deployment consistent and timely. These include the development of nationwide Programmatic Agreements (NPAs) by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the collocation of wireless antennae and telecommunications projects (2001, 2005), and a related Program Comment on wireless communication facilities (2015).
Communications undertakings that involve federal land or property managing agencies are not covered by FCC’s NPAs. Therefore, licensees and applicants must consult directly with the federal land or property managing agency for required approvals. The Program Comment bridges the gap between the two FCC NPAs and undertakings on federal property to create a consistent approach for all broadband infrastructure. It includes provisions addressing collocation; installation of aerial communications cable; burying cable in existing road, railroad, and utility rights-of-way; and construction of new towers. Federal agencies can use the Program Comment to fulfill their Section 106 responsibility for those projects unless the agency determines compliance with the standard Section 106 review process or another applicable program alternative is more appropriate. For more information,
see the announcement in the Federal Register.
USDA Rural Utilities Service Preparing Nationwide PA
The USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is working with the ACHP, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, and National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers to develop a nationwide Programmatic Agreement (PA) to better align the agency’s loan and grant programs for telecommunications, water and sewer, electricity, and housing with the agency’s responsibilities under Section 106. RUS will be consulting with stakeholders in the coming months to refine the draft PA. Updates on this initiative can be obtained from Charlene Vaughn.
GAD Facts: Expired Section 106 Agreements
When does an MOA or PA expire? What if the undertaking is not complete? Can an expired agreement be amended? This month’s Section 106 e-newsletter takes up the ACHP’s Guidance on Agreement Documents to explore these and other questions about expired Section 106 agreements. Read more here.
Our Questions for You
We’d like to hear from you, the Section 106 practitioner! This and future editions of the Section 106 e-newsletter will include a question for your feedback. Currently, the ACHP is working to identify efficiencies in Section 106 review that could help alleviate workload burdens—particularly given the potential for an uptick in infrastructure projects—on SHPOs and THPOs while ensuring timely processing of federal agency project review requests. Many SHPOs/THPOs and federal agencies already find those kinds of efficiencies in Programmatic Agreements (PAs). So this month, we ask:
Has a particular statewide, regional, or nationwide PA made a noticeable improvement in review timeframes or volume for your office? If so, which one(s)?
What provisions in program PAs have been most successful in reducing review burdens in your state?
And in a more general sense…
What tools provided by the ACHP are most useful in getting new review and compliance staff up to speed with Section 106 review? What tools or training would be useful?
Please submit your responses to GADhelp@achp.gov.
Kristen Bastis joined the Office of Federal Agnecy Programs (OFAP) in December 2016 as liaison to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Kristen is an archaeologist who comes to us from the Missouri State Parks Department, where she served as an NRCS Cultural Resource Specialist.
Two OFAP staff members have taken on new roles within the ACHP. Chris Daniel, formerly liaison to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, is now a program analyst in the Federal Property Management section. Sarah Stokely, who served as the ACHP’s first liaison to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is now a program analyst in the Federal Permitting, Licensing, and Assistance section.
Nancy J. Brown, ASLA, the ACHP’s liaison to the Bureau of Land Management, has been named to the 2017 class of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects in recognition of her exceptional and sustained contributions to the profession and society at large. The Potomac Chapter of ASLA nominated Nancy for her leadership/management accomplishments in guiding federal project consultations involving cultural landscape issues, as a teacher and facilitator, and in advocacy for landscape preservation.
Training and Upcoming Events
New E-Learning Courses
The ACHP is pleased to announce the availability of a new suite of online courses designed to provide historic preservation professionals and stakeholders with training in the use of Section 106 without the schedule or travel constraints of traditional classroom training. Two of the new courses cover integration and coordination of Section 106 reviews with the National Environmental Policy Act review process. This is of particular importance as policy makers at all levels of government search for new ways to create efficiencies in regulatory processes and advance infrastructure projects. The course catalog also includes a FREE online course, “What is Section 106?” and “Successfully Navigating Section 106 Reviews: An Orientation for Applicants,” which is targeted toward applicants for federal permits and assistance. For more information, and to register,
visit the eLearning portal.
The 2017 Section 106 Essentials and Advanced Seminar schedule is available here.
The Fall 2017 Webinar Series schedule will be posted by Labor Day.
Did you know the ACHP can tailor training for your audience? In addition to our open-enrollment offerings of the Section 106 Essentials, Section 106 Advanced Seminar, and Webinar Series, the ACHP offers two approaches to tailor Section 106 training to the learning needs of federal, state, tribal, and local agencies and other organizations.
Special Offerings of ACHP Courses: The Section 106 Essentials or Section 106 Advanced Seminar classroom courses can be scheduled at a location and time convenient to the sponsor, generating cost savings and reducing the need for travel. Webinars in our curriculum are also available by request.
Tailored Courses: The ACHP staff develops training sessions ranging from a half day to multiple days based on an organization’s needs. Content, exercises, reference materials, and delivery methods are designed to meet specific goals the organization has for improving federal historic preservation review and compliance programs. In 2017, the ACHP is assisting the National Park Service in meeting its new Section 106 training requirement for park unit decision makers with 11 one-day courses across the country. We can also develop new webinars or online on-demand training modules.
For more information, please contact Cindy Bienvenue at (202) 517-0202 or by e-mail.