The issuance of Executive Order 13287 (EO 13287), Preserve America, on March 3, 2003, marked a defining moment in the federal stewardship of historic properties. Recognizing the broad public interest in the management of federally owned historic properties, the EO encouraged agencies to manage these historic properties as valuable assets that can support agency missions and also stimulate local economic development. Agencies have approached their oversight and management of historic properties differently based upon budgetary, program, and management considerations. Many agencies have made the preservation and protection of historic properties a priority, but others face management challenges because of the number of historic properties in their inventories and changing agency missions.
Section 3 of EO 13287 establishes an accountability system to gauge agency implementation of the mandates of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the EO. Accurate information on the state of federally owned historic properties is essential to achieving the goals of the EO and to promoting community economic development through local partnerships.
Current Federal Property Stewardship Report
Section 3 of EO 13287 requires that agencies with real property management responsibilities report every three years on progress in the identification, protection, and use of historic properties in federal ownership and make this report also available to the ACHP and the Secretary of the Interior.
The ACHP then incorporates the received data into a report on the state of the federal government’s historic properties and their contribution to local economic development that is submitted to the President starting in 2006 and every three years thereafter.
View the following previous federal property stewardship reports to the President:
Baseline and Progress Reports
Each federal agency with real property management responsibilities (Section 3(a) and (b)) are to prepare an assessment of the current status of its inventory of historic properties required by Section 110(a)(2) of the NHPA (54 U.S.C. 306102), the general condition and management of needs of such properties, and the steps underway or planned to meet those management needs. These assessments also include an evaluation of the suitability of the agency’s types of historic properties to contribute to community economic development initiatives, including heritage tourism, taking into account agency mission needs, public access considerations, and the long-term preservation of the historic properties. In reviewing their regulations, management policies, and operating procedures for compliance with Sections 110 and 111 of the NHPA (54 U.S.C. 306101-306122), agencies with real property management responsibilities made these results available to the ACHP and the Secretary of the Interior. Since the initial reporting in 2004, real property managing agencies have been submitting triennial progress reports to the ACHP for the identification, protection, and use of historic properties within their real property inventory.
In May 2023, the ACHP updated its Section 3: Reporting Progress on the Identification, Protection, and Use of Federal Historic Properties advisory guidelines, focusing more specifically on the themes of infrastructure, job creation, equity, and climate change. The following objectives still apply for the ACHP regarding federal agency Section 3 progress reports:
- Provide increased focus on the need to report progress in the identification, protection, and use of historic properties as required by Section 3(c) of the EO;
- Solicit information from agencies on their efforts to establish and meet benchmarks for the improvement of their preservation efforts and programs and to identify successes and challenges in incorporating these goals into agency strategic plans;
- Provide guidance to agencies on coordinating the preparation of Section 3 progress reports with other federal agency reporting responsibilities and encourage greater coordination within agencies between preservation staff who are completing Section 3 progress reports and staff in other programs who may be completing other reports that account for similar activities; and
- Provide a lasting framework for future progress reports to be updated only as needed.