Introduction to Section 106

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) requires federal agencies to consider the effects on historic properties of projects they carry out, assist, fund, permit, license, or approve throughout the country. If a federal or federally-assisted project has the potential to affect historic properties, a Section 106 review will take place.

Section 106 gives the ACHP, interested parties, and the public the chance to weigh in on these matters before a final decision is made. This process is an important tool for citizens to lend their voice in protecting and maintaining historic properties in their communities.

Section 106 Review Process

Before You Submit

How to Submit

These procedures were established by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) as presented in 36 CFR Part 800.

As per the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Section 106 requires federal agencies to follow four basic steps:

  • Initiate Section 106 to determine if Section 106 applies
  • Identify historic properties in the project area
  • Assess the effect of the project on historic resources
  • Resolve adverse effects

Once the agency has defined the undertaking, identified the Area of Potential Effect (APE), and consulting parties, it is ready to begin Section 106 compliance. The agency must make a reasonable and good faith effort to identify historic properties within the Area of Potential Effect. The Area of Potential Effect must include areas directly or indirectly impacted by the action. For example, the Area of Potential Effect for a natural gas pipeline would include not only the actual pipeline trench, but also includes the construction right-of-way, compressor stations, meter stations, staging areas, storage yards, access roads and other ancillary facilities.

The agency needs to consider the full range of effects that might occur. For example, a construction project might cause vibration impacts to historical archaeological sites that contain structural remains. Note, too, that the Area of Potential Effect might be different for above-ground resources subject to visual or audible effects.

A successful and complete Section 106 review by federal agencies involves the following:

  • Seeking out and engaging interested parties (e.g. historic preservation commissions) and consulting with them throughout the process
  • Gather information to determine which historic properties are located within the Area of Potential Effect
  • Determine effects on the historic properties
  • Avoid, minimize or mitigate the effect to those historic properties
  • Reach an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Office/Tribal Historic Preservation Officer to resolve adverse effects or obtain comments from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation