Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires a review of any Federal project that could potentially impact a historic property. There are four steps in the Section 106 compliance process. This page outlines how to complete Step Two of the process. There are similar, separate pages for Step One, Step Three and Step Four. Be sure to check them out!

STEP TWO: IDENTIFY HISTORIC PROPERTIES

To complete STEP TWO, answer this question:
ARE HISTORIC PROPERTIES AFFECTED?

The first thing to do in Step 2 is to determine the Area of Potential Effects (APE). If this is new for you, you may want to review the Helpful Terms listed below.

To help define the APE:

  • Review existing information on historic properties known to be within the area of potential effect and identify data concerning possible historic properties not yet identified.
  • Seek information from consulting parties and other individuals or organizations who may have knowledge of historic properties in the area.
  • Gather information from any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization to assist in identifying properties, including those located on or off tribal lands that may be of religious and cultural significance to them.

Next, identify and evaluate historic properties. This may include background research, consultation, oral history interviews, sample field investigation, and field survey. The Secretary’s Standards and Guidelines for Identification provide more guidance on the subject.

Once you have identified historic properties in the area of potential effect, then evaluate the historic significance of those properties. To do this:

  1. Apply the National Register criteria (36 CFR part 60) and
  2. Determine whether a property is eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Historic Properties Affected

At this stage, let’s assume that there is a finding of No Historic Properties Affected. Don’t worry, we will address what to do if historic properties are affected later.

If you determine that there are No Historic Properties Affected: By letter, convey this information to the appropriate SHPO/THPO. In addition, notify all consulting parties and make this documentation available for public inspection prior to implementing the undertaking.

The SHPO/THPO has 30 calendar days after receipt of the determination to reply. Although a lack of reply suggests agreement with the determination, if you have not received a reply within the 30 day review period, call to see if they received it and if they plan to issue a response.

For a determination of “no historic properties,” the regulations in 36 CFR §800.11(d) require that specific information be documented and submitted to SHPO/THPO and the consulting parties.

This documentation shall include:

  • A description of the undertaking, specifying the Federal involvement, and its area of potential effects, including photographs, maps, drawings, as necessary;
  • A description of the steps taken to identify historic properties, including, as appropriate, efforts to seek information during the identification of historic properties; and
  • The basis for determining that no historic properties are present or affected.

HELPFUL TERMS

Area of Potential Effects (APE): The geographic area or areas within which an undertaking may directly or indirectly cause alterations in the character or use of historic properties, if any such properties exist. The area of potential effect is influenced by the scale and nature of an undertaking and may be different for different kinds of effects caused by the undertaking. (36 CFR 800.16(d))
Historic Significance: The significance of a property refers to its ability to meet one of the four National Register criteria.
National Register Criteria: The Criteria state that the quality of significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture must be present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials,workmanship, feeling, and association, and that:

  • are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history
  • are associated with the lives or persons significant in our past; or
  • embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or represent the work of a master, or possess high artistic values, or represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
  • have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history
    Built resources are typically evaluated under Criterion A, B, and C; Criterion D applies primarily to archaeological resources.

Consulting Parties: Appropriate SHPO/THPO, Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations, local governments, and other interested parties.
No Historic Properties Affected: There are no historic properties present in the area of potential effect or there are historic properties present but the undertaking will not have any effect on them, this is considered a determination of “no historic properties.”
Historic Properties Affected: If the agency official finds that there are historic properties which may be affected by the undertaking, the agency official shall notify all consulting parties, including Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, invite their views on the effects and assess adverse effects, if any, in accordance with § 800.5.

REAL WORLD SCENARIO

Watch an interview with Jeff Durbin, National Section 106 Compliance Program Manager, as he explains Step Two of the 106 Process.

Audio Description Video for Step Two
Step Two Video Transcript

If you determine that no historic properties will be affected, send a letter to the SHPO, THPO, tribes and consulting parties. The regulations in 36 CFR §800.11(d) require that specific information be documented and submitted to SHPO/THPO and the consulting parties. This documentation shall include:

  • A description of the undertaking, specifying the Federal involvement, and its area of potential effects, including photographs, maps, drawings, as necessary;
  • A description of the steps taken to identify historic properties, including, as appropriate, efforts to seek information during the identification of historic properties; and
  • The basis for determining that no historic properties are present or affected.

After a 30 day review, Section 106 compliance is complete. Please note, a lack of reply from SHPO/THPO suggests agreement with the determination, but it is not a good idea to assume this. If you have not received a reply within the 30 day review period, call to see if they received it and if they plan to issue a response.

If you determine that historic properties within the APE might be affected by the undertaking, proceed to Step 3 of the Section 106 Process.

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