National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)

The goal of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is to encourage federal agencies to act as responsible stewards of our nation's cultural and historic resources. The NHPA also created the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), which acts as the federal policy advisor to the president.

The ACHP is the first and only federal entity created solely to address historic preservation. It was established as a cabinet-level body of presidentially appointed citizens, experts in the field, and federal, state, and local government representatives, to ensure that private citizens, local communities, and other concerned parties would have a forum for influencing federal policy, programs, and decisions as they impacted historic properties and their attendant values.

Section 106 of the NHPA granted legal standing to historic preservation as a criterion in federal planning, decision-making, and project execution. It requires all federal agencies to take into account the effects of their actions on historic properties, and to provide the ACHP with a reasonable opportunity to comment on those actions and the manner in which federal agencies are taking historic properties into account in their decisions.

Section 106 applies when two thresholds are met: 1) there is a federal or federally licensed action, including grants, licenses, and permits, and 2) the action has the potential to affect properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Section 106 requires each federal agency to identify and assess the effects of its actions on historic resources. The responsible federal agency must consult with appropriate state and local officials, Indian tribes, applicants for federal assistance, and members of the public and consider their views and concerns about historic preservation issues when making final project decisions.

Issues are resolved by mutual agreement, usually among the affected state's State Historic Preservation Officer or the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, the federal agency, and any other involved parties.

Section 106 Regulations (PDF file)

This file includes the text of ACHP regulations, "Protection of Historic Properties" (36 CFR Part 800), and incorporates amendments effective Aug. 5, 2004.