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(as amended)


The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is intended to help preserve historical and archaeological sites in the United States.

The Act created the National Register of Historic Places.

The Act created the list of National Historic Landmarks.

The Act established the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

The Act created State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs).

The Act mandated Section 106 Reviews.


The National Historic Preservation Act was was introduced as Senate Bill 3035 and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 15, 1966 (NHPA; Public Law 89-665; 16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.).

There was a major amendment on December 12, 1980 (Public Law 96-515, 94 Stat. 3000). Section 110 was added, furthering requirements for federal agencies such as the need to establish their own internally staffed historic preservation programs

There was a major amendment in 1992 that increased protection for Native American and Native Hawaiian preservation efforts.


Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act mandates federal agencies undergo a review process for all federally funded and permitted projects that will impact sites listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places. Specifically it requires the federal agency to "take into account" the effect a project may have on historic properties. It allows interested parties an opportunity to comment on the potential impact projects may have on significant archaeological or historic sites. The main purpose for the establishment of the Section 106 review process is to minimize potential harm and damage to historic properties.

The Section 106 Process is further explained and defined in 36 CFR Part 800.

Any federal agency whose project, funding or permit may affect a historic property, both those listed or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, must consider the effects on historic properties and "seek ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate" any adverse effects on historic properties.

The typical Section 106 Review involves four primary steps:
    1 - Initiation of the Section 106 Review
    2 - Identification of Historic Properties
    3 - Assessment of Adverse Effects
    4 - Resolution of Adverse Effects
Further steps may be required if there is a disagreement among the consulting parties on adverse effects or the resolution of the effects.

The federal agency overseeing the project inventories the project area (or contracts with a qualified consultant) to determine the presence or absence of historic properties. They then submit to the SHPO a Determination of Effect/Finding of Effect (DOE/FOE) outlining to the SHPO the project, the efforts taken identify historic properties, and what effects, if any, the project may have on historic properties.

If the project is believed to have no adverse effect on eligible historic resources and the SHPO and other consulting parties agree, then the Section 106 process is effectively closed and the project may proceed.

Alternatively, if an adverse effect is expected, the agency is required to work with the local State Historic Preservation Office to ensure that all interested parties are given an opportunity to review the proposed work and provide comments. This step seeks ways for the project to avoid having an adverse effect on historic properties. Ideally, a Memorandum of Agreement is reached between all consulting parties outlining agreed to mitigation or avoidance of historic properties, but this is not always the case.

Without this process historical properties would lose a significant protection. This process helps decide different approaches and solutions to the project, but does not prevent any site from demolition or alteration.


Wikipedia article on the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
by the National Park Service (NPS)