MDAH Historic Preservation

Review and Compliance Frequently Asked Questions

What is Section 106 review?

This term refers to the federal review process designed to ensure that historic properties are considered during federal project planning and execution. The review process is administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent federal agency, with assistance from the State Historic Preservation Office.

Who established Section 106?

The Congress did, as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA). NHPA, strengthened and expanded by several subsequent amendments, today has become the cornerstone of this country's historic preservation policy.

Why was Section 106 created?

NHPA was enacted because of public concern that so many of our nation's historic resources were not receiving adequate attention as the government sponsored much needed public works projects. In the 1960s, federal preservation law applied only to a handful of nationally significant properties, and Congress recognized that new legislation was needed to protect the many other historic properties that were being harmed by federal activities.

What does NHPA say?

Section 106 of NHPA requires that every federal agency "take into account" how each of its undertakings could affect historic properties. An agency must also afford the Advisory Council a reasonable opportunity to comment on the agency's project.

What is a federal "undertaking"?

Pursuant to the October 1992 Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act, an "undertaking" means a project, activity, or program funded in whole or in part under the direct or indirect jurisdiction of a federal agency, including (A) those carried out by or on behalf of the agency; (B) those carried out with federal financial assistance; (C) those requiring a federal permit, license, or approval; and (D) those subject to state or local regulation administered pursuant to a delegation or approval by a federal agency.

What is a historic property?

For purposes of Section 106, any property listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places is considered historic. The National Register is this country's basic inventory of historic resources and is maintained by the Secretary of the Interior. The list includes buildings, structures, objects, sites, districts, and archaeological resources. The listed properties are not just of nationwide importance; most are significant primarily at the state or local level. The protections of Section 106 extend to properties that possess significance but have not yet been listed or formally determined eligible for listing.

Who initiates Section 106 review?

The federal agency involved in the proposed project or activity is responsible for initiating and completing the Section 106 review process. Under certain circumstances, local governmental bodies may act as the responsible agency. The agency works with the State Historic Preservation Officer (an official appointed in each state or territory to administer the national historic preservation program) and the Advisory Council to do so. There can be other participants in the Section 106 process as well. At times, local governments, representatives of Indian tribes, applicants for federal grants, licenses, or permits, and others may join in the review process when it affects their interests or activities.

How long does Section 106 review take?

By law, the State Historic Preservation Office has a maximum of 30 days for most types of reviews. Currently, staff of the Mississippi SHPO average ten days response time.

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