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Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources

Recent Developments

Listed below are recent developments pertinent to historic preservation and cultural resources from the past six months.  If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the Share Info with AASHTO form.

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Advisory Council Offers Voluntary Electronic Section 106 Submittal System

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has announced an electronic submittal system to ease compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The voluntary Electronic Section 106 Documentation Submittal System, which is part of its broader “e106” initiative, will expedite the submittal of adverse effect notifications, including background documentation and correspondence, as well as requests for ACHP participation in consultation to resolve adverse effects to historic properties. This system has been in use by 12 Federal Highway Administration Divisions as part of a pilot project and is now expanded for use by any federal agency. For more information, link to the notice. (8-27-15)

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Resources on Post-1945 Highway Bridge Engineering Posted By FHWA

In 2012, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, in cooperation with FHWA issued a Program Comment to streamline consideration of post-1945 structures under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Program Comment, with limited exceptions, waives case-by-case Section 106 consideration of certain common types of bridges. To mitigate for the anticipated loss of bridges, the FHWA has completed this website and Historic American Engineering Record documentation, providing an example of each common bridge type. For more information, link to the FHWA web page: Post-1945 Highway Bridge Engineering. (March 2015)

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Inaugural Section 106 Newsletter Released by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has released its first edition of the Section 106 E-Newsletter with the goal of providing information to allow more participation in the process. This edition of the newsletter introduces the AHCP’s Office of Federal Agency Programs, which oversees the Section 106 review process and acts as a representative of the ACHP for consultations. It also contains relevant links to reports and news, as well as Section 106 success stories and upcoming events. For more information, link to the newsletter. (3-31-15)

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National Trust Releases Guide on Laws on Protection of Cultural Resources

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released a publication with resources to help Native American tribes protect sacred sites. The publication provides general guidance on relevant laws to assist with protection of places with cultural, historical and religious significance to tribes across the country. For more information, link to Preserving Native American Places: A Guide to Federal Laws and Policies that Help Protect Cultural Resources and Sacred Sites. (12-18-14)

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Advisory Council Issues Guidance on Section 106 Agreement Documents

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has issued a guide for Section 106 Agreement Documents. The guide is provided to assist federal agencies, states, Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, applicants, local governments, consulting parties, and the public in developing, implementing, and concluding such agreements. Use of this guide can help minimize disputes regarding agreed upon measures down the line and save time that is better spent finding creative ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects to historic properties. For more information, link to http://www.achp.gov/agreementdocguidance.html. (10-28-14)

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Unified Federal Environmental and Historic Preservation Review for Disaster Recovery

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced several online resources regarding the unified environmental and historic preservation reviews for disaster recovery projects. The unified review program, authorized by the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013, provides a coordinated review of environmental and historic preservation impacts designed to expedite disaster recovery efforts. The online resources include best practices, interagency agreements, and other guidelines for practitioners and applicants. For more information, link to the list of resources. (9-30-14)

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Maryland SHA Announces Discovery of Unique Slave Barracks

The Maryland State Highway Administration announced Aug. 1 that its archeologists, working with Anne Arundel County, Md., archeologists, have uncovered unique slave barracks along General’s Highway. The discovery was part of work underway through a project funded under the Transportation Enhancements Program. MDSHA official Gregory Slater said the findings – part of the agency’s cultural resources stewardship program – are helping to explain the history around the state’s highway network. For more information, link to the announcement, (8-1-14)

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Study Evaluates Transfers of Historic Bridges

A report evaluating the state of practice in the transfer of ownership of historic bridges has been issued under The National Cooperative Highway Research Program.  The synthesis report addresses a provision of federal transportation law that requires state agencies to pursue donating historic bridges at the end of their useful life. The report assesses how well the program is working, what various states have done to meet the requirements, and what could work better. For more information, link to Giving Away the Bridge: A National Synthesis of on Transferring Ownership of Historic Bridges (NCHRP 25-25/Task 88). (8-7-14)

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Research Highlights Practices for Coordinating Section 106, Long Range Planning

Effective practices that may help historic preservation and transportation planners better coordinate their efforts are highlighted in a report published under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP 25-25, Project 87). The report, Coordination of Section 106 and Long Range Transportation Planning, evaluates how some state Departments of Transportation and Metropolitan Planning Organizations consider historic preservation factors in long range planning, as a mechanism to streamline and enhance the process of compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Effective practices include use of cultural resource geographic information systems, considering cultural resources during long-range corridor planning, and consultation with state historic preservation officers and local stakeholders. For more information, link to the report. (8-4-14)

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ACHP Issues Status Report on Section 106 Implementation Improvement Efforts

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has released a status report on its efforts to improve Section 106 implementation. The status report assesses progress on an August 2011 regulatory analysis required by Executive Order 13563, which outlined seven “key areas” for ACHP to address to improve Section 106 implementation. Among other findings, the status report touts ACHP’s progress in expanding Section 106 training and education programs, its efforts to provide guidance in conjunction with other stakeholders, and its initiatives to coordinate with other federal agencies. For more information, link to Executive Order 13563 Status Report. (3-14-14)

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Historic Bridge Field Guide Published by Oregon Department of Transportation

The Oregon Department of Transportation has published an historic bridge field guide that provides information on 334 of the state’s historically-valuable bridges. In addition to an online version, ODOT, in conjunction with FHWA, printed 1,000 copies of the guide and provided them to libraries throughout the state. ODOT published the guide to support historic preservation of state transportation structures and systems. For more information, link to New “Bridge Field Guide” catalogs Oregon’s historic bridges. (1-28-14)

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FEMA Proposes Prototype PA for Section 106 Compliance Following Disasters

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published a revised draft of a prototype programmatic agreement (PPA) to expedite Section 106 compliance for disaster recovery activities. FEMA originally developed the PPA in 2010 and subsequently sought input from relevant stakeholder agencies and organizations. FEMA’s revised PPA draft integrated the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s comments and is available for further stakeholder review. In addition, the revised PPA includes stipulations that allow other federal agencies to use it to meet Section 106 compliance requirements for recovery and response activities. For information, link to FEMA Prototype Programmatic Agreement. (10-17-13)

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ACHP Develops Section 106 Application Toolkit

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has released a Section 106 Applicant Toolkit to help implement provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act. The toolkit covers several topics, including the four-step Section 106 process, avoiding unplanned actions with the potential to harm historic properties, consulting with states and Indian tribes and stakeholder outreach. ACHP developed the toolkit to help Section 106 applicants enhance outcomes and prevent project delays. For more information, link to Section 106 Applicant Toolkit. (9-5-13)

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