As many of you know, BHP (SHPO), FHWA, and PennDOT have a Programmatic Agreement for doing Section 106 Consultation.Not going to get into the weeds about the details, but here are the relevant basics of our agreement:CRP’s organize and review projects in their districts – provide point of coordination for PHMC, FHWA, DOT, Native American Tribes, and other Consulting Parties. We will get to this later…Keeps DOT staff current and on the same page as the SHPO staff.Some things just don’t have the potential to effect cultural resources – Like repaving an existing road. No consultation undertaken for theseLike time limits for review, what forms will be used, when hard copies of survey will be provided for the permanent archive, and many, many more.
Much of this may sound elementary – but remember the steps of 106 don’t really vary. This is to show how this process works in our office and provide a contrast to regular consultation.
Notes:As a point of contrast -Regular 106 consultation in our office is still carried out through the mail. We have an internal system that funnels the volume of paper through several steps before it lands on the desk of a reviewer. Clerical receives the mail, Triage evaluates if the review goes on or if it can be easily taken care of there, clerical assigns ER numbers, enters project data (basic data) into our Tracking System, and distributes reviews to the reviewers, reviewers type letter or send a coded form to clerical for typing, clerical prepares the letter for mailing and files the paper file, For PATH:All submissions (not TE) come through one point electronically.The PennDOT email in box. This point of consistent contact allows for an interface (a human one right now) between PATH and BHP’s ER Tracking Database. Maybe someday fully electronic with electronic coordination.The Tracking DB contains basic information for every submission we review, from DOT or anyone else, keyed to a unique project identifier (ER number).The Tracking DB is used to Track (imagine that) each submission for each project that comes into our office from the time it hits the front door to the time it goes back out the door in the mail.We also query the DB to satisfy our reporting requirements for the NPS and other agencies. (how many projects we review and what type, etc.)All submissions from DOT under the PA are logged into Tracking by the Gate Keeper and only then forwarded via email to the appropriate reviewer/person.The Gate Keeper currently is me.
NOTES:Reviewers receive an email (forwarded from the Gate Keeper) just as the public does that has the link to whatever was posted.Who receives which submissions depends on the assigned review regions and what the submission is. For example Bill Callahan does Structures Review for the Western Districts. Mark Shaffer does Archaeology Review for District 6 and part of District 8… etc. Carol Lee, NR Coordinator, gets copied on all submissions that include an HRSF. All projects are sent on to the reviewers – whether they are for concurrence or for information.* One thing to note about our office internal process. ER review is separate from NR DOE. This is to make sure DOE is objective and not influenced by projects. That is why Carol Lee is copied on submissions with DOE.2) The PATH info is public info – we see the same thing as everyone else. There is no secure, or private side to PATH. Secure server for Phase II archaeology reports.3)Some projects need concurrence and some do not. Generally this is predetermined through the rules in the PA – see the PA if you want details (a lot of details). The projects for concurrence are reviewed just like other paper submissions from other agencies– only in electronic formatThis includes most archaeological reports (sites) or historic resource survey forms that may or may not need Determinations of EligibilityThe projects that are sent on for concurrence can be reviewed if the reviewer chooses or filed if not. All projects are marked as for concurrence or not. CRP’s can make project findings. BHP staff only review what is requested or what we want to. Regular Process:Reviewers receive their paper piles. We have to review everything on the pile and evaluate what type of response we wish to send (if any).
All the regular Section 106 stuff.For DOE we have an electronic process in place as we receive electronic submissions. Regular Process:Reviewers receive their paper piles. We have to review everything on the pile and evaluate what type of response we wish to send (if any).
NOTES:Also via PATH. Each reviewer has a log-in that allows us to upload documents/letters and/or make notes on a posting about the review.PHMC now has its own Notification email format which we use to notify the CRP that changes have been made to the posting.Few formal letters are sent between our agencies.Paper files are no longer generated for most new projects – paper files are not updated for most older active projects. PATH is the file.Make differentiation between ER files and the archives. We still get reports and hrsf’s for posterity. Regular 106:We send a comment letter back on most submissions to our office. Some letters are prepared by review staff and most by clerical staff. Paper files are prepared and maintained for all submissions.
Like regular Section 106 consolation, these basic steps are repeated until we complete the process.
Generic project. Just to show the steps… We Issue ER number – no comment requested.For Archaeology, no resource = no effect. Under terms of PA no need for DOT to request our comment. Above Ground resources present – need to evaluate
LA = Letter Agreement. PA allows this abbreviated format. Less time for review and less time needed for signature. A LA under the PA can be signed in as little as a month. Regular MOA’s can take quite a lot longer – I have had one that took three years to reach agreement for signature.
We have been moving toward many of these benefits for a while with the old agreements. Setting the stage so to speak.Project is transparent for the consulting parties. Our files are the same files as penndot’s files so there is less possibility of all of us not being on the same page. consulting parties can see how SHPO and DOT and FHWA are interacting with one another Provided a better platform for consulting parties to be contacted/interacted with and to contact/interact with usUse less paper- (go green!)Time lost shuffling real paper is removed from the equation: email is virtually instantaneous.PennDOT CRPs do more of the legwork – sifting out the important stuff for us to see. SHPO doesn’t have to sift through everything to find the important stuff and waste time reviewing projects with no potential for resources.
Obviously we think PATH is a BEST PRACTICE for how agencies should interact with us and the public.Some of these have been discussed as future wishes, some are conjecture, and some are fantasy right now but interesting to contemplate…1) Perhaps more agencies using PATH or a version? Even with no CRP’s the web-based nature of PATH allows for a everyone to see what is happening –for responses and submissions to be provided more quickly, and for the record of consultation to be maintained with less paperwork, physical space, and clerical time.2) Perhaps PATH as interactive? A way for consulting parties to be able reply directly to PATH by posting comments. Like a blog in a way.3) Perhaps PATH as a plug-in, connected to, an electronic review system at the SHPO? An electronic interface between PATH and ER Tracking to auto log projects?
Gotta have a monkey.
PennDOT, FHWA, the SHPO, & the PATH to Section 106 Best Practice
PennDOT, FHWA, the SHPO,& the PATH to Section 106 Best Practice Bureau for Historic Preservation
You Know About The PA…* Requires Cultural Resource Professionals in Each District* Details Use of Electronic Consultation through PATH System* Outlines Ongoing Cultural Resources Education for CRP’s and other Environmental Staff* Includes List of Activities that are Exempt from SHPO Review* And Many Other Details on How the Consultation Process Progresses Bureau for Historic Preservation
You Know About ProjectPATH… * PennDOT’s Web-Based Platform for Compliance Consultation.* Result of Partnership Between PennDOT and Preservation PA* Allows for improved Transparency and Public Participation in Transportation Projects Bureau for Historic Preservation
So, How Does BHP Use PATH? The nuts and bolts of our internal process Bureau for Historic Preservation
The Gate Keeper * One Point of Contact for PATH Emails * Coordinates PATH System with BHP’s ER Tracking System * Issues ER Numbers * Coordinates Internal Processes Bureau for Historic Preservation
The Wheels ofBureaucracy Turn* Submissions Passed on for Review by Region and Area of Responsibility* We See What the Public Sees* Reviewers Can Comment on Any Submission, whether it was Submitted for Concurrence or Not Bureau for Historic Preservation
What do We Comment On?• Project Findings made by the CRP’s• Determination of Eligibility (DOE) • Archaeology and Historic Structures• Feasibility Studies and Effect Reports• Mitigation and Agreement Documents• Anything Else Requested Bureau for Historic Preservation
SHPO Response* Electronic Via PATH or Email* BHP Reviewers Have Access to Post Directly to PATH* Paper Files are no Longer Generated for Most New Projects* Archive Files are Still Maintained Bureau for Historic Preservation
Rinse and Repeat Bureau for Historic Preservation
For ExampleScoping Field View and Early Notification Form ER # IssuedArchaeology Finding and Negative Survey Form No Comment RequestedHRSF for Concurrence Staff Committee Determines BHP Opinion SHPO Posts Opinion and Notifies CRP Bureau for Historic Preservation
For Example, Cont.Feasibility StudyConsulting Party Invitations Concurrence Requested SHPO Posts ConcurrenceConsulting Party Meeting (S) : CRP Posts Meeting Notes No Concurrence RequestedStructures Finding: Adverse EffectEffect Report Concurrence Requested SHPO Posts Concurrence Bureau for Historic Preservation
For Example, Cont.CRP Posts Draft Letter Agreement (LA) Concurrence Requested SHPO Posts ConcurrenceFinal LA Delivered to SHPO for Signature SHPO Signs AgreementReview of LA Stipulation: interpretive panels Concurrence Requested SHPO Posts Concurrence Bureau for Historic Preservation
How Is This Better?* Consultation is Transparent for Consulting Parties and the Public* Our Files are the Same as the DOT Files so Everyone is on the Same Page* Paperless! Go Green!* Less Time is Spent Pushing Papers. Email is Virtually Instantaneous.* CRP’s do the legwork. They Provide Consistent, Thorough Information* CRP’s Highlight the Submissions that Impact Resources Bureau for Historic Preservation
Where Do We Go From Here? * PATH as Interactive Interface * PATH and ER Tracking Get Together * Other Agencies use PATH Format/Platform Bureau for Historic Preservation