[Preservation Tips & Tools] Section 106, Part Two: How You Can Get Involved


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In last week’s toolkit, we covered the who and what of Section 106 review, a preservation tool that can help you save a place that matters to you. Now we’re going to cover the how, which involves one of the most important parts of the process: you!

We’ve mentioned a few times just how essential public involvement is in the Section 106 review process, and we have a few pointers on how you can influence the outcome of a federal project proposal.

The review process can sometimes be a lengthy ordeal, but there are ways that you can get involved both before and after the review is completed.


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[Preservation Tips & Tools] Section 106, Part Two: How You Can Get Involved

  2. 2. Before the review is completed … Public involvement is essential in the Section 106 review process, and we have a few pointers on how you can influence the outcome of a federal project proposal both before and after the review is completed. Let’s start with the before tips.
  3. 3. Ask for a description of the project. Write to the agency and ask what the current status is and how they plan to comply with Section 106. The sooner they’re aware of your interest, the better chance you have of influencing the outcome.
  4. 4. Voice your specific concerns. Be sure to address the direct, indirect, and cumulative harms. These are physical, visual, auditory, and long-term effects that will impact historic properties and your community as a result of the federal project.
  5. 5. Become a consulting party. If you have a legal or economic interest in the project or properties being affected, you can write to the federal agency and ask to become a consulting party. Explain why your expertise and involvement is beneficial to the process.
  6. 6. Let your SHPO/THPO/NHO know of your interest. By making the consulting parties -- such as State Historic Preservation Officers, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and/or Native Hawaiian Organizations (SHPO, THPO, NHO) -- aware of your interest in the matter, you’ll have a greater chance of having your concerns and ideas heard. It’s important to be engaged from the beginning, so contact them as soon as you’re aware of the Section 106 review occurring in your area.
  7. 7. Look out for NEPA projects. Projects reviewed under NEPA usually undergo Section 106 review as well. Federal agencies often use this tactic as a way to reach out to the public.
  8. 8. Join a historical, preservation or archaeological society. These types of organizations are often the first to hear about Section 106 reviews. You can look for these types of organizations on a local, state, or national level.
  9. 9. After the review is completed… Staying involved is important, so here are a few tips on how you can stay engaged in the process after the Section 106 review is completed.
  10. 10. Keep a watch on the project as it’s being implemented. Make sure the agency is properly carrying out the agreements that were signed upon the completion of the review.
  11. 11. Request status reports from the agency. Staying informed is important. Write to the agency and ask for status updates throughout the project’s implementation.
  12. 12. Prepare for next time. Educate yourself on the details involved with Section 106 and make use of the resources available to you. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation offers Section 106 training to those who wish to be involved with the process.
  13. 13. The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same in their own communities. For more information, visit blog.preservationnation.org. Photos courtesy: Indiana Landmarks, Flickr; Pete O’Shea, Flickr; Chris Adams, Flickr; Maryland GovPics, Flickr; Tess Heder, Flickr; Bostonian13, Wikimedia; Patrick Feller, Flickr; Al_HikesAZ, Flickr; Vincent Desjardins, Flickr