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Federal Solar Cultural Resource Assessment(11-FD)

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is intended to preserve and protect historic properties in the United States. Generally, any project that requires a federal permit, license or approval and has the potential to affect properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places must be assessed by the appropriate State or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO/THPO). The federal agency issuing the permit, license or approval is responsible for assessing whether historic properties are present; however, the developer will likely be involved in the process. The implementing regulations, 36 CFR 800.4(b), require the responsible federal agency to make a “reasonable and good faith effort” to identify historic properties that may be affected by the project. The amount and scope of effort required depends on various factors, including:

  1. Past planning, research, and studies;
  2. The magnitude and nature of the undertaking;
  3. The degree of Federal involvement;
  4. The nature and extent of effects on historic properties; and
  5. The likely nature and location of historic properties within the area of potential effects

36 CFR 800.4(b)(1)

If the responsible agency finds that there are no historic properties present or that the undertaking will have no effect upon historic properties that are present, the responsible agency will provide documentation of the finding to the SHPO/THPO. 36 CFR 800.4(d)(1)

If historic properties are identified, the process is more involved and time consuming. The SHPO and THPO have separate processes that require similar actions by the responsible agency and developer. After consultation with the responsible agency and SHPO/THPO, the developer will likely need to hire a surveyor and potentially an archaeologist. Based on consultation and the results of (potentially archaeological) surveys, the parties will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which outlines agreed-upon measures that the agency will take to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the adverse effects on national historic properties or historic tribal resources. If the consulting parties are not able to reach an agreement, the consultation is terminated and the responsible agency must allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) an opportunity to comment before the responsible agency renders a final decision that would allow the project to continue.

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Determine Which Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.