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The Environmental Review activities of the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) protect historic properties through participation in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. "Section 106" requires federal agencies to consider the effects of federally assisted undertakings on historic properties including archaeological sites on land and underwater.
While the SHPO participates in the Section 106 consultation process, it is the federal agency that bears the responsibility for initiating various steps in the process. In some instances, federal agencies rely on state agencies, local governments, applicants or consultants to prepare information, analyses and recommendations to submit to the SHPO on their behalf; however, the federal agency remains legally responsible for all required findings and determinations. Section 106 is not a permitting or "clearance" process; rather, it is a process of good faith consultation and comment.
Timing is crucial to the Section 106 process. It is important that consideration of historic properties occur in the early stages of a project so that preservation concerns can receive thorough consideration as a project is planned. Early consideration also permits modifications to a project while they are relatively easy to accomplish and reduces the potential for conflict and delay. The process is proactive, not reactive.
If a project is found to have an adverse effect on historic resources which cannot be avoided, the Section 106 review ends with a legally-binding agreement that established how the Federal agency will address the adverse effects. The process of resolving the adverse effect and moving to the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement can be a lengthy process.
Section 106 forms and instructions are available as downloadable files. Completed Section 106 Consultation applications may be submitted electronically or in hard copy to our office. Anyone preparing an application for Section 106 review should contact our offices to check both above-ground and archaeological site files. Note that archaeological site locations are legally protected and not for public dissemination; site locations are for internal project planning only. We strongly suggest that consultants who are contracted to carry out Section 106 consultation have substantive training or seek qualified professional assistance. The Section 106 process requires a good faith effort; which often cannot be documented by consultants who do not meet federal qualifications for achaeology and historic preservation. The SHPO cannot conduct such research on behalf of an agency/applicant.
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