Projects at the Presidio since 1994 have resulted in cumulative effects.
The Nationwide Programmatic Agreement (PA) signed in 2008 identifies at Section IV when parks may use the Streamlined Review Process for undertakings and when they must use the Standard Review Process of 36 CFR 800. This section outlines how to determine which process to use. National Historic Landmarks (NHLs), which receive special attention, are discussed in particular, as are cumulative effects. See the PA/Section 106 flowchart (pdf) as a guide for when to use which process.
Streamlined Review Process
The Streamlined Review Process (PA, Section III) offers an alternative to the Standard Review Process only if certain criteria are met. This section discusses those criteria, as well as eligible undertakings (called "streamlined activities") and procedures. A Streamlined Review Process Checklist (doc) is available.
Criteria for Using the Streamlined Review Process
Use the Streamlined Review Process only if all the following criteria are already met:
- All historic properties within the undertaking's area of potential effect (APE) are identified;
- Consultation took place with federally recognized Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, as appropriate, if the historic properties have religious or cultural significance to those groups;
- All Determinations of Eligibility to the National Register are complete for historic properties within the APE;
- The SHPO/THPO concurs with the determination of National Register eligibility; and
- Preliminary planning indicates that the undertaking will have no adverse effect on a historic property on or eligible for the National Register.
If a proposed undertaking meets all the criteria:
- The Streamlined Review Process applies, and
- No further consultation is necessary unless the SHPO/THPO, federally recognized Indian tribe, Native Hawaiian organization, or ACHP requests it.
Steps to Decide If an Undertaking Meets the Criteria
The following steps outline the process to determine whether or not the proposed undertaking meets the criteria for the Streamlined Review Process. The Streamlined Review Process Checklist (doc) provides step-by-step guidance, as well.
Step 1: Is the proposed undertaking a streamlined activity?
- See PA Section III.C for a complete list of streamlined activities.
- Check any supplemental agreements developed through consultation with appropriate parties. See PA Section III.D for information.
- If the Park Section 106 Coordinator in consultation with the CRM Team determines "yes," proceed to Step 2.
- If "no," follow the Standard Review Process as outlined in PA Section IV.
Step 2: What is the APE for the proposed undertaking? What historic properties does the APE encompass?
- The Park Section 106 Coordinator and CRM Team identify the location, number, and significance of historic properties within the APE.
- Consider direct, indirect, or cumulative effects.
Step 3: Have all the potentially eligible resources been evaluated for the National Register eligibility and does the SHPO concur with the park's determination of eligibility?
- If "yes," continue to Step 4.
- If "no," use the Standard Review Process outlined in PA Section IV.
Step 4: Will the undertaking adversely affect any historic properties in the APE?
- See the “Criteria of Adverse Effect” in 36 CFR 800.5(a)(1). The Park Section 106 Coordinator and CRM Team make the evaluation. A project has an adverse effect when it “may alter, directly or indirectly, any of the characteristics of a historic property that qualify the property for inclusion in the National Register, in a manner that would diminish the integrity of the property’s location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling or association."
- If no historic properties are within the APE, and/or the finding is no adverse effect, and the SHPO/THPO concurs, proceed with the undertaking. No further consultation is necessary.
- If adverse effects are identified, and/or the SHPO/THPO disagrees with the park's finding, follow the Standard Review Process outlined in PA Section IV.
Step 5: Document the process for now and later.
- Use the NPS “Assessment of Actions Having an Effect on Cultural Resources” form or other format,
- Use PEPC to collect information,
- Include comments from the CRM Team and also the Superintendent's signature,
- Retain the documentation indefinitely for review by consulting parties and to facilitate the Annual Report, and
- Use the information for the Superintendent's Annual and Biennial Reports.
Adding Undertakings Eligible for Streamlined Review
The PA at Section III.D gives parks the flexibility to expand the list of Streamlined Activities. Proposed additions or revisions to the list must be developed through a region-, state-, or park-specific programmatic agreement and pursuant to 36 CFR 800.14(b). The Regional Director or Superintendent develops agreements with SHPOs/THPOs in consultation with federally recognized Indian Tribes and the ACHP. The Superintendent notifies the Regional Director if he/she develops the agreement. Regional Directors report the agreements to the Director on an annual basis. The NPS Federal Preservation Officer (FPO), who coordinates Section 106 activities under NHPA for the NPS, maintains records on supplemental agreements and provides annual notification to all Nationwide PA signatories.
Standard Review Process
All proposed projects that do not meet the criteria for the Streamlined Review Process must comply with Section 106 by using the Standard Review Process described in 36 CFR 800. The PA articulates that within the Standard Review Process:
- Superintendents are responsible for compliance with 36 CFR 800;
- Compliance may be done through park- or project-specific programmatic agreements;
- The Park Section 106 Coordinator is responsible for carrying out the Standard Review Process in consultation with the CRM Team.
- Parks are encouraged to use PEPC to track and document compliance activities.
- If a project consultation results in an Memorandum of Agreement or a supplemental Programmatic Agreement to resolve adverse effects, a copy of the document must be provided to the Regional Section 106 Coordinator.
Considerations within the Review Processes
The PA brings special consideration to National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) and to cumulative effects as part of the review process.
National Historic Landmarks
National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are nationally significant historic properties designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.
The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) provides heightened protection for designated NHLs through Section 110(f) and the NHPA's implementing regulations (36 CFR 800.10). Specifically, the NHPA requires that Federal agencies shall, to the maximum extent possible, undertake planning and actions necessary to minimize harm to any NHL that may be directly and adversely affected by an undertaking. The NPS Management Policies (188.8.131.52.2 and 5.2) state that all cultural resources within historical and cultural units that are directly connected to the legislative or executive mandate are nationally significant and NPS must apply the higher level of care set for in 36 CFR 800.10. As such, the special considerations dictated for designated NHLs also apply to mandate-related cultural resources within historical and cultural units.
The PA presents two scenarios:
- If the criteria in PA Section III.A are met, proposed undertakings that may affect a designated NHL may follow the Streamlined Review Process.
- If preliminary planning activities indicate that a proposed undertaking may adversely affect an NHL, the Streamlined Review Process cannot be used. Use the Standard Review Process.
As part of the Standard Review, the Superintendent initiates an internal review and consultation process to determine alternatives to avoid or minimize the adverse effects and assess the possibility of impairment on the NHL (36 CFR 800.10 and NPS Management Policy 5.2). See the NHL Internal Review and Consultation checklist for assistance even though the PA cannot be used.
Parks must consider cumulative effects in accordance with 36 CFR 800.5, Assessment of Adverse Effects. If a park finds that a cumulative effect may adversely affect a cultural resource, the Streamlined Review Process does not apply. See the Cumulative Effects checklist (doc) for a guide.
Cumulative effects result from individually minor but collectively significant actions in the past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future. They may occur due to Federal or non-Federal undertakings. Several no adverse effect findings may add up to an adverse effect if the historic character of a property is eroded or occluded over time.
Section 106 Coordinators evaluate cumulative effects in the process of consulting with the CRM Team and federally recognized Indian tribes, and/or Native Hawaiian organizations, and/or others, as appropriate in the process described in 36 CFR 800.5. Treatment plans developed by parks consider the cumulative effect of activities on historic properties. The Streamlined Review Process may be used for routine repairs necessary to continue use of a historic property. It is not, however, intended to apply to situations where a series of individual projects cumulatively results in the complete rehabilitation or restoration of a historic property (PA III.C.1).
Cumulative Effects Case Study: Presidio, San Francisco, California
The Presidio of San Francisco, a National Historic Landmark District, transferred from the Army into Golden Gate National Recreation Area on October 1, 1994. In 1997, 80 percent of the Presidio transferred again from the National Park Service to the Presidio Trust.
Since 1994, multiple major projects have taken place in the Presidio. Among them were the re-creation of a 15-acre marsh and a 20-acre historic airfield, demolition of 42 contributing buildings, construction of a 900,000 square foot digital film production complex with a multi-acre meadow and flowing stream, and rehabilitation and adaptive use of approximately 75 percent of the historic building stock including several additions. Several more major projects are proposed. They include construction of a 6-lane parkway from the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco; conversion of a 7-story hospital building into apartments, rehabilitation of the Main Parade Ground into a public area with major interpretive space, restrooms, and a cafe; and construction in the Main Post of a new 80,000 square foot hotel and a 100,000 square foot museum.
Each project was the subject of a separate Section 106 consultation or Historic Preservation Tax Credit Certification. Many of the projects were found to have no adverse effect. However, with regards to the cumulative effect of all projects since 1994, the Presidio Trust's Final Section 106 Finding of Effect for the Main Post projects stated that, "The collective changes to the NHLD from these projects, has diminished the integrity of the resource." The document further states that, "new construction and demolition under the Main Post Update will contribute to an overall cumulative adverse effect to the NHLD." The National Park Service's Section 213 Report requested by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation under the Section 106 Consultation for the Main Post projects stated that, "The cumulative impact of these adverse effects severely diminishes the historic character of the Main Post, which is the heart of the Presidio of San Francisco, and significantly diminishes the overall integrity of the National Historic Landmark District." See the documents here.
For more information on Section 106 and cumulative effects at the Presidio, visit the Presidio Trust website.
Working with PEPC
PEPC (Planning, Environment and Public Comment) is an online collaborative tool to facilitate conservation planning, environmental impact analysis, and informed decision-making. PEPC supports the NPS's project planning, compliance tracking, comment analysis and response, as well as public communication efforts. Access PEPC here.
To get started in PEPC, you will need a username and password as well as training in using the system. The Contacts page lists PEPC park and regional administrators. Contact your administrator to set up your account. Training in PEPC is available through DOI Learn, but the system itself has a series of training tools and "quick-start guides" that can be accessed from the main PEPC toolbar.
PEPC is designed for:
- NPS employees and contractors involved in project creation and tracking, planning, cultural and natural compliance, site visits, documentation, comment coding, and/or responding to comments;
- Park Superintendents and Regional Directors to view detail and summary reports of planned projects and funding status, compliance status of active projects, and trends in public comments;
- Interested and affected members of the public, including internal and external agency contacts, to access and comment on notices, updates, documents, and policies throughout the planning process.
Using PEPC to coordinate Section 106 can enhance the process while providing flexibility for individual park needs. Although all information on an undertaking or project should be filled out completely for every project, some PEPC steps are more essential than others for the Section 106 process. When you track NEPA or a combined NEPA/Section 106 process, you should use most of the PEPC steps. If you are completing a Section 106 process only, Steps 1, 3, and 4 are the most critical, although filling out additional information will enhance your PEPC compliance record. Determine which steps to use by thinking about how your park uses PEPC, your project goals, and the compliance process you are tracking.
Use of and referral to PEPC does not substitute for consultation with SHPO.
The following section outlines how to use PEPC steps for the Section 106 compliance process. It has been adapted from the 106 and PEPC (intranet link) guidance on Inside NPS. Note that Step 2. Funding is not addressed in the PA Toolkit.
Basic Steps: Section 106 and PEPC
These are the basic steps to integrate Section 106 review into PEPC. More detail follows.
- Add project information in as much detail as necessary for adequate project review and for inclusion on your Assessment of Effect Form (in PEPC steps 1 and 4).
- Upload the background materials and supporting documents necessary for adequate project review (Step 5).
- Identify your CRM Team and assign tasks when the project is ready for review (Step 3).
- CRM Team provides project comments within PEPC (Step 4).
- Section 106 Coordinator enters park Section 106 finding and any additional information for the Assessment of Effect Form (Step 4).
- Automatically generate an Assessment of Effect form for submission with the SHPO/THPO package and document the SHPO/THPO submission and response (Step 4).
- Attach copies of SHPO/THPO correspondence in PEPC (Step 5).
- Solicit and analyze public comments on projects or documents, such as programmatic agreements, memorandums of agreement or effect findings, by posting information to the PEPC public site and using PEPC step 7 to code and sort the comments (Steps 6 and 7).
- Post any mitigation developed for adverse effects to help project managers keep track of all project mitigation (Step 4).
- Close out compliance in PEPC (Compliance Status).
PEPC Steps in More Detail
Additional information on the PEPC steps outlined above is included below. Step 2. Funding is not addressed in the PA Toolkit.
Step 1. Project Information sets up your project in PEPC. Parks should use PEPC for tracking all their project milestones from conception to completion, but parks often use PEPC in a more flexible way. The following information must be added at a minimum for compliance purposes. Other mandatory Step 1 fields are marked by a red asterisk on the PEPC edit screen.
- Describe the undertaking, with enough background and detail for context, including past or future related projects that reviewers can assess the effect.
- Enter your NHPA Specialist, project lead and NEPA Specialist.
- Post general project plans and information.
Step 3. Internal Scoping/IDT Tasks notifies the interdisciplinary team (IDT) members when a project is underway. It also allows project managers to assign tasks and file meeting materials in a central location. Easy project coordination and information sharing among team members makes PEPC an invaluable tool.
- Add your IDT members here, including the CRM Team. The NHPA specialist is likely the park Section 106 coordinator, but if not, include the coordinator in the IDT.
- Site visits and internal meetings can be scheduled through PEPC. PEPC can automatically send invitations to IDT members and has a place to post agendas and meeting notes. It keeps your record of meetings in one place so that they are easily accessible by everyone at any time.
- The Section 106 coordinator can use the task function to track assigned tasks. Use the Task function to notify your CRM Team when the Section 106 package is ready for review by creating a new task and assigning it to each CRM Team member with a due date. Provide instructions on finding pertinent data for review in the task description. The CRM Team members will receive an automatically generated email with a link directly to the project when the task is assigned.
- When the review is done, either the reviewer or the Section 106 coordinator enters a Task Completed date in PEPC. Lists of tasks and their completion statuses generated in Step 3 can help Section 106 coordinators track of the status of Section 106 review.
Step 4. Natural and Cultural Compliance is the heart of the compliance process in PEPC. It efficiently shares information with your advisory team, collects and incorporates their comments, and will automatically generate an Assessment of Effect form based on the information previously entered into the system. The following sections in Step 4 are the most important to use in Section 106 compliance.
- ESF page: Use the Environmental Screening Form (ESF) for more than NEPA compliance. The ESF is a good tool for determining advance planning and cultural resource study needs to support Section 106 compliance for your project.
- NHPA page: Enter information sufficient to complete the Assessment of
Effect form and help your reviewers understand the project. Answer all
questions in this section. This page is essential to the Section 106 process
in PEPC because it:
- poses questions to help you evaluate potential effects on cultural resources and determine an appropriate Section 106 pathway;
- allows you to provide detailed information and sources about previous resource studies in or near your APE;
- allows you to append useful documents or background information;
- tracks SHPO/THPO correspondence;
- records your assessment of effect (overall determination by park);
- allows you to enter any mitigation that you will need to keep in mind as the project continues; and
- indicates when your compliance process is complete.
- Mitigation page: Add a record of mitigation from the Assessment of Effect Form or memoranda of agreement for the project to keep a complete record of all the mitigation for a project.
- CRM Specialist Review page: CRM Teams enter their comments in this section. These comments will automatically appear in the correct location on the completed form when an Assessment of Effect form is generated from PEPC.
- Print Forms page: Allows you to automatically generate an Assessment of Effect form as a document that can be printed out in hardcopy or saved. After the form is signed you may want to scan it and upload it to PEPC with the rest of the SHPO/THPO packet correspondence.
Step 5. Internal Documents is the central file for a PEPC project. Use Step 5 to post necessary review materials and supporting documents including maps, reports, pictures, drawings, etc. Add files as individual Internal Documents or, if they are solely for Section 106 review purposes, create one Internal Document titled "Section 106 Review" and upload several review documents as files posted to that same Internal Document page.
Step 6. Public Comment allows you to publish project and public meeting information, as well as documents such as effect findings, programmatic agreements and memoranda of agreement for public review. The PEPC project web page is also easy to cite in newspaper or other public notices. Remember though, that while anyone with PEPC access can add information in Step 6, only PEPC users with the Public Information User Role can publish that information to the public site. Be sure to include the following at a minimum:
- Project descriptions,
- Meeting notices, and
- Documents and timetables for review
Step 7. Public Documents and Comment Analysis has features that allow you to analyze and respond to public comments.
PEPC is set up to report on compliance status separately from project status. Compliance Status is based on all compliance for the project, not just the status of Section 106 or NEPA, individually. Compliance Status for the project should only be changed when the responsible team members and project leader agree that all necessary compliance processes are finished and the project can move on to implementation.
Be aware, too, that the PEPC compliance status field is automatically linked to NEPA status. When a completion date for a NEPA decision document (Categorical Exclusion, Memo-to-file, FONSI or ROD) is entered on the NEPA page in Step 4, PEPC automatically changes the Compliance Status field to "Closed Complete." The status appears under both Step 4 and Step 8.
Here are ways to use PEPC to document the status of the Section 106 process:
- Enter the signature date on the NHPA page in Step 4 when the Assessment of Effect form has been signed by the Superintendent.
- Scan and upload a copy of the signed form to Step 5 when the Assessment of Effect form has been printed and signed in hardcopy.
- Scan and upload copies of the correspondence between the park and the SHPO/THPO to Step 5, especially letters of concurrence/non-concurrence.
- Scan and upload a copy of any executed programmatic or memoranduma of agreement.
Section 106 and NEPA
Although the PA is not about the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), it does raise attention to common problems concerning the relationships between NEPA and Section 106. Section 106 review and NEPA are two separate, distinct processes. Parks can and should, however, coordinate Section 106 and NEPA compliance reviews simultaneously to avoid duplication of public involvement and other requirements. Remember, however, that compliance with Section 106 does not satisfy the requirements of NEPA, or vice versa. The PA does not apply to NEPA compliance. A Categorical Exclusion under NEPA does not exclude the project from any Section 106 requirements. See 36 CFR 800.8 about the requirements for coordinating the Section 106 review with the NEPA process.
- Relationship of Section 106 to Other Laws, ACHP
- General Rules for NEPA-Section 106 Coordination, National Preservation Institute