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Historic Preservation Fund Apportionment Update

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Revisions to the State Historic Preservation Office Annual Apportionment Formula 

The Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) was established in 1977 to support the work of the National Historic Preservation Act (54 USC 300101 et seq.). Originally the funding was intended for just states but later grew to include local governments (1980s) and tribal nations (1990s). 

Each year, through 2023, $150 million is deposited into the fund from offshore oil and gas lease revenues. Funds to states are then appropriated annually by Congress and awarded to states. Those awards are based on an apportionment formula that provides funding based on need as determined by the Secretary of the Interior. That formula has been in place since the 1990s, was last reviewed in 2002, and still uses 2000 US Census data due to an inability to secure the detailed data needed from the 2010 US Census.   

From 2020 to 2022 the National Park Service (NPS) Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science (CRPS) directorate conducted a comprehensive review of the current apportionment formula and developed recommendations to update it for approval by the NPS Director. In accordance with the Department of the Interior Departmental Manual Part 245, Chapter 1.1.C(15), the NPS Director is authorized on behalf of the Secretary of Interior to “administer the Historic Preservation Fund program,” and has approved these changes effective for federal fiscal year 2024 which starts on October 1, 2023. 

The revised state apportionment formula will be implemented in fiscal year 2024 and be used until a new census or future revisions to the formula are made. Revisions reflect an increase in the base award for all states and the use of current census data for tiers 2 and 3. Beginning with fiscal year 2024, the apportionment formula will be composed of: 

  • Tier 1 Base Award of equal division; all SHPOs will receive a base amount of $400,000, with a percentage set aside for the Freely Associated States; 
  • Tier 2 Census Award will be based on 2020 US Census data factors for acreage, population, and number of residential structures over 50 years old; 
  • Tier 3 Statute Award (54 USC 302902(c)(4)) will allocate appropriations above $65 million by applying Tier 2 US Census calculations and, by statute, requiring each state to award 50% of that calculated amount to its Certified Local Government partners. 

A table that reflects each state's apportionment in FY2022 under the current formula and the changes that the revised formula will make at the same funding level is provided below. The actual, specific apportioned amounts may vary based on increased or decreased appropriations.

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Comparison of FY2022 Apportionment to FY2024 Simulated Apportionment

Comparison of FY2022 Apportionment to FY2024 Simulated Apportionment
StateFY2024 Simulated ApportionmentFY2022 Actual ApportionmentDifference in $Difference in %
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Frequently Asked Questions

About the state apportionment formula

The Historic Preservation Fund’s annual formula grants are awarded to 59 State Historic Preservation Offices in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the five US territories, and 3 Freely Associated States.  

The National Historic Preservation Act requires states pass through at least 10% of their annual Historic Preservation Fund grant award to Certified Local Governments. Additionally, once the appropriation to the states exceeds $65 million, the National Historic Preservation Act requires half of the excess funding be made available to Certified Local Governments. Currently there are over 2,080 Certified Local Governments across the country.

Under the National Historic Preservation Act, the state apportionment formula is determined by the Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, based on the needs of all states.  

The current formula for determining annual SHPO apportionments for the 50 states, District of Columbia, and US territories has three tiers: 

  • Tier 1 is based on equal division of $20 million; all SHPOs get an equal base amount with a set aside for the Freely Associated States. 

  • Tier 2 is based on acreage, population, and the number of residential structures over 50 years old, as reported by the 2000 Census.  

  • Tier 3 is based on competitive awards and increased funding to local governments when the appropriation exceeds $65 million. 

Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are communities that have made a local commitment to historic preservation and entered into a partnership agreement with the National Park Service and their State Historic Preservation Office. This partnership opens these communities up to technical assistance and grant funding from the Historic Preservation Fund, while they assume the role of preservation experts for their community.  
The three Freely Associated States (the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau) are not included in the tiered apportionment formula due to the absence of detailed census data like there is for the states.

Changes to the state apportionment formula

A comprehensive review of the State Historic Preservation Office apportionment formula was undertaken by the National Park Service to result in equitable revisions while using consistent data as provided by the US Census. The state apportionment formula will be updated in federal fiscal year 2024 using 2020 Census data and remain in effect until the next census or next review of formula. 

Changes to the apportionment formula, below, may result in increases or decreases in total awards due to the shift to current census data.    

  • Tier 1: Beginning in FY24, there will be an increase in the base award amount from $357,143 to $400,000 per state (an overall increase of $2,399,992).  

  • Tier 2: Using the same data factors as before (acreage, population, and the number of residential structures over 50 years old), calculations will be updated using 2020 Census data.  

  • Tier 3: When state appropriation level exceeds $65 million, Tier 2 Census calculations will be apply and each state required to award 50% of that calculated amount to its Certified Local Governments.  

Note: Because the Freely Associated States do not have the same Census data sets, their awards will remain based on the same percentage of the total apportionment they received in FY21.  

Federal fiscal year 2024, or October 1, 2023. 
In accordance with the Department of the Interior’s Departmental Manual (245 DM 1.1.C(15)), the National Park Service Director is authorized on behalf of the Secretary of Interior to “administer the Historic Preservation Fund program.”  Because the formula had not been reviewed since 2002, the NPS thought it prudent examine it and revise as needed. When the 2010 census was produced, there was an apparent lack of detail census data that the formula required, therefore it was not revised at that time. Between 2020-2022 the National Park Service Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science directorate conducted a comprehensive review of the current apportionment formula, including securing the detailed census data that is needed, and developed these recommendations in coordination with partners, for approval by the NPS Director.
  • In accordance with Section 103 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, the apportionment formula constitutes the Secretary’s determination of “need” for the states.   

  • The National Park Service will use the apportionment formula to define “need” and avoid subjectivity.   

  • Any annual Historic Preservation Fund funding is subject to Congressional appropriations language that may provide additional requirements on how funding is distributed and spent.   

  • The apportionment formula should be as logical and simple to explain as possible.   

  • The apportionment formula must be equitable to every State.   

  • Every state requires a base allocation to run a program that meets minimum federal requirements.   

  • The apportionment formula needs to be independently numeric and calculable.   

  • The formula should be dynamic, moving forward with adjustments as needed and warranted, taking into consideration no random/sporadic changes, and substantive changes will be made with consultation.  

  • As much as possible, each state’s award amount should be predictable to allow each state to plan accordingly.   

  • Any formula modifications should be implemented in a way that minimizes disruption to state programs.   

  • Modifications to the formula must consider potential impacts to Certified Local Governments.   

  • The impacts of the Historic Preservation Fund annual allocation reaching the $65 million statutory threshold must be a focus area for the National Park Service. A proposed plan will be developed by the National Park Service to address the changes that will be required once the $65 million threshold is reached and exceeded.   

State Historic Preservation Offices and Certified Local Governments were given the opportunity to provide comments to the current formula and suggest revisions via surveys. Input was received from 87% of State Historic Preservation Offices surveyed, with the majority indicating that they were satisfied with the current data points and the formula should regularly be reviewed and updated. Responses from Certified Local Governments were received from across the country broadly, and overall were supportive of the process with recommendations to streamline their ability to receive CLG grant funding through their state offices.  The National Park Service reviewed the survey results in detail and is working to implement several of the suggestions and recommendations that fall outside of the formula itself.  

The National Park Service also received input from an external group of representatives from the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Offices and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions. Most of that group's recommendations aligned with the National Park Service’s analysis and proposed changes; however, the National Park Service did not adopt the recommendation of delaying implementation of formula changes until state appropriations reach $60 million and adding the number of municipalities and tribal consultations into the calculation for Tier 2.  
Changes to the formula have been communicated in writing to each Governor and State Historic Preservation Officer, posted on NPS.gov, and shared via digital media. Formula changes will be attached to all fiscal year 2024 state grant agreements to ensure official notification. To assist in the transition, National Park Service staff will provide support and training on the updated formula. 
Prior to fiscal year 2022 State Historic Preservation Offices had two years to spend their annual funding. However, based on feedback received during the apportionment review process, the National Park Service has extended that time from two to three years starting in fiscal year 2022. This change will allow State Historic Preservation Offices, and the Certified Local Governments they subgrant to, more time to complete their essential preservation projects and work.  
The National Park Service supports many programs funded by the Historic Preservation Fund that contribute to historic preservation across the country. State Historic Preservation Offices play a critical role in carrying out the congressionally directed national policy of historic preservation as outlined in the National Historic Preservation Act. The total authorization of $150 million to the Historic Preservation Fund was identified as the national funding need in 1979 for states alone. Even at full funding, no apportionment will produce large enough awards to adequately address all state/local funding needs today.  
The Historic Preservation Fund provides annual funding to state and tribal historic preservation offices to support their efficient review of federal impacts to historic and cultural resources. This is a responsibility outlined in the National Historic Preservation Act and is required to occur with or without the support of the Historic Preservation Fund. This funding provides staff and expertise to those offices so that they may provide appropriate assistance to federal agencies without negatively affecting historic resources. State and tribal historic preservation office involvement supports consistent and effective Section 106 reviews and allows many projects to move forward more efficiently through the establishment of programmatic agreements.  

About the Historic Preservation Fund

The National Historic Preservation Act set the federal vision for historic preservation in the United States in 1966. To support the vision and framework laid out in this act, the Historic Preservation Fund was established in 1977 to provide financial assistance originally to states, to carry out activities related to preservation identified in the Act. $150 million is deposited annually from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas lease revenues, not tax dollars, and an amount is appropriated from the fund by Congress each year. Awards from the Historic Preservation Fund are made to States, Tribes, Territories, local governments, and may support a series of competitive grant programs.   

The National Park Service’s State, Tribal, Local, Plans & Grants Division manages three types of grant programs funded by the Historic Preservation Fund: 

  • Formula grants are awarded annually to State Historic Preservation Offices and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices based on apportionment formulas. These appropriations provide essential operational funding for these organizations to maintain their role in the federal preservation partnership program and fulfill their duties assigned in the National Historic Preservation Act. At least 10% of state appropriations are given to Certified Local Governments as subgrants for projects of local importance.  

  • Competitive grants may be appropriated by Congress to provide financial assistance to support historic preservation projects that range from physical preservation work to preservation planning, education, survey, and documentation for historic sites. Currently there are eight annual competitive grant programs, including the African American Civil Rights, History of Equal Rights, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Subgrants, Save America’s Treasures, Semiquincentennial, Tribal Heritage, and Underrepresented Communities grant programs. 

  • Disaster recovery grants provide emergency funding to assist communities with preservation and repair work at historic sites when appropriated by Congress.   

The Historic Preservation Fund supports the work of state and tribal historic preservation offices in carrying out the responsibilities delegated to them by the Department of the Interior and the National Historic Preservation Act, including: 

  • Nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places  

  • Administering the Historic Tax Credit program 

  • Reviewing Federal undertakings for impacts to historic properties 

  • Survey and inventory of historic properties, development (e.g., physical preservation) 

  • Creation of preservation plans 

  • Assisting Certified Local Governments with preservation of local resources  

  • Administration of federal grant programs 

Tribal Historic Preservation Office funding is distributed annually using the apportionment formula developed in consultation with tribes and the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, most recently in 2015. Any funding not used by Tribal Historic Preservation Offices is reallocated to Tribal Heritage Grants to assist in providing project funding for all Federally-recognized Indian Tribes, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiian Organizations. The National Park Service also encourages Tribes to apply for competitive Historic Preservation Fund grants as they are eligible and has provided emergency disaster funding to Tribal Historic Preservation Offices in affected areas funded by Congress.  
Since its creation the Historic Preservation Fund has facilitated over 95,000 listings in the National Register of Historic Places, funded the survey of millions of acres for cultural resources, enabled review of hundreds of thousands of federal undertakings for potential impacts on historic resources, and supported the Federal Historic Tax Credit program, which has generated $173.7 billion in private investment and created more than 2.8 million jobs. The fund also supports the federal preservation partnership program and the roles 59 states, 208 tribes, and over 2080 local communities in that partnership.   
Appropriations may continue to be made from the exiting HPF balance (as was done in 2016 and 2017). Deposits will cease to be made and the estimated $3.4 billion balance may be spent down through continued appropriations by Congress. Without annual funding, most SHPO offices would close and responsibilities of the NHPA be transferred back to NPS leading to less efficient and productive management of the NHPA and historic preservation in our country.

Historic Preservation Fund Supports

  • Oblique view of a two-story house on a sunny day

    Formula Grants to States

    The Historic Preservation Fund invests in states and territories, the District of Columbia, and the Freely Associated States.

  • Scaffolding in a brightly lit church sanctuary

    Grants in Local Communities

    While states must give funding from formula grants to local communities, HPF also supports grants local governments can directly apply for.

  • Photograph of brick three-story house. Blue, sunny sky in background.

    About the Historic Preservation Fund

    Additional information about the Historic Preservation Fund, including annual accomplishments and statistical reports

Last updated: July 15, 2022