Last updated: November 1, 2022
Every agency of the federal government is responsible for pursuing its own mission and mandates in a manner that is also in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act. In particular, Section 110 of the Act calls on all federal agencies to establish—in conjunction with the Secretary of the Interior—their own historic preservation programs for the identification, evaluation, and protection of historic properties. These individual agency programs vary greatly in scope, depending in large measure on the degree to which the agency owns, controls, or affects historic properties. The Federal Agency Preservation Assistance Program carries out a number of activities on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior to assist Federal agencies in meeting their historic preservation responsibilities pursuant to Section 110 of the Act. These activities are carried out in accordance with the Secretary's own specific responsibilities under the Act for assisting other federal agencies.
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Federal Agency Historic Preservation Programs Pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act
Published in Final in the Federal Register, 24 April 1998
Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470)
Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act (hereinafter referred to as NHPA or the Act) sets out the broad historic preservation responsibilities of Federal agencies and is intended to ensure that historic preservation is fully integrated into the ongoing programs of all Federal agencies. This intent was first put forth in the preamble to the National Historic Preservation Act upon its initial adoption in 1966. When the Act was amended in 1980, section 110 was added to expand and make more explicit the statute's statement of Federal agency responsibility for identifying and protecting historic properties and avoiding unnecessary damage to them. Section 110 also charges each Federal agency with the affirmative responsibility for considering projects and programs that further the purposes of the NHPA, and it declares that the costs of preservation activities are eligible project costs in all undertakings conducted or assisted by a Federal agency.
The 1992 amendments to the Act further strengthened the provisions of section 110. Under the law, the head of each Federal agency must do several things. First, he or she must assume responsibility for the preservation of historic properties owned or controlled by the agency. Each Federal agency must establish a preservation program for the identification, evaluation, nomination to the National Register, and protection of historic properties. Each Federal agency must consult with the Secretary of the Interior (acting through the Director of the National Park Service) in establishing its preservation programs. Each Federal agency must, to the maximum extent feasible, use historic properties available to it in carrying out its responsibilities. The 1992 additions to section 110 also set out some specific benchmarks for Federal agency preservation programs, including:
(a) historic properties under the jurisdiction or control of the agency are to be managed and maintained in a way that considers the preservation of their historic, archeological, architectural, and cultural values;
(b) historic properties not under agency jurisdiction or control but potentially affected by agency actions are to be fully considered in agency planning;
(c) agency preservation-related activities are to be carried out in consultation with other Federal, State, and local agencies, Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and the private sector;
(d) agency procedures for compliance with section 106 of the Act are to be consistent with regulations issued by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; and
(e) an agency may not grant assistance or a license or permit to an applicant who damages or destroys historic property with the intent of avoiding the requirements of section 106, unless specific circumstances warrant such assistance.
The complete text of section 110 is included as Appendix A to these Guidelines. Also included as Appendix B are sections 1 and 2 of the NHPA that set out the purposes and policies of that Act. Anyone unfamiliar with the purposes of the Act or with the specific provisions of section 110 as amended in 1992 should refer to those texts in addition to the revised Guidelines.
Section 110 Guidelines—Background and Format
The Section 110 Guidelines were first published in the Federal Register on February 17, 1988 (53 FR 4727-46). This second edition has been revised to incorporate the 1992 amendments to the Act and to make the Guidelines easier to use.
These Guidelines neither replace nor incorporate other statutory authorities, regulations, or The Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation. These Guidelines show how Federal agencies should address these various other requirements and guidelines in carrying out their responsibilities under the Act. The head of each Federal agency, acting through its Preservation Officer, should become familiar with all the statutes, regulations, and guidelines that bear upon the agency historic preservation program required by section 110.
Contact an agency's Federal Preservation Officer.
This second edition of the Section 110 Guidelines follows a format significantly different from that of its predecessor. The first edition followed the sequence of the statute and provided detailed guidance for each subsection of section 110. The current edition instead takes the form of standards and guidelines that will assist each Federal agency in establishing a preservation program that meets the various requirements of section 110.
Agency Use of These Standards and Guidelines for Evaluating Their Programs
The preservation and use of historic properties and their careful consideration in agency planning and decisionmaking are in the public interest, are consistent with the declaration of policy set forth in the NHPA, and must be a fundamental part of the mission of any Federal agency. These standards and guidelines are intended to assist Federal agency personnel and the agency head in carrying out their policies, programs, and projects in a manner consistent with the requirements and purposes of section 110 of the NHPA, related statutory authorities, and existing regulations and guidance.
An agency should use these standards and guidelines, and consultation with the Secretary and others, to ensure that the basic individual components of a preservation program called for in section 110 are in place. The preservation program should also be fully integrated into both the general and specific operating procedures of the agency. The agency's preservation program should interact with the agency's management systems to ensure that historic preservation issues are considered in decisionmaking. The program should try to ensure that the agency's officials, employees, contractors, and other responsible parties have sufficient budgetary and personnel resources needed to identify, evaluate, nominate, manage, and use the historic properties under agency care or affected by agency actions.
Consultation and Technical Assistance
Section 110(a)(2) requires that agency preservation programs be established "in consultation with the Secretary." Federal agencies seeking such consultation should contact the Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.
Consultation with the Secretary regarding an agency's program will be based upon the degree to which that program is consistent with the Act and with the standards and guidelines that follow. Upon request, the Secretary will also provide informal technical assistance to any agency on questions concerning the establishment or improvement of the agency's historic preservation program. Requests for technical assistance should also be addressed to the Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science, National Park Service.
Section 202(a)(6) of the Act provides that the Advisory Council may review Federal agency preservation programs and recommend improvements to such agencies. Where the Council carries out such a review, it will base any recommendations on its own regulations and policy statements, and on the standards and guidelines that follow.
Standard 1. Each Federal agency establishes and maintains a historic preservation program that is coordinated by a qualified Preservation Officer, and that is consistent with and seeks to advance the purposes of the National Historic Preservation Act. The head of each Federal agency is responsible for the preservation of historic properties owned or controlled by the agency. [Sec. 110(a)(1), Sec. 110(a)(2), Sec. 110(c), and Sec. 110(d)]
Standard 2. An agency provides for the timely identification and evaluation of historic properties under agency jurisdiction or control and/or subject to effect by agency actions. [Sec. 110(a)(2)(A), and Sec. 112]
Standard 3. An agency nominates historic properties under the agency's jurisdiction or control to the National Register of Historic Places. [Sec. 110(a)(2)(A)]
Standard 4. An agency gives historic properties full consideration when planning or considering approval of any action that might affect such properties. [Sec.110(a)(2)((B),(C), and (E), Sec. 110(f) and Sec. 402(16 U.S.C. 470a-2)]
Standard 5. An agency consults with knowledgeable and concerned parties outside the agency about its historic preservation related activities. [Sec. 110(a)(2)(D)]
Standard 6. An agency manages and maintains historic properties under its jurisdiction or control in a manner that considers the preservation of their historic, architectural, archeological, and cultural values. [Sec. 110(a)(1), Sec. 110 (a)(2)(B), Sec. 110(b)]
Standard 7. An agency gives priority to the use of historic properties to carry out agency missions. [Sec. 110(a)(1)]
For a cross-reference of each standard to the parts of 110 see Appendix A.