NPS Preservation > Programmatic Agreement Toolkit > Review Processes

Review Processes

[photo] Projects at the Presidio since 1994 have resulted in cumulative effects.

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:

If a proposed undertaking meets all the criteria:

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?

Step 2: What is the APE for the proposed undertaking? What historic properties does the APE encompass?

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?

Step 4: Will the undertaking adversely affect any historic properties in the APE?

Step 5: Document the process for now and later.

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:

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 ( 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:

Cumulative Effects

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Step 7. Public Documents and Comment Analysis has features that allow you to analyze and respond to public comments.

Compliance Status

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:

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.

See a flowchart and explanation to see where Section 106 and NEPA compliance intersect. For additional information, see: