Important Notice regarding Alaska SHPO Response due to COVID-19
The Alaska State Historic Preservation Office has entered tolling for Section 106 project reviews in response to COVID-19. Please follow the above link for more information.
Our office reviews projects under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (36 CFR 800) and the Alaska Historic Preservation Act (A.S. 41.35.070). Section 106 requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertaking on historic properties. The Alaska Historic Preservation Act requires a review of State public construction projects to determine if historic, prehistoric, or archaeological sites may be adversely affected.
OHA Review and Compliance:
Review and Compliance Coordinator
For more information, please contact the OHA Review and Compliance staff.
Typically, if your project has any sort of Federal involvement, a Section 106 review is required. This includes any project, activity, or program funded by or under the jurisdiction of a Federal agency; any project receiving Federal financial assistance; and those requiring a Federal permit, license, or approval.
If your project has any sort of State involvement, a review under the Alaska Historic Preservation Act is required. This includes any public construction or public improvement project undertaken by the state, or by a governmental agency of the state or by a private person under contract with or licensed by the state or agency of the state.
Many projects have both Federal and State components and our staff work with our agency partners to complete a review of the project to ensure that cultural resources are considered.
As a first step, please check with your contact at the Federal, State, or local agency that is authorizing (funding, licensing, permitting, etc.) your project. The agency may routinely request reviews from our office and have an established method for doing so.
If the agency you're working with does not routinely request reviews from our office, you may use our Request for Review form.
For the purposes of Section 106, our office has 30 calendar days from the receipt of documentation to respond with concurrence, comments, or a request for additional information.
Similarly, for the purposes of review under the Alaska State Historic Preservation Act, our office aims to respond within 30 days from the receipt of documentation. If concurrence is not obtained within 90 days from the filing of a request, the agency or person performing the project may apply to the governor for permission to proceed without that concurrence.
If there are cultural resources within or near your project area, they may need to be evaluated for "significance." For the purposes of Section 106 review, a significant cultural resource is called a "historic property," which is defined as:
"Any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in, or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places...this term includes artifacts, records, and remains that are related to and located within such properties. The term includes properties of traditional religious and cultural importance to an Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and that meet the National Register criteria."
Evaluation of a cultural resource for eligibility to the National Register is typically done by an individual who meets the Secretary of Interior's Professional Qualifications.
Similarly, for review under the Alaska Historic Preservation Act, a cultural resource is significant if it is eligible for or listed on the National Register (above) or meets one or more of the Alaska Landmark Register criteria.
For the purposes of Section 106 review, the lead Federal agency is responsible for all required findings and determinations. While the agency may use the services of applicants, consultants, or designees to prepare information, analyses, and recommendations, the agency official remains legally responsible for all required findings and determinations. For this reason, our office will often request that material be submitted directly from the Federal agency.
For the purposes of review under the Alaska Historic Preservation Act, our staff works directly with the applicable State agency to review the proposed project and to determine if a cultural resource survey is necessary and/or if significant sites will be adversely affected.
The Section 106 process seeks to balance historic preservation concerns with the needs of Federal undertakings through consultation among the agency official and other parties with an interest in the effects.
Consultation means the process of seeking, discussing, and considering the views of other participants, and, where feasible, seeking agreement.
Participants in consultation always include the lead agency official, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Indian tribes, representatives of local governments, and the applicant/project proponent.
The Agency official must provide the public with information about an undertaking and its effects on historic properties and seek public comment and input.
Additional consulting parties may include certain individuals and organizations with a demonstrated interest in the undertaking's effect on historic properties and the public.
As part of Section 106 agencies in coordination with consulting parties are required to consider project design options that avoid or minimize effects to historic properties. However, it is not always possible to meet the needs of a project and simultaneously preserve historic properties. Once all measures for avoidance or minimization have been considered, and a project is found to have an adverse effect on a historic property, then it is necessary to resolve adverse effects through mitigation. Mitigation involves compensation for the loss (or diminishment) of a historic property. Essentially, mitigation is an attempt to provide a public benefit that balances the loss of the historic property.
By its very nature, the consultative component of the Section 106 process presents opportunities for the development of creative and innovative measures for the resolution of adverse effects. Those projects that begin with an effective consultation process often have the most creative and meaningful mitigation outcomes. You can find examples of mitigation projects in Alaska here.
SHPO cannot authorize a project to proceed. A SHPO review is not a "clearance" for project approval.
For the purposes of Section 106 review, the SHPO has a consultative role. The lead agency official must consult with our office, that is, they must seek, discuss, and consider our views. However, receipt of SHPO comments or concurrence does not constitute project approval.
For review of a State project under the Alaska Historic Preservation Act, if our review indicates that significant cultural resources will be adversely affected by a project, the proposed project may not commence until the department has performed the necessary investigation, recording, and salvage of the site, location, or remains.