Preparing a Submission for Section 106 (or Section 110) Review
A submission for either Section 106 or Section 110 review initiates formal consultation between a federal agency (or its designee) and the SHPO. The documents and associated correspondence comprise the federal agency's administrative record for the undertaking. (However, follow-up questions may come via e-mail.)
An initial submission package typically consists of three physical components: (1) a transmittal letter addressed to SHPO Rebecca Palmer and bearing the original (wet) signature of the office or agency's authorized official; (2) the materials submitted for review, which may include the "Checklist" (not required but quite helpful and available in the Associated Forms tab of the Review and Compliance section of this website) or a project-specific form such as the FCC's Form 620 for a proposed new cell tower; maps, photographs; and (3) an inventory report or reports, as appropriate to the proposed undertaking.
In the case of a Section 106 consultation, the federal agency (or its designee, acting on behalf of that federal agency) seeks SHPO concurrence with its definition of (1) the area of potential effect (APE) defined for the proposed undertaking; (2) agency determinations of eligibility for any resources lying within the APE, and (3) a single, finding of effect for the undertaking. Concurrence on these three things (i.e., APE, eligibility/ies, and effect) may be sought sequentially or all at once in a compressed review. The SHPO is afforded a 30-day period during which to complete this review.
Before SHPO concurrence can be sought, however, the federal agency has a number of decisions to make. The most sound and both logically- and legally defensible agency determinations are made by following the order of first fully defining the proposed undertaking, establishing the APE for the undertaking, distinguishing potential direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the undertaking, and only then moving on to the identification effort, determinations of eligibility, and reaching a finding of effect for the undertaking. Sometimes things go a bit awry if an agency is so mindful of avoiding adverse effects to a particular known resource in their project area that they get the order of events out of sync. This can create all sorts of confusion, additional inventory and expense, and is otherwise readily avoided by building on the logical progression outlined here. (For fuller elaboration on the importance of the proper sequence of events as well as additional guidance on establishing the APE, listen to this short audiofile on Organizing a Submission.)
Applicants will want to check with their federal agency to see how the relevant public and tribal consultation for their undertaking should be handled.
In our experience, some first-time or infrequent applicants have trouble defining their project's area of potential effect (APE), particularly the indirect APE. Still others find locating a USGS map for their project APE difficult. Additional guidance for these components of a submission can be found here.
Many folks are adept at writing transmittal letters, whereas others are newer to that process. Anyone interested in some pointers may wish to refer to these Tips for Transmittal Letters.
As always, if you are stymied by the process or confused, please feel free to call and discuss the process with Review and Compliance staff.