In order to help assure Federal and state agencies carry out their obligations under the National Historic Preservation Act and the Montana State Antiquities Act, the Montana State Historic Preservation Office's (Montana SHPO) review and compliance staff consults with a variety of Federal and state agencies, reviews project reports, and offers guidance on avoidance and mitigation measures.
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966
In the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (PDF) Congress established a comprehensive program to preserve the historical and cultural foundations of the nation as a living part of community life. Further solidifying the notion that preservation of our irreplaceable heritage was of national interest, the NHPA requires Federal agencies to partner with state agencies, American Indian Tribes, local governments, and the public in the spirit of stewardship.
Section 106 of the NHPA
Crucial to the preservation of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation, Section 106 of the NHPA and its implementing regulations, 36 C.F.R. Part 800 (PDF) (revised August 5, 2004) require Federal agencies to consider the effects of projects they carry out, approve, or fund on historic properties. Additionally, Federal agencies must provide the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) opportunity to comment on such projects prior to the agency’s final decision.
A Federal project that requires review under Section 106 is defined as an "undertaking." An undertaking means a project, activity or program funded in whole or in part under the direct or indirect jurisdiction of a Federal agency, including those carried out by or on behalf of a Federal agency; those carried out with Federal financial assistance; and those requiring a Federal permit, license, or approval.
If the Federal agency determines the undertaking has the potential to adversely affect historic properties, the agency must make a reasonable and good faith effort to consult with interested Federal and state agencies, American Indian Tribes, the public, as well as the State Historic Preservation Office and/or the associated Tribal Historic Preservation Office to identify possible historic properties located in the Area of Potential Effects (APE). This identification effort often includes a new survey or inventory to locate and identify previously unrecorded prehistoric or historic properties. All properties identified in the survey or inventory effort are then evaluated by the agency to determine whether they are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) (PDF) by using the National Register of Historic Places Criteria for Evaluation. All eligibility findings are determined in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office/Tribal Historic Preservation Office and any American Indian Tribe or interested party that attaches cultural or religious significance to the impacted properties.
If the agency determines that the undertaking will have an unavoidable adverse effect on one or more NRHP-eligible historic properties, the agency consults further with the required and appropriate parties to establish necessary mitigation strategies. The agency may then enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) or Programmatic Agreement (PA) with consulting parties to formalize the agreed-upon mitigation measures.
Section 110 of the NHPA
Added to the NHPA in 1992, Section 110 requires Federal agencies to emphasize the preservation and enhancement of cultural resources. Section 110 directs agencies to initiate measures necessary to direct their policies, plans, and programs in such a way that federally-owned sites, structures, and objects of historical architectural or archaeological significance are preserved, restored, and maintained for the inspiration and benefit of the public. The agencies are also encouraged to institute (in consultation with the ACHP) procedures to assure Federal plans and programs contribute to the preservation and enhancement of non-Federally owned sites, structures, and objects of historical, architectural, and archaeological significance.
Montana State Antiquities Act, MCA 22-3-421 to MCA 22-3-442
The Montana State Antiquities Act and the Montana SHPO's Administrative Rules, A.R.M. 10.121.901 through 10.121.916, address the responsibilities of the Montana SHPO and other state agencies regarding historic and prehistoric sites (i.e. buildings, structures, paleontological sites and archaeological sites) on state-owned lands. Each state agency is responsible for establishing rules and procedures regarding the preservation of historic resources under their jurisdiction.
In 2011, the 62nd Legislature of Montana passed Senate Bill 3, amending Sections 22-3-422, 22-3-423, 22-3-424 of the Montana State Antiquities Act. The revised sections require state agencies and the Montana university system to submit a biennial report to the Preservation Review Board on their stewardship, as well as the status and maintenance needs of the agencies’ heritage properties.
Additional Guidance and Resources
Consulting with the Montana SHPO
Consulting with the Montana SHPO: Guidelines and Procedures for Cultural Resource Review and Consultation under the National Historic Preservation Act and the Montana State Antiquities Act (Revised 2017)
Cellular Tower Consultation
Guidelines for Preparation of Section 106 Documentation for New Cellular Tower and Antenna Structures (September 2012)
Guidelines for Preparation of Section 106 Documentation for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (September 2012)
2015 Antenna and Collocation Exclusions
Consulting with American Indian Tribes
Consultation with Indian Tribes in the Section 106 Review Process: A Handbook (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, June 2012)
Native American Traditional Cultural Landscapes and the Section 106 Review Process: Questions and Answers (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, July 2012)
Protecting Historic Properties: A Citizen’s Guide to Section 106 Review (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation)
Section 106 Archaeology Guidance (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, January 2009)
Section 106 Regulations: Protection of Historic Properties (36 C.F.R. Part 800) (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, August 2004)
A Citizen's Guide to Montana Historic Preservation Law: Finding Your Voice (Explanation of Section 106 You Tube video)
How the Montana SHPO Can Help:
We are happy to answer any questions regarding the Section 106 review and consultation process. Questions may be addressed to Jessica Bush, the Montana SHPO Review and Compliance Officer, at (406) 444-0388 or JBush2@mt.gov. Thank you for your careful consideration of Montana’s significant historic resources.
General Montana SHPO Contact Information:
Office: 1301 E. Lockey Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Mail: P.O. Box 201202
Helena, MT 59620-1201
Phone: (406) 444-7715
Fax: (406) 444-2696
How the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Can Help:
Whether or not the ACHP becomes involved in consultation, you may contact the ACHP to express your views or to request guidance, advice, or technical assistance. Regardless of the scale of the project or the magnitude of its effects, the ACHP is available to assist with dispute resolution and to advise on the Section 106 review process for Federal undertakings.
If you suspect Federal involvement, but have been unable to verify it, or if you believe the Federal agency or one of the other participants in review (including the Montana SHPO) has not fulfilled its responsibilities under the Section 106 regulations, you can ask the ACHP to investigate. In either case, be as specific as possible and try to have the following information available:
the name of the responsible Federal agency and how it is involved;
a description of the project;
the historic properties involved; and
a clear statement of your concerns about the project and its effect on historic properties.
General ACHP Contact Information:
Mail: Old Post Office Building
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 803
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 606-8503
Fax: (202) 606-8647