Section 106 Process

As part of the Ellicott Safe and Sound Plan, Howard County is required to satisfy the mandates of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Section 106 specifies that federal agencies must take into account the affect their undertakings will have on historic and culturally significant resources. Section 106 requires a Federal agency to identify historic properties, assess their undertaking’s effects upon historic resources, and seek to avoid, minimize or mitigate any adverse effects. This is done through coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the public, and consulting parties.

Key Milestones in the Section 106 Process

Consulting Parties

Section 106 requires the lead agency to identify potential Consulting Parties. See the FAQs for more details on who is considered a consulting party.

The first Consulting Parties meeting was held on November 9, 2020. Click here to review the presentation from that meeting and click here to review the minutes. 

Due to a change in the Safe and Sound plan that eliminated projects on the West End and extended the North Tunnel, a second Consulting Parties meeting was necessitated. The second Consulting Parties meeting was held on June 11, 2021. Click here to review the presentation from that meeting and click here to watch the recording. 


Area of Potential Effects

One of the first steps in the Section 106 process is establishing an Area of Potential Effects (APE) for the proposed undertaking. The APE is the geographic area or areas that may be affected.

Assessment of Effects

Section 106 requires the Agency to consider if and how an undertaking will affect historic resources. Section 106 notes that an adverse effect may occur when an “undertaking may alter, directly or indirectly, any characteristic of a historic property that qualify it for inclusion in the National Register in a manner that would diminish the integrity of the property’s location, design, setting materials, workmanship, feeling or association.” See the FAQs for examples of adverse effects.

Resolving Adverse Effects

If an undertaking results in a finding of an Adverse Effect to historic resources, the Agency must:

  • Consult with the SHPO and other consulting parties.

  • Afford the public the opportunity to comment.

  • Seek ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate the adverse effects.

  • Notify the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP).

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a federal undertaking?

A Federal undertaking is defined as a project, activity or program either funded, permitted, licensed or approved by a Federal agency. The Ellicott City Safe and Sound projects are a series of flood mitigation projects that require the United States Army Corps of Engineers to issue a permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, making the project a federal undertaking and subject to Section 106 review. The Section 404 permit is required because the projects have the potential to impact Waters of the United States, which the Corps has jurisdiction over. The Corps of Engineers is the lead Federal agency for the project and Howard County is the applicant for the permit.

What are consulting parties?

Section 106 requires the lead agency to identify potential Consulting Parties. A Consulting Party is a person or organization with a demonstrated legal, economic, or historic preservation interest in an undertaking that has potential to affect historic properties. Examples include historic preservation groups, community groups, property owners, and others. Interested individuals and organizations must express their desire in being a consulting party and the Agency is responsible for approving all requests to participate.

What are historic resources?

The National Historic Preservation Act established the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), which is overseen by the National Park Service. The NRHP is the official list of our country’s historic and culturally significant resources that should be preserved. These include historic buildings, districts, archaeological sites, structures and objects. In order to be considered historic, a resource must meet specific criteria. It must:

  • be significant to a major pattern/trend of history (Criterion A);
  • be associated with a significant person or group of people (Criterion B);
  • illustrate distinctive or exceptional architectural styles or methods of construction (Criterion C);
  • have the ability to provide information important to history or prehistory through archaeological study (Criterion D).

How can I get involved?

If you have any questions about becoming involved as a consulting party or finding out more about the Section 106 review process for the Ellicott City Safe and Sound projects, please contact Charles Richmond, historian (carichmond@mccormicktaylor.com) or Steve Barry, archaeologist (sebarry@mccormicktaylor.com) at 717-540-6040.

Where can I get more information about the section 106 process?

For more information on the Section 106 process, visit: https://www.achp.gov/protecting-historic-properties. For more information on consulting parties, see the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s Citizen Guide to Section 106 by clicking here.

How is the Area of Potential Effects determined?

The Area of Potential effect includes the addresses in, and adjacent to the area which each project will take place. The Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan includes many projects, including the Maryland Ave Culverts and the North Tunnel. The affected addresses are determined by the proposed footprint of each project. Preliminary engineering on each project constitutes the basis for the determination.

As with any project, as detailed design progresses, the effects or affected properties will become more clearly defined.

What are some exampls of adverse effects?

Examples of adverse effects can include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical destruction or damage, alteration of a property that is not consistent with the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties;
  • Moving it from its location; or
  • Introduction of visual, atmospheric, or audible elements, neglect, or other changes that impact the elements that contribute to a historic resources significance.