Reclamation Working to Streamline NHPA Compliance

By on September 6, 2020

The Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) Policy and Programs office is working on an
effort to streamline the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 compliance on
water distribution infrastructure, including ditches and canals.

Reclamation sent a letter of intent to request a “program comment” to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation which oversees the federal historic preservation process. The “program comment” is an alternative approach to streamline compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act by reducing the repetitive nature of recording historic sites. It will also allow Reclamation to focus its cultural resource efforts on sites in the most need of further recording, protection and interpretation.

“As the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier with more than 8,000 miles of canals, Reclamation is in the unique position to address streamlining compliance for these water distribution systems,” Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said. “This updated process will improve the cultural resources review and compliance for Reclamation, water districts and state review agencies.”

Under the current process, whenever there is a federal action, there is a requirement to review the potential effect to all historic properties eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places, irrespective of their abundance or purpose. This has the potential to add time and cost to proposed federal water projects.

Reclamation will be holding several webinars and seeking public comment on the proposed ACHP program comment:

September 9, 2020, 1:00 P.M.
September 16, 2020, 12:00 P.M.
September 24, 2020, 9:00 A.M.

All times listed are Mountain Time Zone.

To learn more or comment, visit www.usbr.gov/cultural.