Section 106 Review

How to Submit Projects

All Section 106 submissions must be submitted via the e106 online portal. Please note there are two different sets of directions for registration.

If you experience problems registering your account, accessing your account, or issues with submitting your project, please contact

Section 106 Process

The Section 106 regulations are codified in 36 CFR 800

These regulations require Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. Federal Agencies must complete the Section 106 process before the “prior to the approval of the expenditure of any Federal funds on the undertaking or prior to the issuance of any license.” The Section 106 process should be initiated early in project planning to allow for alternatives that may avoid or minimize effects to historic properties. This process contains 4 steps; initiating the Section 106 process, identifying historic properties, assessing effects to historic properties, and resolving adverse effects to historic properties.

The Federal agency must determine if their proposed action is an “undertaking” as defined in 36 CFR 800.16y: which states 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.” Further, undertakings are those actions that have the potential to affect historic properties. This is determined by the action itself and not whether or not there are historic properties present as the presence of historic properties is determined through consultation (Step 2) during the Section 106 process. During this step, Federal agencies must also plan identify the appropriate SHPO/THPO, other potential consulting parties (Indian tribes, local governments, historical organizations, etc.), and plan to involve the public. Our office is the Tennessee SHPO and is a mandatory consulting party for all Section 106 undertakings in Tennessee.

In consultation with the SHPO (or THPO if on Tribal land), Federal agencies should identify the scope of identification efforts for historic properties. During this step, Federal agencies determine and document the Area of Potential Effects (APE), which is the area in which an undertaking may affect historic properties, either directly or indirectly, if historic properties were to be present. The Federal agency then identifies historic properties within the APE. For purposes of Section 106, historic properties are resources either listed in or determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and can be both above and below-ground resources. Identification efforts can include background research, consultation with parties with information about the history of a certain area or resources in that area, field work, oral history interviews, etc. Consultation with Indian tribes is important in this step as they possess special expertise in assessing the eligibility of historic properties that may be of significance to them, as required in the Section 106 regulations at 36 CFR Section 800.4(c)(1). This consultation should be done on a government to government basis. More information on consultation with Indian tribes can be found here.

If the Federal agency determines there are no historic properties within the APE, or that historic properties within the APE will not be affected, they should document this finding of no historic properties affected and provide that documentation to our office for concurrence. Other consulting parties and the public should also be notified of this finding.

Below are resources from our office that can aid in background research for identifying historic properties.

  • The Tennessee Historical Commission Viewer. This viewer shows National Register listed resources in Tennessee as well as surveyed resources in Tennessee. For access to the survey data (yellow points on the map), please contact Peggy Nickell.
  • A current list of Tennessee properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This list includes restricted resources that would not be found on the Viewer. 
  •  A list of information files. These files contain research on above-ground properties in Tennessee, previous eligibility determinations (both formal and informal), and National Register de-listings.
  • For information on accessing archeological site files, please look at the Tennessee Division of Archaeology's website or contact

All Section 106 survey reports for identification of resources must meet our office’s reporting standards for archaeological and architectural surveys.

The “Section 106 Architectural Survey Report Standards and Guidelines “ (106 S&G), have been incorporated into our office’s larger survey manual entitled The Tennessee Historical and Architectural Survey Manual. The 106 S&G formalize current expectations for Section 106 architectural survey reports and detail the basic requirements our office needs to review reports and complete our role in identification and assessment of effects per 36 CFR 800. The survey identification requirements in the 106 S&G come directly from National Register Bulletins for survey and evaluation of eligibility. The requirements reflect the minimum amount of information necessary to determine or concur with National Register eligibility assessments. Please reach out to Casey Lee or Kelley Reid with any questions.

Section 106 archaeological reports should follow the Tennessee SHPO Standards and Guidelines for Archaeological Resource Management Studies. Questions Regarding Section 106 review for archaeological resources may be addressed to the Federal Programs Archaeologist Jennifer Barnett at 615-687-4780 or

If historic properties are identified, then Federal agencies must apply the criteria of adverse effects to determine if those properties will be adversely affected by the undertaking. An adverse effect is found when an undertaking directly or indirectly alters any characteristics of a historic property that qualify the property for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in a manner that diminishes the resource’s integrity. Effects can be direct or indirect and include reasonable foreseeable effects that may occur later in time, be further removed in distance, or be cumulative.

If the Federal agency determines that there will not be an adverse effect, then they should submit a finding of no adverse effect to the SHPO for concurrence. Other consulting parties and the public should also be notified of the finding of no adverse effect. If an adverse effect is determined, the same notification process should take place, but they will also move to Step 4 to resolve the adverse effect.

If an adverse effect is determined is Step 3, the Federal agency must resolve the adverse effect through consultation either by avoidance, minimization, or mitigation. If complete of avoidance of the adverse effects to historic properties is not possible, the Federal agency will need to continue the Section 106 process and develop a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and follow the steps below.

  1. Notify the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) of the adverse effect to afford them the opportunity to participate in the consultation to resolve the adverse effect. You will fill out their e106 form which can be found on their website. Please ensure you follow their directions and provide all the information they request. ACHP gets 15 days to decide if they wish to participate or if they need more information.
  2. Notify any relevant Tribes of the adverse effect to afford them the opportunity to participate in consultation. Most federal agencies have their own Tribal Consultation processes that should be followed.
  3. Notify the public and potential consulting parties of the adverse effect so they are afforded the opportunity to participate. In our experience, most federal agencies notify potential parties and then allow anywhere from 30-60 days for a response. Most federal agencies have their own process for this step.
  4. Consult with all consulting parties, including Tribes, and any members of the public on minimization efforts or mitigation for the adverse effect. This is where all parties decide what will go into the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). This can take the form of formal consultation meetings or through other means. Regardless how this step is implemented, it is important that all consulting parties are aware of the views and comments of one another, unless sensitive or confidential information is involved. 
  5. Once the MOA is signed, the project can move forward as long as any mitigation that needs to be completed before the project starts is completed prior to any work (for instance, if mitigation includes documentation, the documentation must be completed before any work begins).

Mitigation to resolve an adverse effect can take a variety of forms. For more information on mitigation, please look here. Please find the Tennessee SHPO’s architectural documentation standards for mitigation here.

A template MOA can be found here.

Contact Information

Section 106 Map
For Counties Shaded Gray  For Counties Shaded Yellow  For Archeological Questions 
Casey Lee
(615) 253-3163
Kelley Reid
(615) 770-1099
Jennifer Barnett
(615) 687-4780