H_190_601_A - Subpart A - General
Subpart A - General

601.0 Introduction and Purpose

A. The purpose of this handbook is to provide a procedural reference and guidance on processes the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), partners and consultants use to identify, evaluate and protect cultural resources, including historic properties, in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA –16 U.S.C. 470f, as amended) and several related authorities. The government-wide policy is found in the statute and NRCS’ implementing policy is found in the General Manual (GM 420, Part 401). This compliance takes place during the course of project and program planning, development and implementation, in consultation with specific state and federal agencies and American Indian tribal governments.

B. In 1966, Congress passed the NHPA and directed all Federal agencies to establish a (historic) preservation program. This program is intended to create policies and procedures that foster agency program and project development so that our modern society and our prehistoric and historic resources will co-exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations. Additionally, every agency was directed to give consideration to programs and projects which will further this goal.

601.1 Background

A. Every agency is expected to contribute to this purpose, whether or not conservation and preservation are part of its central mission. These efforts must be carried out in consultation with required concerned parties, including State, local, and Indian tribal officials, landowners, and interested citizens. All agencies are responsible for considering and consulting on the effects of their actions on historic and cultural places – including actions that they may assist or permit – and taking actions to avoid or minimize adverse effects. Agencies are expected to show leadership in encouraging non-Federal parties to minimize harm to historic and cultural resources under their control.

B. The directive is contained in Sections 106 and 110 of the NHPA. The NHPA recognizes that each agency has one or more central and important missions and encourages early incorporation of cultural resources considerations into the planning process in order to avoid mission conflicts.

C. Prior and subsequent to 1966, numerous other laws, regulations, executive orders and policy statements directed agencies to protect the cultural and human environment for current and future generations. NRCS must also comply with state, tribal and local laws that cover the lands on which we work.

[H_190_601_A - First Edition - August 2003]