ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Cultural Resources

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“Cultural resources encompass all the physical evidence of past human activity. They are non-renewable resources that are important to our nation’s history as they tell the story of our human past and interaction with the natural environment. This could include a site, object, building, structure, landscape, etc." [1]

"The National Historic Preservation Act is dedicated to the preservation of cultural resources in the United States. The implementing regulations for this legislation can be found in 36 CFR Part 800. Within 36 CFR Part 800, Section 106 dictates the involvement of federal agencies in the review of projects, actions, and activities and outlines a process to be followed for this assessment."[1]

"Section 106 requires all federal agencies consider the impacts of their planned actions on historic properties. Historic properties are those cultural resources that are the remnants of the lives of people who have occupied and lived in the United States throughout time including Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Native Alaskans as well as pioneers and settlers. The purpose of Section 106 is to identify if there are remnants of past lives in a project area and to assess the significance of those remnants. Discussing significance with the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO) in each state as well as talking to indigenous peoples will assist in the identification of important cultural resources that require protection."[1]

"Consultation is a significant part of Section 106 requirements. Federal agencies must contact the SHPO, Tribal Nations, Native Hawaiians, and Alaskan Villages who have ancestral lands within a project’s Area of Potential Effect (APE). Through consultation the significance of the cultural resources can be determined as well as how the project may affect those resources. This information is documented and considered when approving any application or contract."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 NEPA Environmental Policy, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2022)

Revision ID: 6186
Revision Date: 12/21/2022