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About KHC's Site Protection Program

The Kentucky Heritage Council's Site Protection Program coordinates the federally mandated protection of historic properties listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the professional archaeology component for the agency. Program initiatives include:

Section 106 Review

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 requires federal agencies to consider the effect of their activities on properties listed or determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. These activities, or “undertakings,” include any federally funded, permitted, or licensed projects. In many instances the federal agency delegates responsibilities to the applicant (e.g., the state agency, city, utility, or developer who is receiving federal funds or applying for a federal permit or license).

Section 106 review is a process with which federal agencies must comply. Though it does not guarantee historic properties will not be impacted by an undertaking, it does provide the opportunity for potential adverse effects to be considered and alternatives to avoid or minimize them be evaluated. It should be noted that the Section 106 consultation process is one of compromise. In addition to the federal agency and the Kentucky Heritage Council (State Historic Preservation Office), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as well as other consulting parties, such as Federally recognized Native American tribes, owners of significant properties that may be adversely affected by the undertaking, local governments, and other interested parties may be active participants in the consultation process.

The sooner the Section 106 process is initiated, the better. By getting started early an agency or applicant can avoid unnecessary project delays.  Early coordination also may allow the project to be redesigned to minimize adverse effects to significant archaeological sites and historic structures. If you think you may have federal involvement in your project contact the Site Protection staff of the Kentucky Heritage Council at your earliest convenience.

Section 106 Goals

The three main goals of the Section 106 review process are:

  1. To identify historic properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places that may be adversely effected by a project.  This is accomplished by a review of site inventories maintained by the Kentucky Heritage Council and the Kentucky Office of State Archaeology and by undertaking archaeological and historic structure surveys;

  2. To identify the effect an undertaking will have historic properties located within the Area of Potential Effect.  The staff of the Kentucky Heritage Council may consult with the agency, applicant, and consulting parties during its review of the project.  The Kentucky Heritage Council makes its assessment based on criteria found in the Council's regulations:

    No effect: the undertaking will not affect historic properties;

    No adverse effect: the undertaking will affect one or more historic properties, but the effect will not be harmful;

    Adverse effect: the undertaking will harm one or more historic properties.

  3. To find ways to avoid or minimize adverse effects on  significant historic properties.  If through consultation with all involved parties this cannot be accomplished, the Kentucky Heritage Council staff works with the agency, applicant, and other consulting parties to develop a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that outlines how the adverse effects to these properties will be addressed.

IMPORTANT NOTICE about new streamlined procedures for the Section 106 Review process

Beginning Monday, July 8, 2013, the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office will be implementing a new Section 106 Review submission process, which will now require a cover sheet to be submitted with each project, and procedures to assist applicants in the identification of known historic resources.  Click on the links, below, to see the memo describing this new process, the new cover sheet, and instructions for completing the cover sheet.

Section 106 Memo Memo - New Section 106 Review submission process [PDF - 51KB]

New Section 106 Cover SheetCover Sheet for Review and Compliance [PDF - 80KB]

New Section 106 Cover Sheet InstructionsCover Sheet Instructions [PDF - 196KB] UPDATED!


Preliminary Site Check FAQs

Why am I being asked to perform a preliminary site check?
Previously, Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office (KHC/SHPO) staff in the Site Protection program completed preliminary site checks on behalf of applicants as part of their Section 106 review, though they were not obligated to do so, and it increased the time needed to complete the review.  We have now developed ways to streamline this process to allow for more timely responses, including a means for applicants to complete their own preliminary site checks.  The most efficient approach is via an online request at (available beginning July 8, 2013).   These online requests are fulfilled utilizing a Geographic Information Systems database.  A preliminary site check fee of $40 is charged solely for generating a unique report on your behalf that identifies known historic buildings or structures that are located within or near your project area.

Is there any way I can get the information included in the preliminary site check without using the online option?
Yes.   You can complete your own preliminary site check by accessing the paper files free of charge at the KHC/SHPO office in Frankfort.  To do so, please contact the data manager (502-564-7005, ext. 118, or to arrange a time to visit the Site Identification library.  We cannot accommodate in-person preliminary site checks without an appointment.  

Will the new preliminary site check affect my timeline for Section 106 review?
We do not anticipate this process will substantially increase the time it takes to prepare a Section 106 submission.  Within 2-3 business days of submitting an online request and payment for a preliminary site check, the Site Identification program will send an e-mailed, PDF version of a report which provides the address of any previously surveyed historic resources within your project area and a small area around it, the resource type (house, barn, cemetery, etc.), and the National Register status of the resource.  If you choose to make an appointment to visit the KHC/SHPO office to complete a preliminary site check on your own, review of paper records for most types of individual projects can be completed in one visit.  Either method will allow you to provide more complete information with your project’s initial submission to our office, greatly reducing the likelihood that staff would need to request more information to complete your Section 106 review.    

Does the site check count as consultation with KHC/SHPO for the purposes of Section 106? 
No.  In the Section 106 process, identifying historic properties that could be directly or indirectly affected by a project is ultimately the responsibility of the funding/permitting agency or its delegate.  The preliminary site check provides information that assists the agency/delegate in fulfilling this responsibility and should be carried out in advance of the Section 106 review process.  The results of the site check along with other information you collect such as photographs, the history/use of the project area, comments on local significance, etc., will become part of a larger packet you send to KHC/SHPO.  This submission is what initiates Section 106 consultation and triggers comment on your project.

Am I paying a fee for my Section 106 review?
No.  The fee for the preliminary site check requested online is only for research and a report completed on your behalf by the Site Identification program.  Section 106 review conducted by Site Protection staff consists of examining a project’s scope of work, looking at/assessing historic resources identified by the federal agency or its delegate within an area of potential effect, and considering what kinds of effects may result from proposed work. This is done to fulfill the KHC/SHPO’s role as a consulting party in the Section 106 process; there would never be a fee associated with this review.  

The results of my preliminary site check indicate there are no sites in my project area.  Does that mean my project will have no effect on historic properties?
Not necessarily.  If your online request or your own research of paper records returns no results in or around your project area, it is likely your project area has not been previously surveyed for historic properties.  If you can see anything over 50 years of age in or around your project area, it will be especially important to account for these buildings/structures in your Section 106 submission to KHC/SHPO.    

Are there undertakings that do not require a preliminary site check?
Some undertakings (e.g. federal loan refinancing that does not support major rehabilitation, small equipment purchases like radios, etc.) do not have the potential to impact historic properties and would not usually require the kind of information provided in a preliminary site check.  Please note, a preliminary site check is not required to submit projects to the KHC/SHPO for Section 106 review and comment; the Site Protection Program will review all submissions received by our office.  However, when an undertaking does have potential to impact historic properties (e.g. demolition, new construction, building renovation, etc.), and a preliminary site check has not been completed, staff may need to request additional information to facilitate review.  This can increase your Section 106 timeline.

Are preliminary site checks solely designed for Section 106 review?
No.  The Site Identification program offers this service to a variety of interested citizens and groups looking for research assistance, information to use in planning, etc.

Cover Sheet FAQs

Do I have to use the cover sheet for every submission?
Submissions should include the Cover Sheet for Section 106 Review and Compliance (available via PDF, at top
), completed to the greatest extent possible.  The only exceptions are cultural resource reports prepared by consultants in accordance with the KHC/SHPO specifications and projects submitted under an existing programmatic agreement, where the required submission materials are clearly dictated in the agreement.  If you are unsure whether this applies to you, we recommend using the cover sheet until you can verify otherwise.

Will you review my project even if I don’t complete all the fields of the cover sheet?
The cover sheet is designed to assist you in compiling the information Site Protection staff most often needs to complete review.  If fields are not completed, you risk delays in receiving your Section 106 comments, as staff may need to request additional information.  

How quickly can I expect a response from the SHPO on my project?
Under Federal Law (36 CFR Part 800) Site Protection staff has 30 calendar days to review your project beginning with the date it was received by our office. Efforts are made to review projects as quickly as possible.  The review process may take up to 30 calendar days, but often requires less time.  The best way to ensure the Site Protection staff can complete your review in a timely manner is to make sure information you submit is thorough and accurate. When staff must ask for more information, the 30-day clock generally starts anew after the requested information is received. 

If I use the Kentucky State Clearinghouse, or eClearinghouse, do I still have to make a submission using the cover sheet?
The Kentucky State Clearinghouse [External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain. ] is a single point of contact for multiple agencies that might be required to comment on your project.  The information available to reviewers in Clearinghouse does not usually reflect the full range of information you may have submitted in a funding application, so there are many occasions when Site Protection staff must request additional information in order to complete review.  If the project description is not enough for staff to complete review within Clearinghouse, our comments will direct you to utilize the cover sheet and mail a full submission.


Archaeological Inventory:  Program staff manage a comprehensive statewide inventory of prehistoric and archaeological sites in partnership with the University of Kentucky.

The Archaeology of Kentucky:  An Update: In 1990, the Kentucky Heritage Council published The Archaeology of Kentucky: Past Accomplishments and Future Directions.  This two volume set provided a context for conducting Section 106 archaeological investigations as well as research conducted in Kentucky.

Publications and Videos:  Public education efforts include a series of short documentaries produced by the Heritage Council that blend interviews, rare archival images, artifacts and highlights from examining Native American sites in Kentucky.

Kentucky Archaeological Survey:  A partnership between the Kentucky Heritage Council and the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology, the Kentucky Archaeological Survey provides archaeological services and educational programs to public and private agencies to assist with the preservation of historic sites.

File Search / Site Check Policies

Effective October 1, 2006 the Kentucky Heritage Council and the Office of State Archaeology implemented a project-specific fee for all site checks. For more information, see the Heritage Council's Site Check Policy (updated version coming soon).

Architectural Properties and Surveys

Files regarding historic buildings and architectural surveys are housed at the Kentucky Heritage Council office at 300 Washington Street, Frankfort. First-time users are urged to contact KHC staff before conducting their research. All visitors are required to sign in at the front office upon arrival.

For more information, please contact our data manager, at (502) 564-7005, ext. 4564.

KHC Historic Resource site numbers are assigned by the KHC Historic Survey Coordinator.  Please email the Survey Coordinator the following information to obtain a site number:
1-The county or counties your project is located in.  If the project is within the incorporated boundaries of a town/city, please include that information in your request
2-A site map showing the field site properties on an aerial or topographic map
3- The name(s) of the topo maps in your project area
4-If the site number request is for a Section 106-related project, please include your KHC project registration number, e.g. FY16-2222

Archaeological Sites and Surveys

Files regarding archaeological site and survey information are housed at the University of Kentucky Office of State Archaeology, 1020-A Export Street, Lexington. For more information, please contact Nancy O'Malley at (859) 257-1944. All visitors are required to sign in at the front office upon arrival.

Geographic Information System Databases and Coverages

Geographic Information System (GIS) databases and coverages have been developed for archaeological sites and surveys, historic structures, and National Register districts.  For more information, please contact Philip Mink at (859) 257-8207.

Go to this link for more information about the Office of State Archaeology.  External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Historic Artifact Discard Guidelines

Historic archaeological excavations often generate archaeological collections of tremendous size.  These collections are taking up increasingly limited space in museums and federal repositories.  Through meetings and discussions with various firms and agencies, the Kentucky Heritage Council has developed guidelines for discarding certain types and classes of historic artifacts.  These guidelines are intended to assist archaeologists, agency officials, and museum staff as they prepare historic artifact collections for permanent curation.

For Questions or More Information

Kentucky Heritage Council Site Protection Program
300 Washington Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
(502) 564-7005
(502) 564-5820 (fax)


Call for papers and posters - 34th Annual KHC Archaeology Conference; abstract deadline Weds., Jan 4
33rd Annual Kentucky Heritage Council Archaeology Conference agenda
Archaeology Conference registration form

Archaeology Conference Cumberland Gap Tour flyer

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Last Updated 4/13/2017