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NASA’s Cultural Resource Management (CRM)

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National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)

The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 is the nation’s primary historic preservation law. The Act defines the legal responsibilities of Federal agencies for the management of historic properties. The law institutes a Federal policy requiring responsible stewardship of historic resources, asserting that “the spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in our historic heritage;” and, therefore, the country’s historic and cultural legacy should be preserved as a living part of our community life. The Act was amended by Congress in 1980 to affirm that preservation of our “irreplaceable heritage is in the public’s interest” and that protective mechanisms must be in place to safeguard this cultural legacy when threatened by development and growth, in particular, when these actions are Federally driven.

View the full text of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Section 106 of the NHPA requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impacts of their actions on historic properties. NASA follows the steps laid out in the implementing regulations for Section 106 of the NHPA, 36 CFR §800 for all Federal Undertakings, to ensure that potential impacts to historic properties are considered, and, in consultation with stakeholders, any adverse impacts are avoided, minimized, or mitigated.

Non-compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA poses a potential schedule and cost impact to NASA missions. The Center CRMs are responsible for completing the consultation process required under the NHPA, so that potential risks to mission are minimized.