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National Programmatic Agreement Letter

A National Programmatic Agreement (NPA) letter is a document that outlines a plan of action for preserving and protecting historic properties during federally funded projects. The NPA letter is a legally binding agreement between agencies that are responsible for the protection of historic resources and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This agreement outlines the steps that the agencies will take to preserve historic resources, ensure compliance with federal laws, and promote public awareness of historic properties.

The NPA letter is based on the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which established the National Register of Historic Places and created a framework for the preservation of historic sites and buildings. The NPA letter formalizes an agreement between the FHWA and state or tribal historic preservation offices regarding their roles and responsibilities in carrying out this mission.

The NPA letter specifically addresses how historic sites and buildings will be identified, how impacts to these sites will be assessed, and how mitigation measures will be taken to reduce negative effects. The NPA letter also requires that the involved agencies undertake public outreach to promote awareness of historic properties and engage with the public to solicit their input on the preservation process.

One of the key purposes of the NPA letter is to ensure that federally funded projects do not destroy or damage historic resources. Agencies involved in planning and implementing transportation projects must take into account the potential impact of their actions on historic properties. This might include reviewing proposals for bridge or highway construction, or assessing impacts on cultural heritage sites.

Some specific elements that may be included in an NPA letter include stipulations regarding the types of projects that will be subject to review, the timelines for review and approval of projects, and the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders. The NPA letter may also address funding requirements and procedures for monitoring and reporting on project impacts.

In conclusion, the National Programmatic Agreement (NPA) letter is a critical tool for preserving and protecting historic sites and buildings during federally funded projects. It formalizes the roles and responsibilities of agencies involved in the preservation process, outlines the steps that will be taken to mitigate impacts on historic properties, and promotes public awareness of historic resources. As new projects are planned and implemented, it is essential that agencies involved in these efforts continue to work together to ensure that historic resources are preserved for future generations.