News Release Archive

Reclamation seeks to streamline National Historic Preservation Act compliance for water delivery structures

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615,

For Release: September 01, 2020

Washington, D.C. - The Bureau of Reclamation is taking steps to simplify cultural resources compliance on canals and ditches. Reclamation is requesting that the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation , which oversees the federal historic preservation process, grant a “program comment” to document the historic significance of water distribution systems as a whole, instead of on a case-by-case basis.

“As the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier with more than 8,000 miles of canals, Reclamation is in the unique position to address streamlining compliance for these water distribution systems,” Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said. “This updated process will improve the cultural resources review and compliance for Reclamation, water districts and state review agencies.”

The “program comment” is an alternative approach to streamline compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act by reducing the repetitive nature of recording historic sites. It will also allow Reclamation to focus its cultural resource efforts on sites in the most need of further recording, protection and interpretation.

Under the current process, whenever there is a federal action, there is a requirement to review the potential effect to all historic properties eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places, irrespective of their abundance or purpose. This has the potential to add time and cost to proposed federal water projects.

Over the next 45 days, Reclamation will be conducting public outreach and seeking public comment on the proposed ACHP program comment. To learn more or comment, visit

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.