Instructions and Resources for Preparing Compliance-Generated Determinations of Eligibility (DOEs)

Dover Bridge, Talbot Co.Dover Bridge, Talbot Co.

As part of the Section 106 process required by the National Historic Preservation Act and its equivalent state law, federal and state agencies must identify historic properties that might be directly or indirectly affected by their projects. These properties can include any building, structure, archaeological site, object, landscape, or district that meets at least one of the National Register of Historic Places Criteria for Evaluation, specified in 36 CFR 60.4. Section 106 affords consideration to properties that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) as well as unlisted properties that are eligible for inclusion. Thus, agencies must assess the National Register eligibility of resources that have not previously been evaluated.

Agencies will study a property, recommend it as either meeting or not meeting the National Register Criteria, and present their findings to MHT for comments and/or concurrence. MHT uses the DOE form to reach these “consensus determinations” for resources evaluated in Maryland. MHT permanently documents these determinations in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) and Medusa (Maryland's Cultural Resource Information System).

Efforts to identify and evaluate historic and archaeological resources should build upon existing information, include relevant research and field investigations, provide defensible evaluations, and generate pertinent documentation of the resource being studied. DOE forms should provide accurate and meaningful documentation of historic properties that can benefit the public and future researchers. DOE forms should be objective, non-editorial, and uninfluenced by the nature or possible impacts of the proposed project. It is the responsibility of agencies and their designees to provide a complete and appropriately formatted DOE form with attachments that follow appropriate MHT guidance and procedures. Incomplete materials may be returned, and the Section 106 process cannot proceed until a satisfactory form is provided.

Agencies and their designees/consultants should contact the appropriate project reviewer in MHT's Project Review and Compliance program for guidance on the appropriate level of effort for a given project or resource.

Contents of the Determination of Eligibility Form

The process of completing a DOE form should begin with a careful consideration of the nature of the subject property and the contexts, or areas of significance, under which it is most likely to meet the criteria for listing in the National Register. This initial consideration of a property and its potential areas of significance should be followed by archival and field research and finally by the completion of the DOE form. The DOE form must contain the following elements, in order: Description, History, National Register Evaluation, Bibliography, Figures, Location Maps, Photographs, and Photo Log.

  • Description of the property – DOE forms must contain a sufficient description of buildings, structures, areas of land use, and the overall landscape of a property. This should include a narrative description of each building on the property including information about feature age, form, stylistic elements, methods of construction, materials, condition and changes over time. Descriptions should be thorough, objective, and uninfluenced by the possible impacts of the proposed undertaking.

    Descriptions of archaeological sites should include a brief discussion of the level of fieldwork conducted (number and type of shovel tests, excavation units, and other methods of investigation and analyses) along with a succinct description of the identified site remains (features, cultural deposits, surface remains, recovered materials). Site descriptions should specifically address the site's integrity as revealed through the investigations.

  • History of the property – DOE forms must include information derived from historic maps and land records; examination of the existing buildings, structures, and landscape as historical sources; and relevant information from existing reports and other secondary sources. Additional web-available resources such as US Census records, burial records, and should also be utilized where appropriate and necessary to understand the history and use of the property. Please include a bibliography of the sources of historical information consulted about the property as well as sources of technical information that are relevant to the research methods and analysis used to prepare the DOE form. For archaeological sites, a separate bibliography is not needed if the DOE form includes a citation for the report that documents the associated archaeological investigations.

  • Assessment of the property’s National Register eligibility – Assessments should specifically address relevant historic contexts. These contexts must be included and discussed as part of the property's National Register evaluation. If the evaluation utilizes a separate context report, please provide a citation for the existing written history, context report, or other existing and accessible document. Assessments should separately evaluate the property under each of the National Register Criteria. The assessment section should define a property's period(s) of significance and its boundaries. Assessments should follow the detailed guidance in National Register Bulletin: How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation.

    DOE forms for archaeological sites should provide sufficient justification to support the evaluation, particularly with regards to site integrity, research potential, and ability to yield important information (Criterion D). Archaeological sites recommended as eligible under Criterion D must have the demonstrated potential (as revealed through professional investigation) to contribute information important in prehistory or history. The DOE form must identify the specific research topics or questions the site may address along with justification for the importance of those topics. The National Register Bulletin: Guidelines for Evaluating and Registering Archeological Properties contains detailed guidance on evaluating archaeological sites.

  • Supporting attachments – The required DOE form attachments are essential to support the preparer's findings. They also serve the important function of allowing future researchers to build upon the preparer's work. Attachments to the DOE form must include location maps, drawings or other figures (if applicable), bibliography, digital photographs and photo logs. Useful templates for generating attachments are included in the Resources section below.

    Maps – Two maps (8½ × 11 inches) created using the appropriate section of the USGS topographical quad map, properly labeled, and clearly illustrating the location and boundaries of the resource are required, one at 1:24,000-scale and one at a zoomed-in view such as 1:12,000. For urban properties, a current tax, block and parcel map should be included along with the two USGS quad maps. Aerial imagery may be submitted in addition to, but not in substitution for, the two USGS quad maps. Sections of historic maps and site plans with the location and boundaries of the resource clearly marked are also encouraged. For DOEs on archaeological sites, USGS quad maps are not required, but detailed site plans are welcome. Please use the DOE Continuation Sheet Template located in the Resources section for the preparation of your location maps.

    Drawings – The appropriate level of documentation varies by resource and the scope of the research project. Site and building plans provide valuable information and are encouraged.

    Photographs – Photographs should include images clearly showing all facades of primary buildings, all accessory buildings and structures, all significant landscape features, and the general landscape and context of the property. Photographs must be digital images prepared in accordance with the standards for submission of digital images (Appendix B in Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Historical Investigations in Maryland, Revised 2019). DOE forms with photographs not meeting these standards may be returned, delaying the Section 106 process. Photographs are not required for DOE forms on archaeological sites, but preparers have the option of providing photographs with the DOE forms. Please consult the following guidance document for preparing DOE images and the DOE Photo Log:

  • » Digital Image Guidelines for DOE Forms

Instructions for Completing the Determination of Eligibility Form

Electronic versions of the DOE database in Microsoft Access and the DOE form in Microsoft Word can be obtained through the links below. Microsoft Access format is preferred for all DOE forms.

Download the DOE Form Database

» Microsoft Access Database for Structures (ZIP)

» Microsoft Access Database for Archaeology (ZIP)

  1. To download a copy of the DOE database in Microsoft Access, click on the link for either the Microsoft Access Database for Structures or the Microsoft Access Database for Archaeology. Choose the Save option to keep a copy of the database on your computer.
  2. The file will be downloaded in compressed ZIP format. Double click on the file to extract the actual Access database (file extension MDB). The file is named DOEExtStructXP02.mdb or DOEExtArcheoXP02.mdb, depending on whether you downloaded the database for structures or archaeology.
  3. Before entering data into the database, you may want to copy and rename it in order to preserve a blank database on your computer for future use.

If You Cannot Use the Access Database

The DOE Form is available in Microsoft Word format in addition to the preferred Access database. The guidance provided below is also useful for completing the Microsoft Word version of the form.

» Printable Form in Microsoft Word

Woodmont, Washington Co.Woodmont, Washington Co.

Get Started

You are now ready to complete a Determination of Eligibility Form. Detailed instructions for completing the electronic DOE form in MS Access can be found in Detailed Instructions for Filling Out the DOE Access Database. Please consult the Resources section below for helpful tools in your DOE preparation.

For each project, use one database to record all structures and one database to record all archaeological sites. The database can contain one record or multiple records depending on your needs. Attachments and supporting documents such as location maps, photographs and historic images may be placed on Word templates provided by MHT in the Resources section below.

If an MIHP number has not already been assigned to the resource, please request an inventory number from MHT’s Architectural Registrar, Mary Kate Mansius, at Inventory numbers are assigned only in coordination with the MHT. The formal request should be made in writing via email and should include the names and addresses of all properties with the sites clearly located on a 7.5-minute United States Geological Survey (USGS) topographic quadrangle map (1:24,000-scale) map and also include a zoomed-in view of the map with the exact boundary clearly marked. Please include a tax map of the parcel for urban properties.

Brief Note about the DOE "Short Form"

For some undertakings and at the discretion of your MHT project reviewer, an abbreviated DOE form known as the DOE Short Form for Ineligible Properties (Short Form) may be utilized to document and evaluate properties that are unquestionably ineligible for listing in the National Register. These are typically buildings that have been greatly modified in recent decades and display very little integrity from any time more than 50 years ago. The Short Form is not intended to document districts, complexes of buildings, farmsteads, or resources with existing MIHP records.

The Short Form provides the minimum information necessary to reach a justifiable decision that a resource does not meet the criteria for National Register eligibility. However, all sections of the Short Form must be completed, and clear photographs of the resource must be provided. A Photo Page template is provided in the Resources section below to format your images of the resource as an attachment to the Short Form. MHT does not need digital copies of the .TIFF or .JPEG files for resources documented on a Short Form. Finally, MIHP numbers are not assigned to Short Form resources.

The Short Form does not have a Microsoft Word equivalent and is only available in the Access database. Preparers of determinations of eligibility for archaeological resources do not have the option to complete Short Form DOEs, since all inventoried archaeological sites have an assigned MIHP number.

Sending your Survey Documentation to MHT

Make sure the information is filled out completely. Partial or incomplete forms will not be reviewed. Please note that an electronic copy (Access Database or Word) and a printed hard copy of the fully assembled DOE are required. PDF copies of the form and all attachments are encouraged. If digital images are being submitted, the Access Database and PDF files may be saved onto the same CD-R or DVD-R as the digital images. Please coordinate with your MHT Staff Reviewer to confirm the appropriate transmittal method of your project materials.

Some common problems and/or items to check before submitting are in the checklist below:

» Checklist for DOE Form Completion


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