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
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 most often identify historic properties through the Section 106 procedures outlined in
36 CFR 800.4. This process allows agencies to study a property, recommend it as either meeting or
not meeting the National Register Criteria, and present their findings to the State Historic Preservation
Office (SHPO) for concurrence. The Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), Maryland’s SHPO office, uses
the Determination of Eligibly (DOE) form to reach these “consensus determinations” between
an agency and MHT for resources evaluated in Maryland. MHT permanently documents these determinations
in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) and
Efforts to identify and evaluate historic and archaeological resources should follow the appropriate MHT
guidance and procedures established in the <>Standards and Guidelines for Archeological Investigations
in Maryland(Cole and Shaffer 1994) and
the Standards and
Guidelines for Architectural and Historical Investigations in Maryland
(MHT 2019). Survey efforts should build upon existing information, include relevant research and
field investigations, provide defensible evaluations, and generate pertinent documentation of the
resource being studied. Agencies and their consultants should contact the
project reviewer in
MHT’s Project Review and Compliance Unit for guidance on the appropriate level of effort for
a given project or resource.
Purpose of the Determination of Eligibility Form
The primary purpose of the DOE form is to fulfill a federal or state agency’s obligations
under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act or the Maryland Historical Trust Act
of 1985 (State Finance and Procurement Article §§5A-325 and 5A-326 of the Annotated Code of
Maryland). In the spirit of these laws, DOE forms should provide accurate and meaningful documentation
of historic properties that can benefit the public and future researchers. Professionals completing DOE
forms should approach them as they would any other piece of research: begin their project with
relevant research questions; approach their sources in a critical manner; consider the place
of their work within larger efforts to understand Maryland’s past; and provide citations,
bibliographic notes, and recommendations for future research whenever appropriate.
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. Incomplete materials may be
returned, and the Section 106 process cannot proceed until a satisfactory form is provided.
DOE forms become a permanent part of the MIHP and its associated databases. Government agencies,
MHT, and a variety of other users may rely upon the eligibility determinations documented through the
DOE process to inform project planning and cultural resource management decisions, as well as
for general research purposes.
When to Complete a Determination of Eligibility Form
USNA Dairy Farm, Anne Arundel Co.
Agencies or their representatives should consult with the MHT project review staff prior to
completing a DOE form. Depending on the nature of a project and the needs of the agencies involved,
it may be appropriate to evaluate every building in the area of potential effect with either
a regular DOE form or a DOE “short form.” Certain circumstances, such as the evaluation
of whole neighborhoods, a complex of resources, or an expansive geographic area may warrant
special considerations. Sometimes it is necessary to reevaluate a resource that was previously
determined eligible or ineligible – due to the passage of time, changes to the
property’s integrity, new information about the resource, or changing views
of significance. Completion of a DOE form for a property that is already included in the
National Register is not warranted since the property is already listed.
The following guidance applies to most projects and agencies.
- A map and digital photos, but not a DOE form, are needed if the potentially-affected property
does not have a MIHP number, is not in a historic district, and is subject to one or
more of the National Register Criteria
Considerations (e.g. a building that is less
than 50 years old).
- A DOE “short form” is generally sufficient if the potentially-affected
property has not been evaluated in the past, does not have a MIHP number, is not in a
historic district, and is unquestionably ineligible (e.g. a building that has been
greatly modified in recent decades and displays very little integrity from any time more than
50 years ago).
- A complete DOE form is often needed if a property has not been evaluated in the past,
has a MIHP number (including all archaeological sites), is in a historic district, or
appears to have any reasonable possibility of being eligible for listing in the National
Register of Historic Places.
Contents of the Determination of Eligibility Form
All DOE forms for built resources must be completed by a qualified architectural historian, historic
preservationist, or historian and be accompanied by supporting materials as described
in Standards and Guidelines for
Architectural and Historical Investigations in Maryland. DOE forms for archaeological sites must
be completed by a qualified archaeologist and follow relevant guidance contained in
the Standards and Guidelines for Archeological Investigations in Maryland (Cole and
Shaffer 1994). The professional completing the form must be intimately familiar
with National Register Bulletin
15; How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation,and with other National
Register Bulletins that relate to the specific type of property under evaluation (including
archaeological resources). The National Park Service offers copies of all
the National Register Bulletins
on its website.
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 of Historic Places. Bulletin 15
and The Maryland Preservation Plan may be consulted for lists of the most commonly applied
contexts. 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 form
must contain the elements described below – a description of the property, a history of the
property, an assessment of the property’s National Register eligibility, and supporting
Description of the Property
DOE forms must contain sufficient description of buildings, structures, areas of land use, and the overall
landscape of a property to evaluate its significance under National Register Criterion C and its historic
integrity. This should include a narrative description of each building on the property including
information about feature age, form, stylistic elements, methods of construction, materials, and
condition. Descriptions should be thorough, objective, and uninfluenced by the possible impacts of the
proposed undertaking. A great number of "field guides" and architectural dictionaries are
available to assist the preparer in this process. A few of these resources are listed on the
DOE Resources page.
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) to evaluate significance under National Register Criterion D,
and Criterion C where relevant. Site descriptions should specifically address the site's integrity as
revealed through the investigations.
History of the Property
DOE forms must contain sufficient historical information to evaluate a property under National Register
Criteria A and B. This should 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. The completion of a DOE form requires the use of all
or most of the common sources listed in the Common
Sources of Information About Historic Places on the DOE Resources page.
DOE forms for archaeological sites should address National Register Criteria A and B as relevant to the resource
Woodmont, Washington Co.
Assessment of the Property
Assessments should specifically address historic contexts, which must either be placed in this section
or a citation must be provided for a history, context report, or other existing and accessible document.
Selected publications about local and regional architectural history, portions of which may serve as
contexts, are listed on the DOE Resources
page. 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 15: 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 36: Guidelines for Evaluating and Registering Archeological
Properties contains detailed guidance on evaluating archaeological sites.
The required DOE form attachments are essential to allow MHT reviewers to agree or disagree with the
preparer's findings. They also serve the important function of allowing future researchers to build upon
the preparer's work. All attachments must be prepared in accordance with Standards and Guidelines for
Architectural and Historical Investigations in Maryland. Attachments must include the items listed
in the Attachments section of the How to Fill Out DOE Forms page.