Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Project development

Environmental process | Cultural Resources

Cultural Resources (Archaeology and Historic Resources)


MnDOT’s Cultural Resource Unit’s (CRU’s) early review of individual projects ensures early coordination with state and federal agencies. It also ensures that evaluation of proposed projects and their potential alternatives to avoid, minimize, or mitigate effects to historic properties.

When to use this subject

You will need to contact CRU on any federally funded project classified as an undertaking, any MnDOT state funded project, or any project that MnDOT is permitting within state right of way.

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

To initiate a review, submit a completed Early Notification Memo (ENM) form to the CRU at culturalresources.dot@state.mn.us in the Engineering or Environmental phase. The unit requires at least two field seasons (April to November) to review and complete survey tasks (if needed).

If no field survey is needed, internal CRU review could take up to 60 days, which includes up to 45 days for tribal consultation. The more complex the project, the more time it will take to complete internal and external review processes. Consult with the CRU as early in the process as possible to ensure adequate time for review, especially if survey work or extensive State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)/Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) consultation is necessary.

Although the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead agency in the Section 106 review and is ultimately responsible for compliance, they have delegated authority to the MnDOT CRU to act on its behalf when conducting the Section 106 review process. The CRU determines whether the project has the potential to affect historic properties, defines the area of potential effect (APE), determines if a property is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, works with the project proposer to minimize any effects, makes the findings of effect to historic properties, and conducts all consultation with SHPO, American Indian tribes, or other parties the federal regulations and applicable agreements require.

You will need to include the results of the Section 106 review in the following environmental documents:

  • Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS)
  • Final Environmental Impact Statements (FEIS)
  • Environmental Assessments (EA)
  • Categorical Exclusions (CATEX)

The CRU must complete its work by the end of the Environmental Review phase.

Organizations involved

  • MnDOT:
  • American Indian Tribes
  • SHPO/Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs)
  • Office of the State Archaeologist/Minnesota Indian Affairs Council
  • FHWA
  • Municipalities and counties
  • Other consulting parties, such as historical societies or neighborhood associations, as necessary