The idea of an Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) began in 1953 with the establishment of the History Section of the Division of Beaches and Parks (the precursor to today’s California State Parks). Eventually, in 1975, the Office of Historic Preservation was officially established within the offices of the Director of California State Parks. The formation of the OHP was an outgrowth of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which called for the creation of a state agency to implement provisions of the law, including the preparation of a comprehensive historic preservation plan and a statewide survey of historical resources. Since its inception, the responsibilities of the OHP have grown to encompass a variety of federal and state preservation laws and agencies.

The OHP is responsible for administering federally and state mandated historic preservation programs to further the identification, evaluation, registration and protection of California’s irreplaceable archaeological and historical resources under the direction of the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), a gubernatorial appointee, and the State Historical Resources Commission

Environmental Compliance: Section 106PRC 5024, and CEQA. Section 106 compliance is needed before the Army Corps can issue a permit.

OHP reviews and comments on thousands of federally sponsored projects annually pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and state programs and projects pursuant to Sections 5024 and 5024.5 of the Public Resources Code. OHP also reviews and comments on local government and state projects pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) .

The purpose of OHP’s project review program is to promote the preservation of California’s heritage resources by ensuring that projects and programs carried out or sponsored by federal and state agencies comply with federal and state historic preservation laws and that projects are planned in ways that avoid any adverse effects to heritage resources. If adverse effects cannot be avoided, the OHP assists project sponsors in developing measures to minimize or mitigate such effects.

Source: OHP Mission and Responsibilities web page