• 01/15/2020 4:41 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Representatives from 2019 Award Recipient Chelan County PUD No. 1

    The call for nominations for the 2020 ACRA Awards is now open! ACRA Awards recognize private and public sector clients of ACRA member firms for CRM accomplishments and commitments exceeding those required by various laws and regulations. ACRA Awards also recognize ACRA member firms or employees thereof who have made a long-term and on-going public service commitment to CRM.

    Firms with clients/projects in the San Antonio area are particularly encouraged to apply.

    The deadline for receipt of nominations is FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2020, at 5:00 PM EDT. Awards will be presented during the ACRA Conference held from September 23‒27, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.

    Award Categories

    Industry Award-Private Sector: Presented to an ACRA firm’s private sector client who has demonstrated accomplishments and commitments above and beyond those required to meet laws and regulations pertaining to CRM. Recognition can be for completed single or multiple projects, or for an on-going commitment.

    Industry Award-Public Sector: Presented to an ACRA firm’s public sector client who has demonstrated accomplishments and commitments above and beyond those required to meet laws and regulations pertaining to CRM. Recognition can be for completed single or multiple projects, or for an on-going commitment.

    Public Service Award: Presented to an ACRA company, or current employee thereof, who has made a long-term contribution to the study, management, and/or preservation of cultural resources, or who has contributed volunteer efforts and resources for the betterment of their immediate community, county, state, etc. Contributions may include, but are not limited to, training students for CRM careers, internships, and the development and delivery of environmental, preservation, and interpretive programs.

    For more details, please review the Call for Nominations.

  • 01/08/2020 1:37 PM | Deleted user

    ACRA and its partners at the Coalition for American Heritage have released the following statement regarding the targeting of cultural sites as a part of military strategy:

    The Coalition for American Heritage and its founding organizations oppose any threat to destroy cultural sites as part of a military strategy. The Coalition includes more than 350,000 heritage professionals, scholars, small businesses, non-profit groups, and history-lovers from across the country who support and promote our nation’s commitment to historic preservation.

    The deliberate targeting of cultural sites for destruction violates international law, except under the narrowest of circumstances, and robs humanity of our global patrimony. Through our participation in international agreements, America has recognized the universal value of preserving cultural sites around the world. We urge the current administration to affirm our country’s commitment to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the United National Security Council Resolution 2347, and the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

    Please contact your members of Congress to express the importance of America’s commitment to historic preservation both at home and abroad and encourage them to speak out against the purposeful targeting of cultural sites.

    The Coalition for American Heritage makes it easy to take action on this and many more issues important to historic preservation. Contacting your legislators takes just seconds - please visit our action alert to make your voice heard now.

    Take Action NOW

  • 01/07/2020 4:25 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you didn't complete ACRA's survey on organizational policies concerning gender equity, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace, there is still time to do so!

    The overall goal is to tie existing information about reported harassment to longer term goals for equity and to emerging policies that help develop inclusive corporate cultures. ACRA will use the data in this survey to inform its future programs and resources for members. The results will also be summarized in a Society for American Archaeology presentation on equity and harassment in workplaces.

    Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey (or send it to someone in your company who can). Both ACRA members and non-members alike are eligible to respond. The survey is meant to be completed by one individual per organization. Any identifying data provided, such as company names or organizational charts, will be kept confidential and will be removed from any survey reports or programs developed by ACRA.

  • 12/20/2019 2:58 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    THREE Questions is a new blog series highlighting ACRA member firms and their experiences in the CRM industry.

    ABOUT OUR MEMBER: Jessica Yaquinto is the Founder and Principal Investigator of Living Heritage Anthropology, LLC and President/CEO of the 501c3 non-profit Living Heritage Research Council, both based on Cortez, Colorado. She has been a cultural anthropologist and ethnographer primarily in the Greater Southwest and Great Basin for the past 13 years. Her past work includes numerous ethnographic and tribal consultation projects with more than 55 tribes, including projects funded by a variety of tribal, local, state, federal. and private entities. Jessica specializes in ethnographic overviews, Cultural Resource Management (CRM), cultural landscape studies, Traditional Cultural Property studies, Community-Based Participatory Research and Collaborative Ethnography, and ethnohistories. As a member of the ACRA Board of Directors, she holds the Small Firm Designated Board Seat.

    When engaging a general audience, what stands out as the one thing people are most surprised to learn about your company or the CRM industry?

    JY: Mostly people are surprised that working with tribes/traditional communities to preserve their heritage is a profession, period. I'd say that's a surprise for people both in and out of CRM. Living Heritage Anthropology only focuses on ethnographic research and tribal consultation assistance and we are all cultural anthropologists by training. Even with our cultural anthropology/ethnography focus, CRM colleagues, even those I have worked with for a long time, will regularly introduce me to others as an archaeologist. So we tend to surprise people in general I guess!

    As far as the general public just learning that tribes still exist unfortunately is often a surprising point for people. Similarly another big surprise for clients is that funding needs to be included for paying for tribal representatives' time and expenses on projects. We would never ask a consultant in any other field to volunteer, so I'm not sure why people expect cultural consultants to work for free.

    Do you have a favorite piece of personal experience that is your “go-to” for engaging clients and/or the public as to why CRM work is important?

    JY: As an ethnographic/tribal consultation focused company the vast majority of our clients are from within the CRM world. Therefore, I find myself mostly advocating for tribal/community engagement (both ethnographic research and tribal consultation) within CRM rather than for CRM in general. Often this involves reminding clients that they are not meeting their NHPA requirements if they are not considering Traditional Cultural Properties and the only ways to identify TCPs are through ethnographic research, tribal consultation, or tribal monitors. TCPs by definition have to come from the community itself.

    For both the public and clients though I think there is no better way for them to see the importance of CRM than to hear about in from the associated communities itself. Bringing a tribe or associated community to the table in much more impactful than anything I could say. This is one of the main reasons I co-host the Heritage Voices podcast on the Archaeology Podcast Network. That way people can hear directly from community members about their experiences with CRM, Anthropology, and Land Management. When you can hear the emotion in someone's voice, that's powerful.

    We all know that most CRM staff believe in what we do, but how do you engage those under you in the business aspects of your firm? Do you find that an increased awareness of the challenges of running a business is related to professional satisfaction, employee retention, and/or project success?

    JY: Living Heritage Anthropology is a very small company, so by extension everyone has been naturally engaged and interested in the business aspects because they affect everyone more directly. As a result, I do think that everyone is more engaged and personally invested. There's very much a sense of all coming together to build something together. Or in other words there's an understanding that we have to keep the ship running smoothly in order to serve the associated communities and our clients. So it'll be interesting to try to maintain that aspect as we continue to grow.

  • 12/18/2019 3:32 PM | Deleted user

    This post originally appeared on the Coalition for American Heritage website.

    Today, the Coalition for American Heritage is celebrating a victory for our advocacy on behalf of historic preservation. Congress is poised to pass legislation that will give preservation programs their highest-ever levels of funding. This success is the culmination of all the efforts our group and advocacy partners have made to meet with Members of Congress, send letters, and get involved in the political process.

    The FY20 Interior appropriations bill includes record-high funding levels for key preservation programs, including $118.6 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, a $16 million increase over last year. State Historic Preservation Offices will receive an increase of $3 million over last year’s budget, and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices will receive an additional $2 million.

    Congress gave crucial support to one of our top priorities, increasing the use of GIS mapping to identify cultural resources and improve permitting decisions. Funds for the Bureau of Land Management’s Cultural Resources Program will increase by $1.5 million, a total of $18.303 million. The additional money will go to updating the predictive modeling and data analysis capabilities of the National Cultural Resources Information Management System, which allows for better siting and planning decisions leading to more efficient project implementation.

    The Land and Water Conservation Fund, a key program for protecting historic sites, will receive $495 million – its highest funding level in 15 years. The bill also provides $21.944 million for National Heritage Areas, including a $1.6 million increase to fund newly authorized heritage areas.

    Despite President Trump’s attempts to eliminate the national endowment programs, Congress awarded even higher funding levels to these valuable sources of grant monies. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities will each receive $162.25 million, an increase of $7.25 million over last year and the largest increase for the national endowments in a decade.

    The bill provides funds for National Park Service programs that tell the full American story, including several programs aimed at increasing diversity:

    • $15.5 million for competitive grants to document, interpret, and preserve historical sites associated with the African-American struggle for civil rights
    • $2.5 million to establish a new civil rights grant program to preserve and highlight the sites and stories associated with securing civil rights for all Americans, including women, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and LGBTQ Americans.
    • $750,000 for competitive grants to survey and nominate places associated with under-represented communities to the National Register and as National Historic Landmarks
    • $16 million for Save America’s Treasures, to preserve our nation’s most significant historic and cultural resources
    • $13 million for American Battlefield Protection Program grants
    • $10 million for grants to historically black colleges and universities
    • $7.5 million for competitive grants to revitalize historic properties of national, state and local significance
    • $1.907 million for Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Grants
    • $3.155 for Japanese Confinement Site Grants
    • $1.903 for International Park Affairs.

    This legislation passed in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, just days before the latest continuing resolution to fund the federal government was set to lapse. Next, the Senate is expected to pass the legislation and send it to the President for his signature. Once the President signs the bill, a government shutdown will be averted. These funding levels will remain in place for the duration of FY 20, until September 30th of next year.

    The Coalition for American Heritage thanks Congress for this strong statement in support of preservation efforts across America.

  • 12/17/2019 12:45 PM | Deleted user

    The House of Representatives has passed the Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act (H.R. 729), which would help protect the cultural and environmental resources of tribes living in coastal areas if enacted into law. The bill authorizes the Commerce Department grants to Indian tribes for meeting various tribal environmental and cultural coastal zone goals.

    From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

    Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., whose district includes the Olympic Peninsula, argued that help is needed -- now.

    "Our region has seen severe storms and rising sea levels threaten communities," Kilmer said. "We've seen homes and community centers in Taholah face water damage. We've seen the Quileute Tribal School in La Push be in the cross hairs of a rising ocean. We've seen coastal challenges threaten public safety, public access and cultural landmarks for the tribes and others, including Hoh and Makahs."

    In a bizarre scene on Tuesday, Arizona's Republican Rep. Debbie Leska argued that the coastal protection legislation was not needed. She represents a district consisting of Phoenix suburbs and the Sonoran desert. But 34 GOP House members backed the bill. Kilmer had two senior Republicans as co-sponsors, Reps. Don Young of Alaska and Tom Cole of Oklahoma. Cole is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

    Click here to read the full article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

  • 12/12/2019 3:26 PM | Deleted user

    Last week we asked you to contact your representatives about the reorganization of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). If you still haven't made your call, we need you to do so now!

    The Trump Administration is moving the headquarters of BLM, and it is anticipated that the BLM will lose the majority of their CRM staff at the start of the year, which could endanger cultural resources across the country.

    While the Government Accountability Office has agreed to review this move, the threat to CRM is still very real. Two former BLM directors recently published an op-ed detailing their concern:

    "Our view is that the plan is a poorly disguised attempt to destroy the agency from the inside. BLM state directors and field managers in the West already have the authority to make land-use, leasing and permitting decisions and facilitate coordination with state, tribal and local governments. The 3 percent in Washington focuses on policy, oversight and coordination at the national level with other federal agencies, Congress and national public interest groups. This is work that must be done in Washington to be effective."

    Read the full op-ed in Politico here.

    The Coalition for American Heritage webpage makes it easy to take action in just minutes - it has links to your Member of Congress and a sample email message. Ask Congress NOW to carefully conduct strong oversight of the BLM reorganization and halt any actions that would diminish the Office of Cultural, Paleontological Resources and Tribal Consultation.

    Take Action NOW

  • 12/11/2019 1:39 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    When project applicants and federal agencies are informed about the existence of historic properties of religious and cultural significance to Indian tribes early in project planning, opportunities to consider non-destructive alternatives are increased. Proactive planning for early coordination can also increase predictability for both applicants and Indian tribes, leading not only to better preservation outcomes but also to possible project cost savings and more efficient Section 106 reviews.

    The ACHP has issued a new resource to help applicants navigate the process:  Early Coordination with Indian Tribes During Pre-application Processes: A HandbookThe handbook and a coordinating online course provide recommendations for federal agencies, applicants, and Indian tribes regarding how to begin, facilitate, and participate in early coordination in a manner that should result in a more efficient and effective Section 106 process.

    From the ACHP:

    The ACHP developed the handbook with assistance from a tribal working group, federal and state agencies, and energy producers and trade organizations. It provides background information on the Section 106 process for applicant-driven projects and offers suggestions for federal agencies, industry, and Indian tribes to work collaboratively and effectively in pre-application planning, before formal government-to-government consultation would begin. The document includes best practices from an Indian tribe, an energy company, and a state transportation agency.

    Concurrent with the development of the handbook, the ACHP launched a 90 minute online, on-demand eLearning course Early Coordination with Indian Tribes for Infrastructure Projects. The course will prepare applicants and their consultants to work with Indian tribes in carrying out investigations and developing pre-application information.

    Download the handbook here, and register for the Early Coordination with Indian Tribes for Infrastructure Projects course on the ACHP e-learning portal.

  • 12/09/2019 3:55 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    In light of the recent conversations about gender equity and safe workspaces in cultural resource management and fieldwork-oriented professions, ACRA has developed a survey that asks companies to provide a snapshot of the participation of individuals of all genders in CRM by job function, the availability of harassment training, and policies for reporting and problem resolution more generally. The overall goal is to tie existing information about reported harassment to longer term goals for equity and to emerging policies that help develop inclusive corporate cultures.

    Policies are a key framework for implementing change. ACRA will use the data in this survey to inform its future programs and resources for members. The results will also be summarized in a Society for American Archaeology presentation on equity and harassment in workplaces.

    This survey has already been sent to members that manage their companies' ACRA accounts, but we would like non-members to have the opportunity to complete it as well. Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey (or send it to someone in your company who can). The survey is meant to be completed by one individual per organization. Any identifying data provided, such as company names or organizational charts, will be kept confidential and will be removed from any survey reports or programs developed by ACRA.

    Thank you for taking the time to help improve ACRA programs by providing your feedback!

  • 12/06/2019 4:31 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you missed yesterday's session on Meeting the Reasonable and Good Faith Identification Standard in Section 106 Review, now you can watch it on your own schedule!

    The President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) joined us yesterday for an advanced session that included detailed scenarios concerning the reasonable and good faith standard in Section 106. Attendees also had a chance to participate in a Q&A session with presenters Kelly Fanizzo and Katry Harris, both of whom have been with the ACHP since 2006.

    You can rent the session on our Webinars on Demand page. For ACRA members, be sure to access the presentation through the members-only page which provides you with the discount code.

    Rent This Session Now

Become an ACRA member to get exclusive benefits including vendor discounts, premium access to online learning opportunities, and much more.

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