• 06/13/2019 1:54 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    We are thrilled to announce that ACRA has entered into an official joint partnership with the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP)! 

    As an ACRAsphere reader, you are the first to hear about this exciting new member benefit. 

    Many environmental companies are required to engage in cultural resource management in order to comply with federal laws, and CRM companies often work under NEPA regulations. By combining forces, together ACRA and the NAEP can help improve your business outcomes, stay on the cutting edge of industry, and even save money.

    Check out the list of partnership benefits below, and contact us if you have any questions!

    ACRA-NAEP Partnership Benefits

    • 10% discount on membership fees for members of both organizations
    • Discounted continuing education and workshop opportunities from both organizations
    • Discounted conference attendance (starting in 2020)
    • Information about exclusive events from both organizations
    • And more to come!

  • 06/11/2019 4:03 PM | Deleted user

    ACRA members should be aware that last week a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill, held up by months due to President Trump’s opposition to Puerto Rican aid, was signed into law. Designed to provide assistance to areas in affected by storms, flooding, wildfires, and other disasters, H.R. 2157 (Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019) includes funding that addresses the cultural resources impacts of several severe storms. Especially relevant to ACRA members, the bill includes $50 million to the National Park Service for the Historic Preservation Fund, to address the consequences of Hurricanes Florence and Michael and Typhoon Yutu. This funding:

    • Includes money for needed Section 106 compliance as part of disaster relief projects, but will also fund other activities relating to cultural heritage
    • Must be spent on the States and territories that have received a major disaster declaration as part of the three listed disasters (those eligible as part of H.R. 2157 include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Michael; Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina for Hurricane Florence; and the Northern Mariana Islands for Super Typhoon Yutu)
    • Will remain available until September 30, 2022 unless otherwise revised
    • Is not subject to a non-Federal matching grant requirement

    The funding bill also provides $78 million to the National Park Service for construction repair and replacement of assets damaged in the disasters; $134 million for the U.S. Forest Service for Forest Inventory, capital improvements, and maintenance; and $1.64 billion for military construction to address impacts to Marine Corps installations in North Carolina, Air Force Base Tyndall in Florida, and National Guard facilities across the areas impacted by the disasters. A summary of the activities funded by the legislation is available here.

    CRM firms may see contracting opportunities as a result of this legislation associated with military construction, emergency mitigation, and a system of competitive grants that SHPOs and THPOs may use to address cultural resources impacts of these events. During previous disaster relief bills like that for Hurricane Sandy, funding in affected states was provided to counties specifically listed in the disaster declaration. Funding disbursement varied by SHPO, but commonly addressed mitigation by documenting or updating site recording in affected areas, providing assessments of storm damage and sea level rise vulnerability, and developing disaster management plans for some historic resources.

  • 06/10/2019 4:20 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The voting period for the 2019 ACRA Board elections opens today! The candidates in this year's slate are vying for 11 open positions, including:

    • President
    • Vice-President - Membership
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Small Firm Representative
    • Medium Firm Representative
    • Large Firm Representative
    • 4 At-Large Board Positions

    Each candidate has submitted a biography and statement to help you make your selection. The slate of candidates is very strong, and thus we urge you to review the statements carefully and choose those candidates who you feel best understand the needs of our industry and are committed to providing leadership on the ACRA board.

    Read the Candidate Statements and Bios

    Per ACRA's bylaws, each member firm gets one vote. Only member firms are eligible - student and associate members do not vote in elections.

    Bundle administrators only will receive an invitation from SurveyMonkey later today. If you do not receive your invitation by tomorrow morning, please first check your spam folder. If you still do not see it, contact us. Voting will be open until July 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm EDT.

    Your firm can help shape the future of ACRA - submit your vote before the deadline!

  • 06/07/2019 1:38 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Whether you are new to ACRA or a long-time member, getting involved with the organization is essential to maximizing your membership benefits. The best way to do so is by joining an ACRA committee!

    There is an ACRA committee to serve all interests in CRM. Whether you want to improve continuing education opportunities, influence policy at all levels of government, or work on benefits for firms of all sizes, there is a committee for you to work on the interests you are passionate about. Check out the full committee list below, and let us know where you would like to get involved!

    • Academic Outreach
      Originally created as a task force, this newly-minted committee focuses on fostering collaboration between the CRM industry and academic professionals.
    • Collections Management & Curation
      ACRA works in partnership with other archaeological organizations to review collections and curation best practices, address challenges in the discipline, and develop new methods. This committee works as part of the Archaeological Collections Consortium (ACC) to focus on the use, preservation, and management of archaeological collections.
    • Communications
      Members of this committee help guide and implement ACRA's communications strategy, including social media. New initiatives include the very blog you are reading this on!
    • Conference
      Among the largest of ACRA's committees, members work to plan and execute ACRA's Annual Conference.
    • Continuing Education
      This committee works on professional development and instruction, especially of ACRA member firms but also in terms of students and early career professionals. Committee members work to expand ACRA's webinar program, develop new opportunities, and more.
    • Government Relations
      Members of this important committee advise on and help shape ACRA public policy, grassroots initiatives, and congressional outreach. If you are interested in being the first to hear about issues affecting CRM in Washington, this is the committee for you.
    • Health & Safety
      Members of this committee work on developing best practices for industry safety, both in and out of the field. With a new chair on board, expect a lot to come from this committee over the next year.
    • Membership
      The Membership Committee is responsible for member acquisition and retention initiatives. This is the committee to get involved in if you wish to have a direct effect on developing new member benefits.
    • Metrics & Standards
      The Metrics & Standards Committee is responsible for developing, collecting, and analyzing data and trends pertaining to the CRM industry. Committee members were integral in developing the recent 2019 Salary Survey.
    • Small Business
      One of ACRA's newest committees, the Small Business Committee attends to needs and concerns of ACRA's small businesses. Members are committed to addressing the needs and challenges unique to the industry's smaller firms.
  • 06/04/2019 3:53 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Do you know of an up and coming CRM professional or student looking for an immersive cultural heritage research experience?

    Now in its third year, recruitment is underway for a fall semester joint ACHP-Smithsonian Institution Cultural Heritage Fellowship position, supported by the ACHP Foundation and the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships.

    This year’s theme is the Music Heritage of the District of Columbia. This place-based cultural heritage fellowship will consist of a research project exploring the integration of historic sites and museum collections to tell fuller stories about the development, impact, and role of music in the history and heritage of Washington, D.C.

    Details about the fellowship and how to apply can be found here. The application deadline is June 16.

    Find other interesting job opportunities on the ACRA Jobs board.

  • 05/31/2019 12:05 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Readers can now find relevant news items compiled all in one place! In our CRM Firms in the News series, we feature recent mentions of ACRA member firms and their projects across the country. Was your firm recently featured in a news article or on social media? Send it to us to be included in our next volume of the series!

    • Along with students from Willamette University and the city of Salem, Archaeological Investigations Northwest was awarded the Virginia Green Award for their research at the construction site of the new Salem Police Station. Read more about the project which uncovered more than 17,000 artifacts here.
    • When construction in downtown Grand Forks, ND uncovered trolley tracks from the early 1900s, Metcalf Archaeological Consultants was part of the team brought in to study what had been found. Read about how the project team plans to balance development and historic preservation in the Grand Forks Herald.
    • Staff from New South Associates, Inc. have been excavating the site of a settlement first established by emancipated slaves right after the Civil War. Read more about the project and what they found on the site, which will eventually be used to widen U.S. Route 17, in the Brunswick News.
    • Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI) is excavating the old Chinatown in Redlands, CA, and President Donn Grenda gave a tour of the site in which he detailed what has already been uncovered. Discover more about the project in Redlands Community News.
    • Brockington and Associates was a part of a fascinating project which inspired a community art exhibition that engaged all age groups, from children to elders alike. Learn about the Anson Street African Burials and more in the Charleston Chronicle.
    • New South Associates has found a potential Native American burial site and other culturally significant artifacts, causing the TVA to reassess a planned transmission line installation. Read more about the project in the Times Free Press.
  • 05/29/2019 3:04 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The ACHP is back for ACRA's next session in its 2019 webinar series! Join us on June 20 at 2:00 pm EDT for Planning for Successful Section 106 Agreements, which will take a deep dive into this integral portion of the Section 106 process.

    When a federal agency finds that an undertaking may adversely affect a historic property, it must consider measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate such adverse effects and document the resolution of the Section 106 consultation in a formal, legal agreement. The agency must then implement the measures in the agreement.

    In this webinar, attendees will practice applying the tools for agreement writing and reviewing provided in the ACHP’s Guidance on Agreement Documents. The presenters will also guide participants in performing a “reality check” for agreement consultation. Cultural resources professionals and project/program managers with a strong understanding in the requirements of Section 106 consultation will benefit from this fresh look at effective strategies to execute implementable agreements in a timely manner.

    The expert providers for this webinar are Kelly Fanizzo, ACHP Associate General Counsel, and Katry Harris, ACHP Training Specialist. Both joined the ACHP in 2006 and are well-versed in Section 106, NEPA coordination, and historic preservation law.

    Spaces are first come, first serve, so reserve your spot today!

    Register NOW

  • 05/23/2019 10:30 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Last week, ACRA members converged on Washington, D.C. to stand up for the issues that matter to their firms and the CRM industry. As a part of CRM Day on the Hill, members visited 32 congressional offices on both sides of the aisle (19 Democrats and 13 Republicans), and the issues discussed in each meeting were tailored specifically to the district, committee assignments, and interests of the legislator. ACRA members were carrying the message on:

    • Infrastructure
      With infrastructure being a hot topic for legislators and the administration alike, ACRA members demonstrated their expertise in facilitating responsible infrastructure development that appropriately balances development and community historic preservation values. Emphasis was placed on developing an infrastructure plan that provides sufficient resources to support efficient and effective permitting reviews to help streamline the process.
    • Historic Preservation Funding
      The Fiscal year 2020 request from ACRA including $60 million for SHPOs, $20 million for THPOs, and $5 million for digitizing cultural resources data.
    • The Veterans Curation Program
      Created to process at-risk archaeological collections belonging to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this five-month program provides employment, vocational training, and technology skills to veterans seeking to improve their access to the mainstream job market. Managed by ACRA member firm New South Associates, the VCP provides veterans a valuable bridging experience from active duty into the public sector. Legislators were asked to continue current funding levels for this vital program.
    • The African-American Burial Grounds Act
      The Adams-McEachin-Budd African-American Burial Grounds Network Act creates a voluntary national network of historic African-American burial grounds. This legislation also establishes a National Park Service program to educate the public and provide technical assistance for community members and organizations to research and preserve burial sites and cemeteries within the Network. Members of the House were asked to co-sponsor this bill while Senators were asked whether they would be interested in introducing the Senate version.

    Check out the photos from the day below, and thank you so much to our attendees for taking the time to stand up for CRM on Capitol Hill!

    Not able to attend, but want to make a difference from your home state? Contact us now and we will help you schedule an in-district meeting!

    Jasmine Heckman (left) & Sarah Janesko of New South Associates and the Veterans Curation Program 

    ACRA President Kim Redman (Alpine Archaeological Consultants) with Senator Corey Gardner (R-CO)

    Andrew Weir (Commonwealth Heritage Group, left) & Jacob Petrie (New South Associates, right) with Representative Jack Bergman (R-MI-1)

    Dan Cassedy (AECOM, left) & Wade Catts (South River Heritage Consulting)

    Wade Catts (South River Heritage Consulting, left) & Mike Carmody (Dovetail Cultural Resource Group) meet with staff from the office of Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-AL)

    Burr Neely (AECOM) & Ian Burrow (BurrowIntoHistory)

    Sara Read (New South Associates) at the office of Senator David Perdue (R-GA)

    Members from New South Associates & Dovetail Cultural Resource Group at the office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)
    From left to right: Yemisi Egbewole (Senator Warner's office), Jacob Petrie (New South), Brad Hatch (Dovetail), Jasmine Heckman (New South), Adriana Moss (Dovetail), Michael Carmody (Dovetail)

    Sara Read & J.W. Joseph of New South Associates

    Members from Dovetail Cultural Resource Group visit the office of Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
    From left to right: Mike Carmody, Adriana Moss, Nick Barbash (Senator Kaine's office), Brad Hatch

    Ian Burrow (BurrowIntoHistory, left) & Wade Catts (South River Heritage Consulting) at the office of Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE)

    Group dinner on Capitol Hill before storming the Hill

  • 05/22/2019 1:46 PM | Deleted user

    The House Appropriations Committee has released the report for the FY20 Interior Appropriations Bill! It’s very good news for the CRM industry, but there is one particular disappointment.

    First the Good:

    • The Historic Preservation Fund is funded at $121.66 million, which includes an increase of $4 million for SHPOs and $2 million for THPOS. $16 million is included for Save America’s Treasures, and there is $23.25 million (an increase of $8 million) for competitive grants to document, interpret, and preserve under-represented historic sites.
    • The bill includes some remarkable language asking for the National Register proposed rule to be withdrawn. The report states: “Proposed Rulemaking.—The Committee is concerned with the Service’s proposal to modify long-standing procedures to nominate properties to the National Register. It remains unclear to the Committee what problems the Service is trying to solve by its proposal. The Committee does not believe that the proposed changes are required by the minor amendments that Congress made to the National Historic Preservation Act in 2016. Further, the Committee is troubled that the Service failed to consult with other federal land management agencies, state and tribal historic preservation officers, and other key stakeholders during the proposal’s development or conduct required consultation. The Committee urges the Service to withdraw the proposed rule and consult with key stakeholders on the underlying issues the Service is trying to resolve. Such stakeholders should include other federal land management agencies, including the Department of Defense, state and tribal historic preservation officers, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Committee also expects the United States to enter into meaningful government-to-government consultation with affected tribes prior to finalizing any changes to the regulation.”
    • NEA and NEH are both funded at $167.5 million and the report notes that “The Committee recognizes the broad bipartisan support for the NEA and its work to promote access to the arts in every community across America. Each year, every district receives NEA funding to support art programs that can enhance economic development, create jobs, and expand arts learning.” The report particularly references NEH programs that advance civil discourse on challenging issues, NEH programs aimed at supporting veterans and increasing awareness of their experiences, NEH cultural and linguistic preservation programs related to Tribal and Alaska/Hawaiian native groups, and State humanities councils.
    • NPS is to receive a variety of funding increases to address deferred maintenance and cuts over the years, which includes a $50 million increase for workforce rebuilding (restoration of 500 positions) and a $20 million grant to the Centennial Challenge matching grant program. The report has some language in it about how the Committee is frustrated because the funding is separated between facility operations and facility maintenance, but individual parks have been switching between those accounts and are therefore still deferring maintenance. The Committee also notes that: “The Committee was deeply troubled by the decision by senior officials at the Department of the Interior to change longstanding policy during the fiscal year 2019 partial government shutdown and use fee revenues to provide services for certain national parks and other public lands. This decision contributed to national parks being kept open to the public during the shutdown without sufficient staffing to adequately protect public safety or natural and cultural resources.”
    • NPS gets an overall budget bump including $132.9 million for cultural resource stewardship, an increase of almost $10.8 million. That includes $1 million towards the national networks (which is where the burial grounds network would be if it passes). Other grants like NAGPRA, Japanese Confinement Site grants, native Art and Culture grants, which were proposed to be eliminated in the administration’s budget are funded slightly above the enacted level.
    • It includes a $3 million increase for BLM’s cultural resources management account (for a total of $20.303 million) and explicitly directs that half of that go toward the National Cultural Resources Information Management System! The bill is strongly supportive of digitization and planning efforts: “The Committee directs that half of the additional cultural resources funding be allocated toward 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 cultural resources management account has not seen an increase in several years, and they have done as we requested and directly linked the new allocation to NCRIMS!
    • It also includes our request to increase the National Conservation Lands Account. It provides $45.112 million (up $5.293 million from FY19). The report states, “The Committee believes a modest increase in this program will allow for greater inventory and monitoring of cultural resources and encourages the Bureau to increase its cultural resources staff.”
    • The report affirms Congress’s intent not to allow leases within 10 miles of Chaco Canyon: “Greater Chaco Cultural Landscape.—The Committee recognizes that the Bureau of Land Management has delayed scheduled lease sales in areas within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park on three occasions since March 2018. The Committee is also aware of the recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals vacating the Bureau of Land Management environmental analysis for oil and gas leasing in the area. The Greater Chaco cultural landscape has inestimable value for Native people and for the American public. The Committee directs the Bureau to refrain from leasing or proposing new leases within a 10-mile radius of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The Committee further directs the Bureau to prioritize planning updates for the region, increase cultural resources inventories in cooperation with the State of New Mexico and tribes to ensure well-informed land management decisions, and engage in meaningful government-to-government consultation with tribes, including conducting ethnographic studies outside of the 10-mile radius.”

    The Bad:

    • The Historic Preservation Fund appropriation doesn’t include proposed competitive grants for cultural resources digitization. This issue was championed by ACRA and other interested organizations, and our team will be working to find out more about the reasons for its exclusion.

    Please feel free to review the report here and tell us if you have any other thoughts or concerns.

  • 05/21/2019 4:25 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The ACRA board supports the communication strategy developed by the Promoting Synergy Between the Academy and the CRM Industry Task Force to foster collaboration, and has asked Duane Peter to be chairperson of a newly formed committee.  The Academic Collaboration Committee will implement the communication strategy and develop concepts for promoting further collaboration.

    The committee will be made up of both ACRA CRM industry representatives and academic representatives. Initial efforts will focus on communicating the need for digitization and preservation of data sets for the future. This effort is aimed at influencing fellow professionals, State Historic Preservation Officers, ACHP, the National Trust, and congressional representatives. We will also be working on efforts to promote academic/industry collaboration.

    The Society for Archaeological Sciences has already indicated an interest in working with the committee to promote collaboration. What is needed at this point is additional ACRA representatives to serve on the committee. The committee will function primarily by teleconference and email. If you have ideas on fostering collaboration with the academic community, please contact Duane Peter to join this worthwhile effort.

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