• 09/17/2020 5:44 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The ACRA Virtual Conference is just a week away! If you haven't had a chance to attend one of our conferences in the past, whether due to scheduling or financial constraints, this is your chance to see how the conference facilitates discussions on industry issues, improves business operations for your firm, and gives attendees the chance to expand partnering opportunities. For students and those just starting in their careers in CRM, this conference gives you the ability to meet with prospective employers across the country.

    Don't miss the premier CRM event of the year - if you haven't registered yet, do so NOW on the event page!

    Session Updates

    We are thrilled to announce that the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Chairman Aimee Jorjani will be joining us at the start of our Thursday session! She will take a few minutes to address attendees before her colleague Blythe Semmer leads a webinar on the use of e-106 systems as documentation and workflows in the Section 106 process move increasingly online.

    Attendees will be encouraged to participate directly in the discussion roundtables that will be held in the latter half of each day. Tackling topics like diversity and inclusion in the industry, strategies for continuing to navigate the ongoing pandemic, and more, you will have the ability to directly participate in the conversations most pertinent to CRM right now.

    Additional Networking Opportunities

    Our conference software allows for increased interaction with other attendees. You can have face-to-face conversations with other attendees at virtual tables, and we have now designated one virtual floor for private conversations! Whether you want to meet with prospective employees or simply chat in private with a colleague, floor 4 will be designated as the floor for these opportunities.

    We will be sending out detailed information on the system to registrants next week, and you will have ample time to utilize all that the system has to offer.

    You can view the full schedule of webinars, roundtables, and more here.Your CRM colleagues will be in attendance - register now so you aren't the one that misses out!


  • 09/16/2020 8:19 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. This information is sourced from the Coalition for American Heritage, news articles, and more. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

    • Discussions on further pandemic relief packages have continued to stall. The President has called for congressional Republicans to support an economic relief bill with higher numbers than previously proposed and stimulus checks for Americans. More information on the latest in the pandemic relief talks is available from the Washington Post.
    • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi have publicly committed to passing a “clean” continuing resolution that will fund the federal government until sometime after the election, therefore avoiding a government shutdown on October 1. More information is in the Washington post here.
    • While the legal fights against the updated NEPA regulations continue, a Virginia court ruled that conservation groups hadn’t met the legal bar for a preliminary injunction that would shelve the updated regulations while their legal challenge against it proceeds. This ruling is likely to be appealed, and more information is available from Bloomberg Law. This legal challenge is among several being considered by the courts and thus is not considered to be the final ruling.

      Please continue to let us know what you are seeing in the field. This includes when you see agencies using the revised NEPA regulations or recent Executive Orders to waive preservation requirements on projects on which you work, or even projects you hear about.

    • The US Army Corps of Engineers is planning to re-issue their nationwide permits according to a notice in the Federal Register. ACRA and its partners at the Coalition for American Heritage are working to analyze the changes and put together comments for submittal.
    • REMINDER: ACRA has created resources to help you take action for historic preservation in your state as state budgets are considered this fall. Many states are facing budgets cuts due to decreased tax revenue, and both SHPO offices and infrastructure projects could be affected as a result. Because the budget discussions in each state vary widely, the best place to start is to meet with your state's SHPO and/or state archaeologist. ACRA has compiled a list of resources to make requesting and holding these meetings as fast as possible, including a sample meeting request and a list of suggested questions. If you are having trouble finding the contact information for your SHPO or state archaeologist, let us know and we can easily provide that for you.

      Once you have a clear picture of the historic preservation budget discussions in your state, you can reach out to your state legislators to tell them about the importance of this funding to both businesses and the larger community. If you do hold a meeting with your SHPO or state archaeologist, please submit a brief summary of the meeting in this report back form.

    • Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX) and Filemon Vela (D-TX) introduced a bill to make a three-room adobe schoolhouse in southwestern Texas into National Historic Site. Because of de facto segregation in Texas, the school was the only educational facility for Mexican-Americans in the state for 50 years. The National Parks Conservation Association has already endorsed the bill.
    • Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) introduced a bill, REFUSE Confederate Principles Act, would direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish a grant program to provide funds for the removal of Confederate symbols.
    • The Coalition for American Heritage is conducting a survey of current candidates for federal office to identify where they stand on our biggest issues. Please encourage candidates in your district to answer the survey (found here), and you can see the results from those that have already completed it on the Coalition website.
  • 09/14/2020 5:31 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From the ACHP:

    Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Chairman Aimee Jorjani today announced the issuance of a Program Comment that provides the Department of the Army with an alternate way to comply with its responsibilities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This Program Comment specifically addresses the Army’s inventory of housing, associated buildings and structures, and landscape features constructed on Army installations nationwide during the Inter-War period from 1919-1940.

    The Program Comment went into effect on September 4, 2020, after ACHP members voted in favor of its issuance.

    In February 2019, the Secretary of the Army declared a housing crisis in response to widespread reports of historic housing containing hazardous materials, such as lead-based paint, and other conditions affecting military families living in this housing. In response, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment Alex Beehler issued an Army NHPA Strategy in July 2019, directing the Army Federal Preservation Officer (FPO) to pursue a programmatic NHPA compliance solution for historic Army housing.

    The Army consulted with State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs), and others to develop the Program Comment that establishes procedures for the management of the Army’s nationwide inventory of more than 3,200 housing units from this era, which are located in 16 states on 23 Army or joint installations. The ACHP consulted these parties further in considering whether to issue the Program Comment.

    “ACHP members support the Army’s intent to more efficiently manage this historic housing, so it can continue to be safely occupied by our nation’s soldiers and their families,” Chairman Jorjani said. “The comment was the result of much discussion and cooperation and will streamline the Section 106 review process while protecting and maintaining historic properties.”

    “The magnitude of this challenge requires that we shape our historic preservation compliance actions in new and innovative ways,” Hon. Beehler said. “This Program Comment establishes a new paradigm for integration of historic preservation as part of the answer to Army historic housing issues.”

    The management actions covered by this Program Comment include maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, renovation, abatement, mothballing, demolition, replacement construction, new construction, lease, and conveyance. The Army regards all Inter-War Era housing as historic properties and acknowledges that these actions present a potential for adverse effects to them.

    For most undertakings covered by the Program Comment, the Army will not have to go through individual, case-by-case Section 106 review, but will follow procedures for decision making and materials selection included in the Program Comment, as well as two companion documents appended to the Program Comment: the Design Guidelines and Building Materials Catalog. These documents will be followed by the Army or its housing partners where housing has been privatized.

    In the case of demolition, the Army will follow a procedure to identify housing condition, its vacancy or underutilization, and evaluate alternatives to its demolition. Each demolition proposal will be accompanied by a report for SHPO, Indian tribe, NHO, ACHP, and public review prior to a final decision at the Army Headquarters level.

    The ACHP will soon be submitting the Program Comment to the Federal Register for publication.

    While Inter-War Era housing represents only a subset of the Army’s overall portfolio of more than 100,000 total housing units, it is the largest remaining single category of Army historic housing that has not previously been addressed on a nationwide NHPA programmatic basis. The Army’s decision to pursue this programmatic solution follows on the success of a prior Program Comment for its large inventory of Capehart-Wherry Era (1949-1962) historic housing in 2002.

    A Program Comment is one among a number of administrative tools the ACHP can use to provide greater flexibility and tailored approaches for federal agencies as they work to ensure historic preservation interests are balanced with development needs.

    You can also view this press release on the ACHP website.

  • 09/14/2020 1:23 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Advances in Archaeological Practice, a quarterly digital journal published on behalf of the Society for American Archaeology, is devoted to sharing creative solutions to challenges in the practice of archaeology. Their latest issue is focused on creative mitigation, and contains articles and input from employees of many ACRA member firms.

    Sarah Herr of ACRA member firm Desert Archaeology, Inc. is co-editor of the journal, and John Douglass of Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI) serves as one of the guest editors for the issue. From a piece on sustainable neighborhood public outreach from AECOM's Stephen Tull to an article on the role of modeling and synthesis in creative mitigation, this issue highlights the expertise of ACRA member firms and their employees.

    The entire issue is open access, so there is no paywall or password requirements for reading any of the articles. Check it out now!

  • 09/11/2020 12:59 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab (MAC Lab) has recently published a guide to x-radiography. MAC Lab is a state-of-the-art archaeological research, conservation, and curation facility located at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, the State Museum of Archaeology, in southern Maryland. It serves as a clearinghouse for archaeological collections recovered from land-based and underwater projects conducted by State and Federal agencies throughout Maryland.

    Of particular interest to CRM practitioners is that the guide includes a section on incorporating x-radiography in the lab workflow to allow responsible documentation and sampling of corroded metals that are not a conservation priority (and will therefore turn to dust over time).

    This is in the Maryland standards that took effect in 2019, and the main point of the x-ray guide is to walk people through the reasoning and logistics of the process.

    The guide is available here.

  • 09/10/2020 5:44 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Due to technical issues, Technical Writing for CRM: Developing More Efficient Communication, originally scheduled for today, has been rescheduled for October 22, 2020 at 2:00 pm Eastern.

    All current registrations have been transferred to that date, so no further action is needed on your part if you registered for today's session and are still able to attend on the new date. ACRA would be happy to provide a refund to those that can no longer attend on that date. 

    If you were unable to get a space for today's session, please add yourself to the wait list. Offers will be made if and when cancellations come in.

    Ms. Moreno has also graciously offered to provide extra resources regarding this topic to not just attendees, but all ACRA members are no additional cost. These will be posted on the ACRAsphere in the coming weeks.

    We apologize again for any inconvenience this has caused, and we sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding.

  • 09/08/2020 2:40 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Richard Grubb, Vice President of Richard Grubb & Associates, Inc. and ACRA's Vice President of Membership, has been awarded the Member of the Year Award by the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE). Richard’s successful relationship with civil, transportation, infrastructure, and multiple other types of engineers has continued the cross-disciplinary awareness of the many pieces of the infrastructure puzzle. His work encouraging the establishment of ASHE Student Chapters has not only benefited the engineering community but also exposed engineering students and professional engineers to the importance of CRM.

    From the ASHE: 

    Richard Grubb joined the ASHE Southern New Jersey Section in 2005 and immediately got involved with Section activities, including the Membership and Student Chapter Committees. He also serves as a Section Director.

    Richard is co-owner of Richard Grubb and Associates, a firm that conducts historical and archaeological studies. Through business contacts, Richard has become acquainted with many engineers and has always felt strongly about giving back to the industry that has supported him over the 30 years his firm has been in business."

    ASHE particularly notes Richard's work with the Membership Committee and ASHE students chapters among his notable achievements, work he also continues at ACRA. You can read the full profile on Richard and his award in the special conference edition of the ASHE Scanner. Congratulations to Richard, and please add your congratulations in the comments below!

  • 09/03/2020 3:24 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The ACRA Virtual Conference is in just three weeks, and we are excited to see you, even if it is virtually! Session moderators are hard at work finalizing their presentation and discussion topics, and this year's agenda will address some of the most topical issues in the CRM industry. We wanted to share a few updates with you. If you haven't registered yet, do so NOW on the event page!

    Roundtable Changes

    Our schedule features both traditional webinar presentations and roundtables meant to foster discussions on diversity and inclusion, business operations, and more. These roundtables were initially scheduled to run concurrently, with attendees having to choose between the sessions. However, many of you have mentioned that you are interested in attending both sessions on each day, so we are happy to announce that the roundtables will now be at separate times to allow you to do so! The roundtable schedule is now as follows:

    Thursday, September 24

    3:00 pm EDT: Asking Ourselves the Uncomfortable Questions: Staff Diversity in the Preservation Field

    4:00 pm EDT: There Ain’t No Business Like Small Business: The Emerging World of ACRA’s Small Business Community

    Friday, September 25

    3:00 pm EDT: Systemic bias in Historic Preservation and the CRM industry: A discussion of integrity, inclusivity, and diversity in the 21st Century

    4:00 pm EDT: Supporting Employees in the Age of COVID-19

    Additional Networking Opportunities

    Our conference software allows for increased interaction with other attendees. We will be sending out detailed information on the system as we get closer to the conference, but you will be able to sit at virtual tables with others, visit sponsors at our exhibition booths, and even have private conversations with other attendees, all through the conference platform. All of this allows for increased virtual networking, and we wanted you to be able to take advantage of that. The conference schedule now includes built in time on Friday afternoon to visit with others at the conference!

    You can view the full schedule of webinars, roundtables, and more here. The premier CRM event of the year is still on, just virtually - register now so you aren't the one that misses out!


  • 09/03/2020 1:00 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. This information is sourced from the Coalition for American Heritage, news articles, and more. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

    • Congressional negotiations over additional pandemic relief legislation are still deadlocked.
    • The Attorney Generals of California and Washington are leading a group of 23 states in a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s changes to NEPA. More information on the lawsuit is available in this article in the New York Times.
    • The African American Burial Ground Network Act was featured in a piece by National Geographic. Read the full feature here.
    • The Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), is championing several anti-regulatory bills offered by its members. The newest bill to gain their support is HR 8035, which would require agencies to disclose data in support of a proposed regulation as part of the rule making process. Disclosure requirements would include an estimating regulatory impact on wages and jobs.
    • Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) introduced a bill to create a national historic trail along the “Ox- Bow Route” which began in St. Louis or Memphis and transported passengers and mail to San Francisco.
    • ACRA is encouraging members to contact their SHPOs and/or state archaeologists regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their operations and budget for historic preservation in their state. For resources and more details to contact your SHPO or state archaeologist, click here.
    • As we head into election season, it is important to make sure your vote is counted – early, if possible. www.Vote.org can help you check your registration, polling places, and make a request for an absentee ballot. You can share this information with others in your firm and your community to ensure their voices are heard as well.
    • The U.S. Forest Service published draft revised rules on oil and gas development on national forests on 8/31. The proposed rule is available here. The comment period closes on November 2.


  • 09/02/2020 3:58 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Center for Biological Diversity has obtained a list of the projects that have been expedited in response to President Trump's Executive Order (EO) issued in June. The EO directed federal agencies to waive environmental regulations to speed up infrastructure projects under the auspices of responding to the “economic emergency” presented by the COVID-19 pandemic (more on the EO here).

    Over 50 major projects are on the list, which can be found here on pages 4 and 5. If one of your projects is on this list, we want to hear from you! How the order is being implemented directly affects the practice of cultural resource management across the country, and details on how individual projects are affected is key to ensuring the we are able to continue our efforts to protect the industry.

    Our greatest strength is you - our network of advocates across the country. Let us know in the comments below or via email if one of your projects is on this list.





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