• 08/06/2021 1:12 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From the National Park Service (NPS):

    The National Historic Landmarks Program is pleased to announce the release of a new theme study, Civil Rights in America: Racial Discrimination in Housing. As part four of the five-part Civil Rights in America series, this theme study examines the history of race-based housing discrimination leading to the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Beyond potential NHLs, the context here and in other NHL theme studies can be useful when preparing National Register nominations. The complete accessible PDF including analysis of potentially nationally significant properties is available for download here.

    NPS has also announced $1.9 million in grants to nine Indian Tribes, one Native Hawaiian organization, and 22 museums to assist in the consultation, documentation and repatriation of ancestral remains and cultural items as part of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Eleven grants will fund the transportation and return of 11 cultural items, more than 4,000 funerary objects, and human remains comprising 82 ancestors. You can see more information and the full list of grant recipients here.
  • 08/05/2021 1:41 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    There are only 10 days left before prices go up on registration for the 2021 ACRA conference!

    The early bird registration prices will end after August 15. After that date, prices will go up by $50 for each category.

    This year’s conference theme — A Watershed Year: Navigating Change in the CRM Industry — focuses on how the past few years have brought historic changes to not just ACRA, but to the CRM industry overall and the nation at large. From navigating new ways of conducting business in the face of COVID-19 to addressing long-standing diversity issues in the industry, now is the time for CRM firms to come together to bring lasting positive change.

    Don't miss out on the premier CRM event of the year - register NOW to make sure you get the best rate!

    We know that many of you have questions regarding the health & safety protocols at the ACRA conference, especially with the emergence of the delta variant. Please know that the safety and comfort of our attendees is our first and most important priority, and we will be issuing a detailed health & safety plan next week (so stay tuned!).

  • 08/02/2021 12:49 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

    After months of negotiating, posturing and near-death experiences, Congress is poised to pass a massive infrastructure bill that could reshape many aspects of the U.S. economy, including for the CRM industry.

    A bipartisan group of Senators came to agreement with the White House last week on a nearly trillion-dollar, 2700 page-long bill that includes more than $550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, broadband and a host of other long-neglected infrastructure needs. The bill easily cleared its first procedural hurdles last week, overcoming a filibuster with room to spare as 17 GOP Senators joined with all Democrats to move ahead on the bill. The Senate is now starting to hear amendments to the bill, with the hopes of passing it by the end of the week.

    The bill would provide:

    • $110 billion for roads, highways and bridges
    • $66 billion in passenger and freight rail
    • $39 billion to modernize public transit
    • $7.5 billion to create the first federal network of charging stations for electric vehicles
    • $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access
    • $55 billion for water infrastructure
    • $46 billion for resiliency, including cybersecurity as well as programs to protect and mitigate against natural disasters
    • $55 billion to improve the country’s drinking water, including a program that seeks to replace every lead pipe in America
    • $25 billion for repairs at major airports
    • $73 billion to modernize the nation’s energy grid
    • $21 billion to respond to environmental concerns, including pollution

    The bill also makes permanent permit streamlining reforms Congress first enacted six years ago. FAST-41 significantly reformed the federal infrastructure permitting process, creating the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, which brings together agencies at the start of the permitting process for large, complicated infrastructure projects to prepare a comprehensive permitting plan across agencies. The bill will make FAST-41 permanent, expand FAST-41 benefits to tribal projects, set a two-year goal for permitting covered projects, and encourage federal agencies to use one document to track permitting decisions ("One Federal Decision”).

    The potential impact of the bill on the CRM industry is sizable: the infrastructure projects that the bill will create will be subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, creating work for CRM firms – as well as increased burdens on state and tribal historic preservation offices (S/THPOs), which already are facing increased demands for their services.

    The rising workload for S/THPOs is one reason why ACRA and its allies successfully lobbied the House to include, in its transportation bill, a permanent authorization and increased funding levels for the Historic Preservation Fund. The House-passed provision, proposed by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), increases the amount authorized to be spent from the Fund each year from the current $150 million to $300 million and changes the law so that Congress will no longer need to renew the Fund every few years for it to continue. ACRA and its allies are working to build support for the provision in the Senate.

    Getting the infrastructure bill passed by the Senate will be an impressive feat, but that does not mean the bill will enjoy smooth sailing from then on. The bill still needs to pass the House, where numerous members of the Democratic majority are unhappy that the bill does not include more investments in fighting climate change, advancing racial equity and helping workers. They are pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to hold up the bipartisan bill until Senate Democrats pass a separate, larger social infrastructure bill which the Senate is likely to take up in the fall. House Democrats also want to have the opportunity to amend the Senate bill, but the Senate and White House are concerned that any changes the House makes to the bill could upend the delicate bipartisan agreement. That said, considering the amount of political capital that President Biden has put into getting the infrastructure bill passed (and into demonstrating that bipartisanship is still possible in Washington), most observers agree that it is only a matter of time before the infrastructure bill gets to Biden’s desk for his signature.

    Meanwhile, progress continues on other issues of importance to CRM. Last week the House approved the annual appropriations (funding) bill for the Department of Interior and other agencies for the new fiscal year that starts in October. In that bill, the House provides nearly $156 million for the Historic Preservation Fund; if that level makes it through the Senate, it would represent the largest single-year amount ever appropriated for the Fund.

    The House also approved legislation backed by ACRA that would provide free passes to national parks and other federal lands to active servicemembers, veterans and Gold Star Families. The bill, the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act (H.R. 4300), passed 420-0, with every Republican and Democrat voting aye. Granted, legislation to help soldiers and veterans enjoy national parks should not be the least bit controversial. But the unanimous vote – like the infrastructure bill – shows that bipartisanship in Washington is not entirely dead.

  • 07/30/2021 11:47 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Yesterday the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act (H.R. 4300), bipartisan legislation backed by ACRA and many other organizations, passed the House in a unanimous vote.  The legislation would provide free passes to national parks and other federal lands to active servicemembers, veterans and Gold Star Families so they can freely enjoy national parks and public lands.

    The bill will now be taken up by the Senate. Stay tuned to the ACRAsphere for more information!

    Bill Background:

    The America the Beautiful Pass provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges. This includes some of our most iconic treasures, ranging from Grand Canyon National Park to the awe-inspiring Redwood National Forest.

    Although we can never repay the debt we owe to our servicemembers and veterans, the VIP Act would allow them, along with Gold Star Family members, to visit our national parks and public lands free of charge. In 2020, the America the Beautiful annual pass became free for veterans and Gold Star Families. However, this change for veterans has never been codified and could be undone in future years. The VIP Act protects these passes by codifying them and making them lifetime passes instead of annual passes. The VIP Act also creates annual passes for current service members, which can be converted into lifetime passes once they leave the military. At markup, an amendment was adopted to change the short title of the bill to honor Alexander Lofgren, a military and veterans liaison who worked for U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva through the Wounded Warrior Fellowship program. Alexander tragically passed away earlier this year.

  • 07/27/2021 2:38 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Technical Editing for CRM

    August 12, 2021
    2:00 - 3:30 PM (EDT)
    Register Now

    Members $89 | Students $19 | Non-Members $129

    Last year we presented a webinar on technical writing for CRM (watch that on demand here!), and now the expert presenter is back for the next installment: technical editing!

    All CRM practitioners practice technical editing in the course of their daily jobs, and their deliverables count on clean, quick, accurate editing. Yet, the industry doesn't have a consistent system or understanding of what technical editing is in general and how to best leverage it in a CRM setting. On August 12, Technical Editing for CRM will go into topics discussed in the technical writing webinar, but more in-depth.

    The presentation will focus on training CRM employees, whether they are project directors, field technicians, or even administrative staff, to quickly target the most common errors in CRM technical reports, leverage the power of Word to be more consistent, introduce fewer errors in the process, and work more collaboratively with authors.

    As always, in addition to reduced pricing, ACRA member firms enjoy a firm-wide registration fee - once one person pays for a spot, all other firm employees can register for no additional cost.

    We expect spaces to fill up quick, so register NOW to reserve your spot!

    Register for Technical Editing for CRM

  • 07/23/2021 12:45 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Yesterday's webinar, Reframing Public Outreach: Addressing Historically Underrepresented Communities in CRM, is now available on ACRA Webinars on Demand!

    Frequently used research and outreach methods that CRM practitioners employ often do not effectively consider or reach underrepresented communities. Why is this? What are we missing? How can we do better? This session provides strategies to answer these questions and more.

    This webinar is the first in a series hosted by ACRA that explores effectively addressing historically underrepresented communities in historic preservation during regulatory processes and how to identify these communities and to engage in a meaningful manner.

    As with the live session, this webinar is available to ACRA members at a discounted price. Members can get the discount code to access the presentation here.

    Watch the Underrepresented Communities Webinar NOW

  • 07/19/2021 1:46 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

    Congress and the White House are working furiously to pass not one, but two, massive infrastructure bills that could reshape many parts of the economy, from transportation to education and health care – and could have large impacts on the CRM industry.

    With all the maneuvering and proposals flying back and forth, let’s take a moment to break down all the moving parts:

    How We Got Here

    Joe Biden was elected partly on his platform of “Build Back Better,” promising increased spending on infrastructure, action on climate change, and expansion of the social safety net. The 2020 election results, a 50-50 split in the Senate coupled with the Democrats’ narrow majority in the House, gave Democrats control of all the policymaking levers in Washington, but barely.

    Traditional infrastructure, meaning roads, bridges, water systems, rail and other “hard” elements, has traditionally received bipartisan support, but in the current partisan environment, even infrastructure is a hard sell. Meanwhile, Biden’s call for more spending on “soft” infrastructure like early childhood education, senior care, clean energy and the like, has received near-unanimous opposition from Republicans.

    Although Democrats have a functional majority in the Senate (50 Senators plus the tiebreaking vote of the Vice President), Senate filibuster rules mean that Democrats need to secure the support of at least 10 Republicans to move any legislation, with one exception (more on that in a second). And Democrats can’t even count on all 50 Senators sticking together, with a caucus that ranges from super-progressive Bernie Sanders (VT) to conservative Joe Manchin (WV).

    The one exception to the filibuster rule is a process called “reconciliation,” which is used for legislation to address the federal budget (taxes and spending), A reconciliation bill can’t be filibustered, meaning Democrats need just 50 Senators – but because everything in a reconciliation bill has to directly affect the federal budget, a lot of things Democrats want can’t be passed in a reconciliation bill (i.e., back to needing 60 votes).

    Consequently Biden – who also campaigned on his ability to negotiate deals in the Senate – adopted a two-track process: work with some Republicans on a “hard” infrastructure package that could get 60 votes, while at the same time using reconciliation on a Democrats-only package that incudes a lot of his other priorities.

    The Bipartisan “Hard” Infrastructure Plan

    Two weeks ago, Biden and a bipartisan group of 10 Senators came to agreement on a framework for a “hard” infrastructure package. The package would spend $1.2 trillion over 8 years, including $579 billion in new spending, on roads, bridges, water systems, broadband and other traditional infrastructure. The biprasn group of Senators, which now has swelled to 22, is now working on filling in all the details. Majority Leader Schumer said last week he will start debate on the bill this week.

    Although the bill has support from both parties, there is no guarantee that it will ultimately succeed, as many Republicans may still oppose it – and some progressive Democrats aren’t happy that it does not include more funding.

    That is where the other bill comes in.

    The Democratic “Soft” Infrastructure Plan

    Last week, the White House and Senate Democrats came to an agreement on the broad outline of a $3.5 trillion "soft" infrastructure bill last week. Although the details have not yet been finalized, the bill could address several parts of President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda, including universal prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds, two years of free community college, clean energy requirements for utilities, and expanded Medicare benefits. The plan would be paid for with a combination of tax increases on corporations, increased IRS enforcement, and other provisions.

    The size of the bill is smaller than progressive Democrats had wanted, but larger than moderate and conservative Dems had been aiming for. At this point, the plan has not engendered any opposition from Senate Democrats, which is crucial since the plan would need all 50 Senate Dems to support it, assuming that no Senate Republicans back the plan. If Democrats are able to stick together, this plan could become law.

    What is the Timeframe for Action?

    There are two key deadlines for action on the infrastructure bills, one official and one less so.

    The official deadline is September 30, when the current surface transportation law expires. If Congress fails to act, states will not receive billions of dollars in funding for roads, bridges and other transportation needs. Therefore, the bipartisan “hard” infrastructure bill will likely serve as the vehicle (no pun intended) to extend those programs. In fact, the House and Senate have both been working on transportation bills, which are expected to be folded into the bipartisan bill.

    The non-official deadline is the 2022 midterm election, when all of the House and a third of the Senate are up for grabs. Democrats, worried that they may very well lose their majorities in a year, are anxious to get as much of Biden’s agenda passed now. Since passing major legislation gets trickier the closer you get to an election, they hope to wrap up the larger bill by the end of 2021.

    How Will CRM Be Affected?

    The size and scope of the two bills will impact the CRM industry in myriad ways, from the indirect to the more specific. Here are some of the ways in which the bills could affect CRM firms:

    • Infrastructure spending. If Congress increases spending on major infrastructure projects, there will be more Section 106 reviews, which means more work for CRM firms.
    • Regulatory streamlining. Every infrastructure debate comes with calls to reduce red tape. That means there are calls to “streamline” Section 106, and even exempt certain projects from it. To date, none of the proposals moving through Congress explicitly impact Section 106.

      But that could change. One area where there is the possibility of changes to Sec. 106 involves railroad rights-of-way (ROW). Although the railroad industry has been pressing Congress to allow more exemptions from Sec. 106, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee did not include such a provision in the transportation bill they approved, instead authorizing a study by the General Accounting Office (GAO) to assess the extent to which the existing exemptions work. But the railroad industry is continuing to press for more exemptions as the bill moved forward.
    • Historic Preservation Fund. As noted in the last Your Congress in Action, the House-passed transportation bill included an ACRA-backed amendment to permanently authorize the Historic Preservation Fund and double its annual authorization to $300 million. ACRA is now working with its allies to secure Senate support for a similar amendment.

    Congress and the White House have a long way to go before any infrastructure legislation is enacted into law. For the CRM industry, this process presents an opportunity to make sure its priorities are reflected in whatever bills become law.

    A great way to do that is by attending ACRA’s 27th Annual Conference in Old Town Alexandria, VA, September 8-12, 2021. On Thursday, September 9, ACRA members will go to Capitol Hill and lobby their elected representatives on the issues that matter the most to the industry. With Congress expected to be in the midst of the debate over these landmark bills, the timing is right to make sure that policymakers understand the value of CRM.

  • 07/16/2021 2:52 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!

    • ACRA member firm Morton Archaeological Research Services is working with the Mohican Tribal Historic Preservation Office on a project in Stockbridge, MA that aims to proactively educate area residents about the history and founding of the town. Read more about how the community is coming together in an effort to correct historical interpretation in the Berkshire Eagle.

    • ACRA member firm Dovetail Cultural Resource Group has been working on a collaborative history initiative with the Fredericksburg Nationals and others to discover the history of baseball in the area - including a special scholarship program for local students! Read more on fredericksburg.com.

    • ACRA member firm Hunter Research, Inc. recently worked to get the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, the home of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, added to the National Register of Historic Places. Read more about the project (including feedback from fellow ACRA member Ian Burrow, who is an SSAAM board member!) in the Hillsborough Beacon.

  • 07/14/2021 4:45 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The following post was submitted by Daron Duke, ACRA Board of Directors At-Large member and ACRA representative to CfAS.

    There is still time to apply! But the deadline— July 23rd — is approaching.

    The Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS) is seeking participants for a new initiative that was recently recommended for funding by the US National Science Foundation. The project is entitled The Creation and Division of Wealth and the Long-term Consequences of Inequality: Views from Archaeology and is led by Tim Kohler (Washington State University) and Amy Bogaard (University of Oxford). It will advance understandings of relationships between inequality and other dimensions of human social dynamics as they are revealed by the archaeological record. The project will be pursued by a working group of 10 researchers who have expertise in the study of social inequality and who have and are willing to share data and expertise pertinent to the topic. Researchers regardless of nationality are eligible; CfAS is committed to diversity and professional development and strongly encourages participation by junior and historically underrepresented researchers, heritage management professionals as well as academics, and by individuals from developing countries and indigenous communities.

    If you are interested in participating, please see the Request for Information (It can also be found on the CfAS website). The due date for responses is July 23, 2021.

    ACRA also encourages you to sign up as an individual CfAS Associate. It is quick and easy to sign up, and it is free. That way you will receive information directly from CfAS as soon as it is released.

  • 07/08/2021 4:04 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Last month we announced that the 2021 ACRA Conference will be held in person, and we couldn't be more thrilled to see you! One great thing about holding the conference in Old Town Alexandria is that our attendees will have an opportunity to make a real difference for the CRM industry through visits to Capitol Hill.

    All conference attendees – even if you are not from an ACRA member firm – are invited to join us in meeting with legislators in the halls of Congress. ACRA will handle all of the logistics and make sure you are prepared: from scheduling your meetings for you to providing briefings and talking points, it has never been easier to make your voice heard while at the premier CRM event of the year!

    The visits to Capitol Hill will be held on Thursday, September 9 before the public ACRA board meeting and welcome reception.

    The earlier you register, the better – ACRA will need time to plan your Capitol Hill meetings. Register now to start making an impact for your industry!

    Register for the 2021 ACRA Conference Now

    More information on the conference including session schedules, public health protocols, and more is available on the 2021 conference webpage.

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

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