• 07/06/2021 2:09 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 more than a year of pandemic and quarantines, it’s starting to feel more like a normal Washington summer. The temperature and humidity are rising, the masks are coming off, and the Nationals are closing in on first place in the National League East. And on Capitol Hill, the parties are maneuvering to gain the upper hand in negotiations over infrastructure, jobs, the environment and a host of other issues.

    The big news is that President Biden and a bipartisan group of Senators have come to agreement on a framework for an 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."

    But the agreement almost unraveled shortly after it was announced at the White House when Biden said that he would not sign the bill unless it was paired with a larger "human infrastructure" package that included many of his and Democrats' other priorities, including on childcare, senior care, climate and environmental justice. Republicans in the negotiating group threatened to walk away from the deal until Biden said 24 hours later that he would indeed sign the bipartisan bill even without the larger package. However, Congressional Democratic leaders have said they will not bring the compromise package up unless the larger package is passed as well. Biden needs to navigate an extremely narrow path between the interests of his party and those of the GOP if he wants to get his top priority across the finish line.

    The partisan tensions were evident when the House approved a $715 billion transportation funding package last week that would ramp up spending on rail and transit, while encouraging states to repair existing roads rather than build new ones. Historically a bipartisan issue, the transportation bill passed on a mostly party-line vote as Republicans complained they were left out of the process, resulting in a bill they said spent too much and left in place too much red tape.

    The bill did include a major win for historic preservation and cultural resource management. The House approved an ACRA-backed amendment to permanently authorize the Historic Preservation Fund and double its annual authorization to $300 million.

    The amendment was offered by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM). ACRA, the Society for American Archaeology and the American Anthropological Association urged Congress to pass the amendment, saying in a letter that it will help the Fund “be even more effective in helping states, communities and tribes protect the places that tell our nation’s story.”

    Although the amendment needs to survive the back-and forth negotiations over the transportation bill with the Senate, it is an important step forward for the Fund, which has seen demand skyrocket in recent years. ACRA is working with its allies to ensure that Rep. Leger Fernandez’ amendment stays in the bill.

    As the debate over infrastructure continues, other actions in Washington are likely to impact the CRM industry:

    • The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published an interim final rule last week extending the deadline by which federal agencies are required to adopt updated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations by two years. Prior to this announcement, federal agencies had until September 14, 2021, to adopt updated agency-specific NEPA rules based on new NEPA regulations enacted by the previous administration. That deadline will instead fall on September 14, 2023.
    • President Biden announced his intent to nominate Sara Bronin as Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) chairman. Bronin is a Mexican American architect, attorney, and policymaker specializing in historic preservation, property, land use, and climate change. She is a professor at the Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and an Associated Faculty Member of the Cornell Law School. She has held visiting positions at the Yale School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, and the Sorbonne. Among other scholarly service, Bronin is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a past chair of the State and Local Government Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools.
    • The House Appropriations Committee approved legislation last week that seeks to create a Commission on Federal Naming and Displays, which would review and recommend name changes to federal properties that are “inconsistent with the values of diversity, equity and inclusion.” The commission would create a list of recommended changes and submit them for the president’s consideration. The commission members would be appointed by the President, Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution, and must have 10 or more years of educational and professional experience in one or more of the following disciplines: history, art and antiquities, historic preservation, cultural heritage, and education. The bill now goes to the Senate.
    • Bipartisan legislation backed by ACRA and many other organizations was introduced in the House last week to provide free passes to national parks and other federal lands to active servicemembers, veterans and Gold Star Families. H.R. 4300, the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act, was introduced by Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and already has the backing of more than 130 of their congressional colleagues.

    As summer turns to fall, pressure will likely increase on Congress and the White House to deliver results on infrastructure and other top issues – including many that impact the CRM profession. That’s why it is as important than ever for CRM professionals to make their voices heard.

    Fortunately, ACRA members can get that chance this September by attending ACRA’s 27th Annual Conference in Old Town Alexandria, VA, September 8-12, 2021. On Thursday, September 9, ACRA members will head across the Potomac to Capitol Hill and lobby their elected representatives on the issues that matter the most to the industry. Don’t miss your chance to speak up for CRM – and, after a long year of Zoom calls, to do it in person!

  • 07/01/2021 3:21 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment backed by ACRA to double the size of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) and make it a permanent program.

    The amendment was offered by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) to a surface transportation reauthorization bill; the House subsequently passed the underlying bill. It 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.

    The HPF helps the National Park Service administer heritage programs such as the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic Tax Credit Program. State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (S/THPOs), which also are partially supported by the HPF, are additional key players in these programs tasked with survey and inventory of America’s historic resources. The Fund is financed by offshore oil leases. In recent years, demands for HPF funding have exceeded what the Fund is legally allowed to spend. The need for full funding of the HPF has become more critical in recent years as SHPO responsibilities have increased, new THPO offices are established, and competitive grant programs are created and expanded. The current economic crisis has only exacerbated the problem, as states seek ways to cut their own budgets, further imperiling SHPOs.

    The passage of Rep. Leger Fernandez’ amendment is a major step forward for the Fund, but it does not mean that more monies will automatically start flowing. First, her amendment needs to survive the back-and forth negotiations over the transportation bill with the Senate, which may be complicated by the intense jockeying the broader debate around infrastructure funding.

    Second, even if the amendment is enacted into law, that does not necessarily mean that $300 million will flow through the Fund each year, because Congress still needs to appropriate the funding on an annual basis. (In essence, the authorization provides a ceiling on what Congress can allow the Fund to spend each year, while the appropriation is the actual amount Congress lets the Fund spend, up to that ceiling.) To date, Congress has yet to provide the full $150 million that is currently authorized, but it has dramatically increased the amount in recent years thanks, in part, to lobbying by ACRA and others.

    ACRA is working with its allies to ensure that Rep. Leger Fernandez’ amendment stays in the bill and to see to it that, once it does, Congress provides the full amount.

  • 06/29/2021 2:34 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Reframing Public Outreach: Addressing Historically Underrepresented Communities in CRM
    July 22, 2021
    2:00 - 3:00 PM (EDT)
    Register Now

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

    Preservation and the CRM industry should be finding ways to address inherent bias against historically underrepresented communities, especially as it relates to identifying and evaluating properties in the built environment and historical archaeological resources.

    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? Join us on Thursday, July 22 at 2:00 PM EDT for a webinar that will provide strategies to answer these questions and more.

    In Reframing Public Outreach: Addressing Historically Underrepresented Communities in CRM, speakers will discuss case studies in which outreach is reframed to successfully consider the history and culture of historically underrepresented communities. Discussion will come from a panel representing a variety of lenses – academic field schools, not-for-profit preservation organizations, and CRM practitioners.

    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 Reframing Public Outreach:
    Addressing Historically Underrepresented
    Communities in CRM

  • 06/25/2021 10:24 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    President Biden has announced that he intends to nominate Sara Bronin as Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). From the ACHP:

    Bronin is a Mexican American architect, attorney, and policymaker specializing in historic preservation, property, land use, and climate change. She is a professor at the Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and an Associated Faculty Member of the Cornell Law School. She has held visiting positions at the Yale School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, and the Sorbonne. Among other scholarly service, Bronin is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a past chair of the State and Local Government Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

    Bronin’s interdisciplinary research focuses on how law and policy can foster more equitable, sustainable, well-designed, and connected places. She has published books and articles on historic preservation law and currently leads the research team behind the groundbreaking Connecticut Zoning Atlas. Her forthcoming book Key to the City will explore how zoning shapes lives and historic places.

    Active in public service, Bronin is a board member of Latinos in Heritage Conservation and an advisor for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sustainable Development Code. As the founder of Desegregate Connecticut, she leads a coalition that successfully advanced the first major statewide zoning reforms in several decades. Previously, she chaired Preservation Connecticut, served on the city of Hartford Historic Preservation Commission, and led Hartford’s nationally recognized efforts to adopt a climate action plan and city plan, and to overhaul the zoning code.

    Bronin won several design awards for the rehabilitation of her family’s National Register-listed 1865 brownstone. She has a J.D. from Yale Law School (Harry S Truman Scholarship), M.Sc. from the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholarship), and B.Architecture/B.A. from the University of Texas. While in law school, she clerked for then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Bronin's nomination will be considered by the Senate for confirmation. ACHP Vice Chairman Jordan Tannenbaum will continue to serve as acting chairman until a new one is confirmed.

  • 06/23/2021 12:47 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The following post was submitted by Ralph Bailey, Chair of the ACRA Collections Management and Curation Committee.

    As some of you may know, Terry Childs and Danielle Benden held a virtual workshop in February of this year sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation about the diversity of archaeological repositories and their social lives, i.e., interactions with their stakeholders, management, access and use of collections, etc. One of the outcomes was the idea that an association of archaeological repositories is needed. They then held a forum at the SAA conference in April on the future of archaeological repositories in order to discuss the idea of such an association. They have also developed the survey, which is available here.

    We would appreciate it greatly if you would fill out the survey by June 30. We expect that it will take you 5-7 minutes to complete. Also, please forward this survey to anyone who you think might be interested in taking the survey to help us develop the framework of the association. Please remember to select the "Finish Survey" button at the end of the survey (found at the bottom of the page) before closing your web browser.

  • 06/22/2021 12:48 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    We are pleased to announce that you can now receive Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits with the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) by attending ACRA webinars! 

    How do you get the CPE credits for attending an ACRA webinar? Simply indicate you wish to receive them when you register. ACRA will them submit all of the names of those who attended to the RPA for credit.

    All remaining 2021 ACRA webinars will be eligible to for CPE credits, starting with Reframing Public Outreach: Addressing Historically Underrepresented Communities in CRM on July 22. We expect that future webinars will be eligible as well.

    This has been made possible through our new partnership with the RPA, and expect more exciting partnership benefits to come!

  • 06/21/2021 1:33 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Thank you to all who voted in the 2021 ACRA election! This year's election was extremely close, and we eagerly anticipate welcoming new members to the Board of Directors in the fall. We greatly appreciate the service of our departing board members and look forward to their continued leadership on essential committee projects.

    Congratulations to the winning candidates below! Their terms will start in the end of September at the fall board meeting. Be sure to add your congratulations in the comments below!


    Officers are elected for two-year terms, with those below serving from 2021-2023.

    • President: Cinder Miller (Gray & Pape, Inc.)
    • Secretary: Shelly Davis-King (Davis-King & Associates)
    • Treasurer: Nicki Sauvageau (Dovetail Cultural Resource Group)
    • Vice-President - Membership: Richard Grubb (RGA, Inc.)
    • Vice-President - Diversity: Nesta Anderson (PaleoWest)

    At-Large Board Positions

    At-Large Board Members are elected for three-year terms, with those below serving from 2021-2024.

    • Charissa Durst (Hardlines Design Company)
    • Bonnie Gibson (WSP USA, Inc.)
    • David Klinge (ASC Group, Inc.)

  • 06/17/2021 3:33 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    This month the National Park Service (NPS) released new guidance that will help prepare historic buildings for flooding hazards. From the NPS:

    Flooding risk has long been a challenge for many historic properties. Changing weather patterns, stronger hurricanes and other extreme weather events have increased the risk of flooding, both in frequency and magnitude. The National Park Service developed new flood adaptation guidelines to help property owners make their historic buildings more resilient to flooding risks while preserving their historic character.

    The Guidelines on Flood Adaptation for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings will help preserve historic buildings located in flood-prone areas and make them more resilient to flooding hazards. Historic properties that have never flooded before are now exposed to this risk, and those that flooded infrequently in the past are experiencing more instances of flooding with water reaching higher levels than ever before.

    The new guidelines can be found here. For more information on the guidelines and their development, visit the NPS website.

  • 06/16/2021 1:59 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From the ACHP:

    President Joe Biden has designated Jordan Tannenbaum as the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) vice chairman. The President also appointed Tannenbaum to a second term, ending in June 2025. Tannenbaum, of Fairfax, VA, was appointed as a general public ACHP member by President Barack Obama in 2016.

    Tannenbaum, a cum laude graduate of Brandeis University and American University’s Washington College of Law, was an ACHP staff member from 1972-82. He currently serves as chief development officer of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for overseeing all of the museum’s fundraising activities and completing its $1 billion comprehensive campaign.

    “Having served on the council staff during its first decade, it is a privilege and an honor to return as its vice chairman,” Tannenbaum said. “I look forward to working with its outstanding staff and dedicated board to meet the preservation challenges and opportunities facing our cultural environment in the 21st century.”

    From 1999-2004, Tannenbaum was vice president for development for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life in Washington, D.C. A lawyer by training, he also has held senior fundraising positions at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, B’nai B’rith International, and Brandeis University. Tannenbaum served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army Reserves from 1983-2010. He was awarded the Army’s Legion of Merit medal for his contributions to the Department of the Army’s compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. Tannenbaum is a member of the Fairfax County History Commission, the Army Historical Foundation Board, and the Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools National Historical Park Campaign.

    On the ACHP, Tannenbaum has served as chairman of the Federal Agency Programs Committee and was chairman of the ACHP’s Digital Information Task Force that last year formulated recommendations to improve the availability of digital and geospatial information about historic properties in an effort to inform federal project planning. Tannenbaum also worked closely with the ACHP Foundation.

    “Jordan is a respected leader in the historic preservation field, an expert on Section 106 review, and has been a highly engaged and active council member these last few years,” ACHP Acting Executive Director Reid Nelson said. “He has a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a passion for preservation, which we know he will utilize well in his new leadership role.”

    Currently, the full-time chairman’s position is vacant. Tannenbaum will carry out the functions of the chairman until a new chairman is sworn in after Senate confirmation. Tannenbaum replaces Rick Gonzalez as vice chairman, who has served in that capacity since being appointed to the position by President Donald Trump in July 2020. Gonzalez will continue to serve as an ACHP expert member. His term expires in 2023.

    The National Historic Preservation Act provides that appointed tribal, expert, and general public members shall serve for a term of four years and under that law, may not serve more than two terms.

    This press release is also available on the ACHP website.

  • 06/11/2021 2:24 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Yesterday's webinar, Section 110(k) and Section 106: Responding to Anticipatory Demolition Concerns, is now available on ACRA Webinars on Demand!

    The webinar is designed by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), which is an independent federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation's historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. The presentation will use ACHP expertise and real-life examples to show how Section 110(k), sometimes referred to as the "anticipatory demolition" section, intersects with the overall Section 106 process.

    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 Section 110(k) Webinar Now

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