• 12/18/2020 11:45 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    On January 27 and 28, 2021, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) is holding a FREE Virtual Conference, and ACRA members and other CRM professionals are encouraged to attend!

    Under the theme of "Resilience in a Changing Environment," the program includes a session on tribal engagement and uniting tribal voices, a presentation and Q&A on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a listening session, and more. 

    You can register now on the NATHPO website. We hope to see you (virtually) there!

  • 12/17/2020 5:41 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The SHA Collections and Curation Committee, ACRA Collections Management and Curation Committee, and the Archaeological Collections Consortium are excited to announce the official release of their interactive Archaeological Curation Repository Map (links below). This ArcGIS online-supported dashboard offers quick and easy access to information about curation fees, contact information, and which repositories are accessible for research, as well as other pertinent data. If you have any questions or comments about this exciting new resource, please contact Kerry Gonzalez.

    Is your repository missing? Just fill out this brief form to be included.

    Are you unsure if you should participate? If you curate archaeological collections, even informally, please take part!



  • 12/16/2020 1:27 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    It may be the end of 2020, but that means the 2021 ACRA Awards nomination process is now open! 

    ACRA Awards recognize private and public sector clients of ACRA member firms for CRM accomplishments and commitments exceeding those required by various laws and regulations. ACRA Awards also recognize ACRA member firms or employees thereof who have made a long-term and on-going public service commitment to CRM. The deadline for receipt of nominations is FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2020, 5 PM, EDT. Awards will be presented during the ACRA 2021 Conference. Award categories:

    • Industry Award-Private Sector

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

    • Industry Award-Public Sector

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

    • Public Service Award

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

    The nomination form and additional eligibility requirements are available here.


  • 12/15/2020 4:57 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you missed last week's ACHP webinar on programmatic agreements, it is now available on demand for you to watch on your own schedule!

    Many federal land management units – including bases, campuses, buildings, forests, and parks – benefit from Section 106 Programmatic Agreements that establish efficiencies for routine projects and maintenance, repair, and operations activities. In this webinar, Program Analysts Katharine Kerr and Chris Daniel identify the pros and cons of pursuing such a PA and provide practical advice to program managers on how to develop one.

    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 So You Think You Need a PA...


  • 12/11/2020 2:39 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    2020 has been an unprecedented year with unique challenges, but throughout it all cultural resources management firms have continued working on fascinating projects across the country. As the year comes to a close, we want to celebrate your hard work! Please share with us the projects you are proud of this year. We will feature the submitted projects on the ACRAsphere and ACRA social media accounts. Whether the project is big or small, we want to hear about your fascinating work!

    Simply fill out the Google form below, or send us an email with the project details. We can't wait to feature your work!



  • 12/09/2020 2:21 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Last month, ACRA submitted comments to the US Army Corps of Engineers regarding their proposal to reissue and modify nationwide permits (NWPs). The notice was initially published in the Federal Register on September 15 regarding the reissuance of 52 NWPs and 5 new NWPs. ACRA's comments focused on the need for pre-construction notifications, thresholds for oil and natural gas pipeline activities, and tribal rights in the process. ACRA's full comments can be viewed by members here.

    Additionally, ACRA was invited to comment further on the Forest Service National Phasing Programmatic Agreement (PA) under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The original draft from the Forest Service was issued in the winter of 2019/2020, and ACRA provided comments as a part of the Coalition for American Heritage. ACRA's comments on the latest draft focused on:

    • Clarifying the linkage between HIPs and NEPA
    • Inclusion of Tribes and THPOs in the PA
    • Heritage Professional Qualifications
    • Avoidance strategies
    • And ensuring all consulting parties are included.

    ACRA members can read the full comments here.

  • 12/07/2020 4:31 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.

    December is normally a fairly quiet month in Washington, as legislative battles give way to holiday parties and the countdown to vacation.

    Of course, this year there won’t be many holiday parties (unless you count the ones on Zoom), and most people will be stay-cationing. Plus, with a contentious presidential transition, a worsening pandemic and a struggling economy, December promises to be a busy month in the nation’s capital.

    On Capitol Hill, pressure is growing for another round of COVID-related stimulus. For months, Congress has battled over an economic recovery plan, with Democrats pushing for a $2.2 trillion plan and Republicans offering a smaller $500 billion proposal.

    Last week, a bipartisan group of Senators proposed a new plan totaling $906 billion. According to the Washington Post, “the plan would devote close to $300 billion in another round of small business aid; provide $160 billion for state and local governments; fund federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week; and devote tens of billions of dollars to other priorities, such as child care, hunger and vaccine distribution… The bipartisan proposal would not, however, include a new round of stimulus checks.”

    Congressional Democratic leaders indicated they could support the plan as the starting point of negotiations, and Republicans indicated an openness to it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R) spoke by phone for the first time in weeks, a hopeful sign that Congress could act on the plan soon.

    Any progress is good news: even as COVID vaccines race towards FDA approval, a weak jobs report on Friday underscored that the economy is a long way from recovery. And as the number of COVID infections and hospitalizations continues to skyrocket in nearly every part of the country, we could be facing a rough few months.

    The possibility of small business relief and funding for state and local government is particularly welcome to ACRA and its members. The economic downturn has crippled state and local budgets; the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 46 out of 50 states have cut their budgets in response to the pandemic and recession, and nearly half of states have taken steps that impact public employees, like layoffs, furloughs and pay freezes. These cuts will undoubtedly impact State Historic Preservation Offices, making federal aid critical.

    The small business support is also essential. With roughly 97 percent of ACRA member firms classified as small businesses, ACRA has been making a forceful case to lawmakers that additional loans and relief is needed to prevent layoffs.

    Even so, the $300 billion in small business aid in the package will not be a cure-all. The amount is roughly half of Congress provided in Paycheck Protection Program support last spring. To make matters worse, it was reported last week that a good chunk of those first PPP loans didn’t even reach small companies; according to the Post, “about 600 mostly larger companies, including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program of $10 million.” In addition, many CRM firms have reported challenges with interpreting and complying with ever-changing rules from the U.S. Small Business Administration. To be fair, rolling out a massive program in a short period of time is inevitably going to lead to some confusion, but that’s no comfort to small firms trying to save jobs and follow the law.

    If more money comes, the SBA and other federal agencies will need to make sure the rules make sense come next year. That brings up the other big topic of discussion in Washington these days: the transition. Next week, electors will meet in all 50 state capitols and in the District of Columbia to formally cast electoral votes. As states continue to certify the results, opportunities for the Trump campaign to contest the results continue to dry up. This means that in less than 40 days’ time, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the nation’s 46th President.

    Transitions are always busy times in Washington as the president-elect forms their government and the outgoing president rushes burnish their legacy. This year is no different. Even as President Trump declines to concede the election, his administration is using the regulatory process to put their stamp on government. ProPublica has launched a website (https://projects.propublica.org/trump-midnight-regulations/) to track these so-called “midnight regulations.” As ProPublica notes, “It’s common for outgoing administrations to rush through last-minute rules, but these ‘midnight regulations’ can sometimes shortchange public input or thorough analysis, and they may tie the hands of the incoming president.”

    Among these last-minute rules is one we reported on in ACRASphere two weeks ago: the U.S. Forest Service’s final rule amending its NEPA regulations. We expect there to be additional regulatory moves between now and January that could affect historic preservation and the environmental review process.

    Ultimately, it will be up to the incoming Biden administration to decide which Trump administration rules to keep and which to amend. President-elect Biden says that will be a priority of his from day one, along with helping the economy recover from the pandemic. Like all incoming presidents, Biden has a long to-do list. But it is important that the new administration does not neglect the important role that cultural resource management professionals play in protecting our nation’s heritage, ensuring public participation in infrastructure projects, and creating jobs.

    That’s why ACRA President Nathan Boyless sent a letter to President-elect Biden last week outlining the organization’s priorities on Sec. 106, NEPA, the economy and other top issues. As Boyless wrote, “CRM professionals across the country are committed to building a better future for all Americans while preserving and protecting the past.”

    The right to advocate for our interests before Congress and the President (and the President-elect) is something that we can all celebrate this holiday season, even if the parties are all canceled.


  • 12/04/2020 11:45 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation is now accepting applications for the African American Cultural Heritage Fund.

    The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund provides grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000. Last year, 27 projects received a total of $1.6 million dollars, with projects spanning the US, from Historic Vernon Chapel AME Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma to National Center of Afro-American Artists at Abbotsford in Roxbury, Massachusetts. These grants are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as sites, museums, and landscape projects representing African American cultural heritage through grants to nonprofit organizations and government agencies. The Action Fund supports projects focused on African American cultural heritage, and can include: Capital Projects, Organizational Capacity Building, Project Planning, and Programming and Interpretation. You can read more about eligible activities and expenses, grant conditions, and other information on the program here.

    There is a two-step process to receive a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The first step, a Letter of Intent (LOI), must be submitted by Friday, January 15, 2021 at 11:59 PM local time, through the online grants portal. If the LOI is accepted, a full application will be requested of the applicant. Grant awards will be announced in July 2021.

    National Trust funding is available exclusively to nonprofits and government agencies, and any applicants who are invited to submit a full application will be required to also be Forum members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation at the Organizational level. The National Trust has many grant programs that may be of interest, which you can read more about on their website. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email the National Trust Grants Department at grants@savingplaces.org.


  • 12/01/2020 3:40 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Don't miss your chance to take advantage of ACRA's new benefit specifically for small firms: a mastermind group!

    This group will be customized to the attendees' needs, but will typically focus on goal setting, networking, and workshopping solutions to the common challenges that small CRM firms face. The mastermind will be twelve, 60-75 minute sessions, held in live online video chat (the attendees will work with the moderator to determine the specific schedule).

    When: Monthly, beginning January 2021.

    Where: Virtual, in real time.

    Instructor: Lauren Simonis

    Fee (Includes all digital materials and an additional 30 minutes for the first and last sessions for introductions, expectations, and close-out): $400

    This opportunity is only open to small firm membership levels, and there are only a few spaces left. Save your spot now!

    Join Mastermind Now


  • 11/30/2020 2:57 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The incoming of a new presidential administration often means that significant federal policy changes are expected. As President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris prepare to take office in January, they have assembled a team of highly qualified professionals and volunteers to help assist with the transition of administrations. Presidential transition teams work to build a policy agenda for the new administration, gather information about federal agencies, vet potential political appointees, and develop a management agenda.

    From looking at the way agencies implement Section 106 to supporting small businesses in the ongoing pandemic, the transition team will consider a number of policies and actions that could affect CRM firms. ACRA wants to ensure that CRM voices are heard in the discussions and has sent a letter to President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris addressing the issues most important to our members and the industry. View the full letter here, and let us know in the comments what issues you think the administration should address in the first few months.





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