• 02/10/2021 4:56 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    ACRA has called on the U.S. Senate in support of the nomination of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM; image right) as the next Secretary of the Interior.

    Then-President-elect Biden announced his nomination of Haaland, who would be the first Native American to serve in a presidential cabinet, in December. She currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    In a letter to members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will take the first step in Haaland’s confirmation, ACRA President Nathan Boyless said that Haaland’s “background and record make her uniquely qualified to lead” the Interior Department. He wrote:

    As Vice Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources and Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, Representative Haaland has been a champion for cultural resource management and giving the public a voice in protecting our shared national heritage. As a businesswoman and an advocate for the environment, Haaland understands the importance of balancing preservation with economic growth. As a member of the Laguna Pueblo, she will bring unique insight into the operation and management of that agency.

    The Interior Department oversees the country’s natural resources, as well as federal historic and cultural resource programs. It also is the primary liaison between the federal government and tribal nations. In his letter, Boyless notes that “Haaland’s historic nomination will give a powerful voice at the highest levels of government to the millions of people whose ancestors first settled this continent.”

    The Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for Haaland later this month.

    To read the full letter, click here.


  • 02/09/2021 4:43 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    This research paper was submitted by ACRA member firm SEARCH, Inc.

    ACRA member firm SEARCH, Inc., along with other collaborators, recently published results of a new method for detecting submerged Stone Age sites. SEARCH Submerged Precontact sector lead Shawn Joy and colleagues developed this approach at locations across the globe. This new technique has implications in the CRM industry, particularly in certain market sectors like Offshore Wind.

    From the abstract: 

    Acoustic response from lithics knapped by humans has been demonstrated to facilitate effective detection of submerged Stone Age sites exposed on the seafloor or embedded within its sediments. This phenomenon has recently enabled the non-invasive detection of several hitherto unknown submerged Stone Age sites, as well as the registration of acoustic responses from already known localities. Investigation of the acoustic-response characteristics of knapped lithics, which appear not to be replicated in naturally cracked lithic pieces (geofacts), is presently on-going through laboratory experiments and finite element (FE) modelling of high-resolution 3D-scanned pieces. Experimental work is also being undertaken, employing chirp sub-bottom systems (reflection seismic) on known sites in marine areas and inland water bodies. Fieldwork has already yielded positive results in this initial stage of development of an optimised Human-Altered Lithic Detection (HALD) method for mapping submerged Stone Age sites. This paper reviews the maritime archaeological perspectives of this promising approach, which potentially facilitates new and improved practice, summarizes existing data, and reports on the present state of development. Its focus is not reflection seismics as such, but a useful resonance phenomenon induced by the use of high-resolution reflection seismic systems.

    The full open access paper is available here.

  • 02/05/2021 4:51 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you missed yesterday's webinar on what to expect in regards to policy and legislation that could affect CRM in 2021, you're in luck - it is now available on demand!

    This webinar takes a deep dive into the current legislative environment, the outlook for the year, and ACRA's 2021 government relations priorities.

    You will also learn how to make a direct impact on the issues you care about the most. From engaging policymakers to communicating your message effectively, you will come away with the skills you need for advocating for your business, your family, and your community.

    As with the live session, the recording is FREE for ACRA members/students (get the code here). It is just $15 for non-members. 

    Watch Legislation & Policy:
    What CRM Can Expect in 2021 Now

  • 02/03/2021 11:39 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    In order to fulfill it's mission, ACRA needs to represent the CRM industry as a whole - firms of all sizes, specialties, and composition. We are thrilled to tell you about a new opportunity to help us get there.

    We are proud to announce the launch of the Membership Patron Program (MPP). The program seeks to bring a more diverse set of voices to the organization through the sponsorship of small Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) non-member firms for one year of membership.

    Non-member firms that qualify for DBE status and fall under our small firm membership levels can apply starting now! If you have ever had interest in becoming an ACRA member but had not yet done so, now is your chance to see how it can benefit you and your business.

    Member firms have a part in this as well. The MPP relies solely on donations from member firms (patrons). Current member firms can choose to become a patron at one of the small firm levels:

    • Small Firm 1 - $120
    • Small Firm 2 - $275
    • Small Firm 3 - $440

    MPP applicants will be paired with a patron firm that will serve as a mentor throughout the year-long sponsorship. This includes assisting the applicant firm in getting a full picture of the benefits of membership, from engaging with ACRA committees to networking opportunities. The goal of the mentor/patron relationship is focused solely on ACRA involvement and is intended to assist new firms in getting the most out of their ACRA membership. It is not intended to provide guidance on business practices or development. Full information about the program can be found here.

    This is just one of the steps ACRA is taking to to become a more diverse and inclusive organization. Be the change you want to see - whether you are a member or not, participate in the MPP today!


  • 02/02/2021 4:53 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    President Biden has been busy issuing Executive Orders (EOs) during his first weeks in office. Yesterday's Your Congress in Action briefly looked at the EOs that potentially affect CRM, and now we want to take a deeper dive into them.

    So, let’s discuss exactly what an EO is. An EO is a means of issuing federal directives that the President, and only the President, can use to manage operations of Executive branch departments and agencies, such as the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the military. Article Two of the Constitution is the primary legal basis for EOs as it gives the President broad executive and enforcement authority to use his or her discretion to determine how to enforce laws or otherwise manage the resources and staff of Executive Branch departments and agencies.

    Like legislative statutes and regulations, EOs are subject to judicial review and can be overturned if the orders lack support by statute or the Constitution while others may require approval by the legislative branch. Although they do not have the force of law or regulations, EOs have significant influence over the internal affairs of the Executive Branch as they generally address how and to what degree legislation will be enforced and generally fine-tune the implementation of broad statutes.

    Presidential executive orders, once issued, remain in force until they are canceled, revoked, adjudicated unlawful, or expire on their terms. An example is EO 11593--Protection and enhancement of the cultural environment, which was issued by Nixon in 1971. The president can revoke, modify, or make exceptions from any EO at any time, whether the order was made by the current President or a predecessor, as Biden is doing. Typically, a new President reviews in-force executive orders in the first few weeks in office.

    The Biden administration appears to be focusing on climate change, environmental protection, and renewable energy. One of the first EOs he signed on January 20 was agreeing to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. The following are the EOs that will potentially affect or may be of interest to the cultural resource community:

    • Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis addresses several specific environmental actions that the Trump administration undertook. The EO directs agencies to review and reverse more than 100 Trump actions on the environment. More specifically, the EO suspends construction of the Keystone Pipeline EO, requires a review of the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, along with Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, that Trump reduced to determine if the original boundaries should be reestablished. The Utah delegation strongly opposes reestablishment. View the full order.
    • Modernizing Regulatory Review requires departments and agencies, as soon as practicable, to begin a process with the goal of producing a set of recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review. The emphasis is on promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations with the intention of improving the responsiveness of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and making it more proactive. View the full order.
    • Regulatory Freeze Pending Review states that any regulations that were approved by OMB before Jan. 20 but not yet published in the Federal Register need to go back to OMB (i.e. Biden’s OMB) for review; for regulations that were published in the Register but are not set to take effect for 60 days, agencies are asked to delay implementation so they can also be reviewed. Regulatory freezes at the start of a new administration have become commonplace when the WH changes parties. Freezes are a way of stopping regulations that were finalized at the end of the Trump presidency but have not yet taken effect. View the full order.
    • Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government revoked Trump’s Advisory 1776 Commission. Trump set off this commission in response to the 1619 Project, spearheaded by the New York Times Magazine, which …"aims to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the United States' national narrative". Most historians opposed the Commission’s report, claiming that it distorts U.S. history and takes a paternalistic, white-centric view. View the full order.
    • Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships reaffirms EO13175-Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments, passed in 2000 under President Bush – reaffirms tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship. Requires departments and agencies to consult with tribes when developing policies that may potentially affect tribes. Each department and agency is to identify point of contact. View the full memorandum.
    • Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad addresses a broad range of issues. Sections 207, 208, and 209 address oil & gas drilling and mining on federal lands. Extends Secretary of the Interior Order 3395, which placed a moratorium on oil & gas drilling for 60 days but exempts existing permits. The EO exempts drilling on tribal lands. Establishes a committee to review siting and permitting processes and revenues from drilling and fossil fuel development. Section 216 specifies that the Secretary of the Interior, in consultations with other Secretaries is to recommend steps that the United States should take, working with State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, and other key stakeholders, to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030. View the full order.
    • Secretarial Order 3395 Temporary Suspension of Delegated Authority, issued by the Acting Secretary of the Interior, places a moratorium on oil & gas drilling on federal lands for 60 days. The moratorium will not affect existing leases and oil companies stockpiled enough drilling permits in Trump’s final months to allow them to keep pumping oil and gas for years. Tribes, such as the Ute and the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation which have a lot of oil reserves, are asking to exempt drilling on tribal lands. About 22 percent of U.S. oil production and 12 percent of natural gas production takes place on federal land and water. View the full order.
  • 02/01/2021 12:41 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.

    In his first 10 days in office, President Biden has signed a blizzard of executive orders that undo Trump administration actions and seek to address current crises like the pandemic. But further action on major issues is increasingly running into partisan gridlock and heightened tensions on Capitol Hill.

    A number of President Biden’s executive actions affect CRM and the federal government’s role in historic and cultural preservation. These include:

    • Directing the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to review the July 2020 rule that undercut the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which ACRA has strongly opposed
    • Advancing renewable energy on public lands and in offshore waters with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030 while “ensuring robust protection for our lands, waters, and biodiversity and creating good jobs”
    • Pausing new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending a review
    • Halting the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and stopping construction of the border wall
    • Ordering a review of the revised monument boundaries set by the Trump administration for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
    • Reaffirming federal policies to require agencies to engage in “regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have Tribal implications”
    • Requiring federal agencies to “establish and enforce scientific-integrity policies that ban improper political interference in the conduct of scientific research and in the collection of scientific or technological data”
    • Implementing a “Government-wide approach that reduces climate pollution in every sector of the economy; increases resilience to the impacts of climate change; protects public health; conserves our lands, waters, and biodiversity; delivers environmental justice; and spurs well-paying union jobs and economic growth.”
    • Creating a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council to recommend ways to address current and historic environmental injustice
    • Rescinding the Trump administration’s Schedule F proposal, which would have turned a large number of civil servant positions into political positions that could easily he hired and fired by the president
    • Ending the Trump administration’s "1776 Commission" that downplayed the role of racism and slavery in the nation’s history and criticized the civil rights movement.

    While President Biden has used his executive authority as robustly and quickly as any president in recent history, there are things he cannot do without Congress. And while Democrats now control Capitol Hill, a combination of narrow majorities, Biden’s own desire for bipartisanship, the looming impeachment trial of his predecessor, and worsening tensions following the January 6 insurrection are creating a difficult environment for legislative progress.

    Biden’s top priority is his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, which includes, an additional $1400 in stimulus checks to most individuals, added small business support, emergency funding for states and localities, expanded unemployment insurance, and significant funding for COVID testing and vaccine distribution. Getting the plan through the Senate under normal rules would require at least 10 Republican Senators to join all 50 Democrats in stopping a filibuster. Without that, Democrats would need to use a process called reconciliation, which would enable them to advance a bill with just 50 votes, plus a tie-breaker from Vice President Harris, but would undermine Biden’s calls for bipartisan unity.

    On Sunday, a group of 10 Republicans proposed a much smaller package totaling about $600 million. Embracing such a plan would ensure 10 GOP votes, but could cost votes from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party who would likely find the plan too meager. Finding a middle path between $1.9 trillion and $600 million that could secure enough Senate votes to stymie a filibuster is not impossible, but could drag negotiations on at a time when new variants of the coronavirus threaten to plunge the country even further into its health and economic crisis. This leaves President Biden and Democrats a choice: embrace bipartisanship at the expense of time and a more comprehensive COVID response; or muscle a bigger package through quickly, but at the cost of inflaming tensions between the parties.

    Then again, it’s not clear that tensions between the parties – and in the case of the GOP, within the party – could be any worse. Washington is still confronting the fallout from the events of January 6th, when pro-Trump rioters invaded the Capitol while Congress was certifying the election results. As the FBI continues to investigate the attack, and the Department of Homeland Security warns of further domestic violence, Congress is dealing with the trauma and distrust that the insurrection brought into the open.

    First, there is the unprecedented impeachment trial of a former President, which is slated to begin next week. Last week, 45 Republican Senators voted in favor of questioning the trial’s constitutionality, which has been taken as a sign that there will not be enough votes to convict the former President when the trial concludes.

    On the House side, the attack has ripped open partisan and intra-partisan schisms. Democrats are livid about the behavior of some pro-Trump Republicans, most notably freshmen Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose resume includes being a supporter of the Qanon conspiracy movement and claiming that several school shootings were “false flags” by gun control advocates. While some Democrats are calling for her expulsion from Congress, former President Trump apparently praised her in a call over the weekend. Meanwhile, a number of Republicans have taken political aim at the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump.

    This might not seem like a good environment for enacting policy. But there is always one thing that helps bring lawmakers back to the hard work of legislating: the voters. The next Congressional election is not far off. And as crises like COVID, the economy, climate and racial injustice continue to affect millions of Americans, sooner or later the grown-ups in Washington will roll up their sleeves and get to work.

    All of us have the ability to push elected officials to advance good policy, and that certainly includes the CRM industry. You can learn more about how you can make a positive difference by joining ACRA on February 4 at 2:00pm EST for Legislation & Policy: What CRM Can Expect in 2021.


  • 01/29/2021 1:25 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you missed yesterday webinar on evaluating archaeological and tribal resources under the "other" National Register criteria, it is now available on demand for you to watch on your own schedule!

    Although all resources should be evaluated under all four criteria of the National Register of Historic Places, archaeologists generally focus on information values (Criterion d). As our society changes and awareness increases of broader cultural values, CRM practitioners are increasingly asked to consider whether cultural resources might possess other values and thus be eligible for listing in the NRHP under criteria a, b, and/or c - which can be very challenging in a regulatory context.

    In this session, Anmarie Medin, Shelly Davis-King, and Brendon Greenaway focus on how to document what makes a place important to descendant communities or how a place might fit into the identity a group shares about a location. 

    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 A, B, C, easy as 1, 2, 3:
    Evaluating Archaeological and Tribal Resources
    Under the “Other” National Register Criteria


  • 01/27/2021 4:55 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Are you interested in being a leader in your industry? Now is the time to step up - ACRA is seeking dedicated members who are interested in serving on the Board of Directors.

    We have an exciting announcement that that makes this election particularly notable. The ACRA Board of Directors has created a new position – Vice President – Diversity. This new Executive Committee position will focus on ensuring that groups of all backgrounds have representation and a voice within ACRA. They will work to expand and integrate diversity and inclusion practices and programs within the association and industry at-large. You can view a full description of the position here.

    Positions that are up for election in 2021 are:

    • President-Elect (President 2023-2025)
    • Vice President – Membership
    • Vice President – Diversity
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • 3 At-Large Seats

    Each nominee must be employed by a firm in good standing with ACRA. Candidates must also be able to commit to quarterly board meetings, including in person at the Annual Conference in the fall. Board members will also be recommended to serve on at least one committee. The board may elect to extend one or more terms in order to balance the annual change in leadership.

    Nominees’ applications are examined by the Nominating Committee to assure that they are current members in good standing and that they can perform the basic requirements of the position for which they are applying. Candidates will be announced to the membership in April, and voting will take place electronically in May.


    How to Apply

    Just two simple steps:

    1. Submit a one-paragraph biography, including a photo.
    2. Submit a second paragraph that answers the following questions, keeping each answer short and concise.
      1. Relevant Experience. Please list any experience, education, or employment that may be relevant to serving on the ACRA Board of Directors.
      2. Interest. Why are you interested in serving on the Board?
      3. Contribution. What contribution do you feel you can make? What one or two desirable qualities (those listed above or other qualities) will you bring to the organization?

    Send your nominating files to Kim Redman with a subject line that begins “Board Nomination.” Be sure to include the position you would like to run for in the body of the email. Nomination deadline is Friday, April 23, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.


  • 01/26/2021 4:06 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Today President Joe Biden issued a memorandum promoting tribal consultation and strengthening Nation-to-Nation relationships. This memorandum reaffirms the policy set forth in Executive Order 13175, originally issued in 2000. From the memorandum:

    American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations are sovereign governments recognized under the Constitution of the United States, treaties, statutes, Executive Orders, and court decisions. It is a priority of my Administration to make respect for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, commitment to fulfilling Federal trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations, and regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal Nations cornerstones of Federal Indian policy. The United States has made solemn promises to Tribal Nations for more than two centuries. Honoring those commitments is particularly vital now, as our Nation faces crises related to health, the economy, racial justice, and climate change — all of which disproportionately harm Native Americans. History demonstrates that we best serve Native American people when Tribal governments are empowered to lead their communities, and when Federal officials speak with and listen to Tribal leaders in formulating Federal policy that affects Tribal Nations.

    The memorandum directs federal agencies detailed plans of action to create detailed plans of action for "engaging in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have Tribal implications." Read the full memorandum here.

  • 01/22/2021 1:40 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    We have been honored to feature some fascinating member firm projects from 2020 as a part of our new ACRAsphere series. From digitizing photo collections for USACE in Virginia (SEARCH) to working on the first new road construction in 50 years in Sitka, Alaska (Sea Level Consulting), we have been able to share projects from across the country.

    If you haven't shared your projects with us yet, there is still time! Please share with us the 2020 projects you are proud of. We will feature the submitted projects here 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 hard work!





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