• 01/14/2021 4:33 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    ACRA is celebrating the work of its member firms through this new series highlighting 2020 projects. To be featured, submit your project here.

    Archival Collection Support Services for USACE CEHO
    Greater Washington, D.C. Area
    SEARCH, Inc.


    SEARCH conserved, arranged, and digitized collections from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Office of History (CEHO). The Norfolk District album was an amazing collection of carefully captioned photographs documenting civil works completed in the 1930s. SEARCH delivered high resolution scans with metadata to CEHO for incorporation into their publicly accessible Digital Library.


    Some of the photographs in the album are featured on the USACE exhibit page on the project. From the exhibit page:

    The album provides a snapshot of a brief three-year period in the history of Norfolk District. It illustrates the work the district undertook, as well as the equipment, the tools, and the methods used to do so. It also provides a glimpse of people involved with the district’s civil works—employees, hired hands, and contractors. Finally, the photos frequently reveal the landscape of the time, both the natural environment of land and water but also the built environment, including locks, dams, and weirs; bridges, piers, and docks; and offices, houses, and other facilities.

    Of the twenty or so large civil works projects listed in the Norfolk District section of the Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers for fiscal year 1932, most are represented here pictorially. Listed first in the report and foremost in the district’s workload is Norfolk Harbor itself. Maintaining a navigable harbor through dredging and deepening of several channels and inlets in the area occupies many pages in the report and a multiplicity of the photos in the album. The album also features river work, such as dredging and straightening, from the large James River in Virginia to the smaller Scuppernong and Knobbs Creek in North Carolina.


    The album features large and small projects alike, and also includes many images of the various boats owned and employed by USACE (great for boat enthusiasts!). The photos are available to browse, search, and download on the USACE digital library. You can learn more about the projects and people featured in the album on the exhibit page.


  • 01/12/2021 4:32 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    With the administration change in the White House and the switch of party control in the Senate, what can you expect for the issues important to CRM in DC?

    Find out on Thursday, February 4 at 2:00 pm EST for Legislation & Policy: What CRM Can Expect in 2021. This webinar will brief participants on the take 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.

    This webinar is FREE for ACRA members and available to non-members for $15. Spaces are limited - register NOW to reserve your spot!

    Register for Legislation & Policy:
    What CRM Can Expect in 2021

  • 01/11/2021 5:00 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    ACRA is celebrating the work of its member firms through this new series highlighting 2020 projects. To be featured, submit your project here.

    ACRA member firm Davis-King & Associates (DKA) has been working on two California hydroelectric projects: the Phoenix Hydroelectric Project in Tuolumne County and the Kerckhoff Hydroelectric Projects in Fresno and Madera Counties.

    DKA was responsible for identifying all resources of value to tribal entities. This included not only traditional and other cultural resources, but also various environmental resources like water, animals, plants, and rocks. Although detailed ethnobotanical and ethnozoological analyses were performed and interviews with tribal elders were conducted, each project ended with two major radiational cultural landscapes evaluated as districts eligible under criterion A.

    Contributing resources included archaeological sites, constructed elements, gathering locales, medicine gardens, Indian allotments and more. The California State Historic Preservation Office concurred on the evaluations, resulting in four new traditional cultural landscapes in the region, and hope provided to tribes that their resources, beyond the archaeological, may have support and recognition in the future.

  • 01/07/2021 4:38 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


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

    January 28, 2021 | 2:00 - 3:30 PM (EST) | Register Now

    Although all resources should be evaluated under all four criteria of the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP), 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.

    Join us on Thursday, January 28 at 2:00 pm EST for A, B, C, easy as 1, 2, 3: Evaluating Archaeological and Tribal Resources Under the “Other” National Register Criteria. This webinar will 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.

    Attendees will hear about guidelines and ideas on how to capture the information, and put it in writing so an agency reviewer can understand the case for significance. Using case studies and examples, the presenters will explain ways to document what may seem like nebulous values to an outsider as well as “dos” and “don’ts” that will help with managing properties in a regulatory setting.

    Participants are encouraged to have a working knowledge of NHPA and NRHP vocabulary as this is not an introductory workshop and the content and presentation will assume familiarity. As a reminder, ACRA members benefit from a firm-wide registration fee - once one person from a member firm registers, others can register for free. Contact us for information on subsequent registrations.

    Register Now


  • 01/06/2021 2:02 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    As mentioned in the latest Your Congress in Action earlier this week, the new COVID relief package was signed into law at the very end of 2020. We wanted to break down the provisions most important to CRM in greater detail. Read on for more information on how the relief package benefits your firm!

    • If you did not receive Paycheck Protection Program funds in the spring, now is your chance! The package included $325 billion in new funding for Paycheck Protection Program loans. However, even if you received a PPP loan last spring, you may be eligible to receive a “second draw” PPP loan if your firm has been particularly hit hard during the pandemic.

      To receive a second draw PPP loan, businesses must:
    • Employ not more than 300 employees (as opposed to 500 employees in the first round of PPP). Unless subject to an exemption, e.g., hospitality (NAICS code 72), the SBA affiliation rules apply in determining the number of employees;
    • Have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP loan; and
    • Demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same quarter in 2019.

    Second draw loans can receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in the one year prior to the loan or the calendar year, although no loan can be greater than $2 million. Eligible expenses for forgiveness for a second draw loan equal to the sum of their payroll costs, as well as covered mortgage, rent, and utility payments, covered operations expenditures, covered property damage costs, covered supplier costs, and covered worker protection expenditures incurred during the covered period. To receive full forgiveness, borrowers are still required to use at least 60% of the loan proceeds on payroll costs.

    The National Law Review has a comprehensive summary of the new PPP changes and second draw loans here.

    • When the PPP was first created, the IRS released guidance stating that expenses covered by a loan in the program were not deductible. While this was meant to prevent “double-dipping,” in practicality this created a significant tax increase (as much as 37%). Many small businesses would be forced to lay off employees or close their doors as a result – exactly the opposite of what the PPP was trying to achieve. ACRA and the SAA sent a letter to Congress in December addressing this issue.

      The latest relief package confirmed the intent of the program by blocking this inadvertent tax increase, and today (January 6) the IRS issued new guidance stating that “no deduction shall be denied, no tax attribute shall be reduced, and no basis increase shall be denied.” This a huge win and relief for CRM firms across the country.
    • The new stimulus bill also enhances a previously overlooked clause in the original CARES Act: now up to eight months of principal and interest payments on Section 7(a) and 504 Microloans can be forgiven. This portion of the bill was championed by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and is aimed at allowing small businesses to not just recover from the pandemic, but also hire and grow.

      Businesses that have existing types of these loans get three months of forgiveness plus an additional five months for hard-hit industries, capped at $9,000 per month. CRM firms would be more likely to receive three months as this industry has been classified as essential in most states.

      Businesses that receive new Section 7(a) or 504 Microloans by September 20, 2021 will have their first six months of principal and interest forgiven (also up to $9.000 per month). PPP recipients are eligible to apply, and you even do not need to prove that your business has been impacted by COVID.

      A great summary of this program and its expected impact is available in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
    • Lastly, unfortunately the bill did not include funding for state and local governments. ACRA has been advocating for this in its (virtual) meetings on Capitol Hill in recent months in the hope that SHPOs and THPOs would receive part of such funding. With reduced tax revenue in 2020, we are anticipating cuts to state budgets across the country, and we want to ensure that critical projects are able to continue and SHPOs are able to operate at full capacity. ACRA will continue to work on this issue as the new Congress gets underway.

    ACRA will continue to bring you pandemic-related news and updates important to CRM firms. Stay tuned to the ACRAsphere for as more information unfolds!


  • 01/05/2021 4:20 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    ACRA is celebrating the work of its member firms through this new series highlighting 2020 projects. To be featured, submit your project here.

    Sea Level Consulting has been working on the Katlian Bay Road construction, the first new road construction in Sitka, Alaska in over 50 years. This ongoing project involves the development of 9 miles of new road through a dense temperate rainforest with very steep terrain, and challenging coastal Alaska weather. The firm is contracting with construction firm K&E, Alaska to monitor for cultural resources, and is reporting to the State of Alaska Department of Transportation, the Alaska State Historic Preservation Office, and Sitka Tribe of Alaska. Sea Level Consulting has recovered artifacts relating to a homestead in the 1930s, historic logging, and cataloged nearly 30 culturally modified trees.

    According to Alaska State Senator Bert Stedman, who was integral to the project's development and funding, "the project provides access to Katlian Bay with opportunities for recreation, timber, subsistence, and remediation of the Katlian watershed and salmon runs. Access is provided to Shee Atika and Sealaska lands as well as state lands." The project has the added benefit of providing "good-paying jobs" in the region.

    More information on the groundbreaking ceremony is available on the Shee Atika website.

  • 01/04/2021 5:25 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.

    The new year brings to Washington a few lingering battles from 2020 and a host of new challenges that policymakers will soon need to confront.

    At the end of the year, and after a few days of expressing his opposition on Twitter, President Trump signed into law a massive $908 billion COVID relief package combined with a $1.4 trillion budget for the current fiscal year. The bill includes $325 billion in small business relief with a new round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, $600 stimulus checks to many individuals and children and a $300 weekly unemployment insurance boost. The bill blocks an inadvertent tax increase on small business that took PPP loans that were – or will be – forgiven (this provision was the subject of a letter ACRA and the Society of American Archaeology sent to lawmakers in December) and provides the highest-ever appropriations level for the Historic Preservation Fund.

    The stimulus checks were one of the reasons Trump objected to the bill he ultimately signed, calling for Congress to increase the amount from $600 to $2000 per individual. Paradoxically, it was Democrats who agreed with the President, as the Democratic-led House passed a bill to increase the payouts, while Senate Republicans blocked it.

    Meanwhile, the election-that-will-never-end appears to be reaching its conclusion this week. First, voters in Georgia will decide Tuesday who will represent them in the Senate in a pair of runoff elections. The incumbents are Republicans; if their Democratic challengers both win, Democrats will seize control of the Senate by nature of a 50-50 tie (with VP-elect Kamala Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote). Polls show the races are too close to call.

    The next day, both chambers of Congress will meet in a joint session to count the electoral votes cast in each state. The normally perfunctory session will be contentious, as a number of Republicans in both chambers plan to object to the electoral votes from some states that certified President-elect Joe Biden as the winner. Although these protests will prolong the process, the outcome is not in doubt, as the Democratic-led House is sure to reject any challenges, meaning that by the end of the day Wednesday, Biden will be declared the winner of the 2020 race by a 306-232 electoral vote margin.

    Once the election is settled, Congress can get back to business. Sunday saw the convening of the 117th Congress, which runs until the 2022 midterm elections. Although control of the Senate awaits the Georgia runoffs, House Democrats remain in the majority albeit in lower numbers following the 2020 election. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was re-elected Speaker for what likely will be her last two years in the role.

    The usual pomp-and-circumstance of Congress’ first day was muted by the reality that the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us. Members came to the House floor to vote in groups to promote social distancing. Two members who had tested positive for the coronavirus did not vote, and three who had been exposed to the virus voted from a plexiglass booth in the balcony.

    The virus and the havoc it has wrought also were present in the Speaker’s remarks after her election. While praising enactment pf the COVID relief package, she urged her colleagues to do more to help Americans cope with the crisis: “The House will continue our work to save lives and livelihoods, to build back better in a way that advances justice in America.” She also announced the formation of a Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth. She said that the Select Committee will make legislative recommendations to “to combat the disparities of income and wealth that undermine faith in America’s promise for a better future for our children.”

    While the opening session was filled with calls for bipartisanship, nobody expects that to last long. Not only are there major divisions between the two parties over virtually every major issue, but the parties themselves face significant infighting. Republicans are in the midst of a schism over the extent to which they should defend President Trump’s efforts to protest the outcome of the election, while Democrats are torn between their progressive and centrist wings on a host of policy questions. Even if Democrats win a functional majority in the Senate following the Georgia races, giving them control of the three policy-making arms of the federal government once President-elect Biden is sworn in, major ideological divisions within the Party mean that progress on major issues will not be easy. And if Republicans keep control of the Senate, divided government will remain the reality for at least the next two years.

    Either way, action on climate, infrastructure, economic recovery and a host of other simmering issues will be contentious and drawn-out. To be fair, slow progress is what the Founders had in mind when they drafted the Constitution, preferring careful debate over rash action. And the division of power between – and even within – the three branches of government was intended to prevent any one faction from gaining too much influence over policymaking. But it is understandable that in a time of multiple crises, the public expects Washington to act.

    The good news is that crises have a way of busting through the gridlock. Few would have predicted that House Democrats would embrace President Trump’s call to increase stimulus checks, which is exactly what happened. And there are a number of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who, tired of the fighting, are working behind the scenes to develop policy ideas that can garner majority support.

    From the standpoint of the CRM industry, the ability to find bipartisan support will enable it to advocate for progress in the coming year. Just as the industry secured provisions in the COVID relief package to prevent a tax increase on small businesses and to increase the Historic Preservation Fund, 2021 brings hope that, with engaged advocacy, the industry can advance policies that help preserve the past while building for the future.


  • 01/03/2021 6:17 PM | Emma Altman

    ACRA Community- 

    The use of scientific techniques like portable X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (pXRFis becoming more common in historical archaeology. Research focusing on how and why archaeologists use these techniques is important to ensuring the future effective and appropriate use of them. I’m currently an anthropology master’s student at the University of Idaho (under the advisement of Mark Warner), and my thesis research is focused on the appropriateness of the use of pXRF in historical archaeology.

    As part of this research, I’m interested in looking at grey literature (site reports and other documents) for historic sites that include the use of pXRF so I might understand the contexts that pXRF is currently being used inAny shared materials would not be reproduced in the thesis; all data would be analyzed in non-identifiable aggregate. In the unlikely scenario that I would like to include specific details, I will directly request permission from your firm.  

    If you or your firm have any documents or reports that you would be willing to share with me for this research project, please contact me at ealtman@uidaho.edu. 

    Best, 

    Emma Altman
    ACRA Student Member
     

     


  • 12/31/2020 2:18 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    ACRA is celebrating the work of its member firms through this new series highlighting 2020 projects. To be featured, submit your project here.


    Landing Strip - Google Earth Pro 2019

    FM 756
    Tyler, Smith County - Texas
    AmaTerra Environmental, Inc.

    AmaTerra Environmental, Inc. completed a historic structures resources survey for a 6.8 mile road widening project for TxDOT. The project included a survey of land originally owned by Bobby Manziel - the grandfather of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, all completed from the ROW. Subsequent research yielded a fascinating story that includes an appearance from heavyweight boxing great Jack Dempsey, the history of cockfighting in the area, and more. Read below for the full report!


    Camera facing north. NETROnline 1965.

    Property 10 is owned by the Manziel Family Rental Partnership with buildings located on two large parcels, 149 acres and 197 acres. According to the Tyler librarian, this land was owned by the grandfather of football Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel. The grandfather, Bobby Manziel, was notorious for cock fighting. Three different news articles verified the librarian's information with the exception that Bobby Manziel was the great grandfather of Johnny.

    Bobby Joe Manziel, born in Lebanon, immigrated to the United States and became a bantamweight boxer (Tedesco 2016). When Bobby retired from boxing, he borrowed money from heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Dempsey, to drill for oil. He had a successful well in Gladewater, Texas, around 1936 (Tedesco 2016). At the age of 33, he married 18-year old Dorothy Nolan in 1937 and settled in Tyler, Texas, where he purchased property outside the city limits then built a house (Tedesco 2016).

    In addition to his continued success in oil ventures, Bobby was interested in cockfighting, even though the sport was illegal in Texas. Bobby developed his own breed of birds aptly named Manziel greys and reds (Townsend 2013). Another enthusiast, Jay Goode, recalls fighting his roosters at the Dripping Springs pit in Waco, Texas. Jay stated he fought against some of the toughest cockers in the world, of which Bobby Manziel was one of the men he named (Goode 2001). He also had cattle, some of which were a gift from Richard Kelberg of King Ranch.

    During a 1956 interview, a reporter stated they could see Bobby's herd of Santa Gertrudis cattle and some 1,200 fighting gamecocks from the windows of the Manziel house. Bobby died four months after that interview at the age of 51 (Tedesco 2016). One of his pallbearers was the Texas State Attorney General.


    Camera facing north. NETROnline 1970.

    The Manziel's had seven children; their son Norman Paul, was the grandfather of Johnny Manziel. Norman's son was John Paul. John moved his family to Kerrville, Texas when Johnny was young. Dorothy passed away in 2003. The Manziel family still owns the property but based on the title, lease it out. Cattle are visible in the 2019 aerial photographs. The 1965 aerial photograph appears to have a collection of small structures, possible bird shelters and feeders, west of the house, which are no longer visible on the 2019 aerial photograph.

    Although Bobby Manziel was a notorious cockfighter and created his own gamecock breed, the structures associated with the gamecocks do not appear to be present when viewing historic aerial photographs. It is not known if Manziel organized gamecock fighting events on his property. Due to the lack of information, the historian was unable to fully evaluate the property for its historic use as a gamecock farm and therefore no recommendation is made for Criterion A.

    While Bobby certainly was an interesting man possessing both wealth and local importance, his only known significant accomplishment was developing a gamecock breed. There is no additional information providing evidence of whether that breed was pivotal to the industry in any way, nor is it an unusual hobby, although illegal. Based on the information so far known, Bobby's contributions fail to rise to the level necessary to be listed in the National Register, and therefore Property 10 is recommended not eligible for Criterion B.

    Because right of entry was not granted for Property 10, access to the property and the buildings was not available. Examination of use, material condition and determination of architectural integrity was difficult to determine based on the distance of the buildings from the ROW. The determination of resource types/uses was based on professional experience and may not be correct, particularly for 10e (slaughterhouse), 10g (mobile home) and 10f (barn) . Structures on the south parcel included the house (10a), brick entrance gate (10b), Quonset hut/equipment shed (10c), beef cattle barn (10d), barn (10f), barn (10h), and small stock pond (10n). Structures on the north parcel included slaughterhouse (10e), mobile home (10g), landing strip (10i) and associated buildings (10jkl), and large stock pond (10m). According to TxDOT's Historic Resources Toolkit, guide "South Texas Ranching", post-war buildings often used pre-manufactured metal buildings which were transported to the site whole or had to be assembled (Moore 2013: 4:53). The ancillary buildings are constructed of different materials; wood (10df), concrete block (10e), and metal (10c) which indicates some of the buildings may have been constructed before World War ii. Analyzing historic aerials, the extant buildings are located in a large circular pattern with a holding pen in the middle, atypical of the cluster pattern of work/agricultural zones. The buildings do not appear to display any noteworthy craftsmanship or construction methods and are typical examples and forms for their era and the region. The historian is unable to fully evaluate the buildings individually or as a collective whole and therefore no recommendation is made under Criterion C.


  • 12/30/2020 1:25 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From the ACHP:

    On April 3, 2020, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation issued a blanket extension regarding the review under 36 CFR 800.12 of undertakings responding to COVID-19 emergency and disaster declarations. Three extensions were issued, the third of which was set to expire on December 31, 2020. Considering the likelihood of such declarations remaining in place into the foreseeable near future, and the ongoing need for federal agency responses to them, that extension is now set to expire on March 31, 2021.

    The press release is also on the ACHP website.







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