• 04/26/2021 1:49 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.

    The coronavirus may be preventing in-person meetings, but thanks to technology the CRM industry made its presence felt on Capitol Hill last week.

    Virtual CRM Week meeting with ACRA member Veronica Parsell and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN)

    As part of ACRA’s 2021 Virtual Advocacy Week, CRM professionals from across the country “met” by phone and Zoom with nearly 50 members of Congress and their staffs to educate them on the industry and press for policies that support their firms. Among the issues that ACRA members raised were:

    • Infrastructure and Historic Preservation. As Congress begins to debate President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill, ACRA members asked their elected representatives to balance investing in infrastructure with the need to protect and preserve our heritage. As ACRA members noted, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) does not cause infrastructure projects to be canceled or blocked, but makes sure there is a plan to protect or record historic treasures.
    • The Historic Preservation Fund. For 40 years, the HPF has supported the rescue and rehabilitation of significant historic sites, revitalized communities, and created opportunities for economic growth – all without spending a single dollar taxpayer money (funding for the HPF comes from offshore oil lease revenues). Although Congress has increased funding for the HPF in recent years, it has not kept up with rising demand for historic preservation resources in states and tribes. The current economic crisis has only exacerbated the problem, as states seek ways to cut their own budgets, further imperiling state historic preservation programs. Therefore, ACRA members asked Congress to provide the full authorized amount of $150 million in the upcoming fiscal year.
    • African-American Burial Grounds. Lastly, ACRA members asked their representatives to support legislation to be introduced shortly to protect and preserve African American burial grounds. Noting that African American families were often barred from burying their loved ones in White cemeteries, many African American burial sites have been neglected and abused over time, effectively erasing the memory of countless Americans whose history deserves to be told. The African-American Burial Grounds Study Act would direct the Interior Department to study ways to account for and preserve historic African American cemeteries and burial grounds, and to develop recommendations to provide support to local partners to research, identify, survey and preserve these burial grounds.

    Virtual CRM Week meeting with Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN-5)
    and ACRA members Robbie Jones and Shawn Patch

    ACRA members also invited their elected representatives to meet with CRM professionals back home in their states and congressional districts once it is safe to do so. Inviting a member of Congress to visit a firm or tour an active project site is a great way to build a stronger relationship with elected representatives and help them see first-hand the enormous value that cultural resource management brings to their community and the nation.

    The meetings last week demonstrated that, despite the extreme divisions between the parties on many major issues, there is bipartisan support for historic preservation and helping businesses like those in the CRM field recover from the pandemic. That bipartisan spirit will be sorely needed as Congress begins to tackle a range of issues, from policing reform to guns to immigration, which tend to fall along partisan lines.

    The top priority for the moment, however, remains infrastructure. As President Biden continues to push for his American Jobs Plan, Senate Republicans came out with an infrastructure package of their own last week. The Senate GOP plan would spend $568 billion, as opposed to Biden’s $2.25 trillion price tag. And the Republican proposal would limit funding for “traditional” infrastructure (like highways and bridges), along with broadband and water projects. That is a far cry from Biden’s more expansive bill, which also includes funding for affordable housing, schools, renewable energy and elder care. Whether the parties can bridge the divides is still an open question, but as House committees prepare to unveil legislative text in the coming weeks, ACRA remains vigilant to ensure that Section 106 is maintained.

    Section 106 also got an important boost last week, thanks in part to ACRA lobbying. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland rescinded a Secretarial Order issued by her predecessor at the tail end of the Trump administration. As ACRA wrote to Haaland in February, Secretarial Order 3389 made “changes to the [Sec. 106] process that will harm the process, delaying projects, increasing costs and threating our ability to preserve and protect cultural assets." Thankfully, Haaland agreed, nullifying the Order on April 16.

    As spring turns to summer, Congress and the White House will continue to spar over the infrastructure package and a host of other issues that impact CRM firms. Virtual Advocacy Week may be over, but the work of advocating for the industry continues. To learn how to get involved, click here.

  • 04/22/2021 5:00 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Radiocarbon Dating Basics
    May 13, 2021
    2:00 - 3:30 PM (EDT)
    Register Now

    Members $59 | Students $19 | Non-Members $99

    The next webinar in our 2021 series is Radiocarbon Dating Basics on May 13 at 2:00 pm EDT. Even if you think you know every there is to know about radiocarbon dating, you and other firm employees will benefit from this session that includes the latest information from Beta Analytic!

    This presentation will give an introduction to radiocarbon dating with a focus on what radiocarbon dating is and how it can be used. Topics covered include:

    • Discussion on radiocarbon production in the atmosphere and integration into biological matter, carbon-14 variability in the recent past due to anthropogenic influences and the deep past due to solar cycles
    • Variability in dating uncertainty due to wiggles within the radiocarbon curve
    • Types of organisms and artefacts that can be dated using radiocarbon
    • How radiocarbon is measured using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and how that data can be used
    • Recommendations on how to best select and prepare samples for radiocarbon dating

    Registrants for Radiocarbon Dating Basics will also enjoy a $30 discount from our normal webinar rates. As always, ACRA members enjoy the firm-wide registration benefit - once one person pays for a registration for the live session, all other employees can attend for no additional cost.

    Sign up NOW to reserve your spot!

    Register for Radiocarbon Dating Basics Now

  • 04/21/2021 11:52 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Photo by <a href="https://stocksnap.io/author/worldstage">The World’s a Stage</a> from <a href="https://stocksnap.io">StockSnap</a>It is vital that CRM firms prioritize the safety of their employees on site. Health and safety plans are a requirement for most, if not all CRM projects. Even if you are a small CRM firm working with a larger one, you are often required to submit your own safety plan as a part of your subcontract. These are blueprints for keeping all on the project safe and healthy.

    Health and safety on site is even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple ACRA committees have come together to create a new safety plan template specific to pandemic operations for ACRA firms to use. Firms can use this editable Word document as a reference for safety plans on their own projects or as a part of subcontracts.

    The reference template is available to ACRA member firms only.

    Get the Pandemic Safety Plan Reference Template Here

    DISCLAIMER: This safety plan template is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state, or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the authors nor ACRA will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this policy.

  • 04/19/2021 3:24 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you haven't submitted your projects for the 2021 ACRA Awards yet, you need to do so now! The deadline for receipt of nominations is this FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2021, 5 PM, EDT.

    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. 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.

  • 04/16/2021 12:46 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    In December, then-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued Secretarial Order 3389, Coordinating and Clarifying National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Reviews. ACRA raised a number of concerns about the impact of Order 3389 on the Section 106 process in a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, including how it discouraged alternative mitigation measures as a tool to balance preservation and development needs.

    Today the Department of the Interior announced that Secretary Haaland has rescinded the Order alongside a number of others that "issued in recent years that are inconsistent with the Department’s commitment to protect public health; conserve land, water, and wildlife; and elevate science." Today's order aims to "restore transparency and integrity in the Department’s decision-making processes" surrounding public land and water management.

    You can read the full press release here, and see ACRA's letter to Secretary Haaland here.

  • 04/16/2021 11:05 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Every year, ACRA co-hosts an expo for students with CRM firms from all over the country at the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Annual Meeting. The SAA meeting may be fully online, but the CRM Expo is still happening! 

    Join us TOMORROW, Saturday, April 17 at from 1:00 - 3:00 pm EDT for the annual CRM Expo. Attendees will learn all about how to get a job in CRM, what to expect when searching, and what your first job in the industry will likely entail.

    Attendees will also get to meet with potential employers and have the chance to ask questions. We hope to see you there, and SHARE this post to spread the word!

  • 04/14/2021 4:41 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Want to become a leader in the CRM industry? Becoming a member of ACRA's Board of Directors is one of the best ways do so, and time is running out to submit your candidacy!

    This year there are 5 Executive Committee positions up for election. Joining the Executive Committee puts you and your firm in the best seat possible to make a difference in ACRA and the industry at large. Now is your chance to get a seat at the table!

    Firms that wish to submit employees as candidates for the Board must do so by next Friday, April 23. 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

    If you are interested in any of these positions (even if you aren't willing to commit to running immediately), please contact Kim Redman for more information. Do so ASAP - only just over a week remains to get nominations in!

  • 04/12/2021 11:23 AM | 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.

    Even though Congress has been out of town the last two weeks for its Easter Recess, Washington has been abuzz reviewing and analyzing President Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. The proposal, which Biden announced in late March, seeks to provide $650 billion for transportation infrastructure, $600 billion for housing and manufacturing, and $400 billion for home care for the elderly and the disabled and other investments. The plan would be paid for by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

    The plan engendered almost immediate opposition from Congressional Republicans, who charged that little of it was actually for traditional infrastructure and that it raised taxes too much. Some progressive Democrats, meanwhile, said the plan did not go far enough.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told her Democratic colleagues she wants the plan to pass the House by July 4. Although Democrats hold the majority in the House, it is a very slim one, made even slimmer last week with the passing of Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) from pancreatic cancer. With three other reliably Democratic seats empty because their holders joined the Biden administration, Democrats have a razor-thin 218-213 majority. To make matters more complicated, three Democrats announced they would not support the bill unless it allowed taxpayers to deduct more of their state and local taxes on their federal returns – a top priority for states and communities with higher tax burdens.

    As challenging as the math is in the House, getting Biden’s plan through the Senate will be even more difficult. With a 50-50 split, Democrats will either have to find at least 10 Republicans to support ending a filibuster; end the filibuster entirely; or use reconciliation, the same procedure employed for the COVID relief package that requires only 50 votes.

    Any chance of eliminating the filibuster all but evaporated last week when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reiterated his opposition to changing the rules in a Washington Post op-ed. Even getting 50 votes for the Biden plan may be impossible, as Manchin also expressed opposition to the tax increases in the bill. That leaves the third option: getting 10 Republicans to vote with Democrats to end a filibuster. To date, no Republicans have expressed support for the plan, but Biden said last week he is willing to negotiate with the GOP to find common ground.

    Even if Biden and Senate Democrats find 10 Republicans to go with them, the compromises needed to secure that support will almost undoubtedly result in a much smaller bill. That, in turn, could make it harder to pass the plan in the House, where progressive Democrats want a larger package. Threading the needle between a narrowly divided Congress will not be easy.

    Ironically, infrastructure is one of the areas where bipartisanship has traditionally been possible – and there are a lot of lawmakers on both sides who would like to see Congress pass legislation that fixed roads and bridges, makes the electrical grid more secure and provides increased access to broadband. And, as the country continues to struggle with pandemic-related economic woes, the job creation potential of such moves is significant. That goes for the CRM industry as well, which would undoubtedly benefit from increased investments in infrastructure.

    That is, as long as lawmakers ensure that projects comply with the National Historic Preservation Act. A number of bills have been introduced in Congress in recent months that would exempt a host of infrastructure projects from Section 106 requirements in the name of “regulatory streamlining.” Although these bills have little chance of passing, ACRA continues to make clear to Capitol Hill that Section 106 consultations do not waste time and money, but help balance the twin goals of improving infrastructure while respecting our nation’s heritage.

    Speaking of heritage, advocates for our National Parks received good news two weeks ago when the Interior Department announced it plans to invest $1.6 billion to the National Park System to address its maintenance backlog on a yearly basis. In particular, the funding will improve transportation and recreation infrastructure in public lands, which Interior has said will lead to roughly 18,800 jobs and contribute nearly $2 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.

    Meanwhile, the White House has taken steps to begin the process of funding the federal government in the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. On Friday, the Biden administration submitted its appropriations request for most federal agencies and programs. Biden's proposal seeks $1.52 trillion in spending, a 16-percent increase over the current fiscal year, with significant increases for education, health research and fighting climate change. It would increase the Interior Department's budget by 16% over the current fiscal year.

    For the CRM industry, ensuring full funding of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) remains a top priority. Many state budgets have been depleted by the pandemic, even as the demands on State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (S/THPOs) have never been greater.

    ACRA is asking Congress to provide the full amount authorized by law for the fund, $150 million per year. Recognizing the immense economic and cultural value of historic preservation, Congress has increased funding for the HPF in recent years. Despite these increases, the investments have not kept up with rising demand as SHPO responsibilities have increased, new THPO offices are established, and competitive grant programs are created and expanded.

    Even if Congress and the White House can’t agree in a bigger infrastructure bill, the work of the preservation and cultural resource community continues. If you want to help lobby your elected federal officials for this funding, and for other policies that support CRM, click here.

  • 04/09/2021 5:13 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you missed yesterday webinar on digital marketing, it is now available on demand for you to watch on your own schedule!

    Marketing has moved online, and digital marketing includes far more than posts on social media. Few CRM firms, though, take full advantage of the effectiveness, targeting, and cost savings that digital marketing (DM) provides over more traditional methods.

    In yesterday's session, Dr. Christopher Dore went over a number of major digital marketing topics. Attendees learned where each of these can be most effectively used in in-bound and out-bound marketing and the stages of the CRM client buyer’s journey.

    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 Digital Marketing Primer Now

  • 04/08/2021 12:16 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From Heritage Business International, L3C (HBI): 

    Heritage Business International, L3C (HBI) released the results of its U.S. and Canadian Heritage Office Managers’ Sentiment Survey for the first quarter of 2021 today. Each quarter, the survey asks office managers of organizations providing heritage services if their invoices will be less, the same, or more in the next quarter, in six months, and in a year. An index of 50 is the same, greater than 50 is growth, and less than 50 is contraction.

    At the U.S. national level, the next-quarter index is 55.2. In Canada it is an impressive 88.2, the highest in the history of the survey. Six-month and one-year indices are also provided in the report.

    “Office managers at heritage organizations forecast consistent and significant growth in invoicing over the next year” said Christopher Dore, Ph.D., a consultant and the survey manager at HBI. “This is consistent with the record backlogs reported in the environmental consulting industry. Managers will be challenged in hiring the necessary staff to convert this backlogged work into invoice dollars.”

    The full survey report that includes trends, regional data, historical data, and some state data may be purchased and downloaded on HBI’s web site: https://heritagebusiness.org/shop.

    Heritage Business International is an L3C social enterprise venture dedicated to helping heritage organizations increase their value, sustainability, and impact. The HBI Office Managers Quarterly Sentiment Survey for the U.S. began in the second quarter of 2017.

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