Texas Historical Commission


On behalf of Brookfield Residential, SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources investigation of the proposed Pilot Knob Wastewater Interceptor Project in southeast Austin, Travis County, Texas. The project involves the construction of a roughly 2.1-mile-long wastewater interceptor line with an 80-foot temporary and 40-foot permanent easement, and encompasses 20.0 acres. The project has two components: the initial 1.7-mile-long wastewater interceptor and the additional 0.34- mile-long Phase 2 extension.

The initial project alignment begins at Dee Gabriel Collins Road, located approximately 0.6 mile northwest of the intersection of U.S. Route 183 and Farm-to-Market (FM) 812. The proposed line traverses undeveloped land for 1.7 miles and terminates approximately 0.6 mile east of the intersection of McKinney Falls Parkway and Colton Bluff Springs Road. The Phase 2 additional alignment will extend 0.34 mile north-northeast of Dee Gabriel Collins Road before terminating in an undeveloped tract. The depths of project impacts are currently unknown, but horizontal directional bores are proposed at road and drainage crossings and are not expected to exceed 15–20 feet below ground surface. The area of potential effects (APE) for the project is approximately 2.1 miles long and 80 feet wide, encompassing 20.0 acres. The proposed APE is within a semi-rural setting that is quickly becoming more urbanized.

As portions of the initial project alignment traverse potential waters of the U.S., the project must comply with application requirements for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fort Worth District Section 404 permit in accordance with 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 325, Appendix C (Processing Department of Army Permits: Procedures for the Protection of Historic Properties; Final Rule 1990; with current Interim Guidance Document dated June 24, 2002) and with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 USC 470), and its implementing regulations (36 CFR 800). Portions of the initial project alignment within the 100-year floodplain may also be subject to permitting by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and require Section 106 compliance. Portions of the additional project alignment are on lands slated for ownership by the Pilot Knob Municipal Utility District No. 1, a political subdivision of the State of Texas, as a consequence, the project must comply with the Antiquities Code of Texas in addition to Section 106 of the NHPA and its implementing regulations. Consequently, all work was conducted in accordance with the standards and guidelines of the Antiquities Code of Texas under Antiquities Permit No. 7287.

The goal of the work was to locate all prehistoric and historic archaeological sites within the proposed APE, establish vertical and horizontal site boundaries as appropriate, and evaluate the significance and eligibility of all recorded sites for inclusion to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The investigations were initiated with a background review of previous work, historic map review, and an archival review of the APE parcels. Field work involved an intensive pedestrian survey with shovel testing of the APE. The background review determined that portions of the APE have been previously surveyed and that one archaeological site (41TV2366) is recorded within the APE. Site 41TV2366 is an early-twentieth-century farm complex and is not considered eligible for inclusion to the NRHP or for designation as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL). Historic maps revealed six possible historic-age structures and one cemetery within or immediately adjacent to the APE.

Field work for the initial alignment was conducted on October 29, 2014, with a total of 19 shovel tests excavated in portions of the APE. Field work for the additional project alignment was conducted on May 21, 2015, with a total of three shovel tests excavated within the APE. The APE exhibits prior modifications from residential and agricultural development and associated utility installations. The investigations revisited site 41TV2366, verified the location of a historic-age cemetery, and recorded site 41TV2480. Site 41TV2366 is a historic-age farm complex and is considered not eligible for inclusion in the NRHP. No avoidance or additional work is required. The historic-age Collins Cemetery is located 93 feet from centerline and is protected under 711.035(f) and 711.010(a)(b) of the Health and Safety Code of Texas, and as a result, avoidance of the cemetery is required by state law. However, based upon the current alignment, the centerline is over 90 feet north of the cemetery fence and adequately avoids the cemetery. Therefore, the Collins Cemetery will not be impacted by construction activities associated with the Pilot Knob Interceptor Project. As such no additional work is required. Site 41TV2480 is a historic-age circa 1955 residence identified and recorded along the margin of the additional alignment project alignment. No historic-age artifacts associated with 41TV2480 were observed in the current APE, and the residence has been continuously lived in as well as modified compromising its integrity. Based on these factors, site 41TV2480 is recommended as ineligible for inclusion in the NRHP or for designation as an SAL, and no further work is recommended.

In accordance with 36 CFR 800.4, SWCA has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify cultural resources within the APE. As no properties were identified that meet the criteria for listing in the NRHP, according to 36 CFR 60.4, or for designation as an SAL, according to 13 Texas Administrative Code 26.12, SWCA recommends no further cultural resources investigations are warranted within the project APE.

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