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Intensive Archeological Survey on Farm-toMarket 767 at Punta de Agua and Rita Blanca Creeks, Hartley County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation, SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey on August 7, 2017, of 9.2 acres of existing right-of-way (ROW) along Farm-to-Market (FM) 767, west of Channing in Hartley County, Texas. As the project will receive funding from the Federal Highways Administration, it qualifies as an undertaking as defined in Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 800.16(y); therefore, the archeological survey was conducted in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S. Code 306108). Furthermore, the project must also comply with the Antiquities Code of Texas (9 Natural Resources Code 191). Jon Budd served as Principal Investigator under Texas Antiquities Code Permit No. 8090.
The project area is defined as the existing 150-foot-wide FM 767 ROW beginning 835 feet west of the Punta de Agua Creek waterline and extending 2,655 feet east. According to project design, the depth of impacts will be up to 50 feet below the current ground surface for the bridge supports and up to 10 feet for the remainder of the project. The APE is approximately 9.2 acres.
Background research identified one archeological site (41HT21) within 0.6 mile (1 kilometer [km]) of the proposed project APE. Site 41HT21 is located 0.37 mile (0.6 km) south of the proposed APE. One archeological survey is mapped within the APE, a 2011 fiber optic line survey that crosses the northern side of the roadway. No sites were recorded during the survey. No potentially historic structures, cemeteries, or historic markers are located within 0.6 mile (1 km) of the project area.
The existing ROW has been modified by the construction of FM 767, existing buried utilities, the current concrete span bridge, and disturbances from high-energy flooding of the Rita Blanca and Punta de Agua Creeks. Portions of the ROW consist of short grasses, but the APE is largely devoid of vegetation, affording abundant ground surface visibility. The field investigation consisted of a pedestrian survey of the entire APE and excavation of five backhoe trenches on terraces adjacent to the active floodplain. The trenches and pedestrian survey identified no cultural materials or features in the project APE. The pedestrian survey, however, identified one isolated find, a metal mixer or separator of undetermined age, although it does not appear historic. The cumulative impacts from the roadway and existing utilities indicate a negligible potential for intact archeological resources within the APE.
SWCA made a reasonable and good faith effort as per 36 CFR Part 800.4(b)(1) to identify and locate prehistoric and historic archeological properties within the proposed project APE. The field investigation discovered no cultural resources; therefore, SWCA recommends that a finding of “no historic properties affected” be made for the current undertaking.
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