Texas Historical Commission
The Texas and New Mexico Power Company (TNMP) is proposing to rebuild a 69 kV transmission line from the Worsham substation to the Wickett substation consisting of approximately 28 miles (mi; 45 kilometers [km]) of line in Ward and Reeves counties, Texas. In advance of the proposed project, TNMP contracted HDR, Inc. (HDR) to conduct a cultural resources survey of the portion of the project that crosses land owned by the University of Texas under the Antiquities Code of Texas (13 Texas Administrative Code [TAC] 26.12)
The Area of Potential Effects (APE) included the 100-foot (ft; 30.5 meter [m])) wide transmission line right-of-way (ROW) on University of Texas land and the portions of the ROW within a 600 ft (183 m) buffer on either side of streams that are crossed by the transmission line. The general purpose of the survey was to determine the presence/absence of cultural resources by employing pedestrian survey, shovel testing, and photo-documentation. The cultural resources survey was conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit Number 8087. The field effort was led by Melanie Johnson on July 12– 13, 2017. During the course of the survey, two stream crossings were encountered and surveyed. However, after consultation with the USACE Albuquerque office, these crossings were found not to fall under Section 404 jurisdiction.
The pedestrian survey on the 4.3-mi (6.9 km) section of transmission line on University of Texas land resulted in the discovery of seven isolated surface finds consisting of historic metal and glass. Three negative shovel tests were judgmentally placed within the APE on University of Texas land based. The pedestrian survey of two stream resulted in the discovery of eight isolated surface finds including historic metal, glass, brick, and concrete. Twenty-two shovel tests were dug between the two crossings. One of these shovel tests located at the crossing of the Pecos River was positive and revealed historic glass and metal from flood deposits.
One historic-age bridge was identified and documented at the Big Valley Canal survey area. Based on materials and wear, the bridge was likely built in the mid-twentieth century, possibly at the time the existing transmission line was installed. It is a singlespan, steel girder bridge with a timber and steel substructure. The resource is recommended not eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
A segment of the Big Valley Canal was identified within the APE. A segment of the canal outside of the Study Area was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) in 2000 and, in consultation with SHPO, the entire linear resource is considered eligible. The canal likely dates to c. 1906, when the Big Valley Irrigation Company was established to construct an irrigation system in the Lower Pecos River Basin. The project as proposed will have no adverse effect on this historic property.
In accordance with 13 TAC 26.12, no further archaeological investigations are recommended, and construction may proceed. In the event that any archaeological deposits are encountered during construction, work should cease, and the Texas Historical Commission should be notified.
All records and materials generated by this project will be permanently curated at the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
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