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Intensive Cultural Resources Survey of the Proposed San Antonio Water System E-19 Wastewater Project, Segment 2, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. (Horizon) was selected by the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), via its engineering contractor, Kimley Horn and Associates (KHA) and its environmental permitting contractor, CP&Y, Inc. (CP&Y), to conduct a cultural resources inventory survey and assessment for the proposed E-19 Wastewater Project, Segment 2, in northeastern San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. The proposed undertaking would a combination of replacement of an existing gravity wastewater pipeline as well as new construction. The Segment 2 right-of-way (ROW) begins at a hike-and-bike path located within the Salado Creek Greenway approximately 0.3 kilometer (0.2 mile) southeast of the intersection of Nacogdoches Road and Salado Creek Drive. From this point, the ROW extends southward within an existing utility easement that passes through a tennis court and between two residential subdivisions, runs along the western margin of the Northeast Baptist Hospital complex, and crosses NE Interstate 410 Loop and Salado Creek. The ROW then turns southeastward and runs within the existing Ira Lee Road ROW along the northern/eastern side of the road to County Road (CR) 368 (a.k.a. Austin Highway). From this point, the ROW continues southward within the existing ROW of Holbrook Road, running along the western side of the road, terminating approximately 0.5 kilometer (0.3 mile) northwest of the intersection of Holbrook Road and Rittiman Road. The ROW extends a total linear distance of 5.1 kilometers (3.2 miles) and ranges in width from approximately 19.8 to 76.2 meters (65.0 to 250.0 feet), with a typical width of approximately 24.4 meters (80.0 feet). The proposed undertaking would be constrained largely to the existing ROW of the wastewater line, though some new easements would be required. Overall, the project area covers an area of 14.1 hectares (34.9 acres).
The proposed project is being sponsored by SAWS, a public utility within the state of Texas. Consequently, the proposed project falls under the jurisdiction of the Antiquities Code of Texas (Natural Resources Code, Title 9, Chapter 191). At this time, no federal funding, licenses, or permits have been identified for the proposed undertaking, though it is possible that portions of the proposed ROW may require permitting by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In this case, any portions of the overall project area that fall under the federal permit would also fall under the jurisdiction of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended. As the project represents a publicly sponsored undertaking with the potential to impact potentially significant cultural resources, the project sponsor was required to perform a cultural resources inventory and assessment of the project area.
From June 22 to 23, 2017, Horizon staff archeologist Stephanie Mueller and archeological technicians Jacob Lyons and Jared Wiersema, under the overall direction of Jeffrey D. Owens, Principal Investigator, performed an intensive cultural resources survey of the project area to locate any cultural resources that potentially would be impacted by the proposed undertaking. Horizon’s archeologists traversed the project area on foot and thoroughly inspected the modern ground surface for aboriginal and historic-age cultural resources. The majority of the project area consists of the utility easement of the existing wastewater line, and extensive prior impacts from construction, use, and maintenance of existing roadways, driveways, contractor yards, a tennis court, parking lots, hike-and-bike trails and trailheads, and various overhead and subsurface utility lines were observed. Many segments of the existing wastewater line run within the ROWs of existing roadways that are typically quite narrow, with road shoulders and easements that often measure only a few feet in width.
In addition to pedestrian walkover, the Texas State Minimum Archeological Survey Standards (TSMASS) require a minimum of 16 shovel tests per mile for linear project areas measuring up to 30.5 meters (100.0 feet) in width; as such, 51 shovel tests would be required within the 5.1-kilometer- (3.2-mile-) long project area. Horizon excavated a total of 68 shovel tests, thereby exceeding the TSMASS for a project area of this length. The pedestrian survey with shovel testing revealed shallow, heavily disturbed deposits of gravelly clay and clay loam sediments, and limestone bedrock or decomposing bedrock gravels were encountered in many shovel tests at depths ranging from 10.0 to 40.0 centimeters (3.9 to 12.2 inches) below surface.
Modern trash and construction debris were abundant throughout the project area, and sediments observed in most shovel tests were disturbed and contained road base gravels and/or modern trash. The southern end of the project area, located adjacent to Holbrook Road, passes within the designated boundaries of a previously recorded prehistoric archeological site, 41BX294, and the Salado Battlefield and Archeological Site National Register Historic District. Shovel testing within this portion of the project area revealed disturbed sediments mixed with modern debris, and no cultural resources or intact archeological deposits were observed within the boundaries of these two known cultural resources. The central portion of the project area, located adjacent to Ira Lee Road, passes within the boundary of a previously recorded multiplecomponent prehistoric and historic-age archeological site, 41BX474. One shovel test excavated on site 41BX474 contained several glass shards and a whiteware ceramic sherd of unknown age (modern or historic-age) and one aboriginal chert flake in surficial, disturbed sediments immediately adjacent to the Ira Lee Road pavement. Site 41BX474 has been largely destroyed as a result of ongoing urban development and has been previously determined to be ineligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and/or for designation as State Antiquities Landmarks (SAL). Horizon concurs with the previous significance assessment for site 41BX474. No other cultural resources, historic or prehistoric, were observed during the survey.
Based on the results of the survey-level investigations documented in this report, no potentially significant cultural resources would be affected by the proposed undertaking. In accordance with 36 CFR 800.4, Horizon has made a reasonable and good-faith effort to identify historic properties within the project area. No cultural resources were identified that meet the criteria for designation as SALs according to 13 TAC 26. Horizon recommends a finding of “no historic properties affected,” and no further archeological work is recommended in connection with the proposed undertaking. However, human burials, both prehistoric and historic, are protected under the Texas Health and Safety Code. In the event that any human remains or burial objects are inadvertently discovered at any point during construction, use, or ongoing maintenance in the project area, even in previously surveyed areas, all work should cease immediately in the vicinity of the inadvertent discovery, and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) should be notified immediately.
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