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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

From January 8 through January 15, 2018, SEARCH completed a Phase I cultural resource survey of Texas General Land Office (GLO) properties in Reeves County, as part of the proposed Epic NGL Phase 2 Pipeline Project (Project). The Project is a joint venture between affiliates of TexStar Midstream Logistics, Ironwood Midstream Energy Partners, and Castleton Commodities International. Phase 2 of the Project consists of the installation of approximately 286.8 kilometers (178.2 miles) of 12-inch outside diameter (O.D.) pipeline that will be used to transport natural gas liquids from the Ramsey Terminal in Reeves County, Texas, to the Benedum Plant in Upton County, Texas. The work was conducted for Flatrock Engineering and Environmental, LLC (Flatrock), environmental contractor to TexStar, and this document reports the survey results of sections of the Project Area of Potential Effect (APE) traversing lands owned by the Texas GLO in Reeves County, Texas, to satisfy the requirements of the Antiquities Code of Texas under Texas Antiquities Permit #8268. As a matter of due diligence, three previously recorded upland archaeological sites (41RV30, 41RV40, and 41UT127) with an “undetermined” National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility also were surveyed within the APE in Reeves and Upton Counties.

The proposed pipeline route crosses four Texas GLO properties (SEARCH Survey Areas STL001- STL004). Area STL001 is located in northwestern Reeves County near the start of the Phase 2 pipeline route, approximately 3.65 kilometers (2.27 miles) west of State Highway 285 and 0.52 kilometers (0.32 miles) south of the Ramsey Terminal, the Ford Geraldine Oil Field, and China Draw. The city of Orla, Texas, is roughly 13.85 kilometers (8.6 miles) to the south of Area STL001. Area STL002 is located 34.52 kilometers (21.45 miles) to the south of Area STL001 and 22.14 kilometers (13.76 miles) south of Orla. It is roughly 1.83 kilometers (1.14 miles) west of State Highway 232 and is situated between Narrow Bow and WT Draws. Areas STL003 and STL004 are adjacent to each other. STL003 is 1.59 kilometers (0.99 miles) south of STL002. WT and John D Draws cross portions of Areas STL003 and STL004, and State Highway 232 parallels much of the proposed pipeline route on Area STL004.

The Project APE is 61.0 meters (200 feet) wide, and the pipeline trench is anticipated to be no more than 1.5 to 1.8 meters (5 to 6 feet) deep. On Texas GLO lands, the combined length of the APE in Areas STL001-STL004 is 2.98 kilometers (1.85 miles) in length and 23.4 hectares (57.7 acres) in size. The upland archaeological sites APE totals 5.1 hectares (12.6 acres) and measures 843.2 meters (2,766.4 feet) in length. Staging areas, pipe yards, access roads, and other ancillary facilities eventually will be sited along the Project corridor, but their locations have yet to be determined.

SEARCH performed a Phase I survey to identify and evaluate cultural resources that may be adversely affected within the proposed Project APE, using intensive pedestrian survey and shovel test excavation, as outlined in the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Archaeological Survey Standards for Texas and Archeology and Historic Preservation and Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Antiquities Code of Texas. Pedestrian survey was conducted along four transects spaced 15 meters (49 feet) apart across the width of the APE where surface visibility was greater than 30 percent. Twenty-two shovel tests were excavated along the Project APE centerline on Texas GLO properties, and 28 shovel tests were excavated at the upland archaeological sites. Shovel test profiles varied only slightly across the Project areas and generally corresponded to data mapped by the US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) for Reeves and Upton Counties. Based on USDA Soil Survey data, topography, elevation, vegetation, and the results of shovel test excavation, much of the surveyed portion of Project APE on Texas GLO lands can be distinguished by welldrained, level, open mesquite-grass scrubland. Shovel testing in the Project APE generally revealed two strata; on average, shovel test excavation was terminated at 65 centimeters (26 inches) below surface. Caliche was encountered in all 50 shovel tests, and no cultural material was identified during shovel test excavation.

Three newly identified archaeological sites, 41RV131, 41RV132, and 41RV133, characterized as low- to medium-density prehistoric lithic surface scatters, were recorded and surveyed within the Project APE on Texas GLO property. The length of the Project centerline across the newly recorded sites totals 901.4 meters (2,957.2 feet) or 4.99 hectares (12.35 acres). No temporally diagnostic artifacts were recovered from the three sites, and no artifacts were recovered during shovel test excavation at these three sites.

Upland site 41RV30, a low-density, late nineteenth- to twentieth-century surface scatter associated with Old X Ranch, has been impacted by pipeline construction within the APE. Site 41RV40, a small, burned caliche feature, was not relocated, and this feature likely has been destroyed by pipeline construction and road maintenance. Site 41UT127 served as a practice bombing range during World War II, and while several practice targets are visible on recent aerial photographs, none of the targets are located within the Project APE. No artifacts were identified during pedestrian survey at sites 41RV40 and 41UT127, and no artifacts were recovered during shovel test excavation at the three upland sites.

It is SEARCH’s opinion that the proposed Project will result in NO ADVERSE EFFECT to the portions of these six sites located within the Project APE, and these sites are not eligible for inclusion in the NRHP. No further work is recommended at these sites or within other portions of the Project APE located on Texas GLO lands.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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