Texas Historical Commission
On 5 May and 2 June 2020, Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. (Horizon) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) jurisdictional areas within Western Midstream Partners, LP’s (WMP) proposed Red Bluff HP Pipeline Reroute Project located in northwestern Reeves County, Texas (Project Area). Although the undertaking is located entirely on private property and will be constructed with private funds, its development may require the usage of a Regional General Permit (RGP) and/or Nationwide Permit (NWP) issued by the USACE. As these are federal permits, the portions of the undertaking under the purview of the USACE also fall under the regulations of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended. At the request of Whitenton Group, Inc. (Whitenton), Horizon conducted the cultural resources survey of the USACE jurisdictional areas on behalf of WMP in compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA. The purpose of the survey was to determine if any archeological sites were located within the USACE jurisdictional areas and, if any existed, to determine if the project had the potential to have any adverse impacts on sites eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
The proposed pipeline right-of-way (ROW) reroute measures approximately 4,022.0 feet (1,226.0 meters [m]) in length and approximately 100.0 feet (30.5 m) wide, with a total area of 9.2 acres. In addition, the project has approximately 3.0 acres of additional temporary workspaces (ATWS) on opposing sides of Salt Creek, resulting in an overall all area of 12.2 acres for the undertaking. However, the Project Area (i.e., the portions of the undertaking within the purview of the USACE) consists of Salt Creek and four adjacent jurisdictional “waters of the US” (WOUS) that are traversed by the proposed ROW reroute and ATWS as well as a portion of the proposed ROW reroute adjacent to previously recorded archeological site 41RV209. To assess all areas that the USACE could determine to be within their purview, Horizon surveyed the vast majority of the proposed ROW reroute and ATWS with the exception of the easternmost 700.0 feet (213.4 m) of the proposed ROW reroute where no WOUS were delineated. This Survey Area totaled approximately 10.6 acres.
The cultural resources survey resulted in the expansion of the boundaries of previously recorded site 41RV209. This site was found to be a low-density scatter of prehistoric lithic debris on a terrace situated to the north and west of the channel of Salt Creek. The presence of lithic debris (cores and debitage) on the site suggests that the surface gravels of the area were utilized as a source of raw material for stone tools. In addition, the presence of scattered firecracked rock (FCR) across the site, the presence of one FCR concentration, and a sandstone metate fragment on the site also indicate that the location served as a campsite where food was prepared. Based on the surficial, sparse, and generally disturbed nature of this site’s deposits in addition to its lack of temporally diagnostic materials, intact features, and preserved floral/faunal remains, it is Horizon’s opinion that the portion of site 41RV209 within the limits of the current Project Area is considered to be ineligible for inclusion in the NRHP and that no additional cultural resources investigations are warranted on the site in connection with the current undertaking.
Based on the assessment that the portion of site 41RV209 within the current Project Area is ineligible for inclusion in the NRHP, it is Horizon’s opinion that development of the Project Area will have no adverse effects on any significant cultural resources located within the USACE jurisdictional areas. Horizon therefore recommends that WMP be allowed to proceed with the development of the proposed pipeline ROW reroute relative to the jurisdiction of the USACE and Section 106 of the NHPA.
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