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Cultural Resources Survey of Portions of the Rio Bravo LNG Pipeline on Port of Brownsville Lands, Cameron County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E & E), Rio Grande LNG, LLC, and Rio Bravo Pipeline Company, LLC (RB Pipeline), SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted cultural resources surveys of portions of the Rio Bravo Pipeline on lands owned or controlled by the Port of Brownsville (Port) in Cameron County, Texas. Rio Grande LNG, LLC proposes to construct a natural gas liquefaction facility and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal (Terminal) in Cameron County, Texas, along the north embankment of the Brownsville Ship Channel. In concert with the Terminal, RB Pipeline proposes to construct an associated pipeline system (Pipeline System/Project) within Cameron, Willacy, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Jim Wells Counties, Texas to allow for interconnection with a network of existing pipelines that traverse the northern end of Kleberg County and Jim Wells County. The proposed Pipeline System/Project will collect and transport natural gas to the Terminal site. In compliance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitting requirements and oversight, SWCA conducted cultural resources investigations in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (54 U.S.C. 306108) and its implementing regulations in 36 Code of Federal Regulations 800. Although the entire Project is subject to compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA, this stand-alone report specifically addresses portions of the alignment that will be located on lands owned by the Port of Brownsville (Port). Since the Port is a political subdivision of the state, investigations were conducted in compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT) under ACT Permit No. 8588 administered by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The data in this report is also presented in Addendum IV (Carpenter et al., 2020) to the final report (Nielsen et al., 2016) of the overall investigations.
The investigations covered 0.58 mile (0.93 kilometers [km]) of a 50-foot wide reroute adjacent to previously surveyed 200-foot-wide (60.96-meter [m]-wide) pipeline survey corridor, and 0.31 mile (0.50 km) of proposed access roads within a 50-foot-wide (15.24-m-wide) access roads survey corridor, for a Project Area total of approximately 5.39 acres within Port property. The cultural resources investigations included a background and historical map review, and an intensive pedestrian survey with subsurface testing. The background review identified nine previously conducted archaeological surveys within a 1- mile radius of the Project Area, three of which intersect the current Project Area. The background review identified no previously recorded archaeological sites within the Project Area; however, seven archaeological sites are within a 1-mile radius none of which are immediately adjacent (within 300 feet [91.44 m]) to the Project Area. In addition, a review of historical maps determined that there are no historic-age structures or features mapped within or immediately adjacent to the Project Area.
SWCA archaeologists conducted the cultural resources intensive pedestrian survey on October 22, 2018. The investigation revealed an extensively disturbed setting due to historic & modern development in the area mainly associated with the Port. SWCA archaeologists excavated a total of nine shovel tests within the Project Area all negative for cultural materials. No cultural materials or features or historic-age structures were identified within the Project Area during the field survey.
In accordance with the ACT and Section 106 of the NHPA, SWCA has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify cultural resources within the Project Area of Potential Effects (APE). No cultural resources were identified within the Project Area during the current investigations. Accordingly, no further investigation is recommended for the assessed sections of the Project Area. The THC concurred with these findings and recommendations on January 14, 2020. No artifacts were recovered; documentation will be curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory of The University of Texas at Austin.
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