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Intensive Cultural Resources Survey of an Approximately 14.7-Acre Proposed Solar Array Near Calaveras, Wilson County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of DG Central 1, LLC (DG Central 1), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted a cultural resources survey of an approximately 14.7-acre parcel proposed for the Calaveras Solar Project (Project). The Project is proposed to occur on a parcel located immediately east of the intersection of County Road 128 and Farm-to-Market Road 775, near the community of Calaveras, Wilson County, Texas. The proposed Project will consist of a main solar array and ancillary facilities all constructed within the 14.7-acre parcel. Expected Project impacts include widespread surficial modifications with deeper impacts in location of pilings, foundations, and utilities. The maximum depth of impact is not expected to exceed 10 feet below the ground surface. The Project Area is located on the Saspamco and Floresville, Texas, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5- minute quadrangle maps (USGS 2020).
The parcel on which the Project is proposed to occur is entirely owned by the Floresville Independent School District, and therefore the project is subject to the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT). Based on the current project understanding, no federal regulatory compliance is involved. To comply with requirements of the ACT, SWCA conducted an intensive cultural resources survey with shovel testing of the Project Area.
The cultural resources investigations consisted of a background and historical map review of the Project Area and a 0.5-mile buffer (Study Area), followed by intensive pedestrian survey augmented by shovel testing within the Project Area. The file search and literature review identified four previously conducted cultural resource surveys conducted within the 0.5-mile Study Area, the closest survey to the Project Area was recorded 0.2 miles to the north. Two previously recorded archeological sites (41WN74 and 41WN120) were identified within the Study Area; however, the closest mapped resource (41WN74) is located approximately 0.31 miles west of the Project Area. No National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) properties, State Antiquities Landmarks (SALs), Official Texas Historical Markers, Registered Texas Historic Landmarks, or local neighborhood surveys were identified within either the Project or Study Areas (THC 2020). Additionally, the historical map review did not identify any potential historical structures have been depicted within the Project Area (USGS 2020).
An SWCA archaeologist conducted an intensive archaeological survey augmented by shovel testing on April 30, 2020. SWCA archaeologists excavated a total of 16 shovel tests within the Project Area; of which, one proved positive for cultural material with a single tertiary chert flake fragment. A total of eight shovel tests were excavated around the positive shovel test, with two shovel tests in each of the cardinal directions at 15-meter (49.2 ft) intervals. No further cultural material was found within the shovel tests; therefore, the single flake does not rise to the level of an archaeological site and is considered to be an isolated find, which will not require avoidance or mitigation. No further cultural resources were identified on the ground surface or within any of the excavated shovel tests within the Project Area.
In accordance with the ACT, SWCA has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify archaeological resources within the Project Area. No properties were identified within the Project Area that meet the criteria for listing as a SAL or a NRHP property. As such, SWCA recommends that no additional cultural resources investigations are warranted within the Calaveras Solar Project Area, as currently defined.
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