Archaeological Monitoring for the Wells Hydroelectric Project

FERC Licensing | Lake Pateros, Douglas and Okanogan County, WA

CRC provided archaeological monitoring services in 2015 and 2018 as a component of their On-call agreement with Douglas PUD for cultural resources within the Wells Reservoir.

In 2015, CRC completed low water monitoring of 25 sites and conducted a pedestrian survey in areas normally inundated by the Wells Reservoir during a scheduled low water event. Monitoring sought to document site conditions and provide future management recommendations, while survey sought to identify as-yet unrecorded archaeology. Field investigations revealed that the majority of the site locations revisited were either inundated; observed artifacts were sparse, non-diagnostic and located within beach lag deposits; or, the archaeology originally recorded was no longer evident. Two archaeological sites appeared to be incorrectly mapped and it was suggested that the site locations be corrected. A small shell midden exposure within a cut bank was the only newly observed intact archaeology at a recorded site and it was determined that further testing would be needed to understand the nature and extent of the deposit. CRC completed archaeological site form addenda for all previously recorded sites. Pedestrian surface survey identified three precontact lithic isolates within the fluctuation zone of the Columbia River and were recorded on archaeological isolate forms. Based on investigations, CRC recommended that two sites remain annually monitored, three sites be intermittently monitored, and the remaining twenty sites be inactively monitored. No treatment or stabilization recommendations were suggested for these 25 sites as impact agents were either not actively affecting intact deposits or the nature of those deposits required further research prior to a recommendation being made.

In 2018, CRC completed archaeological monitoring of 41 sites during a low water event of to provide a summary of the conditions observed during monitoring as well as recommendations that may help minimize adverse effects to the visited sites. CRC recommended that six sites be monitored during a more extreme pool reduction as they are inundated at typical low water pool levels; 11 sites continue to be monitored during low water events; the site location for 45DO469 be verified; temporary stabilization in addition to monitoring during low water events was recommended for one site with exposed intact deposits first observed in 2015; one site be annually monitored due to the presence of human remains; and 23 sites remain on the annual monitoring schedule. Of the 23 sites on the annual monitoring schedule, seven did not have visible cultural material or deposits at the time of monitoring. Nine annually monitored sites were observed to contain previously recorded cultural material or features, but impact agents are not currently affecting the cultural deposits or features. Six annually monitored sites are recommended to remain on the annual monitoring schedule with additional recommendations based on observations. It was recommended that Cultural Resources Working Group discuss the proposed plan of action for these sites.