Construction Monitoring for a Large-Scale Communication Infrastructure Project
Client: Watts Constructors
Location: San Luis Obispo County
Project Manager: Sarah Nicchitta
• Albion’s extensive experience consulting with a diversity of stakeholders allowed us to effectively move project activities forward while addressing the concerns of all stakeholders which included the U.S. Army Garrison, Presidio of Monterey (USAG POM), local Native American representatives, and construction crews.
• Albion developed a creative monitoring strategy based on identifying soils that pre-date human occupation in California thereby reducing the area requiring archaeological monitoring and saving the client time and money.
• Our archaeological team conducted six months of continuous monitoring for this construction project which involved large-scale ground disturbance, ensuring regulatory compliance and cultural resource stewardship.
The United States Army proposed to construct a 50-acre Communications Infrastructure Improvement Project at Camp Roberts military installation in San Luis Obispo County. Ground disturbing activities included removal of 2–3 feet of topsoil throughout the Project Area, up to 20-feet of mountain top removal, oak tree removal, access road creation and maintenance, drainage infrastructure installation, and installation of a new fence line. Although background research failed to identify any previously recorded cultural resources within the project area, the vicinity had a moderate potential to contain previously unknown archaeological sites, based on its proximity to fresh water and natural material for stone tool manufacturing. The project was subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and Albion’s role was to ensure regulatory compliance as described in a project-specific monitoring plan, as well as coordination between stakeholders. For example, Albion coordinated with the Yak Tichu Tichu Northern Chumash Tribe to ensure Native American monitors were on-site during ground-disturbing activities. We met with tribal leaders to consider tribal concerns and communicated with tribal representatives when artifacts were identified. Because the amount of ground disturbance was so extensive, Albion creatively applied principles of geological stratification of soils to limit archaeological monitoring to those areas dating to human occupation in California, thereby significantly reducing project costs.