Archeological Investigations for the Emergency Services Complex Rehabilitation

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Archeological investigations are necessary to support implementation of the planned rehabilitation of the structures comprising the Valley Emergency Services Complex. The Emergency Services Complex buildings exist in very close proximity to highly sensitive archeological resources and human remains. Ground disturbing activities involved in the rehabilitation include: trenching for construction of perimeter foundation footings at the main building and the garage building, new foundation for a small addition on the west side of the main building and the east side of the garage building, and utility line trenching.

The rehabilitation project has the potential to affect archeological deposits at site CA-MRP-56/H, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing element of the Yosemite Valley Archeological District. As part of the park's obligations under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) (36 CFR 800, as amended) and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), park staff will assess the north central portion of MRP-56/H for the presence of intact archeological deposits and Native American human remains. Park staff is currently developing an archeological work plan that will guide efforts to identify and assess the archeological resources in the immediate project area, and a NAGPRA plan to address any discoveries of human remains. Work will begin with preliminary investigations, and may be followed by more in-depth excavations depending on the findings of the preliminary work. One outcome of this study will be to provide the archeological and tribal information necessary for a determination of effect for the undertaking as stipulated in 36 CFR 800.5, part of the Section 106 review process.

Preliminary investigations: Archeologists (accompanied by tribal cultural monitors) will excavate nine shovel test units (50 x 50 cm) and 13 six-inch diameter auger units (total excavation volume: 2.2 cubic meters). All soils will be screened using 1/8 inch mesh hardware screens, and all materials will be sorted for analysis and cataloging. Based on the findings from these initial explorations, more in-depth investigations may be necessary. If so, these investigations will consist of three to five 1 x 1 meter excavation units for a total volume of approximately 4.5 cubic meters. The quantity and location of these excavation units may be adjusted based on the findings of the preliminary investigations.