Heritage, Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 1991 Page: 24
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half again that number. Predictions are for
population to double north of the river
within the next few decades. The Lower
Valley along with the sandhills east of El
Paso are the only vectors left to absorb that
growth in El Paso.
The eyes of Texas are upon the Lower
Valley these days. Governor Richards has
pledged support to water delivery projects
and legislative efforts such as those for the
Mission Trail. New political entities are
working cooperatively to service previous
growth and to manage the new. The El
Paso County Lower Valley Water District
Authority was formed to implement water
supply and wastewater services in the area
of El Paso County south and east of El Paso.
Like Hercules, the Authority has been assigned
the task of flushing out the Augean
stables, but with its commitment to providing
services along with planning oversight
for future growth, the Authority is
playing a crucial regulative role in local
And because of its central role, the
Authority, along with the Texas Water
Development Board has assumed the
responsibility for historic resource
protection in the Lower Valley. In order to
comply with federal and state regulations
the Authority has undertaken a comprehensive
overview and treatment plan
for the impact their project will have on
the community. It is a monumental task,
no pun intended. Studies of the Spanish,
Mexican, and American archives are
underway along with studies of the serpentine
history of the river channel by a geomorphologist.
Subsurface tests with
ground-penetrating radar along with
analysis of aerial photogrammetry and
historical maps are being conducted to
build a predictive model for site avoidance
and protection during the trenching. Prehistoric
sites above the ground are being
recorded along with historic architecture
ranging from the vernacular MexicanAmerican
farmhouse to the Missions and
other Spanish sites.
The cultural resources of living
communities are as vital to preservation
projects as are those from the past.
Accordingly, an oral history project has
been initiated to be conducted through a
school program to involve students in
intergenerational communication as they
help to locate informants and record their
memories of the recent past.
The fruits of this cultural resource project
which the Authority has undertaken
will have immediate use for the avoidance
and protection of historical properties. But
in a larger sense this effort represents the
recording of our moment in time, of the
status of our preservation efforts, and of the
cultural dynamics of our period in history.
When we read accounts of the Spanish
entradas of 400 years ago, and relish the
details recorded in that earlier history, we
rekindle our sense of wonder and awareness
of all life. And we are given milestones
against which to measure our own wandering
progress. We can always hope that
our own efforts at chronicling our past and
our present can provide such freshness 400
years from now.
John Peterson is a professional archeologist and the
book review editor of HERITAGE.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 1991, periodical, Summer 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45423/m1/24/: accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.