Purdy to pay for cultural study of land for sewer project

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Pipeline to Monett to be scrutinized for Native American heritage

The Purdy City Council has approved a $3,190 expense for a cultural resource study of land crossed by the proposed sewer pipeline to Monett.

Mayor Steve Roden said grant funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program requires the cultural study. Of all the Native American tribes contacted, the Osage Nation alone responded to the USDA inquiry and asked for the study.

Two organizations bid for the job. Council members awarded the contract to the low bidder, Environmental Research Center of Missouri, based in Jefferson City, for $3,190. The other bidder wanted $10,742.

According to Bruce Hively, area specialist for the Rural Development program, since Purdy’s project also involves state funding, the cultural resource study was likely recommended by the State Historic Preservation Office.

“Projects involving state money are typically more restrictive on the historical context,” Hively said. “If the State Historic Preservation Office has asked for the study, they have probably determined something could be there. There’s a huge amount of Indian artifacts all over southwest Missouri. Rural Development would require an environmental study. Every once in a while, especially with water districts, we find pottery and arrowheads. Then we determine if there is really anything of historical importance there.

“If there is, like a burial ground, then a mitigation measure would have to be taken. In that case, they would bypass the area and not disturb it. We’re trying to be careful.”

The study could find the land in question, since it parallels the Arkansas-Missouri Railroad line, had been “prior converted.” Land classified as “undisturbed” is more likely to produce surprises, in which case researchers would study historic records and conduct digs to assess the situation, Hively said.

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