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Mitchell City Council to consider approving archaeological survey on wetland, allowing for historical search

For the city to begin constructing the wetland along Firesteel Creek, an archaeological survey on the land must be completed before securing a permit for the wetland project, as required by the Army Corp of Engineers.

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Public Works Director Joe Schroeder shows the designs of the wetland while pointing to the area where the project will take place along Firesteel Creek.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — The land along Firesteel Creek where the city is preparing to build a wetland will soon become a site for archaeologists to survey and search for potential historical items.

On Tuesday, the Mitchell City Council will consider approving an agreement with an archaeological firm to conduct a survey on the land where the city has been gearing up to build a wetland aimed at reducing the phosphorus and sediment flowing into Lake Mitchell through Firesteel Creek. Tuesday's 6 p.m. meeting will take place at City Hall.

According to Public Works Director Joe Schroeder’s memo to the council, the archaeological survey is being required by the Army Corp of Engineers. For the city to begin constructing the wetland on roughly 35 acres of land along Firesteel Creek, an archaeological survey on the land must be completed before securing the permit for the wetland project.

The Army Corp of Engineers oversees the nation’s navigable waters and wetlands, along with having the regulatory authority to grant permits for dredging bodies of water.

According to Schroeder’s memo, the survey will include a records search for “cultural resources previously identified” and examine “historic atlas and plat maps.” Another facet of the survey will entail conducting a subsurface evaluation to evaluate the “likelihood of buried cultural resources.”

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The archaeologist firm’s findings will be sent to the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) with a recommendation of the project's effect on the area.

The archaeological survey will cost $6,800. Kogel Archaeological Consulting Services is the firm that will lead the survey on the land, if the council approves the proposed agreement.

At a Lake Mitchell dredging meeting in July, Mayor Bob Everson indicated the Army Corp of Engineers' requirement for the archaeological survey was the final hurdle in the permitting process for the city to begin the wetland project.

The city was initially planning to begin the construction phase of the wetland project this summer, but Everson said the archaeological survey requirement will push the start back to 2023.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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