Class III Cultural Resource Survey for the Yuma West Wetlands Mitigation Project Yuma County, Arizona

Author(s): Carol Telles

Year: 1999


The Yuma West Wetlands Mitigation Project (YWWMP) is part of the Yuma Riverfront Task Force, which was established in the mid-1990's to develop projects to reclaim the river front. This is one of several projects planned along the river front. Reclamation has entered into a grant agreement with the City of Yuma (Yuma) for construction of the YWWMP. The current project consists of an upper terrace (approximately 80 acres) and a lower terrace (approximately 40 acres). The upper terrace is located on an abandoned landfill. The landfill was closed by Yuma in 1972, was known to have existed in 1925, and may have begun as early 1900. The landfill is now covered by one to eight feet of soil. Yuma proposes to plant upland native species, develop a footpath and equestrian nature trails, and create a hummingbird sanctuary and interpretive area.

The lower terrace is located approximately ten feet lower than the upper terrace in the floodplain of the Colorado River. This area is densely covered by exotic vegetation namely salt cedar and river reeds. The floods of 1993, destroyed much of the lower terrace, removing vegetation, leaving behind a few cottonwoods and willows. Then in 1996, the regrowth of vegetation was again destroyed by a fire. This area is located in the floodplain of the river and has throughout time been subject to the intensity offload waters. For the current project Yuma proposes to clear the site of common reed, arrowweed, quail bush, and seepweed, leaving small to medium growth native trees; construct an elevated walkway and a small-boat launch facility; and plant cottonwood-willow/native riparian vegetation.

Class I (literature search) cultural resources survey revealed eight archaeological sites located within a one mile radius of the project area. The Yuma Valley Railroad [AZ X:6:43(ASM)] and the Yuma Valley Levee [AZ X:6; 15(ASM)] both are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as contributory features to the historic Yuma Irrigation Project (YIP). Site AZ X:6:29(ASM) is a historic bridge which is non-contributing to the YIP. Prehistoric site CA-IMP-156 consists of petroglyphs, rock alignments, and lithic scatter and is of unknown significance. Historic roads make up the other sites: CA-IMP-3452H, CA-IMP-3454H, CA-IMP-3455H, CA-IMP-3456H and CA-IMP-3457H, and are of unknown significance. None of these sites will be impacted by the proposed project.

Class I surveys also revealed a 1949 Reclamation map showing the meandering channels of the Colorado River in 1902-3 and 1915. The river channel has changed throughout time and this area has been subject to many years of flooding. The APE is partially located within this constantly changing area. With this information it would be highly unlikely for any cultural resources to remain intact. This area was flooded as recently as 1993.

Class III (field inventory) cultural resources surveys were conducted on the upper terrace. The survey revealed the area to be an abandoned landfill. The area consisted of modem trash including plastics, metal, rubber, paper, and various colored glass shards, shoes, clothes, car parts, porcelain ceramic sherds, etc., but no significant cultural resources were identified.

Class III surveys were not conducted on the lower terrace due to the density of the vegetation. Based on the above noted information: its location in and near the floodplain, the previous flooding, and the 1996 fire, it is highly unlikely that any significant cultural resources are present either on the surface or subsurface.

Cite this Record

Class III Cultural Resource Survey for the Yuma West Wetlands Mitigation Project Yuma County, Arizona. Carol Telles. Yuma, AZ: Bureau of Reclamation, Yuma Area Office. 1999 ( tDAR id: 399335) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8RN39P3

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1925 to 1972 (Years in which the landfill is known to have been in use. It may have been used as early as 1900.)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -114.661; min lat: 32.709 ; max long: -114.618; max lat: 32.74 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Arizona State Parks

Landowner(s): City of Yuma; Arizona State Parks

Prepared By(s): Bureau of Reclamation, Yuma Area Office

Record Identifiers

Bureau of Reclamation Report Number(s): DI-BR-YAO-ICRS-99-12

Project Name(s): Yuma West Wetlands Mitigation Project

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
Cultural-Resource-Survey-in-Yuma-County.pdf 1.58mb Jul 1, 1999 Sep 23, 2015 9:19:02 AM Confidential
This file is unredacted.
Cultural-Resource-Survey-in-Yuma-County_Redacted.pdf 993.95kb Jul 1, 1999 Feb 22, 2016 3:09:20 PM Public
Text on pages 1 and 3 and Figures 1-5 have been redacted in this file.

Accessing Restricted Files

At least one of the files for this resource is restricted from public view. For more information regarding access to these files, please reference the contact information below

Contact(s): Arizona State Parks