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Lubbock Land Swap
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U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Center 

USDA-ARS Plains Area Office - CSRL - Lubbock, TX

 Proposed Land Exchange of Federal and Private Lands
Big Spring and Lubbock Texas Project

Executive Summary

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agriculture Research Service (ARS), Plains Area Office is proposing a land exchange of ARS land in Big Spring, Howard County, TX with privately-owned land in Hale County, near Abernathy, TX. The ARS land in Big Spring, TX is approximately 103 acres and is associated with the Cropping Systems Research Laboratory in Lubbock, TX. The ARS Cropping Systems Research Laboratory has been conducting research on the Big Spring site since 1915, with the research focused primarily on soil composition and moisture, wind erosion, crop cultivation, and limited livestock production. For the past several decades, research has been limited to wind erosion, soil, and plant stress studies associated with drought. One of the current primary research focuses of the ARS Cropping Systems Research Laboratory is farm cultivation research as it involves modern irrigation and other farming practices.

This environmental assessment (EA) analyzes the proposed land exchange of the ARS Big Spring site with privately-owned land near Lubbock, TX, and their impacts on the environment. There are two alternatives––Proposed Action and No Action alternatives––evaluated to determine the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that could result to the human environment. The direct and indirect impacts of the Proposed Action would primarily be minor and temporary impacts associated with construction activities. The newly discovered sites on the ARS Big Spring site were both recommended as not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The first site was a historic trash scatter from houses that were removed, and the second site was a prehistoric lithic scatter. Four newly discovered sites were found on the privately-owned sites during the pedestrian surveys. Of these, one site is recommended as eligible for inclusion in the NRHP on the Church Farm site. The recommended eligible site is where the Methodist Church was located in the southeast corner. The Proposed Action would also not result in significant cumulative impacts when considered in combination with the past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions. The cumulative impacts to cultural resources would not likely be substantial in the foreseeable future because cultural resource surveys have been completed for all sites and eligible sites would be avoided by future development.

Implementation of best management practices and drilling requirements for oil and gas wells would avoid, minimize, or mitigate potential minor adverse impacts as discussed in the EA. Implementation of the best management practices described in the EA would reduce the potential impacts of the Proposed Action, resulting in no significant adverse impacts to the environment. Therefore, preparation of an EIS is not required. 

Notice of Availability - Lubbock/Big Spring - Land Swap Environmental Assessment

 - Big Spring Land Exchange EA_DEC 17 2020

 - Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

   Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact