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Results of Cultural Resources Survey for the Spring Lake Section 206 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project, Texas State University-San Marcos, Hays County, Texas
Center for Archaeological Studies
The Center for Archaeological Studies (CAS) at Texas State University-San Marcos conducted intensive archaeological survey and subsurface testing investigations of the Area of Potential Effect (APE) of the Spring Lake Section 206 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project (SLAERP). The SLAERP proposes to restore the aquatic ecosystem components of Spring Lake and riparian corridor/grassland habitat located directly adjacent to the lake to a more natural condition within the constraints of existing land uses. This work will be conducted under Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, which provides authority for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to restore aquatic ecosystems. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the USACE, Texas State University-San Marcos (TxState), and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) regarding the Spring Lake Aquatic Restoration Project required CAS to develop and implement a subsurface testing program to determine the extent of intact cultural deposits within the project area. A testing program was developed and implemented by CAS that included both terrestrial and underwater investigations. Terrestrial investigations consisted of pedestrian survey, shovel test excavation, test unit excavation, auger pit excavation and backhoe trench excavation. Underwater investigations included limited reconnaissance survey, test unit excavation and the extraction of sediment cores. Investigations were conducted within or adjacent to State Archaeological Landmarks 41HY160 and 41HY165. Neither site was adequately delineated prior to this undertaking, and the work reported here results in modified site boundaries within the APE. New site boundaries demonstrate nearly continuous deposits across the APE, confirming that these sites actually represent a single extensive complex of archaeological deposits associated with the freshwater springs that presently form Spring Lake. Based on pending impacts as indicated in the 65 percent project design documents together with the results of the survey, six areas were identified as “Archaeologically Sensitive,” as they contained or possess a high probability to contain cultural deposits that would be negatively impacted by proposed demolition, modifications, and construction. Each of these archaeologically sensitive areas is linked with either 41HY160 or 41HY165, although, given the continuous nature of deposits in the APE, CAS concludes that distinctions between these trinomials are less meaningful than previously believed. CAS recommended the development of mitigation efforts to offset the loss of important information from these areas.
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