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Intensive Cultural Resources Survey for the Proposed North Silsbee Drainage Improvements Project, Hardin County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. (Horizon), was selected by Future Link Technologies, Inc. (Future Link), on behalf of Hardin County, to conduct a cultural resources inventory survey and assessment for the proposed North Silsbee Drainage Improvements Project in northeastern Hardin County, Texas. The proposed undertaking would involve construction of an approximately 4.2-hectare (10.5-acre) storm water detention pond and channel improvements to 2 existing drainages. “Drainage No. 1” consists of an approximately 556.4-meter- (1,825.0- foot-) long segment of Mill Creek extending from Cravens Camp Road southward along the western boundary of the Quail Hollow residential subdivision to the northern boundary of the proposed detention basin footprint. “Drainage No. 2” consists of an approximately 111.2-meter- (365.0-foot-) long ditch that runs east to west between 2 residential properties within the Quail Hollow subdivision, extending from Bob White Drive westward to articulate with Drainage No. 1. Based on available construction plans and typical sections, proposed channel improvements would measure 3.0 meters (10.0 feet) in width within Drainage No. 1 and 2.4 meters (8.0 feet) in width within Drainage No. 2. For purposes of the cultural resources survey, it is assumed that all channel improvements, temporary construction easements, and work areas would be constrained to linear rights-of-way (ROW) measuring no more than approximately 30.5 meters (100.0 feet) in width, or 15.2 meters (50.0 feet) on either side of the centerlines of the channels. Thus, the Area of Potential Effect (APE) is assumed to consist of (1) the 4.2-hectare (10.5-acre) proposed detention basin footprint, (2) the 556.4-meter- (1,825.0-foot-) long by 15.2-meter- (50.0-foot-) wide ROW of Drainage Channel No. 1 (0.8 hectares [2.1 acres]), and (3) the 111.2-meter- (365.0- foot-) long by 15.2-meter- (50.0-foot-) wide ROW of Drainage Channel No. 2 (0.2 hectares [0.4 acres]), covering a combined area of approximately 5.3 hectares (13.0 acres).
The proposed project is being sponsored by Hardin County, a political subdivision of the state of Texas, utilizing funding provided by the disaster-recovery program administered by the General Land Office (GLO) on behalf of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Consequently, the proposed project falls under the jurisdiction of both the Antiquities Code of Texas and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended. As the project represents a publicly sponsored undertaking with the potential to impact potentially significant cultural resources, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) requested that the project sponsor perform a cultural resources inventory and assessment of the APE.
On February 11, 2015, Horizon archeological technicians Briana Nicole Smith and Jared Wiersema, under the overall direction of Jeffrey D. Owens, Principal Investigator, performed an intensive cultural resources survey of the APE to locate any cultural properties that potentially would be impacted by the proposed undertaking. The survey was performed under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 7166. Horizon’s archeologists traversed the APE and thoroughly inspected the modern ground surface for aboriginal and historic-age cultural resources. The majority of the APE consists of a relatively densely forested setting covered in riparian vegetation, including oak, cedar, and hackberry trees and a dense ground cover of tall grasses, shrubs, and greenbrier. The southern portion of the proposed detention pond footprint was inundated at the time of the survey. Limited areas, primarily along the smaller Drainage No. 2 (the ditch), were comparatively more open. Visibility of the modern ground surface was generally poor (less than 30%) within the APE due to the dense vegetative cover. For the most part, the APE appeared to be relatively intact.
In addition to pedestrian walkover, the Texas State Minimum Archeological Survey Standards (TSMASS) require excavation of a minimum of 16 subsurface probes per mile per 30.5-meter (100.0-foot) width of linear ROW and a minimum of 1 shovel test per 2 acres for block areas between 10.0 and 100.0 acres in size. Thus, the TSMASS would require a minimum of 6 shovel tests within the proposed 4.2-hectare (10.5-acre) storm water detention pond area, 6 shovel tests within the 556.4-meter- (1,825.0-foot-) long ROW of Drainage No. 1 (Mill Creek), and 1 shovel test within the 111.2-meter- (365.0-foot-) long ROW of Drainage No. 2 (the ditch), for a total of 13 shovel tests. Horizon excavated a total of 23 shovel tests during the survey, including 16 within the proposed storm water detention pond footprint, 6 within the Drainage No. 1 ROW, and 1 within the Drainage No. 2 ROW, thereby exceeding the TSMASS requirements for a project area of this size. Shovel testing was able to fully penetrate Holocene-age sediments within the APE with the potential to contain subsurface archeological deposits; as such, it is Horizon’s opinion that the pedestrian walkover with surface inspection and shovel testing was adequate to evaluate the cultural resources potential of the APE.
No cultural resources, historic or prehistoric, were identified within the APE as a result of the survey. Based on the results of the survey-level investigations documented in this report, no potentially significant cultural resources would be affected by the proposed undertaking. In accordance with 36 CFR 800.4, Horizon has made a reasonable and good-faith effort to identify historic properties within the APE. No cultural resources were identified that meet the criteria for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) according to 36 CFR 60.4 or for designation as State Antiquities Landmarks (SAL) according to 13 TAC 26, and no further archeological work is recommended in connection with the proposed undertaking. However, it should be noted that human burials, both prehistoric and historic-era, are protected under the Texas Health and Safety Code. In the event that any human remains or burial objects are inadvertently discovered at any point during construction, use, or ongoing maintenance in the APE, even in previously surveyed areas, all work should cease immediately at the location of the inadvertent discovery until a qualified archeologist can assess the find and the THC should be notified immediately.
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