Texas Historical Commission
On 21 and 22 April 2015, Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. (Horizon) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey within the 586.0-acre Flat Creek Mitigation Bank Project in Henderson County, Texas (Project Area). Although the Project Area is located on private property and will be developed and maintained with private funds, the enhancement of US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) jurisdictional wetland areas within the mitigation bank via vegetation planting activities will require the usage of a Nationwide Permit (NWP) issued by the USACE. As an NWP is a federal permit, the undertaking also falls under the regulations of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended. Approximately 413.0 acres within the 586.0-acre Project Area consisted of completely inundated areas. Additionally, approximately 65.6 acres within the overall 586.0-acre Project Area have been previously permitted under an NWP and were not resurveyed during the current survey efforts. As such, the Area of Potential Effect (APE) for the current Project Area totals approximately 107.4 acres. At the request of Wildwood Environmental Credit Company, LLC (Wildwood), Horizon conducted the cultural resources assessment of non-inundated and nonpreviously permitted areas within the Flat Creek Mitigation Bank Project in compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA of 1966, as amended. The purpose of the survey was to determine if any archeological sites were located within the Project Area and, if any existed, to determine if the project had the potential to have any adverse impacts on sites eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
The survey of non-inundated and non-previously permitted areas within the Project Areas resulted in entirely negative findings. No cultural materials were observed on the surface of the Project Area or within any of the 45 excavated shovel tests in these areas. In general, the majority of the Project Area contained deep, sandy loam soils with the potential to contain deep, subsurface cultural deposits. However, only shallow, subsurface impacts, less than 3.3 feet (ft) (1.0 meters [m]) deep, are anticipated during vegetation planting activities. As such, since no deep, subsurface impacts are anticipated within the Project Area, shovel testing was considered an adequate site-prospecting survey technique.
Based on the negative results of the cultural resources survey within the Project Area, it is Horizon’s opinion that the 586.0-acre Flat Creek Mitigation Bank Project will have no adverse effect on significant cultural resources listed on or considered eligible for listing on the NRHP and that no further investigations are warranted. Horizon therefore recommends that Wildwood be allowed to proceed with the undertaking, relative to the jurisdiction of the USACE and Section 106 of the NHPA. However, in the unlikely event that any cultural materials (including human remains or burial features) are inadvertently discovered at any point during development, use, or ongoing maintenance within the Project Area, even in previously surveyed areas, all work at the location of the discovery should cease immediately, and the USACE and Texas Historical Commission (THC) should be notified of the discovery.
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