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Cultural Resources Survey Deep Testing of Two Proposed Bore Locations for the West Harris County Regional Water Authority’s Second Source Transmission Line - Segment 3 Alignment in Harris County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
In 2016, Gray & Pape, Inc., of Houston, Texas, performed a preliminary archaeological and historical desktop assessment of 22.2-kilometers (13.8 miles) proposed for the West Harris County Regional Water Authority, Second Source Transmission Line Project – Segment 3 Alignment, in Harris County, Texas. The conclusion of that study was that most of the project’s Area of Potential Effects occurred within areas that had previously been disturbed by the construction of roads, parking lots, and artificial drainages. Gray & Pape, Inc. recommended that only the areas on either side of Buffalo Bayou warranted further investigation due to the potential for intact deeply buried soils and the proximity of three previously recorded prehistoric sites to the Area of Potential Effects. The Texas Historical Commission concurred with that recommendation. Through consultation with the Texas Historical Commission, Gray & Pape, Inc. developed a plan for conducting deep testing at the bore pit workspace locations where the project is proposed to be installed by means of horizontal directional drilling under Buffalo Bayou. Each bore pit workspace measures approximately 15 by 9 meters (50 by 30 feet), for a total of 0.02 hectares (0.06 acres) investigated for the project.
The goals of the survey were to determine if the proposed project would affect any previously identified archaeological sites as defined by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (36 CFR 800), and to establish whether or not previously unidentified buried archaeological resources were located within the project’s Area of Potential Effects. Portions of the Area of Potential Effects are on property owned by Harris County Flood Control District, a political subdivision of the state, and thus a Texas Antiquities Permit (Permit Number 8014) was required prior to the commencement of fieldwork. All fieldwork and reporting activities were completed with reference to state and federal guidelines.
Fieldwork took place on May 10, 2017, and consisted of pedestrian surface inspection and deep testing via mechanical trenching. A total of two trenches were excavated, one within the Area of Potential Effects of each proposed bore pit location. In both trenches, potential Holocene-age soils were shown to be extremely shallow and likely disturbed.
No artifacts or cultural features were encountered during the course of the survey, and no new archaeological sites were identified. No negative impacts on any previously-identified sites are anticipated from the proposed project. Based on these results, Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends that no further cultural work be required and that the project be cleared to proceed as planned. As required under the provisions of Texas Antiquities Code Permit 8014, all project records are housed at the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
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