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Texas Historical Commission
HRA Gray & Pape, LLC, of Houston, Texas conducted a Phase I marine cultural resources survey for the proposed Lavaca Bay LNG project. All marine fieldwork and reporting activities were completed with reference to state law (Antiquities Code of Texas [Title 9, Chapter 191 of the Texas Natural Resources Code] and Texas State rules found in the Texas Administrative Code [Title 13, part 2, Chapters 26 and 28]) for Cultural Resources investigations. Work was completed under Texas Antiquities Permit Number 6335. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been identified as the Lead Federal Agency.
The Phase I underwater archaeological investigation assessed the number, locations, cultural affiliations, components, spatial distribution, data potential, and other salient characteristics of potential submerged cultural resources within the proposed project area. The project area includes approximately 113.3 hectares (280 acres) of submerged land in Calhoun County, Texas. The investigation comprised of a comprehensive magnetic and acoustic remote sensing survey, and target analysis to determine the presence or absence of potentially significant remote sensing targets that might be affected by proposed project activity.
Marine field investigations consisted of a magnetometer, and side-scanning sonar investigation of the proposed project area in safely navigable waters. Data were collected between August 29 and 31, 2012. Survey required approximately 80-person hours to complete. Comprehensive analysis of the magnetic and acoustic data recorded for this project resulted in the identification of 251 discrete magnetic anomalies and 15 isolated acoustic targets. Of the 251 magnetic anomalies, only 8, including the previously noted M-6 and M-7, are considered to have signatures of potential significance and should be either avoided or identified prior to any seabed disturbing activities. It should be noted that previously identified magnetic anomaly M-6 is outside of the present project area. The other anomalies that should be avoided or examined are: 142, 164, 217, 221, 224, and 231. None of the acoustic targets express the characteristics of a shipwreck or articulated shipwreck material.
Additional work planned for the project included a diving/dive ground truthing phase to provide a preliminary evaluation of submerged targets. The project was placed on hold and has ultimately been cancelled before this activity could be mobilized and therefore an evaluation of the remaining submerged targets cannot be offered. This report is submitted to satisfy reporting requirements under Permit 6335. Should activities associated with a future project take place within the survey area, further marine investigation is recommended. Project records will be curated at a state-approved curation facility. Project permitting projected that the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory would be the curation facility used, however conditions changed and the Center for Archaeological Studies will be the ultimate repository.
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