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Texas Parks & Wildlife Department National Recreational Trails Program Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 146 Long Meadow Farms Oyster Creek Trails Project, Fort Bend County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
GTI Environmental, LLC (GTI) conducted an intensive archeology survey within the Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 146’s (FBCMUD-146) proposed Long Meadow Farm Oyster Creek Trails Project (Project). The Project is being funded by Federal Highway Administration (FHA) National Recreational Trails Fund Program administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Accordingly, the Project is complying with the Antiquities Code of Texas (13TAC26) and the National Historic Preservation Act (36CFR800). The Texas Historical Commission (THC) recommended relocation of 41FB310, 41FB312, 41FB313, and 41FB314 within and adjacent to the Project area and determine an avoidance plan, if warranted. Because the trail alignment may change due to the existence of these archaeology sites, there are no plans with stations. Stations will be established after the final trail alignment. Because the trail alignment may change based on the intensive archaeology survey results, GTI proposed to survey 100 feet instead of 30–60 feet to facilitate a revised trail alignment. The 100 feet trail survey corridor constitutes the Project’s direct Area of Potential Effect (APE), as defined by Sweitzer + Associates (S+A) Plan (45% Progress) dated 5-28-14. GTI conducted the intensive archaeological survey in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Minimum Archaeological Survey Standards for Texas (shovel testing), and TxDOT’s Standards of Uniformity Version 3.0 (dated May 31, 2011): Review Standards for Antiquities Permit Applications and Review Standards for Archeology Survey Reports. GTI consulted with Scott Pletka of the Texas Department of Transportation Environmental Affairs Division (TxDOT-ENV), Stanley Cooper of TxDOT Houston District Office, Trey Cooksey of TPWD, and FBCMUD-146 representative, William A. Sweitzer, by phone from July 11-17, 2014 regarding review and signatures on the Antiquities Permit Application. The THC issued Antiquities Permit 6968 for these intensive archaeological investigations on July 21, 2014, and GTI conducted the investigations on July 22, 2014. In general, the Project’s direct APE had greater than 30 percent ground surface visibility. GTI archaeologists did not see ground surface artifacts at the locations of the previously recorded archaeological sites, and archaeologists excavated 19 shovel tests as required by the antiquities permit scope of work. All the shovel tests were negative for the presence of historic or prehistoric cultural material within the Project’s direct APE. Additional archival research did not reveal important events or individuals that may have been associated with the previously recorded historic archaeological sites.
Since the time of the archaeological sites documentation in 2007, the National Register eligibility of these sites has yet to be officially determined by the lead federal agency. In the meantime, however, GTI has determined that the proposed Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 146 Long Meadow Farm Oyster Creek Trails Project will have No Effect to 41FB310, 41FB312, 41FB313, and 41FB314, because the archaeological boundaries of these sites are not within the Project’s direct APE. Archaeologists did not collect artifacts, so there are no curation issues.
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