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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. (Horizon) was selected by Forestar Real Estate Group, Inc. to conduct a cultural resources inventory and assessment for the proposed 22.1- hectare (54.5-acre) Country Club Road tract in Conroe, Montgomery County, Texas. The proposed development tract is located in a largely undeveloped forested area south of the Conroe Country Club, east of Old Country Club Road, and north of Farm-to-Market Road (FM) 2854 in western Conroe. For purposes of the cultural resources survey, the project area is assumed to consist of the entire 22.1-hectare (54.5-acre) tract.

The proposed undertaking would be sponsored by a private real estate developer on privately owned land. However, the project may require the use of Nationwide Permits (NWP) issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Galveston District, to permit construction within any “waters of the US” that may be present on the property under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. As NWPs are federal permits, any portion of the overall project area that falls within the federal permit area would fall under the jurisdiction of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended. As the proposed project represents a publicly sponsored undertaking, the project sponsor is required to provide the applicable federal agencies and the Texas Historical Commission (THC), which serves as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for the state of Texas, with an opportunity to review and comment on the project’s potential to adversely affect historic properties listed on or considered eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). At this time, no other federal or state jurisdiction has been identified for the project.

From July 13 to 16, 2020, Horizon archeologists Charles E. Bludau, Jr. and Luis Gonzalez conducted an intensive cultural resources survey of the project area. Jeffrey D. Owens served as Principal Investigator. The purpose of the survey was to locate any significant cultural resources that potentially would be impacted by the proposed undertaking. Horizon’s archeologists traversed the tract and thoroughly inspected the modern ground surface for aboriginal and historic-age cultural resources. The project area consists of a large tract of undeveloped forestland characterized by dense hardwoods with a moderately dense understory of shrubs, grasses, forbs, brambles, vines, and various grasses. Disturbances from prior clearance of a linear dirt road corridor providing access to the tract from Old Country Club Road to the west, a transmission line corridor along the southern margin of the project area, and clearing of several all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tracks within the project area were observed, though the project area appears to be largely intact as a whole.

appears to be largely intact as a whole. In addition to pedestrian walkover, the Texas State Minimum Archeological Survey Standards (TSMASS) require a minimum of two shovel tests per 0.4 hectare (1.0 acre) for projects measuring 10.1 hectares (25.0 acres) or less in size plus one additional shovel test per 2.0 hectares (5.0 acres) beyond the initial 10.1 hectares (25.0 acres). As such, a minimum of 56 shovel tests were required within the current 22.1-hectare (54.5-acre) project area. Horizon excavated a total of 65 shovel tests, thereby exceeding the TSMASS for a project area of this size. Shovel tests typically revealed gravelly fine sandy loam to sandy loam sediments transitioning to sandy clay and clay subsoils at depths ranging from 15 to 60.0 centimeters (5.9 to 23.6 inches) below surface, though this transition typically occurred in the range of 25.0 to 35.0 centimeters (9.8 to 13.8 inches) below surface. It is Horizon’s opinion that shovel testing was capable of fully penetrating sediments with the potential to contain subsurface archeological deposits.

Several modern trash piles were observed throughout the project area and objects observed included plastic soda bottles, oil containers and filters, metal barrels, a bed mattress, a hot tub, roofing shingles, a steel traffic signpost, plastic buckets, and a rusted metal barbeque pit. No cultural resources of prehistoric or historic age were observed on the modern ground surface or within any of the shovel tests excavated within the project area during 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 project area. No cultural resources were identified within the project area that meet the criteria for inclusion in the NRHP under 36 CFR 60.4. Horizon recommends a finding of “no historic properties affected,” and no further archeological work is recommended in connection with the proposed undertaking. However, human burials, both prehistoric and historic, 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 project area, even in previously surveyed areas, all work should cease immediately in the vicinity of the inadvertent discovery, and the THC should be notified immediately.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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