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Cultural Resources Survey for the Big Creek Channel Repair Project in Fort Bend County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
This report summarizes the results of a cultural resources survey by Gray & Pape, Inc., on behalf of their client, BIO-WEST, Inc., of six workspaces within four discontiguous locations along Big Creek in Fort Bend County, Texas totaling 6.1 hectares (15.1 acres) and approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) in length. The Big Creek Channel Repair Project calls for bank stabilization efforts at each of the four locations. 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 project are on property owned by Fort Bend County, a political subdivision of the state, as such, a Texas Antiquities Permit (Permit Number 9455) was required prior to the commencement of fieldwork. The lead federal agency is the Federal Emergency Management Agency. All fieldwork and reporting activities were completed with reference to state (the Antiquities Code of Texas) and federal guidelines.
Prior to fieldwork mobilization, a background literature and site file search were conducted to identify the presence of recorded sites and previous cultural resource surveys within or near the Area of Potential Effect. The search indicated that no previously identified cemeteries, historical markers, or National Register properties are located within the project Area of Potential Effects. The same research identified that 11 previous cultural resource surveys had been conducted within the study radius of the project area, three of which overlapped with the current Area of Potential Effects. In addition, 13 previously recorded archaeological sites are located within the study radius, one of which, (41FB330) a prehistoric shell midden site, is located immediately adjacent to the current Area of Potential Effect.
Field investigations carried out in June 2020 consisted of a combination of pedestrian survey, with particular attention to sections of exposed and eroding bank, and subsurface testing within the four project locations. Because the vast majority of the project Area of Potential Effects occurred in areas of steep slope and artificially reworked bank, only 9 of 20 planned shovel tests were excavated. All shovel tests were negative for cultural resource material, including two shovel tests excavated adjacent to the previously recorded 41FB330. Two historic isolate surface finds were identified at Workspaces 5 and 6.
Gray & Pape, Inc. archaeologists are of the opinion that the intensive pedestrian survey and shovel test survey completed within the Area of Potential Effects has adequately assessed the potential for surface and near-surface intact, significant cultural resources. No intact, significant 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 9455, all project records are housed at the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
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