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Marine Archaeological Survey at the Texas Park and Wildlife Department’s North Todd, Resignation, and South Dollar Reef Sites, Galveston Bay, Chambers and Galveston Counties, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
Under contract to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Gray & Pape, Inc., of Houston, Texas, conducted a Phase I marine archaeological survey for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s North Todd, Resignation, and South Dollar proposed artificial reef sites in Chambers and Galveston Counties, Texas. The archaeological survey was sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The Areas of Potential Effect for the proposed reef sites cover an approximate total of 84.4 hectares (209 acres) over three separate project areas. All three areas are on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nautical chart #11327, Upper Galveston Bay – Houston Ship Channel – Dollar Point to Atkinson. The submerged land for the project areas are in State Tract numbers which administered by the Texas General Land Office; therefore, work was completed under Texas Antiquities Permit Number 9514. The United States Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District has been identified as the lead federal agency, and the conduct of the project meets the requirements contained in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, the regulations of the Advisory Council of Historic Preservation (30 CFR Part 800), the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. 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. All project records are curated with the Texas Park and Wildlife Department in Austin, Texas.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department requested this archaeological survey over the proposed areas in support of planned oyster reef habitat restoration and enhancement projects. All restoration work will be done under a Nationwide 27 permit to be issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Proposed restoration activities include multiple phases of cultch placement; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department designed the project areas to include more acreage than planned for the first phase of restoration, and all three areas include an additional 60-meter (197-foot) buffer around the proposed Areas of Potential Effect. 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 reefing project areas.
The marine field investigations of the North Todd, Resignation, and South Dollar Artificial Reef Project survey areas consisted of a bathymetric, magnetometer, and side-scan sonar survey of a combined 84.4 hectares (209 acres) covering the three Areas of Potential Effect in safely navigable waters on July 28, 2020. The comprehensive analysis of the magnetometer data resulted in the identification of one magnetic anomaly (NT-040) that is interpreted as a potential cultural resource (i.e. historic shipwrecks). The remaining magnetic anomalies are interpreted as modern debris associated with recreational and commercial fishing activities, miscellaneous debris from previous tropical storms, existing pipelines, and infrastructure installation and/or maintenance, and as such do not represent significant cultural resources. Side-scan sonar imagery identified a total of three sonar targets, none of which were interpreted as potentially significant cultural material. The recommended management action for the North Todd, Resignation, and South Dollar Areas of Potential Effect is avoidance of bottom disturbance activities within the 50-meter (164-foot) avoidance area, as mandated by Texas Administrative Code, Title 13, Part 2, Chapter 26, for magnetic anomaly NT-040. If avoidance is not possible, then Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends archaeological diver-ground truthing to identify and evaluate the potential for National Register of Historic Places significance of each anomaly.
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