Archaeological Survey Conducted for Riverbank
Planting Project in the Rifle River Watershed
Riverbank planting projects are typically thought of as beneficial from a biological perspective. Native vegetation along a riverbank creates a protective buffer between the land and water. The plants provide fish and wildlife with food and cover, control stream bank erosion, reduce water pollution and minimize impacts from flooding. However, such projects also need to be evaluated from an archaeological perspective to ensure significant historic resources are protected.
Projects that receive federal funding must be reviewed under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA of 1966, as amended [USC Sec. 470-470t]) to ensure significant historical and archaeological sites in the country are preserved. Thus, all habitat projects that involve any type of ground disturbance must be reviewed for potential impacts. In the Midwest Region, James Myster is the Regional Historic Preservation Officer and reviews projects for potential effects.
Myster reviewed a proposed riparian planting project planned for spring 2014 in Arenac County, Michigan and determined that an archaeological survey would be required. The project site is located in the Rifle River Watershed, an area used by Native Americans. In November of 2013 the Historical Society of Saginaw County, Inc. conducted a Phase I Archaeological Survey of the Proposed Stoddard Landing Riparian Planting Project site along the Rifle River. The project area includes two Areas of Potential Effect (APE) totaling 3.3 acres. Fieldwork consisted of surface inspection of exposed ground in each APE and shovel-testing of a single transect in each APE. The Phase I report indicated that “No significant archaeological material were found or collected at the site, and there were no catalogued or accessioned artifacts associated with the project.”
Historic review of projects ensures responsible stewardship and compliance with state and federal laws. This contributes toward the “Partnerships and Accountability” priority of the Service’s Fisheries Program Vision for the Future.
-- Andrea Ania and James Myster