Last week was pretty exciting! AmaTerra staff was invited to attend the Comal Spring cap removal as part of the Headwaters at the Comal project in New Braunfels, Texas. The project involves converting a 13-acre maintenance site used by New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) at the confluence of Blieders Creek and the Comal River/Spring into a nature center and interpretive facility. The first phase of construction is under way with AmaTerra providing on-going cultural resource services for the project. This has been an exciting project to say the least and we are so proud to be a small part of what will doubtlessly be a significant benefit to the community and central Texas as a whole. Below is a NBU-produced video of the cap removal.
This site is the location of New Braunfels' first public water utility with the original water wells and pumps located on the Headwaters Property (the photo below shows crews completing one such well at the site in December of 1944).
During the Great Depression, the utility covered the source of Comal Spring with a large, circular spring cap that has remained in place to the present day. As an interpretive component and to improve habitat of endangered species that live in the spring, a portion of the spring cap was removed last week to open it up for the first time in more than 80 years. The Spring Cap is a contributing component of a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)-eligible historic district that is focused on extant remains of this initial public utility. To mitigate the effects of this impact, NBU has developed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among themselves, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the federal Advistory Council on Historic Preservation, and the City of New Braunfels that provides a roadmap of how best to treat the resource and provide benefit for the public into the future.
This was a big step and we had a great time being there!