Suzanne Scott began her career with the San Antonio River Authority in May 2000 and was appointed General Manager in September 2007. Scott is responsible to an elected Board of Directors, directs SARA’s programs and projects and manages the agency’s annual budget. She oversees and works with a talented staff including engineers, scientists, environmental managers, field crews and a host of other professionals to extend the River Authority’s environmental leadership, stewardship and expertise and to broaden appreciation for the San Antonio River and its ecosystem.
Under Scott’s leadership, the River Authority has advanced its mission to inspire actions for healthy creeks and rivers within the San Antonio River Watershed by working closely with a multitude of governmental partners, citizen stakeholders and private sector contributors. The River Authority’s work continues to advance the community’s appreciation for the network of creeks and rivers as vital resources to quality of life within the region.
She has led the agency’s efforts to plan, develop and secure funding for the $384 million San Antonio River Improvements Project in Bexar County that enhanced access to and restoration of 13 miles of the San Antonio River. The project added miles of hike, bike, and paddling trails to the river, while restoring the environment and creating more appreciation and value for this treasured natural resource. The completion of the river’s restoration served as a key factor for the nomination and inscription of the San Antonio Missions as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015.
The success of the River Improvement Project served as a catalyst for the investment by Bexar County and the City of San Antonio in the ongoing $264 million transformation of the San Pedro Creek into the San Pedro Creek Culture Park. The first phase of the Culture Park opened in May 2018 in celebration of the city’s Tricentennial. In addition to enhancing flood control and revitalizing the natural habitat, the park also reconnects the community to a place of great historical significance through the creation of a world class linear park reflecting the unique cultural heritage of the community. The park will be completed in phases over the next several years. The legacy of investment in the San Antonio River and its watershed was recently recognized with the San Antonio River’s receipt of the prestigious Thiess (sounds like peace-“Teace”) International RiverPrize.
Scott is equally proud of the lasting improvements the River Authority has made in the health and appreciation of the San Antonio River through its nationally-accredited water quality laboratory; the creation of nature parks and paddling trails throughout the agency’s four-county district; the district’s technical expertise in flood planning and mitigation projects; and its science-based programs to promote sustainability throughout the San Antonio River Basin by advocating for and funding projects to increase use of Low Impact Development and other green stormwater infrastructure projects.
Scott is a regional water leader serving as chair for the South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group and the Guadalupe and San Antonio Rivers Bay and Basin Area Stakeholder Group. The River Authority’s leadership in flood management and ecosystem restoration has Scott speaking frequently on how to best manage rivers in a rapidly growing urbanized basin.
She was raised in San Antonio near the San Antonio River. Her love for of the river’s ecosystem serves as a strong motivator for her work to connect the community to these resources for enjoyment while in turn developing a sense of pride and personal responsibility toward the need to protect our waterways.