Board Insights: Hector Morales of Bexar County

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Group of families enjoy the Mission Reach at the San Antonio River

Last Updated on January 30, 2024

Estimated Read Time: 3.5 Minutes

This series provides readers the opportunity to learn about the unique insight and experiences of the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) Board of Directors and their personal connection to the San Antonio River in hopes of inspiring stewardship of area creeks and rivers.

Hector Morales Portrait

Hector Morales, Bexar County At-Large

Hector Morales is a native of San Antonio, where he has lived for more than 60 years. He attended Holy Cross High School and received a bachelor’s degree in occupational education from Texas State University (as he remembers it, Southwestern Texas State University) in San Marcos. Morales retired from the Civil Service after 26 years of service and the Texas Air National Guard after 29 years of service. He is an amateur bird enthusiast and enjoys working with stained glass, walking, running, hiking, and camping. He has been a River Authority board member representing Bexar County at-large since 2005, and his term expires in 2023.

What value does the San Antonio River Authority provide to the community?

The River Authority provides services that are outstanding in value, not only to San Antonio and Bexar County but also to our neighboring Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties. We are committed to providing the public with safe and clean creeks and rivers that are both enjoyable and useable. The River Authority has been a local sponsor with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for more than 65 years to provide project management and technical expertise on flood mitigation studies, projects, and programs, as well as a local sponsor with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the construction of 27 flood dams in Bexar County and 13 in Karnes County. The River Authority’s Environmental Sciences Department conducts water quality monitoring and assessment for the State of Texas’ Clean Rivers Program (CRP), which involves sampling at sites throughout the San Antonio Watershed. These are just a few examples of the many services the River Authority provides that benefit not only citizens who live in urban areas through which the San Antonio River flows but those directly involved at its banks either through ranching or farming.

The Walker Ranch Dam drone image

The Walker Ranch Dam, maintained by the River Authority.

How can we ensure the San Antonio River is preserved for future generations?

In order to safeguard our river’s future, we must educate the public on the importance of this precious freshwater resource. Both the River Authority’s Education and Engagement team and Recreation team provide impactful and valuable educational opportunities to students, teachers, and the public throughout the watershed with field trips and recreational opportunities at River Authority parks. These programs help to engage citizens in learning about the critical importance of river systems, freshwater resources, water quality science, and aquatic ecosystems. We must continue to have an authoritative communication system in place that will deliver action items community members can take to harmonize the wellbeing of the river, the environment, and the community.

Group of children observe a poster displaying plant roots.

Junior Master Naturalists learned about the connection between native plants and good water quality on a River Authority field trip in June.

What is the best way to interact with the San Antonio River?

The best way to interact with the San Antonio River is for the public to be aware of its existence and take pride in caring for this freshwater resource that has played a crucial role in the history and culture of this area. The River Authority operates and maintains 715 acres of nature-based parks and 44.6 miles of paddling trails on the San Antonio River, providing the public with many ways to get to know the river. As an organization, we must continue to maintain a well-defined river stewardship program, like the River Warrior Volunteer program.

Kayak goers head to the river

Paddling Racers take off from the starting line during the Battle of the Paddle Race.

Left: The newly formed River Warrior paddling crew helps remove litter from the San Antonio River. Right: The 2022 Battle of the Paddle Kayak Race

Name an interesting fact about the San Antonio River Basin that most people might not know.

A fact about the San Antonio River Basin that most people might not know is that it is one of 23 major basins in Texas and drains a land area of 4,180 square miles. The San Antonio River carries surface water from 2,500-foot elevations within the Texas Hill Country of Bandera and Kerr counties to less than 100-foot elevations in Refugio County.

San Antonio River Basin Watershed Map

Also, you may not have known that the Spanish explorers named the basin’s namesake river after San Antonio de Padua or “Saint Anthony of Padua.” On June 13, 1691, the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the first governor of Spanish Texas, Domingo Terán de Los Ríos, camped at the river during an expedition and renamed it in celebration of the feast day.

The River Reach is back!

River Reach is a quarterly, 12-page newsletter that is designed to inform the San Antonio River Authority’s constituents about the agency’s many projects, serve as a communication vehicle for the board of directors and foster a sense of unity and identity among the residents of Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties.

If you wish to be placed on the mailing list for River Reach, please contact us or complete the form.

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Acequia Trail Notice

The Acequia trail will have heavy traffic near MROC starting May 22nd until further notice. The SAWS Acequia project will be bringing in crews to work on the lift station site and across the street. There will have flaggers to stop traffic, please use caution. 

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*Please Note: Paddling Trail from Helton Nature Park to HWY 97 is still closed due to blockages. 

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