Last Updated on January 30, 2024
Derek Boese, JD, PMP General Manager
Greetings to all San Antonio River Authority blog readers and supporters,
At the River Authority, we define our mission as a commitment to Safe, Clean, and Enjoyable creeks and rivers. Those three words encapsulate the broad and far-ranging types of work that we focus on. In the last few years, we have emphasized the Clean and Enjoyable parts of our mission, much of that due to the opportunities and needs that arose. You likely know our Enjoyable mission through our parks, such as Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk in Bexar County and Escondido Creek Parkway in Karnes County. We’ve worked to raise awareness of the paddling opportunities on the river, including adding a paddling trail in Goliad County and sponsoring the San Antonio River Basin Paddling Series. Our Clean mission is probably our best known, particularly due to the efforts of our education programs. Every year, our Education and Engagement team teaches thousands of children basin-wide about the river ecosystem, the health of the river, and what they can do to protect and preserve it. We also have an ongoing Don’t Let Litter Trash Your River Initiative, where we are working to raise the public’s awareness of the amount of trash that ends up in the river and the adjacent creeks – in 2021, our crews removed over 200,000 pounds of trash from the mission Reach alone.
Participants compete in the San Antonio River Basin paddling series race along the San Antonio River Walk.
While we will continue to uphold our commitment to Clean and Enjoyable creeks and rivers, we are now turning our attention to the SAFE aspect of our mission. You may not be aware that the River Authority is one of only two agencies in Texas that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hires to do floodplain mapping and one of less than a dozen nationwide (FEMA does floodplain mapping for the rest of the United States themselves). This early winter 2022, we will be rolling out updated draft flood maps for much of Bexar County through a series of public meetings and open houses. These maps, once finalized, not only help FEMA determine the flood insurance rates for areas but also guide development requirements. Stay tuned for more information.
The River Authority’s Floodplain Viewer engages users in an interactive floodplain map.
Our mapping and flood expertise translates directly to supporting emergency operations and public awareness of rainfall and potential flooding. Through our predictive flood model, our team of expert River Authority engineers combines rainfall predictions with actual flood gauge data and floodplain maps to push information to county Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs). We are fully operational in Bexar County, and this is our first year working with the Wilson and Karnes County EOCs. Part of this information is also available to the public at BexarFlood.org.
Finally, in a project that combines our Safe and Clean missions, we have now signed agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin the Westside Creeks Ecosystem Restoration Project – restoring a more natural ecosystem to 11 miles of Alazan, Apache, Martinez, and San Pedro creeks on the west side of San Antonio while maintaining the flood control aspects of those creeks. The vision established as part of a lengthy public process is to restore the creeks in such a way that sustains and enriches life, improves water quality and the ecosystem, provides for public gathering places and recreational uses, promotes cultural and historical awareness, incorporates public art, is self-sustaining requiring low maintenance, and connects to neighborhoods and businesses. Look for more information on the River Authority’s website, the Westside Creeks Project website, and social media as we kick off this $100M+ project.
The Westside Creeks Project intends to restore the native ecosystem of Alazán, Apache, Martinez, and San Pedro creeks, similar to the successful restoration work completed along the Mission Reach (as pictured here).
Thanks for your support and engagement. Dedicated and involved community members are essential in ensuring safe, clean, and enjoyable waterways for generations to come.
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.