River Authority to Begin Removal of Tree Stems Along Mission Reach Segment

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SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) announced today that it will continue a process of removing select tree species along the San Antonio River Walk Mission Reach as part of the adaptive management process to maintain proper flood conveyance throughout the eight-mile stretch of ecosystem restoration project. The River Authority’s Watershed Park & Operations Department initiated the select tree removal process in September 2020. This select vegetation management process will begin again on October 18, 2021 and is expected to be completed within 30 days.

“During the stem density removal efforts, the River Authority aims to preserve the trees originally planted as part of the ecosystem restoration project and will focus on removing volunteer woody species that arrived since the opening of the project,” said River Authority Watershed Park & Operations Senior Manager Kristen Hansen. “With advanced modeling technology, we are able to determine the maximum number of stems allowed for any given area in the floodplain. The intent is to maintain high priority areas and allow as many trees to grow as possible without causing increased risk in the floodplain.”

Since the Mission Reach’s opening in 2013, the River Authority’s Watershed Park & Operations Department has performed ongoing maintenance as part of an adaptive management process to ensure the success and health of the ecosystem restoration and to maintain viewsheds of the river for enjoyment of the hike and bike trails all while providing proactive protection to the surrounding infrastructure to sustain the integrity of the river’s flood management function.

The River Authority’s Ecological Engineering Department conducted a study of the Mission Reach using the most current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain maps to identified high priority areas necessary for stem density removal. The study was completed with the goal of maximizing preservation of native trees while maintaining the flood conveyance requirements set forth by FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The River Authority also coordinated with an avian expert to determine the ideal time to perform the vegetation management to minimize impacts to the various bird species that utilize the restored habitat. The effort will conclude by adding grassland vegetation to areas where trees are removed to assist with bank stabilization and continue the restoration of habitat along the river. 

For more information about the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project and to learn more about the River Authority’s flood mitigation efforts, visit sariverauthority.org.

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