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River Authority celebrates Earth Month 2024 with two community challenge events

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Group of River Warriors gather around after clean up

In celebration of Earth Month, a time for raising awareness of conservation and preservation of our environment, the San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio River Foundation (River Foundation), and dedicated community partners came together to make a positive impact on our planet – aided by some friendly competition! In the spirit of celebrating Planet Earth and all that it provides, the River Authority and its partners were proud to host an Earth Month Litter Challenge as well as a series of events for the annual iNaturalist City Nature Challenge, encouraging community members and agencies alike to get involved. Keep reading for exciting details about these recent events!

Earth Month Litter Challenge

The River Authority and River Foundation have collaborated with the City of San Antonio’s Parks and Recreation department to host the Earth Month Litter Challenge: a yearly initiative that brings the San Antonio community together to acknowledge the impact that humans have on the environment and take action for change. As part of the “Don’t Let Litter Trash Your River” campaign, the challenge spanned the entire month of April and invited corporate partners, River Warrior volunteers, non-profit organizations, and other community partners to collect as much litter as possible at either River Authority parks or city-owned parks. The River Authority is delighted to have hosted partners such as Microsoft, Texas Master Naturalists, Boeing, JP Morgan Chase, Flatiron Corp, and our own River Warriors to participate in various clean-up events throughout the month.

Group of volunteers picking up trash in a field

River Warrior volunteers clean Six Mile Creek during Earth Month.

The River Authority hosts group clean up events primarily along the Mission Reach, where litter collects after heavy rain events. Partner groups and River Warriors worked at sites such as Six Mile Creek and Acequia Park to participate in this year’s challenge. The results? Our volunteer teams collected approximately over 450 bags of trash equating to approximately 9,000 lbs. of trash! There was so much more than the standard Styrofoam cup and plastic bags. Volunteers retrieved items such as car tires, bumpers, miscellaneous plastics, shoes, toys, and even a guitar!

River Warrior picks up brush near the river

Proud River Warrior volunteer Robert shows off his air guitar skills!

The Winning Teams

Corporate Category:

Allied Fire Protection – 30 FULL Bags, 10 Bulk Items 

Large Non-Profit:

River Aid San Antonio – 200+ FULL Bags, 17 Bulk Items

Small Non-Profit:

Texas Master Naturalists: Alamo Area Chapter – 70 FULL Bags, 6 Bulk Items

Thank you to all our partners who joined us for this fun-filled challenge in support of our agency’s commitment to safe, clean, and enjoyable creeks and rivers in our watershed. We look forward to celebrating the winners of this challenge and all River Warrior volunteers at our annual Volunteer Celebration event this fall. We look forward to partnering with even more organizations next April!

If your organization is interested in participating in the next Earth Month Litter Challenge, email our Engagement Coordinator, Samantha Villanueva, at svillanueva@sariverauthority.org. Stay tuned for the announcement of our winners!

San Antonio Area Is a world leader in 2024 City Nature Challenge

The River Authority was excited to celebrate Earth Month by working alongside partners for widespread participation in the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge 2024. The City Nature Challenge, hosted locally by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, along with Alamo Area Master Naturalist community leaders and coordinators Peter Hernandez and Jane Weeden, is an annual global Bio-blitz that occurs at the end of April. The Challenge empowers urban community members all over the world to become citizen scientists and utilize their skills to observe and document the different plant and animal species in their area with iNaturalist. These groups face off to see which team members can make the most observations and observe the most species. During last year’s event, the San Antonio Metro Area contributed over 20,000 individual observations, an already impressive feat. This placed San Antonio third in the state, very slightly surpassing Austin, Texas.

Team members pose near the horned toad statue

River Authority staff, Master Naturalist/River Warrior and 2024 CNC coordinator Peter Hernandez, and community members came together at Escondido Creek Parkway, a River Authority park in Kenedy, TX, to learn about the City Nature Challenge.

This year, the City Nature Challenge took place from April 26th through April 29th. In preparation for the big weekend, the River Authority and River Foundation provided free virtual trainings on using the iNaturalist app as well as guided nature walks from January through March. During this series of walks, coined the “Walking on the Wild Side” series, participants who had learned to use iNaturalist got the opportunity to utilize their newly acquired skills and observe species at one of the River Authority parks.

Master Naturalists make observations near trees

River Authority staff, River Warrior volunteers, and community members make observations at Branch Nature Park in Goliad, TX.

The 2024 Results Are In…

Congrats San Antonio Metro Area #1 in Observations

Texas is incredibly competitive when it comes to local biodiversity, and this year the San Antonio Metropolitan Area pulled through to the top of the leaderboard, ranking in 1st Place in the USA (out of 134 Cities) and 3rd Place in the World (out of 690 Cities) for the number of observations with over 64,000 observations of almost 4000 species—more than triple the previous year’s number! What a fantastic way to showcase the biodiversity of San Antonio and its surrounding areas. As we wait for the final numbers and rankings to be released, we are excited for the San Antonio Metropolitan Area to be currently on the podium across the state, national, and even global levels! Congratulations to all contributing citizen scientists!

Chart showcasing the number of recorded observations

See current rankings on the City Nature Challenge website.

This accomplishment would not have been possible if not for the dedication of our River Authority staff, dedicated River Warrior volunteers, and community members who attended the River Authority nature walks and joined our community and staff teams to contribute to this challenge. Our collective support helps raise awareness and contribute to stewardship and sustainability for our local creeks and the San Antonio River!

Decorative Banner saying Thank you.

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Alerts

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. 

SASPAMCO Paddling Trail

The SASPAMCO paddling trail is open from River Crossing Park to Helton Nature Park.
*Please Note: Paddling Trail from Helton Nature Park to HWY 97 is still closed due to blockages. 

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