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.
Alicia L. Cowley Goliad County, Executive Treasurer
Alicia Lott Cowley is a retired registered nurse who worked as management in several South Texas Emergency Departments over a 35-year career. She has been active since retiring in her home community of Goliad, working with the Goliad County Library’s Center for Texas History as well as the Goliad Historical Commission. She is a sixth generation Texan involved in conservation projects through the Goliad Farm Bureau and the Goliad County Wildlife Management Association
What value does the San Antonio River Authority provide to the community?
In Bexar County, the River Authority’s construction of the Riverwalk, Museum Reach, and Mission Reach have provided not only ecosystem restoration but brought economic development to the area. Downstream, the biggest impact of the River Authority’s decades of work is the improvement in water quality. There has been a tremendous change in the quality of water in the San Antonio River and this has directly impacted the surrounding community. People are excited to recreate along the river and experience nature with their families.
The Mission Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk.
How can we make sure the San Antonio River is preserved for future generations?
Improving water quality is incredibly important, but the main priority in Goliad County should be water quantity. Currently, there is a drought affecting the downstream communities and boating is limited. Water quantity is essential to maintaining a healthy habitat in riparian areas. Of course, rain would be nice, but there are steps that we can take to help preserve our natural resources. Strong stewardship of our water and land resources can increase the volume of water in our creeks and river.
The River Authority educational initiatives in Goliad County help prepare the next generation of river stewards.
What is the best way to interact with the San Antonio River?
The San Antonio River is almost a sacred place. There’s a reason why civilizations took root around natural resources like this river. It’s more than just a water source. Missions and communities are built and grow because of the river. When you walk along the river, paddle through the trails, or just sit and enjoy the beautiful natural habitat, remember that you are walking through thousands of years of history.
The Goliad Paddling Trail meanders through an area steeped in Texas history.
Name an interesting fact about the San Antonio River Basin that most people might not know.
There are many signs of past civilizations along the river. You can find arrowheads in the riverbanks or see Comanche sign trees. The Comanche tribe would bend young trees to indicate trail and low-water crossings. Now, there are two magnificent oak trees that are bent just west of Goliad. You can’t forget El Camino Real, which runs on both sides of Goliad County. There are wagon tracks that have been preserved from La Bahia to San Fernando’s Cathedral and Bexar County.
The Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía, or simply La Bahía, is a fort constructed by the Spanish Army that became the nucleus of the modern-day Goliad.
I am thankful for the opportunity to serve Goliad County as a member of the San Antonio River Authority Board of Directors. As an elected official, if you have questions or comments for me, you can contact me here. Thank you.