Estimated Read Time: 4 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.
Alicia L. Cowley Goliad County, Executive Treasurer
Alicia Lott Cowley is a retired registered nurse who worked in 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.
How does the River Authority show commitment to the community's safety?
The commitment to safety I appreciate from the River Authority includes water quality monitoring and detailed flood hazard mapping and mitigation planning. The River Authority has previously earned a Gold Medal in the 2016 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Texas Engineering Excellence Awards. The agency has also earned an ACEC National Recognition Award for leading the development of several innovative water quality modeling tools to allow quantitative water quality master planning and BMP/LID prioritization for three major watersheds in the San Antonio River Basin.
The Environmental Science Department (ESD) 's commitment to safety at the River Authority is shown heavily through its research, environmental planning, pollution prevention, promotion of ecosystem restoration, and public health issues/outreach.
Additionally, the River Authority performs flood risk studies for each watershed in the river basin and uses the results to map flood risk and provide flood risk information to the public and local governments. As the Bexar County draft floodplain maps have now been released, the River Authority has commenced hosting public meetings to start the public engagement process early to provide the community ample time to review and comment on the maps.
What motivated you to serve on the River Authority board?
I was motivated to serve on the River Authority board for several personal reasons. My father served on the River Authority board years ago. He loved the river! As a result, I also have fallen in love with the river. More importantly, I want to ensure it is protected for my grandchildren and future generations. Historically, the river has been home to many generations of citizens, and I want to guarantee that communities continue to be drawn to the river basin now and in the future. One of my greatest motivations as a River Authority board member has been having many positive memories related to the river and being able to push for strong stewardship of our water and land resources.
What San Antonio River Basin Report Card metric do you find most interesting?
The San Antonio River Basin Report Card metric I value the most is water quality, as shown by the E. coli numbers. One of the primary analyses the River Authority performs on stormwater samples is E. coli testing. Stormwater runoff that can potentially contain E. coli from waste left on streets or parks can exceed an amount that poses threats to human health, making this testing essential. Additionally, the process by which River Authority scientists test for E. coli in stormwater samples is exciting as it contributes so much to the community. The community can also contribute to cleaner waterways by limiting contaminants in the watershed that can get washed into creeks and rivers. We can do this by properly disposing of litter, picking up waste, and cutting back on lawn chemicals, especially before rain events.
The River Authority’s Bacteria Dashboard
What River Authority program in Goliad County do you want to highlight for readers?
The Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Events in Goliad County are critical to our community and are greatly appreciated. However, I wanted to specifically highlight the importance of water quality testing and sustainability for the Goliad community. The River Authority is dedicated to maintaining clean and healthy water in our creeks and rivers throughout the entire San Antonio River Basin. Along the San Antonio River in Goliad County, the Goliad Paddling Trail meanders through an area steeped in Texas history and is a location where people are excited to come experience this history. The dedication to river health allows for community events to be held in Goliad along the river with the assurance that the health of the community has been studied and is always monitored.