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 Lott Cowley is a sixth generation Texan and retired nurse following a 35-year career served in several South Texas emergency departments. She has remained active in her community after retirement by working with the Goliad County Library’s Center for Texas History as well as the Goliad Historical Commission and is also involved in conservation projects through the Goliad Farm Bureau and the Goliad County Wildlife Management Association. She has been a River Authority board member representing Goliad County since 2015 and her term expires in 2021.
What is your favorite section of the San Antonio River?
I have a special section of the river below our home in Goliad. My grandfather loved to fish there, and I also have memories of my dad doing the same. We have a family story of my mother and father going to get in the boat at this spot. My dad got in and held out a hand to help my mother but instead, she slipped and fell in! As he tried to help her up, he too slipped! So, now both of my parents are in the San Antonio River, in heavy wet clothes and shoes. Dad pulled himself into the boat, but Mother just couldn’t get up enough. She suggested Dad let her float down the River to the 59 Highway bridge where he could dangle a rope and pull her out. Of course, eventually they both were able to get in the boat! But we have never forgotten that story. Both were in their late 80’s when this happened.
Of all the San Antonio River Authority’s current Safe, Clean, and Enjoyable projects and efforts, which do you think is the most impactful or inspiring?
As part of our commitment to safe, clean, enjoyable creeks and rivers, the River Authority conducts community outreach to help educate and engage our constituents so they can join us in our efforts. Trash has always been a visual reminder of what’s threatening the quality of our area creeks and rivers and the River Authority is working on a new initiative to help mitigate litter. The impact will come as we, the people, improve our practices with trash. It will take all of us to not throw stuff out the window while driving. Simple things help such as picking up one piece of trash you see laying on the ground.
Why is it important to be a steward of the San Antonio River Basin and protect area creeks and rivers
Water is going to become more and more important to all of us and the environment we share with other flora and fauna. One thing each of us can do is to work to protect what we have. The San Antonio River has supported human living for thousands of years. On our place in Goliad, we find arrow heads frequently. That just makes me know that this River has given all of us life, and our actions today can either support or harm future generations.
What is a positive action someone can take to Be River Proud?
Actions are so much better than words. It is easy to say keep the river clean, but I love when people DO something to Be River Proud, love the River, and work to prevent pollutants from ending up in it. From trash and plastic to herbicides and motor oil, we can all help this lovely, life-giving River. Picking up after our pets, joining the River Authority’s River Warrior program, there are several ways to Show Your River Pride and play an active role in the protection of our creeks and rivers!