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 Basin in hopes of inspiring stewardship of area creeks and rivers.
Darrell T. Brownlow, Ph.D. is a fifth generation South Texan, resident of Wilson County, and landowner and rancher in LaSalle County. Currently, Darrell is a Principal in Carrizo Consulting LP through which he consults on construction material sourcing, development, and other mining related issues both nationally and internationally. Additionally, he provides consulting services to various large energy firms and organizations as well as privately owned ranches on water supply and water management strategies related to a variety of groundwater related issues. He has been a board member at the River Authority since 2011 and his current term expires in 2025. Darrell has been Chairman of the Board since 2018.
What value does the San Antonio River Authority provide to the community?
The greatest value that the River Authority provides is the opportunity for the community to engage with the environment. The River Authority maintains and manages more than 500 acres of parks, which include more than 28 miles of hike and bike trails, and over 60 miles of paddling trails along the San Antonio River’s 240-mile course. This provides many opportunities for the community to forge meaningful connections with our area creeks rivers through recreation and enjoyment.
How can we make sure the San Antonio River is preserved for future generations?
The San Antonio River will always be here, but will it always be a pleasant destination? That is a challenge the River Authority continues to address. It begins and ends with educating the community of the importance of the river to our environment. The River Authority’s Education and Engagement team provides training and resources to area teachers as well as conducts field trips and presentations that reach school-aged children throughout our service district to help inspire our future generations to become stewards of area natural resources. The River Authority is also spearheading a trash outreach initiative to help raise awareness of the negative effects of trash in our area creeks and rivers and to actively engage the public in playing a role towards cleaning up the trash they see.
What is the best way to interact with the San Antonio River?
The best way to interact with the San Antonio River is to kayak the river. I have fond memories of the times I have gone kayaking the SASPAMCO Paddling Trail and I regret I don’t do it more often. The River Authority operates close to 60 miles of paddling trails throughout the San Antonio River Basin, including maintained put-in and take-out access points. In order to build more river advocates, we need to create opportunities for positive interactions, and what’s more fun than getting in a kayak for a fun day on the river!
Name an interesting fact about the San Antonio River Basin that most people might not know.
Photo credit: National Park Service
The San Antonio River Basin has a remarkable geographical and geological diversity that yields a remarkable array of energy production, farming, ranching, and rural and urban cultural experiences. We have one of the most significant oil and gas fields in the country with the Eagle Ford shale in addition to what was the earliest uranium mining regions in the country, the oldest Polish community in the country, the cradle of Texas Independence, the foundation of the Catholic Church in the new world, and the list goes on. This area is definitely not boring!