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.
Deb Bolner Prost, Bexar County Board Member-At-Large
Deb Bolner Prost's entrepreneurial career has spanned the advertising, marketing, and statistical data industries with an emphasis on branding and consumer perceptual mapping and satisfaction. She held managerial positions with Ed Yardang & Associates Ad Agency before starting Promark Research in 1982. Today, Prost focuses on strategic management, marketing, and research activities via her consulting firm Prost Marketing, Inc. She is also highly active in her profession and community, having held key leadership positions in many trade organizations and served as a Councilwoman for the City of Olmos Park. She has been an at-large board member of the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority), representing Bexar County since 2017. Her current term expires in 2023.
What value does the San Antonio River Authority provide to the community?
The River Authority provides value to the community in three main categories: safe, clean, and enjoyable. We can often take for granted the work behind keeping the San Antonio River safe. The River Authority helps keep you and your property safe through the development of flood modeling and mapping as well as risk assessment tools. This enables our partners and the public to have updated information on flooding hazards. On the Environmental Sciences Department team, there are aquatic biologists and scientists who study stormwater quality and survey the biodiversity of a variety of fish, insects, and wildlife for the entire San Antonio River Watershed, from the Blue Hole all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. River Authority staff also help to grow and maintain thousands of plants along the river and remove trash and pollutants. The enjoyable goal is my favorite. I like to walk and ride my bike by the river on the hiking and biking paths that we have built in conjunction with other governmental entities.
How can we make sure the San Antonio River is preserved for future generations?
The River Authority helps to educate constituents about the San Antonio River, including how to keep it clean. It starts with our individual choices of how we dispose of pollutants like litter, pet waste, and the lawn fertilizers and chemicals we use. Also, keeping our cars maintained so that fuel and hydrocarbons don't end up on the roads and wash into storm drains along with other pollutants when it rains. We all have a personal responsibility to help keep the river clean. Just like what we eat and how we exercise affect our health, our choices in disposing of litter affect the health of the river. In addition, the River Authority releases an annual San Antonio River Basin Report Card, which educates constituents on how to do their part to keep the river healthy.
What is the best way to interact with the San Antonio River?
There are many ways to enjoy the San Antonio River. There are many parks and trails that allow people to get out and enjoy the river and move their bodies and minds, which, in turn, makes us more positive and productive community members. I'm a cyclist, and I love to ride my bike on the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk (Mission Reach). My go-to place is from Blue Star to Mission Espada and back. It is a beautiful trip and an exhilarating ride. There are plenty of places to stop and rest. There's also public art along the way, a couple of dams here and there, and magnificent views of the river, as well as the kayakers and anglers using it. As former chair of River Authority's Operations Committee, I liked to visit the prescribed burn areas along the Mission Reach. Observing these areas over time is a wonderful way to understand the process of ecosystem restoration. While an area doesn't look so good right after a burn is completed, when you go back 6 months, a year, or even two years later, you can see how the burn has helped to get rid of the invasive species, create habitat for birds and wildlife and improve the ecosystem. It is incredibly rewarding to see.
Name an interesting fact about the San Antonio River Basin that most people might not know.
When I traveled to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge for the Whooping Crane Festival, I learned from wildlife biologists just how fragile the ecosystem is on our precious Gulf Coast. Blue crabs, one of the primary sources of food for whooping cranes, and many other organisms rely on the freshwater flowing from the San Antonio River into the bay. River Authority scientists are frequently monitoring the river for instream flows to make sure this water reaches its destination. It's a small thing, but it has a significant impact and is critical for preserving our ecosystems for the future.
The River Reach is back!
River Reach is a quarterly, 12-page newsletter that is designed to inform the San Antonio River Authority's constituents about the agency's many projects, serve as a communication vehicle for the board of directors and foster a sense of unity and identity among the residents of Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties.