Estimated Read Time: 3.5 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.
Dominic Carvajal, Wilson County Board Member
Mr. Carvajal was an attorney for 12 years with the Texas Attorney General's office before entering private practice. Carvajal Law Firm, PC opened its doors in 2006. Since then, the practice has moved toward specializing in Real Estate, Probate and Last Will and Testaments.For approximately 25 years, Mr. Carvajal has provided legal counsel for businesses and individuals in a variety of situations, including multi-party real estate transactions, probating of loved ones' estates, Last Will & Testaments, medical and financial Power of Attorney documents and corporation formation amongst many other areas of law. He started his career in Civil and Family Law, working for The State of Texas, and is now in private practice specializing in Real Estate and Business Law. In 2011 he became a co-owner and title examiner of Wilson County Abstract Company.
How does the River Authority show commitment to the community's safety?
The River Authority shows commitment to the community's safety in various ways, including ensuring the water in the rivers and creeks stays healthy, monitoring storm events, and managing and operating 41 dams. In particular, I would like to highlight the River Authority's commitment to flood safety and ensuring that the community and natural environment remain secure from significant flooding. As the Authority of flood safety and a cooperating technical partner for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the River Authority delivers high-quality flood risk mitigation information.
Flooding at Helton Nature Park in Floresville, Texas-Wilson County.In 2018, flood warning sirens were installed by the River Authority.
The agency is taking the initiative in sharing the Bexar County draft floodplain maps with the community ahead of FEMA's formal map adoption process. Rural counties, such as Wilson County, face challenges regarding floodplains and lack of infrastructure or resources. Fortunately, the community benefits from the River Authority's hard work to improve flood warning systems and identify and prioritize the most valuable capital projects to address flooding issues in all counties that it represents.
What motivated you to serve on the River Authority board?
Curiosity. Before my induction to the River Authority Board, I did not have much personal knowledge of the organization. However, two former board members, who were classmates of mine, spoke very highly of the organization. This inspired me to do some homework on the River Authority and see what they were all about. As I investigated the organization further, I became increasingly interested. I realized that serving on the River Authority board would be an excellent way to serve my community and learn more about the San Antonio River as it runs through Floresville, Texas.
The San Antonio River at Helton Nature Park
For citizens of Wilson County, having the River run through the community isn't as much of an attraction compared to more urban areas like downtown San Antonio. The county is very prone to flooding, which has the potential to cause problems within the community. Knowing that the River is a part of my community, plus having a lifelong commitment to Wilson County, pushed me to contribute my expertise to the River Authority Board. I knew serving would be a great learning experience for me. I have been delighted with the organization's professionality and stewardship during my time on the board.
What San Antonio River Basin Report Card metric do you find most interesting?
In terms of the River Authority's mission, the most interesting metric to me is the water quality. Water quality and control is an essential public health service the River Authority provides. Many departments within the organization are busy testing, reporting on, and educating about water quality to maintain the commitment to safe, clean, enjoyable creeks and rivers. One example is in December 2022, when Wilson County experienced much-needed heavy rain. These rain events led to flooded roads and low-water crossings throughout the county.
Why is this a problem? Stormwater can pick up pollutants on surfaces in the community, such as oil, fertilizers, and gasoline, and transport these hazardous chemicals into local creeks and the San Antonio River. This is why it is crucial for communities to understand this connection and how the River Authority water quality testing directly supports healthy waterways and public health.
Excess buildup of nutrients like yard clippings in water bodies leads to algal blooms and oxygen depletion. These conditions can harm fish and other animals in the San Antonio River.
What River Authority program in Wilson County do you want to highlight for readers?
I want to highlight the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events the River Authority holds in Wilson County twice a year. At these events, residents are invited to drop off unwanted household hazardous waste—tires, paint, used motor oil & filters, cleaning products, pesticides, computers, small electronics and pharmaceuticals. Particularly in rural communities, where there is less access to recycling facilities, it can sometimes seem more convenient to dump trash on people's property, on the side of the road, or even in the River.
Unfortunately, unproperly disposed waste has a high probability of leaching its way into the River, causing harm to the creeks and rivers. The River Authority puts high importance on making sure the community knows when these events are taking place. This gives the public ample time to gather all accepted materials and attend an event in their county.