Estimated Read Time: 3 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.
James Fuller, M.D., Goliad County
James Fuller, M.D., is a retired Cardiothoracic Surgeon. He has been actively involved in the San Antonio River Watershed and is currently involved in regenerative agriculture utilizing a program of management-intensive grazing to sequester carbon and eliminate the use of toxic chemicals which are harmful to our water and diverse plant landscape. He also takes part in ongoing conservation projects with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust. As recognition for his service, Dr. Fuller received the Lone Star Land Steward Award in 2005 and 2006. The award recognizes private landowners for their habitat management and wildlife conservation accomplishments.
How does the River Authority show commitment to the community’s safety?
Since its inception in 1937, the River Authority has been resolute in its commitment to safety. Currently, safety is deeply ingrained and is a crucial mission at the River Authority, including protecting people and property from flooding. With increasing drought and deluge throughout the San Antonio River Basin, the careful monitoring and maintenance of 41 dams are important. Also, the work on floodplain mapping is well-known and widely respected. This will help first responders, local government, and community leaders in many ways as it strengthens the community’s ability to make informed decisions about reducing flood risk. Additionally, water quality monitoring is essential for safe contact with the river.
What motivated you to serve on the River Authority board?
My motivation stems from always having lived near rivers below major metropolitan areas. For 35 years, I have lived on the San Antonio River, watching its ebb and flow. A river is going to do what a river wants to do, and it is constantly changing in myriad ways. The River Authority is dedicated to achieving a sustainable watershed by improving the river’s water quality. As a River Authority board member, my hope is we continue to sustain its flows, keep the river “clean,” and preserve these riparian areas for future generations.
What San Antonio River Basin Report Card metric do you find most interesting?
Of the 12 indicators in the Basin Report Card, I find the river’s health and water quality tracking the most interesting. If the community is going to interact with the river, this data is critical. Is the river safe for primary contact, general use, recreation use, aquatic life use, and/or fish consumption? The River Authority relies on water quality scientists, aquatic biologists, stormwater scientists, and environmental investigators to collect and analyze data that identifies positive and negative conditions in the river. We can all make a difference to ensure our everyday actions positively affect the watershed to keep the river safe and enjoyable.
What River Authority program in Goliad do you want to highlight for readers?
The River Authority helps Goliad County in many ways. One of the most important programs I would like to highlight is the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Events conducted twice annually in Goliad County as well as Wilson and Karnes counties. This helps to keep the river and surrounding watershed free of toxins, pharmaceuticals, tires, and electronics. River Authority volunteers are always there to support these events. Additionally, the River Authority has teamed up with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) through an interlocal agreement and an associated annual work plan to apply community assistance funds for conservation activities like environmental education programs, soil health work, and erosion control projects. The River Authority is always there in support of city, county, and water supply company needs.
Sign up for the River Reach
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.