Board Insights: Gaylon Oehlke

The River Authority
Sep 29, 2020

San Antonio River at Conquista Crossing in Karnes County.

This series provides readers the opportunity to learn about the unique insight and experiences of the River Authority Board of Directors and their personal connection to the San Antonio River in hopes of inspiring stewardship of our creeks and rivers.

Gaylon J. Oehlke

 Gaylon Oehlke, Karnes County

Gaylon Oehlke was born and raised in Goliad County, where he attended Goliad High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University in 1972. During this time, Oehlke was a member of the Texas National Guard. Oehlke retired in March 2004 as president of the Kenedy and Robstown credit offices for Capital Farm Credit, ACA, after 32 years of service. He has been a board member at the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) since 2003 and his current term expires in 2025.

What is your favorite section of the San Antonio River?

In my opinion, the most beautiful section along the San Antonio River is at Conquista Crossing in Karnes County. It’s a very historic location as it was used on the western La Bahia Road from San Antonio to Goliad County. The riverbed in this area is made up of limestone rock so the river is very shallow and the water is very clear compared to other sections of the river.

Of all the River Authority’s current safe, clean, and enjoyable projects and efforts, which do you think is the most impactful or inspiring?

Escondido Creek Parkway Splash Pad

By making our creeks and rivers more enjoyable, the River Authority is helping bring people closer to our waterways, which in turn will help create meaningful and positive connections. I’m very excited for the opening of Escondido Creek Parkway in Karnes County this year as it will complete the River Authority’s park presence within its service district. This park will celebrate our community’s contributions and will also offer new opportunities to sit, stroll, run, play, and enjoy the outdoors along a waterway full of benefits.

Why is it important to be stewards of the San Antonio River Basin and protect area creeks and rivers?

River Authority Board Member Gaylon Oehlke’s OK Ranch in Karnes County

Oehlke’s OK Ranch in Karnes County.

Having a background in agriculture and ranching, I have always been aware of the importance of land conservation. Serving on the River Authority board, I learned about the importance of protecting our water resources and how these are connected as our actions on land affect the health of our rivers. We can all be stewards by learning of positive actions we can take that will leave a lasting impact for future generations.

What is a positive action someone can take to Be River Proud?

Karnes County residents participate in the River Authority’s Fall Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on September 19, 2020.

Karnes County residents participate in the River Authority’s Fall Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on September 19, 2020.

It’s very upsetting to see people litter. Illegal dumping hurts our creeks and rivers and everyone can help by picking up after themselves and learning of resources available to dispose of items like unused medications, electronics, paints, and tires. The River Authority partners with local entities to host biannual Household Hazardous Waste Collection events which provide a safe option to dispose of these materials and keep them from reaching our waterways.