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.
Lourdes Galvan, Bexar County, District 2
Businesswoman Lourdes Galvan is a former San Antonio District 5 councilperson. She brings a wealth of community service experience to the River Authority. Ms. Galvan works as a business development specialist with Dependable Business Solutions. Galvan is excited about her role and has been a major supporter of the Westside Creeks Restoration Project for many years.
What motivated you to serve on the River Authority board?
Growing up in the center of the city, I was surrounded by the San Antonio River and the creeks that exist on the city’s Westside. I was concerned about flooding and the lack of interest in the appearance of these waterways. As a City Councilwoman for District 5, where many of these creeks are located, I gained experience on how to work together and seek funding for the areas around our waterways. This interest and experience led me to begin working with former River Authority board member Roberto Rodriguez and other community leaders. I joined the Westside Creeks Restoration Oversight Committee, and to this day, I am committed to ensuring we accomplish our mission and dreams of safe, clean, and enjoyable waterways for all.
Lourdes Galvan with General Manager of the River Authority Derek Boese.
Map of the Westside Creeks
What San Antonio River Basin Report Card metric do you find most interesting?
The metric for public trash is the most interesting to me. I grew up in and around our creeks on the Westside and it is disappointing to see an F rating for this metric. I think we all know that littering is bad for the environment, but we do not always think about trash. Trash, when it ends up in the environment, can travel due to wind or rain, and eventually, it all ends up in our waterways. Trash is not only bad for our wildlife, but it also negatively impacts water quality. Small changes we make as a community could make huge impacts on our environment. Making sure our trash cans do not overflow or being mindful to not leave empty cups in the bed of our trucks are a couple of small steps towards a better grade on this report card metric.
How does the River Authority show commitment to the community’s safety?
One way the River Authority shows a commitment to the community’s safety is through the staff’s work on floodplain maps. In 2019, staff began working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update the maps using new rainfall data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Updating the floodplain maps is a process that takes several years. This project is now at a stage where the maps can start to be shared with the community. Starting in January through March, twelve open house meetings will be held around Bexar County. These meetings will allow the public to see the map, learn more about the process, and find out if they may be impacted by any changes in the map. Again, this is a several-year process, and we do not anticipate the maps to go into effect for one and a half to two years. The River Authority sharing the maps with the community so far in advance shows commitment to the community’s safety.
The River Authority’s Floodplain Viewer engages users in an interactive floodplain map.
What is your favorite part of being a River Authority Board member?
My favorite part of being a board member is being involved in the development of green spaces, especially around our creeks and the river. Growing up in the center of San Antonio, around our waterways, these places hold a special place in my heart. As I shared earlier, for a long time, I have been concerned about flooding, neglect of the environment, and the lack of interest in the appearance of the creeks. My experience in leadership has given me the opportunity to work on improving upon all these concerns. What I am looking forward to the most is the Westside Creeks Restoration Project; this project is what started my interest in serving as a River Authority Board Member.
Lourdes Galvan meets with project stakeholders, area residents, and elected officials at the recent Westside Creeks Open House in November.
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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.