Spring 2023 from the GM: Safety First

The River Authority
Apr 21, 2023
Derek Boese

Derek Boese, JD, PMP General Manager

The San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) is committed to safety, and as the Authority on flood safety, we perform a crucial role in the San Antonio River Basin as a cooperating technical partner for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This role is also critical to our mission – keeping the San Antonio River Basin safe, clean, and enjoyable. This winter, the River Authority hosted 13 open houses throughout Bexar County for the public to view new draft floodplain maps alongside a River Authority engineer. Over 271 households from Bexar County interested in understanding their flood risk attended the open houses, with River Authority engineers dedicating over 300 hours to make these events successful and informative. Thank you to everyone who helped to make these events possible and to the community for attending these events to speak with River Authority engineers and representatives from the cities of San Antonio, Live Oak, Leon Valley, and Saint Hedwig, as well as Bexar County and the Texas Water Development Board.

Members of the public gather around visual displays of the new draft floodplain maps


Ecological Engineers answer constituent questions about the draft floodplain maps

 Draft Maps Open House at the Normoyle Community Center (right) and San Antonio Public Library’s Igo Library (Right)

Members of the public wait patiently to speak with ecological engineers about the draft floodplain maps


Ecological Engineers answer constituent questions about the draft floodplain maps

 Draft Maps Open House at the Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center

General Manager Derek Boese holds up completed activity coloring book

The River Authority’s Education Team provided activity books for families at the open houses.

The River Authority has been updating the floodplain maps using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) updated rainfall estimates, ground surface elevation data from the Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS), and the latest land use data for our community. Due to the constantly changing nature of floodplains, it is essential to keep the regulatory floodplain maps as current as possible. Like rivers and creeks, floodplains are dynamic and are influenced by rainfall, development, and bigger-picture climatic shifts. Updating floodplain maps gives individuals and businesses important flood risk information about their likelihood of experiencing significant rain events.

Three female ecological engineers standing near welcome table.

Members of the River Authority’s Ecological Engineering Department

I encourage you to visit the draft floodplain viewer to learn about your updated flood risk, making informed decisions on flood insurance, and how best to protect your property. In late 2024, the River Authority will have draft floodplains for communities in the southern basin of Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties. The River Authority will hold open houses in the southern basin before FEMA formally adopts the maps. There will also be a separate public outreach and formal appeals process led by FEMA closer to the maps’ formal adoption. We anticipate the River Authority open houses will be approximately 18 months before FEMA’s formal adoption and appeals processes. We intend to give everyone ample opportunity to make safe, flood-risk-informed decisions.

As we head into the summer and beyond, we continue our commitment to safe, clean, and enjoyable creeks and rivers. We also invite you to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather to get out to the river and enjoy many recreational opportunities on parks and trails throughout the river basin.

See you at the river,