| Budget & Finance
By Steven Schauer
The San Antonio River Authority’s (SARA) fiscal year 2010/11 budget, which began on July 1, 2010 and ends on June 30, 2011 is set at $128.4 million. The new budget continues to support the advancement of projects, programs and efforts by programmatic area that link SARA’s expenditures to the organizational mission, service goals and objectives as approved by the Board of Directors.
The budget process focused on enhancing management efficiencies, but also resulted in the elimination of or delay in some projects and services. This was the result of a decrease in the General Fund of over $2 million from $23.4 million in fiscal year 2009/10 to $21.1 million in the new fiscal year 2010/11. This is a decrease of approximately 10%. This decrease in General Fund revenue, which is a reflection of the slowly recovering economy, required the Board of Directors to make some difficult budget decisions.
“In all my years serving on the Board of Directors, this was the most challenging budget process I’ve seen,” said Gaylon Oehlke, SARA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Difficult choices had to be made, but ultimately, the budget the Board adopted is focused on developing SARA’s programs to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the basin while remaining fiscally accountable to the citizens we serve.”
A summary of the fiscal year 2010/11 total budget of $128.4 million for each of SARA’s five service areas is as follows: Flood Control - $95.8 million; Water Quality - $2.8 million; Water Resources - $4.3 million; Utilities - $24.4 million; and Park Services - $1.1 million.
The tax rate for the fiscal year 2009/10 budget is currently set at 0.015951. The adopted budget for fiscal year 2010/11 is based on a new tax rate of 0.016652, which is an increase of 0.000701. The new tax rate will equate to an increase of approximately $0.80 from $22.18 to $22.98 on the ad valorem tax collected annually on the average homestead in SARA’s four county district. SARA is authorized by the State Legislature to collect an ad valorem tax at a maximum of $0.02 per $100 of assessed value. The tax rate must be set at the same rate throughout SARA’s four-county district including Bexar, Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties and may only be used for planning and operations and maintenance activities.
To accomplish a balanced approach to budgeting for sustainable watershed solutions, SARA focuses the agency’s services and expertise where the greatest value can be provided. Before programs, projects and efforts are budgeted for, they are measured against SARA’s organizational performance goals, which are:
- exemplify environmental leadership, stewardship and expertise
- enhance community appreciation for the environmental resources of the San Antonio River and its tributaries
- deliver valued public service
- advance a sustainable environment
- develop successful employees
Additionally, the new fiscal year will see the consolidation of SARA’s portfolio of programs from eighteen to nine under the direction of newly appointed Program Leaders. The programs are: Capital Project Implementation Program; Community Outreach and Education Program; Natural Resource Protection Program; Nature Based Park Program; Utilities Program; Water Resource Planning and Supply Program; Watershed Integrity Team (WIT) Program; Watershed Maintenance; and Watershed Modeling and Planning Program.
For the fiscal year 2010/11 several highlighted projects include:
- Project Management for the San Antonio River Improvements Project
- Operations & Maintenance of the Museum Reach, Eagleland and Mission Reach Phase 1
- Westside Creeks Restoration Project, including conceptual design phase and adaptive monitoring
- Stream Restoration Team & Natural Channel Design Concepts
- San Antonio River Nature Park in Wilson County
- Goliad Paddling Trail
- Branch Park Property in Goliad
- Texas Instream Flow Program
- Clean Rivers Program and SARA Stream Monitoring, including intensive surveys of the Lower San Antonio River in Karnes and Goliad counties
- Bay and Basin Area Stakeholder Committee (BBASC) and the Bay and Basin Expert Science Team (BBEST)
- Mitigation Banking Program
Finally, a new concept was initiated this coming fiscal year to align, develop and advance technical expertise within SARA called Centers of Expertise. Three centers were created in the following areas:
- Project Delivery
- Sustainable Technology
The fiscal year 2010/11 budget is available for review at www.sara-tx.org.
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| Protecting Aquifer Species
By Thomas G. Weaver, SARA Board Member, Bexar County District 4
A little known study on the Edwards Aquifer, which is currently well underway, should be of great interest to all who depend upon the Edwards Aquifer as a water source. The Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Plan (EARIP) has the potential to greatly limit our access to this life-giving resource in times of drought (see EARIP article).
The Texas Legislature (through Senate Bill 3, 80th Legislative Session) directed the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) to “cooperatively develop a recovery implementation program” to protect and preserve endangered or threatened species at Comal and San Marcos Springs during drought. Partners in the effort are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), state agencies, local stakeholders (including the San Antonio River Authority), environmental groups, municipalities, water agencies and others.
Approximately 60 to 80 persons, from 39 stakeholder groups, meet monthly to complete this effort by the September 2012 deadline. A critical part of this program is completion of a habitat conservation plan that will assure the survival of the federally listed endangered species by maintaining adequate spring flow during drought conditions. The plan must be approved by the USFWS.
The difficult problem faced by the EARIP stakeholders is to figure out how to maintain enough spring flow for “the critters” to survive, without severely restricting aquifer pumping and causing hardship for municipal, agricultural and industrial users. Stakeholder experts are working to devise specific strategies acceptable to the USFWS which will provide adequate spring flow during times of drought for the endangered species, while allowing sufficient pumping from the Edwards Aquifer to avoid undue disruption to our economy and our South Texas lifestyle. Learn more at www.edwardsrip.org. All are welcome to participate and comment on the EARIP.
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| Board Makes Tough Decision to Serve Basin
By Terry E. Baiamonte
SARA Board Member, Goliad County
In June, the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) Board of Directors made a tough decision. A slow economy, combined with an increase in SARA’s services and responsibilities within the basin, has necessitated an increase in SARA’s tax rate (see finance article). This increase will be $0.80 per year for the average household.
The decision to raise the tax rate was not made lightly. In the past few months, Board members asked SARA staff to prepare several budget package options which included
cost-saving measures and outright budget cuts for projects and programs. While it is painful to see budget cuts, the Board seeks to remain fiscally responsible on behalf of the basin’s citizens.
At the same time, SARA is increasing some services in the near future. Phase One of the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project will open this summer. SARA is committed to operations and maintenance of this
project, which will require a significant amount of funding during its first years.
SARA is also increasing services in Goliad County. Conceptual plans are in the works for development of a four-and-a-half acre SARA-owned and operated park on the donated Branch property between the San Antonio River and the downtown Goliad square. SARA continues to provide staff and resources in partnership with Canoe Trail Goliad and Texas Parks and Wildlife for the Goliad Paddling Trail.
On the technical side, SARA’s Environmental Sciences Department has scheduled intensive monitoring surveys in Goliad County in addition to routine monitoring in order to better characterize water quality in the river. SARA is also involved in the Texas Instream Flows Program, which seeks to ensure adequate flows in the river from Bexar County all the way to the coast.
Increasing SARA’s tax rate was a difficult decision that inspired much discussion among Board members. In the end, SARA’s dedication to providing valued public service, advancing a sustainable environment and enhancing appreciation for our basin’s environmental resources resulted in a combination of budget cuts, efficiencies and a small increase in the tax rate.
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| SARA’s Goals—Measuring Up
By Steve Graham
The San Antonio River Authority’s (SARA) most important resource is its talented and highly committed staff. We require experts in a variety of scientific, engineering and land management fields to be successful. Two of our five goals speak to that fact: “Develop successful employees” and “Exemplify environmental leadership, stewardship and expertise.” To strengthen and develop our expertise, SARA has created three Centers of Expertise. These three centers are made up of five to seven persons that research and develop technologies and innovations that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our agency. These are the centers and their objectives:
- Sustainable technology: Explore new or emerging areas where SARA can develop expertise that will set SARA apart and develop other “niche” specialties like low impact development, green infrastructure and agricultural best management practices.
- Project Delivery: Investigate new and innovative project delivery methods to improve the quality, timeliness and cost savings of the capital construction projects we build and the scientific studies we produce. This center will also identify public/private venture opportunities and rapid construction methods like “design-build.”
- Analytical Modeling/Geographical Information Systems (GIS): Build on existing expertise and optimize SARA’s skills in the areas of flooding, water quality, biological and watershed modeling and analysis.
We believe that by investing in our employees and their expertise, SARA will be able to provide better service, quicker results and higher value for the constituents we serve. Through our employees we hope to become the “leaders in watershed solutions.” We encourage your thoughts, comments and input as to how we can continue to improve and serve. Please feel free to contact me, Steve Graham, Assistant General Manager, at (210) 302-3622, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Consumer Awareness Reduces Waste
By Karen Bishop
Although many manufacturers have taken steps to reduce packaging, much waste remains in the marketplace. According to a University of Florida report, up to one of every 11 dollars spent at the store pays for packaging. That packaging makes up approximately one third of all U.S. trash.1
In part, this waste results from manufacturers’ attempts to protect merchandise from damage or theft. Products damaged pre-sale have an environmental impact potentially greater than the packaging.
The waste is also driven by consumer preferences. If cost, convenience or comfort is involved, some people will select the three “C”s over the environment.
Consumer awareness—or lack thereof—is yet another factor. Sometimes, consumers don’t realize until after they have made their purchase that their new chewing gum is double wrapped in a foil-covered plastic tray and a cardboard box, or that their deodorant brand of many years now sports both a solid plastic lid and, beneath it, a hard plastic toss-away oval.
It is important for consumers to take note of and reduce packaging’s impact within our watersheds.
Here are some helpful hints:
- When waste is apparent, select a comparable brand in greener packaging.
- Avoid packaging gimmicks that may add to the cost, not the quality, of the product. Examples are pump toothpaste and some exaggerated spray pump containers (where possible, purchase the pump container once and buy refill containers from then on).
- Where practical, buy in larger packages instead of small, single-use packages. Parcel into reusable containers at home.
- Select products in packaging that can be recycled or reused, and then follow through.
- If curbside recycle bins are provided by your waste management service, use them.
- Use reusable shopping bags.
- Let the store know you notice. Many stores will now order stock based on customer requests. Request green packaged products!
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| New Water Source for La Bahia Community
By Melissa Bryant
The community of La Bahia, approximately 1 ¼ miles south of Goliad, has long depended on unreliable water wells as the primary source of drinking water. Soon this will change. On Tuesday, May 25, the Goliad County Water Supply Corporation (GWSC) and the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) held a ground breaking ceremony celebrating the beginning of construction on a water supply system that will expand GWSC’s services to the community of La Bahia. The project will include the construction of water pipelines to all homes enlisted in the program and a water plant consisting of a 208,100-gallon ground storage tank and chlorination building.
Obtaining a grant for the community of La Bahia has been in the works since 2002. The water system is being funded by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with seed money and grant writing assistance provided by SARA. Because this is a historic community, the GWSC has been working with the USDA and Texas Historical Commission to ensure proper construction techniques are used to preserve historical artifacts found during construction. The total cost of this project is approximately $1.7 million; the project will have the capacity to serve approximately 125 residences and businesses on a first-come-first-served basis.
Because the community of La Bahia is situated near several sites of historical significance, such as the Presidio La Bahia, the birthplace of General Zaragoza and the Mission Espiritu Santo, special care has been taken to ensure that historical artifacts remain safe. An archeological study has been conducted and an archeologist will be on site during construction to hand-dig in areas that have been deemed potentially sensitive. If the archeologist discovers artifacts on private property, property owners are encouraged to donate artifacts to one of the local museums.
Contractors are working diligently in La Bahia, and the GWSC anticipates the water system will be complete by the end of 2010. Any homeowners who have not signed up to participate in the project are encouraged to contact SARA, as the grant will only pay for 125 customers to be connected. SARA is performing the construction inspection on the project and in the future will perform the operations and maintenance, as well as billing, for GWSC. SARA is pleased to play a role in this project that will bring safe and clean water to the community of La Bahia.
ABOVE: La Bahia Water Supply Groundbreaking (from left to right)
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Adair Sutherland (SARA Board Member, Goliad County), Goliad County Judge Harold Gleinser, Chris Garcia (Office of U.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa), State Representative Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, William Zermeno (Vice President, GWSC), Al Brothers (President GWSC), Gaylon Oehlke (Chairman, SARA Board of Directors, Karnes County), Clarence Littlefield (Southwest Engineers), Terry Baiamonte (SARA Board Member, Goliad County), Ray Bednorz (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Goliad County WSC), Larry Jones (USDA), John Powell (USDA)
| A Step Forward for the EARIP
By Steve Raabe
The Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program (EARIP) seeks to bring together all stakeholders in the region served by the Edwards Aquifer in an effort to balance the needs of human water users with those of federally listed endangered species. Considering the importance of the Edwards Aquifer to the people of this region, as well as the importance of sustained spring flow to the eight endangered species of the Comal and San Marcos Springs, this is a difficult process. Fortunately, the EARIP recently reached an important milestone.
Despite the inherent difficulty of creating common ground among groups with varying needs, stakeholders came together recently in a two-day work session to create a plan for analyzing five different strategies to mitigate the effects of pumping on spring flows in the Comal and San Marcos Springs. This is an important step in finding an acceptable balance between the needs of human water users and the needs of the endangered species.
The next step in the process is for a team of consultants to conduct a technical and cost evaluation of these strategies during the summer of 2010. These evaluations will be completed by August of 2010. The stakeholders have also identified restoration and mitigation options for the Comal and San Marcos Springs’ ecosystems. In August, the stakeholders will come together again to review the results of the evaluation and decide which strategies and restoration and litigation options will be pursued for inclusion in the habitat conservation plan (HCP).
Another team of consultants is tasked with creating the HCP to ensure that the endangered species receive enough spring flow in the Comal and San Marcos Springs to survive through drought conditions. The HCP for Comal and San Marcos Springs should be completed by the late summer of 2011 and will be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for review.
USFWS will analyze the proposed strategies to mitigate the effects of pumping on spring flows; this process is expected to take about one year. If the HCP is deemed satisfactory, USFWS will issue incidental take permits to pumpers.
As a stakeholder in the region served by the Edwards Aquifer, the San Antonio River Authority is dedicated to staying engaged in the EARIP process. The San Antonio River is fed at its source by the clear, clean waters of the Edwards Aquifer, as are many other streams and waterways in our basin. It is vital that we protect the source of water which has made this region a center for human habitation and civilization for thousands of years.
(Image below provided by the Edward’s Aquifer Authority)
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| South Texas Natives
Maximilian Sunflower • Helianthus maximiliani
By Lee Marlowe
One of the most dazzling summer wildflowers in our region is Maximilian sunflower. This native perennial plant can reach a height of 10 feet, and its tall, bright yellow blooms can easily stand out above everything else in a grassland or meadow landscape. It blooms from August to November. Individual showy flowers can reach up to five inches in diameter, and their green to dark brown centers can be up to an inch in diameter. Multiple flowers appear on tall stems that rise from a dense mound of leaves. The leaves are long (up to 12 inches), narrow and covered with tiny white hairs which give them a grayish-green appearance.
The Maximilian sunflower is a valuable wildlife plant that provides nectar for bees, beetles and butterflies and seeds for birds and deer. It provides good cover for a variety of wildlife. It is also considered a good range plant because it is eaten by livestock. This species has proven to be useful for erosion control and is a good choice for sunny slopes.
The Maximilian sunflower prefers full sun and moist to dry soil, and can tolerate a variety of soil types including clay, loam, sand and limestone based soil. Because it has attractive leaves and flowers, it is often used in landscape and garden settings. It spreads readily though, and can form large colonies. In a large planting this might be desirable, but in smaller garden settings it may require extra efforts to keep it under control. It can be controlled by removing the spent flowers, although this reduces the wildlife benefits, or weeding out the seedlings as they appear. If the goal is to expand its coverage in an area, it can be divided easily in the spring and replanted.
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| Employee Highlight
By Kim Garcia
It is an honor to introduce Melissa Bryant, Project Engineer, in the San Antonio River Authority’s (SARA) Water Resources and Community Development Department.
Melissa grew up in Lubbock, Texas and went to college in College Station, Texas, where she graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering. After graduating, she lived in Portland, Oregon for two years, where she worked at a construction company, as a Subcontract Engineer. A born “Texas Girl,” she moved to Dallas, where she worked as an Airport Design Engineer for two years at a consulting firm before moving to San Antonio.
Melissa has been with SARA for eight years, where she manages several of SARA’s water resources projects, such as the Goliad County Water Supply Corporation (GWSC) Project. SARA is working with GWSC to provide potable water to five communities in Goliad County (learn more on page 8). Melissa also manages the Kenedy Brackish Water Desalination Project to produce improved water quality while increasing the amount of water available for use in the City of Kenedy. She is also responsible for SARA’s reuse water program and tracks surface water right permits in our basin. Melissa says, “I enjoy my work here at SARA and truly feel that I make a difference in the community.”
Melissa is married to Vernon, whom she met in college, and has two “awesome” boys ages eleven and nine. She stays active in their school activities through PTA and Boy Scouts, where she is Council Delegate for their pack. Melissa is also involved in the community through her HOA, where she chairs the Civics Committee. She is also a repeat volunteer for SARA community events. Her hobbies are interior design and decorating. She has done many projects in her own home and also works with her husband, who owns his own building and home remodeling business. Melissa says, “In my spare time, I love to cook and garden. I look forward to holidays when family and friends visit and I get to cook large, elaborate meals for everyone.”
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| Determining Environmental Flows
The Guadalupe and San Antonio Rivers Basin
and Bay Expert Science Team
By Brian Mast
Senate Bill 3 (SB-3) from the 80th Texas Legislature recognized the importance of maintaining the ecological soundness of our riverine, bay and estuary systems and riparian lands as these complex systems impact our state’s economy, health and well-being. SB-3 established a process for a Stakeholder Committee (Basin and Bay Area Stakeholder Committee, or BBASC) to elect a Basin and Bay Expert Science Team (BBEST) to develop an environmental flow analysis and a recommended environmental flow regime for the Guadalupe and San Antonio Rivers and San Antonio Bay system, which actually includes the Guadalupe, San Antonio, Mission and Aransas Rivers and Mission, Copano, Aransas and San Antonio Bays.
Environmental flows are defined as the amount of river and other freshwater flows needed to maintain acceptable conditions in estuarine areas that support marine life and other species. Freshwater inflows to bays and estuaries help control salinity levels and supply critical nutrients and sediments. In determining the environmental flow needs for a ‘sound ecological environment,’ SB-3 directs the BBEST to use a collaborative consensus-based process. Additionally, SB-3 instructs the BBEST to consider “all reasonably available science, without regard to the need for the water for other uses, and the science team’s recommendations must be based solely on the best science available.” Once the BBEST has developed its recommendations, the Stakeholder Committee will review the BBEST’s analysis and recommendations and will then overlay policy decisions such as the “present and future needs for water for other uses related to water supply planning,” and incorporate these issues into their own recommendations.
The BBEST’s environmental flow recommendations are due to be submitted on March 1, 2011, with the Stakeholder Committee scheduled to submit its policy recommendations by September 1, 2011. For more information on the Environmental Flows process and members of the BBEST and Stakeholder Committees please visit TCEQ's web site.
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| Real-Time River Monitoring
By Brian Mast
Created in 2004, the San Antonio River Basin Monitoring Network (Network) is a voluntary partnership program between the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the San Antonio River Authority (SARA), San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s Public Center for Environmental Health, San Antonio Water Systems, CPS Energy, Bexar Metropolitan Water District, Alamo Area Council of Governments, Toyota, the Witte Museum, Waste Management, Los Patios, Water Monitoring Solutions and the Union Pacific Foundation. These partners joined together to develop a network of water quality monitoring stations that relay real-time data in 10 to 15 minute increments to the TCEQ and United States Geological Survey (USGS) to identify water quality issues, assist in the management of our shared water resources and minimize pollutants entering our waterways. In 2007, the Network was awarded the Texas Environmental Excellence Award—Government category due to the collaborative efforts of the Network’s public and private partners.
The Network’s goal has been to establish historical baseline water quality conditions in the San Antonio River Basin and monitor them for long-term changes caused by increased development and urbanization. Short-term water quality issues caused by storm water runoff and accidental spills are also monitored and used to limit and address the impacts of pollutants entering waterways in the San Antonio River Basin. With existing technology, the Network can monitor temperature, water flow, gauge height, dissolved oxygen, conductivity and pH. SARA looks forward to working with the Network partners to advance the technology so that in the future we are able to measure bacteria and nutrients as well. The data currently collected is available to the public here: TCEQ DATA.
The monitoring gauges require significant investments from many of the Network’s partners. SARA salutes the private and public partners’ continued support for the Network as it demonstrates their desire to maintain a healthy San Antonio River Basin. In an effort to increase funding, SARA recently applied for and received TCEQ approval for the Network to qualify as a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP). SEPs are mechanisms to channel funds from TCEQ corrective actions directly to projects that benefit the local environment. The Network’s real-time monitoring efforts support SARA’s goals of advancing a sustainable environment and exemplifying environmental leadership, stewardship, and expertise.
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2010 Basin Highlights Report
By Laura Waldrum
In May 2010, the San Antonio River Authority’s (SARA) Environmental Sciences Department (ESD) released the 2010 Basin Highlights Report (BHR). The BHR is an annual report reviewing ESD’s water quality monitoring activities and findings as it works to further SARA’s goal of protecting and preserving the water quality of the San Antonio River Basin. This year’s edition is an expanded version of the BHR. An expanded version of the report is published in even years and a condensed version is published in odd years. This year’s report contains extensive information about SARA monitoring activities, including descriptions of stream segments, water quality conditions and discussions of biological data and the wildlife community for each segment monitored. The BHR provides a single source for this data that is readily available and easily understandable.
SARA is required to submit the BHR to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) as part of the Texas Clean Rivers Program. The TCEQ, SARA and other partners in the Clean Rivers Program use this report to develop and prioritize projects to protect healthy water bodies and improve the quality of water bodies that are impaired. Prior to the passing of the Texas Clean Rivers Act in 1991, which created the Clean Rivers Program, water quality testing was performed by many agencies throughout the state without much coordination or sharing of information among agencies. The program now serves as a mechanism to increase cooperation between partner agencies, leading to the improvement and protection of water quality across the state.
The BHR also contains information about other projects SARA is working on to improve water quality and enhance appreciation for and use of the water resources in our basin. This includes information about the SARA Stream Monitoring Program, which monitors nineteen locations in the San Antonio River Basin. It also includes a discussion of activities and findings for special studies, maps showing the location of sampling sites and a discussion of many other SARA programs contributing to improving and protecting the San Antonio River basin.
A printed version of the Basin Highlights Report will be distributed to the TCEQ, Clean Rivers Program partner agencies, SARA’s Environmental Advisory Committee and other interested stakeholders. However, an online version of the report is available to the public on our website, www.sara-tx.org. You can find more information about the TCEQ and Clean Rivers Program at TCEQ's web site.
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| Environmental Flows and Whooping Cranes|
By Suzanne Scott, General Manager
An Endangered Species Lawsuit was recently filed by “The Aransas Project” that alleges the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), its Commissioners, Executive Director and the South Texas Watermaster have failed to adequately manage freshwater inflows into San Antonio Bay, thereby resulting in the ‘taking’ of Whooping Cranes, an endangered species. As the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) has been empowered by the Texas Legislature with, “the control of the waters of those parts of all rivers, streams and tributaries thereof which are within the boundaries” of our four county jurisdiction, the SARA board of directors voted to approve SARA’s intervention into the case. SARA filed a Motion to Intervene with the federal court to ensure that the interests of our constituents and our interest to protect the resources of the San Antonio River Basin are adequately represented.
SARA board chairman Gaylon Oehlke stated at the time of the board action, “The San Antonio River Authority has a direct and unique interest in protecting the environmental resources of the San Antonio River Basin from its headwaters to the Texas coast. SARA has a comprehensive scientific understanding of the complex natural systems that make up the basin environment which is shared by both humans and other animal and plant species.”
The studies Mr. Oehlke references demonstrate that SARA and the region are working to gather good science to formulate sound policy decisions concerning the freshwater flow needs for the river and San Antonio Bay. SARA is funding, in partnership with the state agencies, an instream flow study, and has also jointly funded studies regarding flow needs of the bay and estuaries. SARA is also actively involved in the State’s environmental flows process. I chair the Guadalupe – San Antonio Basin and Bay Stakeholder Group and we have a scientific expert on the Bay and Basin Expert Science Team. SARA is a member of the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program Steering Committee and chairs the Recharge Facility Feasibility Subcommittee. We have partnered with the Coastal Bend Bays Estuary Program to provide funding support for the San Antonio Bay Partnership, a newly created stakeholder group committed to protecting, restoring and enhancing the natural resources of San Antonio Bay.
SARA has built a strong reputation for bringing disparate interests together to address complicated issues with mutually beneficial results. While we generally do not seek litigation, SARA does have an important role to play in this case due to our knowledge of and expertise in the San Antonio River and Bay systems.
SARA filed the Motion to Intervene on Friday, June 18. The District Court issued a denial of SARA’s Motion on Monday, June 21. SARA’s Motion to Intervene was not the first to be denied by the Court, as it had previously denied motions from San Antonio Water System, CPS Energy, Texas Farm Bureau, American Farm Bureau Federation and Union Carbide Corporation. On Monday, June 28th, SARA’s Board of Directors authorized SARA to appeal the order denying the motion to intervene in the Aransas Project Lawsuit and also authorized seeking a request for a stay of the trial court litigation pending that appeal. We will keep you posted on the developments of this litigation as it proceeds.
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Determining Environmental Flows
By Brian Mast
Senate Bill 3 (SB-3) from the 80th Texas Legislature recognized the importance of maintaining the ecological soundness of our riverine, bay and estuary systems and riparian lands as these complex systems impact our state's economy, health and well-being.
Consumer Awareness Reduces Waste
By Karen Bishop
Although many manufacturers have taken steps to reduce packaging, much waste remains in the marketplace. According to a University of Florida report, up to one of every 11 dollars spent at the store pays for packaging. That packaging makes up approximately one third of all U.S. trash ...
[click to read more]
South Texas Natives
By Lee Marlowe
One of the most dazzling summer wildflowers in our region is Maximilian sunflower. This native perennial plant can reach a height of 10 feet, and its tall, bright yellow blooms can easily stand out above everything else in a grassland or meadow ...
[click to read more]
Summer 2010 PDF
Spring 2010 PDF