Report to Highlight Success of River Improvements Project

Print Share on LinkedIn Comments More
A young boy curiously admires the Mission Reach during its grand opening ceremony on Oct. 5, 2013. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

A young boy curiously admires the Mission Reach during its grand opening ceremony on Oct. 5, 2013. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

The San Antonio River Authority will soon release a success report detailing the overall impact of the unprecedented $384.1 million investment in the San Antonio River Improvements Project (SARIP).

The report and its contents will be shared with the public on Thursday, May 24 at the River Authority’s headquarters located at 100 E. Guenther St.

The project was managed by the River Authority and funded by partner agencies such as Bexar County, the City of San Antonio, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the San Antonio River Foundation. The San Antonio River Oversight Committee, a 22-member group, formed in 1998 to guide the planning and execution of the project.

Steven Shauer of SARA talks with Nancy Stoner of the EPA about the work that's being done on the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project at Roosevelt Park. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Steven Shauer of SARA talks with Nancy Stoner of the EPA about the work that’s being done on the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project at Roosevelt Park. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

“One of the promises that we made to the River Oversight Committee when they concluded their role was that we promised the stakeholders to give periodic updates about the activities that have happened,” said River Authority General Manager Suzanne Scott in a recent phone interview. 

The May 24 event will update project partners and the community on the project’s continued progress, plans and implementations along the river. The River South Management plan, which was approved by project stakeholders, outlines the necessary operations and maintenance for the Mission Reach and River South area, as well as recreation, emergency spill response, security and economic development for the area.

To view the River South Management Plan, click here.

The San Antonio River has been an integral part of the city’s culture and history for centuries, but years of flooding and city development negatively impacted the area’s natural vegetation and wildlife, as well as the public’s accessibility to recreational spaces and activities.

The project – spanning Eagleland, Mission Reach, Museum Reach and a segment of downtown San Antonio – made major improvements to the area’s ecological features and accessibility. The improvements to the Museum Reach area nearly doubled the length of the existing River Walk, and extended the city’s cultural experience to a previously undeveloped area in north downtown San Antonio. The project also stabilized the river channel.

Bats fly from the Camden Street Bridge during previous Bat Loco program. Photo courtest San Antonio River Authority.

Courtesy / San Antonio River Authority

Bats fly from the Camden Street Bridge during a Bat Loco program. Photo courtesy San Antonio River Authority.

The Mission Reach segment restored several ecological features including a natural pool, a native riparian corridor and natural backwater habitats, which included the planting of more than 20,000 new trees. The project also maintained flood control, reduced erosion and reconnected the two river segments. More than 15 miles of hiking and biking trails were constructed, as well as shade structures, picnic tables and river-edge landings. The combined recreational and ecological improvements have brought new levels of activity to the area.

Areas such as Museum Reach and Mission Reach have attracted more activity and interest in development, Scott said, and SARA continues to work with those area property owners to ensure collaboration and cooperation. 

There are several project studies still in progress, including an avian study that will report on the return of bird populations to the area.

“We’re looking forward to the results of those,” Scott said. “They wouldn’t have returned without a healthy ecosystem there to support them.”

SARIP, and its successful project model, have stimulated plans for other projects such as the Linear Creekways program and the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project, Scott said. “It has really given rise to approachability of the role of creeks and rivers and the economic impact that has on our life and community.”

For Scott, the project’s greatest legacy is “the enhanced appreciation to the value of the community beyond the River Walk. The River Walk is a great asset to the community but we’ve been able to extend the value of the river to the community.”

Bluebonnets brighten the trail along the Mission Reach. Photo by Al Rendon/SARA.

Bluebonnets brighten the trail along the Mission Reach. Photo by Al Rendon/SARA.

https://rivardreport.wildapricot.org
*Top Image: A young boy curiously admires the Mission Reach during its grand opening ceremony on Oct. 5, 2013. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Related Stories:

Photo Gallery: Mission Reach Flotilla Festival

San Antonio Celebrates the River’s Mission Reach Saturday

Mission Concepción Portal Blends Nature With Architecture

San Pedro Creek Project To Break Ground This Summer

City: Greenway Trails Need Better Connections to Neighborhoods

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *