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Upper San Antonio River: Watershed Protection Plan Update

The San Antonio River Authority completed an update to the 2007 Upper San Antonio River Watershed Protection Plan.


Since 2000, portions of the Upper San Antonio River (Segment 1911), within San Antonio, have not met water quality standards because bacteria concentrations exceeded the criteria used to evaluate attainment of the contact recreation use. These bacteria are naturally found in the intestines of humans, livestock, wildlife, and pets. Although they are not generally disease-causing, their presence in water indicate potential fecal contamination and presence of disease-causing microorganisms. Therefore, higher levels of fecal bacteria in water mean a higher risk to humans of contracting diseases by ingesting water during swimming, wading, or kayaking—activities, called “contact recreation,” in the state’s standards for water quality.

The Upper San Antonio River has also consistently had concerns for high nutrient screening levels. Excessive amounts of nutrients can cause extensive algae growth which can deplete oxygen in the water and ultimately harm aquatic organisms.

In 2006, the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) completed the Upper San Antonio River Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) to address the water quality concerns of the watershed. The WPP identified sources of pollution in the watershed and several management measures to reduce it.

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Project Description

SARA updated the WPP to report progress of implementation efforts made since 2007 and worked with local partners to develop significantly more detailed proposals of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to guide further implementation. This also included an inventory of suitable locations, within the watershed, for BMP implementation. SARA also developed a more extensive monitoring program to measure progress toward restoring the river to meet state water quality standards for contact recreation use. The project was completed in 2014 and the Upper San Antonio River WPP update was accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in February 2015.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at

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