San Antonio River Authority releases inaugural Basin Report Card

Overall grade for 2020 is B

Photo provided by San Antonio River Authority
Photo provided by San Antonio River Authority

SAN ANTONIO – Creeks and rivers are ever-changing dynamic systems. They change moment to moment and can have various characteristics, each distinct from the next.

As part of the San Antonio River Authority’s commitment to safe, clean, enjoyable creeks and rivers, the agency created the San Antonio River Basin Report Card.

The development of the report card grew from the River Authority’s drive to harmonize the needs of people and nature through its stewardship of rivers and land, the agency said.

The main purpose is to shine a light on the healthy and the unhealthy aspects of the basin in order to educate the public and serve as a catalyst for community discussions that lead to individual choices and public policy decisions, actions and investments that support a sustainable San Antonio River Basin.

The expert engineers, scientists, technical and specialized staff of the River Authority exercised their best professional judgment to determine the most meaningful list of indicators for this inaugural river basin report card.

To help tell the very diverse and complicated story of the San Antonio River Basin in a simple, easy-to-understand way, the River Authority selected 12 indicators that were based on observations of basin health and comprised of accessible and defensible data which could be easily explained to the public.

Where feasible, indicators use standards or guidelines established by state or federal regulatory agencies, such as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The final numeric scores of all 12 indicators are averaged to produce the overall basin grade. For this inaugural San Antonio River Basin Report Card, the overall basin grade is 66.2.

To determine a grade, the standard 100-point scale is divided into five equal parts where an “A” equates to 100-80 (excellent); B is 79.9-60 (good); C is 59.9-40 (moderate); D is 39.9-20 (poor); and an F is 19.9-0 (failing).

The reason for the broader spread in scores is that this scale is more sensitive to, and reflective of, changes in river basin conditions. The larger spread in scores also allows for an easier way to include a plus and minus scale, where the upper 5 points of the 20-point range is a plus score and the lower 5 points of the 20-point range is a minus score. The “F” score, however, does not have a plus or minus.

Given the broader spread in scores, the overall river basin report card numeric score of 66.2 equates to a “B” grade. The grade shows that, overall, the basin health is good, but there is room for improvement. Each indicator in the river basin report card includes information about actions that can be taken to help improve the score in future years.

The River Authority intends to issue future river basin report cards each September to correspond with World Rivers Day. With each annual basin report card, the grades for the indicators will show trends that will be highlighted over time.

Together, we can be river proud by achieving and maintaining good grades and focusing our collective community attention on improving areas that are scoring low, the River Authority said.

To learn more about the River Authority, click here.