One of the ways SARA protects waterways in the San Antonio River Basin is through our Environmental Investigation team. Watersheds within the basin are frequently patrolled for illegal activity and environmental crimes. When an illegal activity is found, an investigation takes place to identify harmful impacts to water quality, riparian habitat and human health and safety within the basin.
The team works closely with other governmental agencies to help resolve environmental and noncompliance issues found within our basin. They respond to complaints and communicate with land owners, state and local agency officials, regulatory officials and the public as necessary to resolve and follow-up on emergency situations involving the San Antonio River Basin streams.
Investigations include, but are not limited to:
- Citizen complaints and concerns
- Fish kills, spills, permit violations and illegal dumping
- Habitat destruction
- Floodplain and encroachment violations
- Unauthorized activities
Working and communicating with the public are important duties of the environmental investigation team. They educate the public about how abuse to waterways can cause serious habitat destruction, degrade aquatic ecology and completely alter the beauty of a stream. Often, abuse of the river is due to lack of knowledge. A call or visit by the SARA environmental investigations team to explain why something should not be done often stops destructive activities.
If you see something illegal or hazardous dumped within the San Antonio River Basin, your first call should be to your local law enforcement officer. Your second call should be to SARA’s environmental investigations team at (210) 227-1373 or, toll free at 1 (866) 345-7272. They will make sure that the appropriate agencies with enforcement powers are contacted. They will also research solutions to the problem and keep the caller informed of progress in the investigation.
Helicopter fly overs are scheduled annually to look for illegal dumping, log jams, unauthorized discharges, unpermitted crossings, floodplain violations, habitat destruction, and wildlife assessments.