January 06, 2016


Washington, D.C. - Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) today announced a $300,000 reimbursement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) for the Mission Reach project. SARA will return the funds to Bexar County, which was the primary funding source for the project. This is the second tranche of a total $61.3 million USACE reimbursement Bexar County is entitled to receive for funding the Mission Reach project.  
"This second reimbursement from the Corps brings SARA and Bexar County one step closer to receiving the full $61.3 million they're owed,?" said Rep. Castro. "Each repayment is money that in the future can be reinvested in enhancements to the San Antonio River and other projects that benefit our city. The river plays a significant role in San Antonio's culture, economy, and ecological health. Bexar County's investment and SARA's stewardship together will allow the Mission Reach to continue to improve and thrive.?" 

"We appreciate Congressman Castro's efforts to seek reimbursement for Bexar County's investment in the San Antonio River," said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. "These funds will be reinvested to ensure our local waterways are environmental and recreational assets to the community."

In 2009, Federal authorization was granted allowing SARA to become the project manager and advance federal work on the Mission Reach project utilizing local funds provided by Bexar County with the understanding that Bexar County would be eligible for reimbursement for the federal share of the authorized and constructed civil works project. The Corps declared in 2012 that the Mission Reach was eligible for reimbursement based on the non-federal sponsor (SARA) advancing construction and completing the project using local funds. Bexar County advanced over $61 million toward the federal share of the project. The intention and effect of this approach was to provide a more businesslike approach to the Corps’ program by having sponsors advance the project efficiently and cost-effectively using local funds. In the case of the Mission Reach, this proved successful as the sponsor reduced the Corps' estimate of the work by $25 million through effective cost management.
"We are glad the $300,000 has been added to the previously received reimbursement,?" said Suzanne Scott, SARA's General Manager. "We are committed to continuing the work with Congressman Castro and our entire Federal delegation to seek additional reimbursement that can be reinvested in our watershed."

The Mission Reach project successfully restored the ecosystem of an eight-mile stretch of the San Antonio River south of downtown previously channelized for flood control purposes. Construction of the project was completed in October 2013. The restored ecosystem consists of 113 acres of aquatic habitat, 334 acres of riparian woodland, 31 riffle structures, 13 acres of embayment habitat, and two river remnants. The project is also maintaining and increasing the flood control capabilities of the original (USACE) project. Additionally, the 2014 River Walk Impact Study found that the project is acting as an economic catalyst as a part of the River Walk, contributing to an estimated $3.1 billion in economic impact for the area which is generated annually by the San Antonio River Walk. 
"The San Antonio River not only links some of our most special historic sites, it also connects a variety of communities within our great city,?" added Rep. Castro. "Investment in efforts like the Mission Reach project demonstrate our commitment to this feature that is so central to San Antonio's identity. I look forward to continued coordination with the USACE and other federal officials to ensure the reimbursement process moves forward as smoothly and efficiently as possible.?"