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SAN ANTONIO RIVER, TEX.

LETTER

FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,

TRANSMITTING,

WITH A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, REPORT ON

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF SAN ANTONIO RIVER, TEX.

OCTOBER 27, 1919.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and

ordered to be printed.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, October 24, 1919, The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a letter from the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, of 22d instant, together with report of Col. Spencer Cosby, Corps of Engineers, dated June 30, 1919, on a preliminary examination of San Antonio River, Tex., authorized by the river and harbor act approved July 27, 1916. Very respectfully,

NEWTON D. BAKER,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, October 22, 1919.
From: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army.
To: The Secretary of War.
Subject: Preliminary examination of San Antonio River, Tex.

1. There is submitted herewith, for transmission to Congress, report dated June 30, 1919, by Col. Spencer Cosby, Corps of Engineers, on preliminary examination of San Antonio River, Tex., authorized by the river and harbor act approved July 27, 1916.

2. This river rises in a series of large springs in the city of San Antonio, Tex., and empties into the Guadalupe River about 12 miles from San Antonio Bay. No previous examinations of this stream with a view to its improvement by the United States have been made. Throughout the length of the river, pools and rapids alternate, and the average fall is 3.5 feet per mile. There is apparently no commercial navigation on the river, and it is used only at favorable localities by small craft, such as skiffs and small motor boats. In view of the many costly difficulties that would have to be overcome to secure navigation, and of the little demand or necessity for it, the district engineer expresses the opinion, in which the division engineer concurs, that this river is not worthy of improvement by the United States.

3. This report has been referred, as required by law, to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and attention is invited to its report herewith, dated September 23, 1919, concurring in the unfavorable views of the district and division engineers.

4. After due consideration of the above-mentioned reports I concur in the views of the district engineer, the division engineer, and the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and therefore report that the improvement by the United States of San Antonio River, Tex., in the interests of navigation is not deemed advisable at the present time.

W. M. BLACK, Major General.

REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS.

[Third indorsement. )

THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,

September 23, 1919. To the CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

UNITED STATES ARMY: 1. The following is in review of the district engineer's report authorized by the river and harbor act of July 27, 1916, on preliminary examination of San Antonio River, Tex.

2. This river has its source in a number of springs in the city of San Antonio, flows in a southeasterly direction and joins the Guadalupe River about 12 miles above where the latter empties into San Antonio Bay. The river is composed of a series of rapids and pools, the average fall being 3.5 feet per mile and the depth 1 to 10 feet in the pools and a few inches on the shoals. The normal discharge is given as 100 to 150 cubic feet per second. There is no navigation on the river and apparently there is no record of any having existed in the past. In view of the many costly difficulties that would have to be overcome to secure navigation and of the small demand or necessity for it the district engineer is of opinion, concurred in by the division engineer, that San Antonio River is not worthy of improvement by the United States.

3. Interested parties were informed of the tenor of the district engineer's report and given an opportunity of submitting their views, but no communications on the subject have been received.

4. The normal discharge of this river is so small and the fall so large that it could not be made navigable by other means than the use of locks and dams at a cost clearly out of reasonable proportion to the probable resulting benefits. The board, therefore, concurs with the district and division engineers in the opinion that it is not advisable for the United States to undertake the improvement of San Antonio River, Tex.

5. In compliance with law, the board reports that there are no questions of terminal facilities, water power, or other related subjects having any material bearing upon the improvement of navigation at this locality. For the board:

W. C. LANGFITT,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers,

Senior Member of the Board.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF SAN ANTONIO RIVER, TEX.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,

Galveston, T'ex., June 30, 1919.
From: The District Engineer.
To: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army.

(Through the Division Engineer.) Subject: Preliminary examination of San Antonio River, Tex.

AUTHORITY.

1. This preliminary examination was made in compliance with the river and harbor act of July 27, 1916, and instructions to the district engineer from the Chief of Engineers, dated August 9, 1916. The act provides as follows: San Antonio River, Tex.

EXAMINATIONS,

2. An examination of the San Antonio River, Tex., was made as directed during October, 1917, and the following data were gathered and compiled:

3. No examination or surveys of the San Antonio River have been made during recent years by the War Department. It is noted that the sum of $1,500 was appropriated for the purpose of making a survey during 1852, but no further record of this survey can be found.

AVAILABLE RECORDS. 4. Discharge data of the San Antonio River and of San Pedro Creek at San Antonio since 1915 are available from the records of the United States Geological Survey. Records of the water taken from the stream for beneficial uses can be obtained from the records of the State Board of Water Engineers.

5. The War Department military maps from the headwaters of the stream to the mouth are available, as is also the United States Geological Survey map of the region contiguous to the city of San Antonio. None of these maps give sufficient elevations along the stream to construct profiles, even approximate.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF SAN ANTONIO RIVER.

6. The San Antonio River rises in a series of large springs in Breckenridge Park, in the city of San Antonio, at an elevation of about 635 feet above sea level. The watershed of the stream, which is somewhat indeterminate, extends about 15 miles above its source, but does not contribute any water except after heavy rains.

7. Masonry walls confine the young stream to its chanel during most of its tortuous course through the city of San Antonio; two small dams and a rock fill cause the current to be rather sluggish and the depth to be greater than normal. The average section here has a depth of about 3 feet and a width of from 30 to 50 feet.

8. From San Antonio the river follows a general southeasterly course for about 180 miles to its junction with the Guadalupe River at tidewater; this is about 12 miles above where the latter empties into San Antonio Bay, which is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by a narrow sand island.

9. The San Antonio River has no tributaries that contribute any considerable amount of normal discharge; the principal ones are the Medina River, and Leon, Salado, Cibolo, Ecleto, and Manahuilla Creeks. The Medina River formerly contributed some water at all times, but since the construction of a large dam near its headwaters its flow into the San Antonio is limited to occasional flood waters from the watershed below the dam and to waste and return water from irrigation. Salado Creek contributes similar intermittent discharge.

10. Other than from these two tributaries there are practically no contributions to low or normal flow of the river. All the other creeks run dry at times, often for long periods.

11. T'he extent of flood contributions is not known with any degree of exactitude, but is not believed to be very great.

12. Throughout the length of the river pools and rapids alternate. The pools vary greatly in size and are formed by bars or ledges at the lower ends; depths in these range from 1 to 10 feet, the shallower depths predominating. The width of the river varies, but is seldom over 40 feet at low water. The average fall between San Antonio and the mouth is 3.5 feet per mile, and with such a steep slope the normal discharge of possibly 100 to 150 cubic feet per second does not occupy a very large section.

13. There are no irrigation, or power, or other developments of the San Antonio River below the city of San Antonio.

14. Drift has not collected in appreciable amounts except near the mouth, where small quantities show a tendency to form a raft.

NAVIGATION.

15. No knowledge could be obtained of commercial navigation ever having existed in the San Antonio River. At present only small craft, such as skiffs and small motor boats, are in use at favorable localities

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16. The discharge of the stream, while constant, is of too small a volume to fill a channel of sufficient size to permit of navigation under present conditions. Riffles, gravel, sand bars, obstructions, and channel constrictions are frequent, and there is no constant depth or width in the channel. At the riffles over bars and ledges at the lower end of the pools the water often spreads in a shallow sheet, flowing thus for long distances.

17. The highway bridges over the river are, as a rule, well-built structures of steel, with ample channel spans and overhead clearances of about 40 feet above low water.

18. The country traversed by the San Antonio River is well provided with railway facilities. The San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway parallels the stream from San Antonio to near Goliad, while the Southern Pacific and St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railways cross the river about 20 miles apart below there.

19. No statistics of freight tonnage are available. The class of freight handled is principally cattle, feed, cotton, and other agricultural products, with some few manufactures near San Antonio consisting of clay products.

20. From Šan Antonio to Goliad about 40 per cent of the country is in cultivation, and from there to the mouth of the stream nearly all of the land is used for grazing, the bulk being included in five or six large ranches. 21. There are no terminal facilities of any kind on the river.

LOCAL COOPERATION, ETC. 22. There is at present no local organization for furthering the improvement of the San Antonio River. The Manufacturers' Club, of San Antonio, would like to lower freight rates to that city and have taken some steps toward securing this preliminary investigation, but no great public interest appears to be taken in the matter. The possibility of rendering the river navigable at a reasonable cost is so slight that it is not believed that any development of power, irrigation, or other interests could lessen the cost sufficiently to make the improvement desirable.

RECOMMENDATION.

23. In view of the many and costly difficulties that would have to be overcome to secure navigation and of the little demand or necessity for it, it is recommended that the San Antonio River be not considered worthy of improvement by the United States.

SPENCER COSBY. Colonel, Corps of Engineers.

(First indorsement.)

OFFICE DIVISION ENGINEER, GULF Division,

New Orleans, La., September 12, 1919. To the CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY:

1. Forwarded.

2. The San Antonio River was inspected by the division engineer September 3 and 4, 1919, at Goliad, Falls City, Floresville, and San Antonio.

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