A top official at a New Orleans flood control district will be the next general manager of the San Antonio River Authority (SARA).

Derek Boese, an Army veteran with a multifaceted resume of flood protection roles in Louisiana, will begin leadership of the river authority on May 3, SARA officials announced in a news release Wednesday.

“While Derek may not be a native Texan, his experience serving our military and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as keeping the city of New Orleans safe from flooding, will all parlay into great things for this entire region and the state of Texas,” SARA Chair Darrell T. Brownlow said in a prepared statement.

SARA covers Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties, with a $374 million budget and duties that include managing dams, maintaining parks and trails, operating sewage treatment plants, and educating the public about sustainable development.

Boese replaces Suzanne Scott, who ran SARA for 13 years. Steve Graham, SARA’s assistant general manager, has led the authority in an interim role since Scott’s departure Oct. 30.

While serving as an Army officer, Boese led a unit of combat engineers in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Boese worked for an engineering contractor on coastal recovery projects for federal, state, and local authorities.

Boese also served as the first chief of staff in the Army Corps of Engineers’ Hurricane Protection Office, which managed a $7.6 billion overhaul of barriers, flood gates, and pumping stations meant to protect New Orleans and its surrounding parishes from 100-year floods.

Later, Boese served in the top role at East Jefferson Levee District and as chief administrative officer for Flood Protection Authority East. Both are local government entities with roles managing levee systems along the Mississippi River.

SARA also maintains a network of 43 dams along San Antonio river tributaries in Bexar and Karnes counties that hold back floods during severe storms. The authority also assists with flood plain mapping to better show which areas are most at risk of inundation.

“My experience in flood risk reduction, ecosystem restoration, and recreation management fits well into the River Authority’s mission being committed to safe, clean, and enjoyable creeks and rivers,” Boese said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “I’m ready to get to work.”

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is the San Antonio Report's environment and energy reporter.