San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Announces Project to Address Deferred Maintenance on Historic Acequias

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Date: January 14, 2016
Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 210.534.8875 ext. 227

San Antonio –This week, the National Park Service (NPS) announced $15 million in support of 70 projects in 63 parks, including $29,120 at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, to conduct deferred maintenance on historic acequias, or irrigation ditches, at Mission San Juan. The funding for San Antonio Missions will be matched with $25,000 from the San Antonio Conservation Society, facilitated by Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, for farm education programming.

Funding for the project is provided through the National Park Service's Centennial Challenge Program to leverage partnerships to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and reinvigorate national parks while forging connections with communities. Congress provided $15 million for the Centennial Challenge projects, which will be matched by $34 million from more than 90 park partners. The 70 projects total more than $49 million and are located at 63 parks in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"As the National Park Service enters its centennial year in 2016, Congress and generous partners across the country are making exceptional investments to improve park facilities, enhance their accessibility, and help more visitors –especially young people –discover our nation's inspiring places and stories," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

"San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is pleased to be able to leverage partner and NPS funding to implement this project as we celebrate the Centennial of the National Park Service," said park superintendent Mardi Arce.  "The San Juan and Espada acequias were vital to the success of the missions and remain an
ssential tool to demonstrate historic irrigation and farming techniques to the next generation of park stewards. With support from the NPS Centennial Challenge Program, Los Compadres, and the San Antonio Conservation Society, park staff will enter our second century of service with the tools necessary to maintain the acequias and provide dozens of education programs for hundreds students this year."

The 13 mile long San Juan and Espada acequias are irrigation ditches constructed by the 18th century Native American inhabitants of the missions. These irrigation systems provided much needed water for agricultural and other endeavors. The San Juan acequia is a critical aspect of the Spanish Colonial demonstration farm at Mission San Juan. The NPS funding will be used to conduct 6.5 miles of acequia maintenance including removal of silt, organic debris, trash dumps, and vegetative growth from the channel, and berms and earthworks will be repaired. Irrigation gates will be inspected and repaired. Washouts and minor breeches will be identified and repaired to maintain structural integrity. These historic systems are essential educational tools for the NPS in demonstrating historic irrigation and farming techniques. Facilitated by Los Compadres, the San Antonio Conservation Society will provide matching funding for park rangers to conduct curriculum-based farm education programming at Mission San Juan.

About Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions
Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions fundraising efforts provide resources and services for projects that assist San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in preserving, restoring, and interpreting our heritage for this and future generations. For more information, visit www.loscompadres.org.

About the San Antonio Conservation Society
The San Antonio Conservation Society encourages the preservation of historic buildings, objects, places and customs relating to the history of Texas. For more information, visit www.saconservation.org.

About San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Much of San Antonio can trace its roots to the park's four missions, which are active Catholic parishes. Visitors from around the world come to experience Spanish Colonial mission life and learn how the Spanish transformed native cultures through language, religion, and a new way of life. The missions serve
as reminders of how native people adapted and succeeded in their new world, creating the culturally diverse San Antonio of today. Learn more
onlineand visit us on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram.

About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitterwww.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTubewww.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

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Last updated: January 14, 2016

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