The eight-mile stretch of the San Antonio River that connects five historic Spanish missions had been ditched and de-nuded of vegetation for flood control. Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, our challenge was to restore a 334-acre riparian woodland without compromising the stability of the banks or increasing possible flood damage. Our research on compost and erosion mats in riparian zones and our experience in Hill Country land management helped us select and plant 39 tree and shrub species and a number of native grasses. Not only do the plants stabilize the banks, they improve the opportunities for hiking, cycling and kayaking. More important, they filter pollutants that might reach the river and create shelter and food for wildlife.