Stormwater Harvesting Demonstration Project on the Arroyo Chamisos for the City of Santa Fe

For Earthworks Institute and the City of Santa Fe, Stream Dynamics designed 11 urban stormwater retrofits to demonstrate a variety of techniques geared toward modulating the flood pulse and cleaning pollutants out of the water before it enters the receiving arroyos. These sites are all on City lands and were chosen for cost effectiveness, distance from at-risk infrastructure, and easy access for public viewing. Custom designs for water harvesting earthworks were produced for each site, taking a balanced account of many variables. This report details four of the sites that best illustrate the variety of problems solved. All photos are by Van Clothier unless otherwise noted.

These projects were constructed by the Earthworks Institute youth crew, with oversight and training from the project designers. Two sites required excavation with a backhoe to create shallow basins and swales. These were finished with hand labor. The other sites were treated exclusively with hand labor, including planting with native vegetation, and watering to insure survival. Interpretive signage was installed to educate the public about the benefits of this water harvesting strategy. Earthworks Institute has solicited neighborhood “adopt an arroyo” volunteers to monitor and maintain these sites.

Project Location: 

Santa Fe, New Mexico 35° 38' 40.5384" N, 105° 58' 33.4416" W
New Mexico US