At a Glance

A water master plan reduces water demands and upgrades outdated wastewater infrastructure to protect the historic site and cienega springs and marshes as well as provide recycled water for site landscaping.

Project Description

El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is a premier living history museum that was added to the National Registry of Historical Places in 1980. The 200-acre site has a cienega (spring and associated marsh), which is unique the high desert arid landscape. The wetlands and Cienega Creek that runs through the site make the Museum an oasis in the summer. Las Golondrinas developed a master plan, led by Surroundings Studio and AOS Architects to support four goals: develop financial resources to advance the museum’s mission; strengthen programming and improve guest experiences; increase awareness of the museum; and improve the infrastructure and care of the museum.

Biohabitats evaluated appropriate onsite wastewater collection, treatment, reuse options, and disposal facilities to protect the surface and groundwater quality, and the cienega. Biohabitats’ strategy included treating and reusing up to 5,000 gpd of wastewater effluent for irrigating some or all of the parking lot areas—shade trees, mixed plantings and ground cover. This approach reduces the overall water consumption at Las Golondrinas and provides a higher-quality effluent to better protect the groundwater quality compared to a conventional septic system. The Las Golondrinas Facilities Master Plan won a 2021 New Mexico American Society of Landscape Architects award.

Biohabitats is currently in the engineering and permitting phase for the proposed wastewater systems.



Southwest Basin & Range

Expertise Areas



El Rancho de las Golondrinas


Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

Project Team
  • AOS Architects
  • CW&H Graphics