At a Glance

Arroyo erosion control and passive irrigation channels transform stormwater management infrastructure into a beautiful and useful amenity.

Project Description

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is an increasingly popular destination, attracting more than 30,000 visitors a year and providing educational opportunities for the local community and beyond. Accordingly, the garden is now building a considerable expansion to their facilities: a new set of garden features called Ojos y Manos.

Biohabitats was contracted to design the water management system for the new gardens. The site is situated in a severely eroded arroyo, so Biohabitats’ first task was to stabilize and restore several fingers of the existing gullies. The second set of designs developed a comprehensive stormwater system for the site and extended the potable water lines from nearby visitor space into the new construction. The Biohabitats design brings functioning and attractive stormwater channels through the garden spaces, allowing seepage that passively irrigates the site’s trees. In addition, Biohabitats helped design and install two raingardens to capture and retain precipitation onsite while enhancing the diversity of the garden’s plantings.

Based on the success of that design collaboration, Biohabitats was also asked to provide a preliminary analysis of the potential to develop onsite wastewater treatment there, to serve as a more environmentally sensitive approach than piping about 1,250 gallons of water per day offsite to the city’s sewer system.



Southwest Basin & Range

Physiographic Province

Rio Grande Rift


Rio Grande-Santa Fe

Expertise Areas

Infrastructure, Water


Santa Fe Botanical Garden


Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

Project Team
  • W. Gary Smith