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Santa Fe Opens New Rain Garden

Kevin Meerschaert
The Brother’s Lane Rain Garden is located on East Alameda next to the El Camino Retirement Community.

The city of Santa Fe cut the ribbon Monday on the latest Rain Garden designed to collect water collected off the street and clean it before reentering the ecosystem. 

The Brother’s Lane Rain Garden is located on East Alameda next to the El Camino Retirement Community. 
Rain that falls on the road will pour into a series of infiltration basins that will allow the water to slow and settle before reaching the Santa Fe River.
Conveying the rain through bio-engineered basins will significantly improve the water quality and help recharge low- lying aquifers.

Parks and Open Space Division Director Melissa McDonald says it’s an amazing project that uses an all natural process to clean the water.

“We clean it through mushrooms and various things and then we release it into the river,” she said. “Instead of it going from the dirty street into the river, it’s going through a nice set of basins that clean it. We’re just super excited and on top of that it’s a beautiful space.” 

The RainCatcher company designed and built the rain garden. Owner and Founder Reese Baker says he hopes it will become a model for other municipalities also looking for ways to clean it road runoff before it enters the ecosystem.
He says the biofiltration techniques including native grasses and fungal mycelium will break down the toxins before entering the Santa Fe River.

“How do we close these circles and allow humans to live and integrate back into our urban environments in a way that is based upon nature and in a way that makes the environment healthier for our children,” he said.        

The project was a collaboration of the City of Santa Fe’s Public Works Department, the Santa Fe Watershed Association, Watershed West, and The Raincatcher Inc. It was funded by a River Steward Grant from the New Mexico Environment Department and received the support of the Mayor and Governing Body.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.