July 2020 Sustainability Newsletter

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July 2020 Newsletter

The Other Three R's: Resiliency, Reliance, and Reward!


Greenway Project SFWSA

The Watershed Association: Thanking the Community River Heroes

As plans are underway to wrap up the $5M plus County's Santa Fe River Greenway Project, we would like to give a grateful shout out to the Santa Fe Watershed Association (SFWA) for their ongoing river stewardship.  As a non-profit, community-based organization, the Association has dedicated its mission to promoting the "health and vibrancy" of the Santa Fe River watershed since 1997 and provides on-going care for many of the large-scale restoration projects along the river.

SFWA volunteers dedicated 588 hours of restoration work and planted 20 additional trees in the stretch of the County's Greenway Project from Frenchy's Field to Siler. After a devastating flood event two years ago, the volunteers worked with County's Open Space and Trail's project manager, Scott Kaseman, to tend to over 100 cottonwoods, by re-staking them, freeing them of leaf litter and urban trash, and rebuilding watering wells. SFWA stewards, fondly referred to as the "Bucket Runners", continue to water the trees annually as needed. These attentive efforts allow visitors to enjoy the restored landscaped while ensuring that the trees stabilize and grow to create the habitat that our little river (and we) deserve!  

Contact the Association to become a river hero and find out more ways to help!

alternative fuel corridor sign

Alternative Fuel Corridors in New Mexico

The US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has identified multiple alternative fuel corridors in New Mexico—the first such designations for our state! The section of Interstate-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque is identified as compressed natural gas and electric vehicle (EV) "ready" with access to 6 fast EV charging stations in that stretch. The liquid propane gas corridor extends at I-25 from Las Vegas to Las Cruces. Use US DOT's interactive map to find the alternative fueling stations that will allow you to travel with ease in your alternatively-powered vehicle!

salad in a pot

Santa Fe Overall Water Use Increases

The City of Santa Fe Water Division states that spring overall water use in Santa Fe was up 9 percent, with a 23 percent increase in residential use, as reported by Leah Cantor in "What's Up with Water" (June 11, 2020, Santa Fe Reporter). This news is not surprising, given the drier spring and the COVID-19 stay-at-home activities; we are all hand-washing, cooking, flushing, and doing more dishes than usual. While not confirmed by the water use data, perhaps Santa Feans are following the national trend of victory gardening?  Across the US one response to the pandemic has been producing backyard food.  Growers give many reasons for the newfound hobby including having more time at home, managing stress, stretching the budget, reducing trips to the grocery store, and learning self-reliance skills. Practicing this new resiliency skill in light of lower soil moisture, less stream flow, and decreased snow pack—which are documented and projected impacts from global warming—requires that all of us employ best water-wise practices to ensure the long-term sustainability of our precious water resources.  

light painting

Ease-up on the Fireworks

In addition to triggering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in our veterans and sending many pets shivering to the darkest closet, fireworks may be bad for our health and for the ecosystem. Fireworks get their flamboyance from a variety of chemicals, many of which are toxic to humans. From the gunpowder that fuels their flight to the metallic compounds that color their explosions, fireworks often contain carcinogenic or hormone-disrupting ingredients that produce smoke and particulates that can infiltrate lungs, soil, and water. And what about the day-after display of paper and plastic trash scattered throughout the streets and parks? Might alternatives like a light show projector and light painting with glow sticks (eco-friendly brands) do the trick this year?

water reuse

What Can I Do? Capture and Reuse Indoor Water

Every summer many Santa Feans begin the practice of capturing sink and shower water and hauling it to plants in the garden. The gallons reused every day create more abundance in our backyard ecosystem. The grateful salvia plant blooms all summer and provides nectar to hummingbirds and ground-nesting bees. The watered sunflowers, volunteers from last year, gyrate with the sun's radiance and feed robins and towhees. The soak helps the sturdy grape vine bring nascent fruit to maturity. The seemingly small and readily doable act of capturing and carrying water shares the benefits of the resource at our tap with our outdoor community.

Adapting to Today's Circumstances:

Getting Involved!

2018 IECC Adoption

State-wide Energy Conservation Building Code Hearing

Public Hearing, Wednesday, July 29, 9 AM

Encourage the Construction Industries Commission to adopt the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code. Adoption of this code has the potential to reduce 435 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from building heating and cooling over the coming three decades, while saving an average residential home $325/year in utility costs.

Biking Habits

Santa Fe Bike Habits Survey

Share your voice, opinion, and experiences with the two-wheel mode of transportation you use in Santa Fe (or would use, if...!)  

bee on cactus flower

Support Your Local Pollinators

A free 6-part webinar series: Supporting Pollinators & Beneficial Insects in Backyards and on Farms. The first one about native New Mexico bees was a fascinating look into our rich pollinator world!

The Green Amendment

The Green Amendment

Tuesday, July 14, 6 PM

New Mexico Green Amendment Zoominar series; register here

public banking NM

Public Banking

Public banking may be a viable and just economic tool to help New Mexico recover from the pandemic's impact. Learn more from Retake Our Democracy.


City of Santa Fe Water Survey

Take this survey to let the City of Santa Fe know what your priorities are for the future of our water. For more information including a recording of the June 8, 2020 water planning information session, contact the city Water Division.

LEED Gold City Certification

Kudos to the City of Santa Fe 

Give a hand to the City of Santa Fe for achieving LEED Gold Certification! And for joining the County in its SolSmart Designation!



Support a group of young New Mexicans who are making climate action their #1 priority.

Sustainability Comments or Questions?

We are your local advisors on all things sustainability in Santa Fe County. Call us about anything from water conservation, cleaner transportation, solar and renewable energy, composting, recycling, etc. Or let us know what you would like to learn more about in our newsletter. 


Claudia Borchert, 505.992.3044 

Jacqueline Beam, 505.992.9832

Adeline Murthy, 505.992.9862