The United States General Services Administration is undertaking a major expansion of the Columbus U.S. Land Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico. The project is pursuing LEED Gold and Sustainable SITES Gold Certifications. The landscape design strives to create an attractive, high performance desert landscape inspired by natural and cultural typologies found in the region, including the Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Chihuahuan Desert Scrub, desert washes, desert riparian landscapes, desert oases, shaded pedestrian walks, and water harvesting terraces.
The landscape and grading have been designed to employ passive water harvesting throughout the site, reducing the dependence on potable water for irrigation. Stormwater will be collected in small retention and detention basins where water will infiltrate into the ground through a series of perforated, sub-surface drain pipes. These larger diameter lines will also distribute stormwater to landscape areas across the site via a network of sub-surface solid pipes connected to narrow perforated infiltration lines. Water harvesting terraces within the core landscape area will slow down runoff and detain stormwater in shallow basins. Water harvesting sponges will also be used on the terraces to enhance infiltration, encourage nearby trees to send roots deeper and to build soils.