Speaker Bio

Melissa McDonald is the City of Santa Fe’s River and Watershed Coordinator, a licensed landscape architect in New Mexico, and a Master Gardener. Having managed numerous green-infrastructure installations throughout the urban watershed, she recently spearheaded the production of the City of Santa Fe’s Stormwater Management Strategic Plan and directed a technical assistance program with the EPA to create a Low-Impact Development Guidebook for Santa Fe. McDonald is a designer, project manager, educator, and experienced facilitator who believes positive, community-focused solutions are more easily achieved when stakeholders see their lives and landscapes as interwoven within a regenerative watershed.

Planning Holistic Watershed Management: Design, Building, Planting and Maintenance

In keeping with this year’s whole-brain theme, Melissa McDonald will describe how stormwater management often spans both neurological hemispheres. Recently, McDonald spearheaded the production of two significant, locally focused documents, a Stormwater Strategic Management Plan and a Low-Impact Development Guidebook. Although there is much overlap, essentially, the plan provides a science-based, left-brain approach to stormwater management within the confines of a city bureaucracy, while the guidebook provides an in-the-field, right-brain approach that starts with the intuitive proposition that stormwater infiltration can be achieved with creative solutions. McDonald will also highlight a few recently completed projects and discuss their trials and triumphs, particularly within the context of the 500-1,000-year storm event that Santa Fe recently faced.


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