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Responsible Landscape Management

Adaptive Terrain Systems provides comprehensive analysis, consultation, design and on-site construction observation for arid lands in the southwest.  We specialize in erosion control, stormwater management, land rehabilitation and low impact design.  Over the past 26 years we have built a unique, field tested design approach that adapts the built environment to the natural forces of the desert landscape.  We offer our clients an unparalleled knowledge of the southwest’s terrain and threats. Our methodological expertise is to employ organics to build soil and protect your site. We have the experience and expertise to help with any size project; whether you own a townhouse that is flooding or you are a developer needing assistance with a new site we have the tools you need to move forward with peace of mind.

Erosion threatening homes in Sandoval County
Slope Erosion

The Scope of the Problem

The high desert is one of extreme climates. In one day, it can experience 50 mph wind gusts followed by a summer thunderstorm that can drop a ¼ of its yearly average rainfall in an afternoon. Even in undisturbed areas, these elements have a huge impact on the environment which can result in soil loss. Soil erosion is visible almost anywhere in the state but is usually highest in construction areas. The biggest factor is soil disturbance and the loss of native vegetation. The use of heavy machinery during construction activities often leaves tracks that may concentrate water flow and create accelerated erosion of the already disturbed soils. It is inevitable that a portion of the ground be disturbed in developing areas, but it can be stabilized and reclaimed. By stabilizing the ground, native or other perennial vegetation can become established, which creates a vegetative canopy that intercepts and slows water before it hits the ground and reduces wind speed along the surface of the soil. The root systems of plants create an underground matrix, helping to stabilize soils and prevent erosion. Without native vegetation, soil loss rates increase 200 times or more. When soils are disturbed, it takes many years for vegetation to re-establish itself. After the first rains, invasive pioneer species such as Russian thistle start growing. The native vegetation cannot compete with the fast growing invaders.

Why Is Erosion Bad?

Soil erosion results in sediment in waterways, air pollution, expensive reclamation of eroded areas, loss of native vegetation and destruction of infrastructure such as bridges and roads. Soil also carries pollutants with it. Uncontrolled surface water movement is destructive; yet that same water stored safely in the soil is productive. Extreme storm water runoff will destroy buildings down-slope and deposit large amounts of soil on roads. Such erosion costs the home construction industry, local government, and homeowners millions of dollars a year.

How Do We Stop Erosion?

Soilutions has trained erosion control specialists. Owner Jim Brooks is an erosion control expert and member of the International Erosion Control Association who, specializes in Stormwater Management for Urban Environments. He has received numerous soil and water conservation awards. How he can help depends on your stage of construction. If you are in the planning stages of building we suggest you have us come out and design an erosion control plan. The best time to address erosion is before it happens. We consider site specifics when deciding appropriate erosion control techniques. Countless land owners rely on contractors untrained in hydro-dynamics to implement erosion control plans that inevitably fail. In the end they spend twice as much. So why not do it right from the beginning?

If you have erosion problems at an existing site, we can help, too. We have a long list of earthwork techniques that we use to control surface water and prevent soil erosion.

What We Offer

No two problems can be resolved with a single solution. New Mexico’s unique landscape often requires many applied techniques to make the land safe and comfortable for our clients.  We will consult with you on site, evaluate the current and potential issues that may effect your land, and determine the best course of action to prevent expensive long term damage while maintaining the integrity and beauty of the natural environment.