Several decades ago, the Santa Fe River was more like a dry arroyo than a river, more a place where La Llorona roamed, crying in search of her dead children. As arroyo-haunting goes, the Santa Fe River was fair game.
At the heart of my desert community, the river was not lost, just forgotten. Love, outrage and compassion of visionary citizens restored the Santa Fe River from dust to a small but important corridor of life.
Tireless volunteers planted cottonwoods and willows along its banks; in response, birds, wildlife and people returned. In 2013, the city passed a living river ordinance to ensure flows can persist even in the flow-challenged reaches through town.
While additional work is needed to realize this vision of a living Santa Fe River, a new, much more insidious threat looms over my hometown waterways.