What are playa wetlands?

Playas are shallow, rain-fed wetlands throughout the Great Plains. When wet, playas provide crucial habitat for many wildlife species that depend on water to survive. When dry, playas also support several other Great Plains wildlife species because they are often the only natural lands in a region dominated by agricultural production. Playas also recharge water to the underlying High Plains aquifer, filter nutrients and chemicals from the surrounding watershed, and add recreational value to the region. While several conservation incentive programs are offered for landowners, playas are continually being degraded and converted to other land uses.

 

Playas in a Changing Climate

This winter and spring, I'm going to be traveling throughout the Great Plains talking about playas and their role in a changing climate. Playas may help to mitigate drought, extreme flooding, and aquifer recharge in a changing climate, but we also expect to see less inundated playas on the landscape as rainfall decreases throughout the region. Find out more about playas and a changing climate and my traveling plans by reading my blog post titled "Playa wetlands in a changing climate: Taking science to stakeholders in the Great Plains".  


Playa Survey

As part of my project to raise awareness of playas and climate change, we are collecting survey responses to better understand perceptions of threats to agriculture and wetlands in the Great Plains. Interested in taking the survey? Click on the link here

 Sunrise in the Texas panhandle. 

Sunrise in the Texas panhandle. 


 Poster with information on my project. 

Poster with information on my project. 

Kansas Governor's Water Conference: Manhattan, KS

Last November, I attended the annual water conference hosted by the Kansas Water Office. I had the opportunity to attend great presentations and panel discussions about the future of water in Kansas, and I was able to get a glimpse of how playa wetlands fit into the big picture moving forward. Find out more about my experiences at my blog post titled "Kansas Governor's Water Conference 2017". 


Wetlands without Borders: Clovis, NM

In December 2017, I had the opportunity to travel to Clovis, NM and participate in a Wetlands without Borders workshop on playa wetlands on the Southern High Plains. I was able to talk with scientists and landowners about playa conservation and water issues in the region. Visit my blog post about the trip to New Mexico titled "New Mexico Wetlands without Borders Playa Workshop" to learn more about the key takeaways from this trip (coming soon)! 

 Restored playa near Clovis, NM.

Restored playa near Clovis, NM.


 Cultivated playa in western KS - soon to be restored and taken out of agricultural production. 

Cultivated playa in western KS - soon to be restored and taken out of agricultural production. 

Kansas Alliance for Wetlands & Streams: Colby, KS

In January 2018, I attended a playa field day in western KS hosted by the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands & Streams. What an amazing event! We heard from several landowners who are interested in restoring playa wetlands on their property, both to increase profit and conserve the landscape for future generations. Read more about this field day, including some of my conversations with landowners at my blog post "Playa Field Day in Western Kansas" (coming soon!).