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Tuesday, February 7 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Ask the Experts: What We Can and Cannot Say About Playas and Recharge

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AUTHORS: Anne M. Bartuszevige, Miruh Hamend - Playa Lakes Joint Venture

ABSTRACT: Playas are a primary source of recharge to the High Plains (Ogallala) Aquifer. Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) has been communicating this message to landowners and conservation partners for over a decade as a reason to conserve playas. Recent results from a focus group study revealed that the message is being understood by landowners, but they are skeptical that the amount of water recharged through playas is enough to help save the aquifer. Landowners wanted to hear numbers and to hear the information from trusted resources. PLJV assembled scientists that studied playas and playa hydrology at a summit in Lubbock, Texas in November 2015. The purpose of the summit was to answer concerns expressed by landowners and to develop communications messages vetted by this group of scientists. The scientists agreed that the amount of recharge through playas is not enough to offset the amount of water being extracted for irrigation. However, recharge through playas can support rainfed production systems and can help support small municipalities. In addition, water entering the aquifer through playas is cleaner than water recharging through other areas and thus, provide clean water for household use. The results from the playa summit have been integrated into PLJV’s communications messages and are helping to guide the development of playa conservation programs.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm CST
Yankee Hill I/II