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Tuesday, February 7 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. Mapping Wetland Inundation Conditions in Spring Migratory Season for Playa Wetlands in Nebraska

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AUTHORS: Zhenghong Tang, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Community and Regional Planning Program,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Inundation is a critical parameter of wetland hydrologic performance. Playa wetlands in Nebraska provide globally important habitats for migratory waterfowl. Inundation condition is an important indictor to measure playa wetland functionality. By using Landsat images and Google Earth Engine, we mapped the spring inundation condition of Nebraska playas during 1985-2015. The results show that a significant portion of the playa wetlands were not functioning with either ponding water or supporting hydric vegetation during the peak of the waterfowl spring migration season during past 30 years. The findings confirmed that the hydrological conditions of the majority of playas in Nebraska have changed due to the historical human activities since 1850s. The inundated wetlands displayed some level of function and are candidates for protection and/or partial restoration, and the un-inundated wetlands are candidates for full restoration. The study also found that wetlands in areas enrolled in conservation easements had a significantly high level of playa inundation status than non-conserved wetlands during spring migratory seasons in the past decades.  The findings confirm that watershed-level hydrologic restoration and within wetland restoration is crucial to recover the inundation conditions of playa wetlands.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 8:40am - 9:00am
Yankee Hill I/II

Attendees (3)