playa rehabilitation

Dale Daniel

A functioning playa provides water to recharge the aquifer. There's also a whole community of wetland plants and invertebrates that need the very shallow water found in a healthy playa. These plants and invertebrates provide food for migrating birds. But when a playa has a pit, it is like "pulling the drain in a bathtub" and it no longer holds water very well. Rehabilitating playas by filling pits restores natural function to those wetlands.

USDA / NRCS

Mark Hilliard of Hale County, Texas, says, "This is cotton country. It's rare to find a pristine playa lake." He bought the native grassland on which the playa sits from family members, then protected the playa and a grassland buffer with a permanent Wetlands Reserve Easement.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Mark Hilliard of Hale County, Texas, says, "This is cotton country. It's rare to find a pristine playa lake."

Landowner Restores Playa in New Mexico

Mar 18, 2013
Darryl Birkenfeld / Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Eastern New Mexico rancher John Wood has playa-rehab success story.  John owns a 2,800-acre cow-calf operation about 40 miles north of Clovis. The land has a a 250-acre playa that was rehabbed with the help of The Nature Conservancy. Wood says he's now witnessing larger numbers of migrating birds, and thinks other wildlife have returned. This story originally aired on HPPR 12/25/12 as part of Playa Country's series on Playas. It repeated 3/19/13 as part two of the Landowner series.

Providing Biodiversity in the Plains

Dec 31, 2012
Texas Cooperative Extension

Scientists are increasing their understanding of how playas contribute to the landscape. They’ve learned these temporary lakes are a major source of aquifer recharge, but there's another aspect - the abundant bio-diversity playas create.