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NEW MAPS SHOW PLAYA WETLAND LOCATIONS IN SIX STATES

Locate playa lakes by county

Wondering how many playas are in your backyard? New maps from the Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) pinpoint locations of more than 60,000 playa wetlands in 155 counties across six states in High Plains. All 155 maps are available for download from the PLJV website.

Multiple sources of geographic data went into making the maps, including the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI), Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database, and satellite imagery. The data were analyzed for each state where playas are found -- Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas -- to create the most accurate playa location maps possible using remote sources. In some cases, field studies on playas contributed to the mapping process.

Playas are relatively small, indistinct features compared to their surroundings and are easy to overlook amid the flat prairie landscape or in a cornfield. Only from above can one truly appreciate the abundance and proximity of the wetlands.

Playas are seasonal wetlands found throughout the Southern High Plains. They support more than 200 species of birds and other wildlife. Playas are also the primary source of recharge for the Oglallah Aquifer, a 174,000-square-mile groundwater formation that supplies nearly 100 percent of the High Plains water needs. Due to sedimentation and other impacts, playas are threatened wetlands, with more than 70 percent having been altered from their natural state.
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