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June 05th, 2020

playa lakePlaya lakes are round hollows in the ground in the Southern High Plains of the United States. They are ephemeral, meaning they are only present at certain times of the year. The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams is hosting its Playa Lake Tour and Workshop next Tuesday and Wednesday in Southwest Kansas. Courtesy photoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


Landowners and land managers will have an opportunity to tour area playa lakes next week as part of an event hosted by the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) in Garden City.

Scheduled for Jan. 14 and 15, the Playa Lake Tour and Workshop is designed for landowners and land managers who have playas on their land. 

A press release from KAWS said, though, the event is also open to individuals who are interested in learning more about this unique natural resource.

“Participants will learn about playas, the benefits they provide including groundwater recharge and wildlife habitat and the conservation programs available for restoring and conserving playas,” the release said.

The two-day event will begin with a tour of several playas in Haskell, Seward and Meade counties on Tuesday.

“Attendees will see what playa lakes may look like before, during and after being accepted into a conservation program and using different management strategies to restore the health of a playa,” the release said. “There will be opportunities to discuss the pros and cons of each conversation program.”

For the Tuesday field tour, shuttle bus vans will be leaving the Garden City Finnup Conservation Center parking lot at 9 a.m., returning before 5 p.m.

During Wednesday’s workshop, participants will learn about the benefits plays provide, including groundwater recharge, improved water quality, wildlife habitat and recreational uses, and available playa conservation programs that provide financial and technical assistance to landowners.

“The opportunities for attendees to ask questions of technical staff and get expert advice about playa lakes and playa restoration programs,” the release said.

The morning session for the workshop will feature several playa lake experts who will explain the value of playa lakes to groundwater recharge, water quality, drinking water supplies, recreation and other uses.

The afternoon session will feature speakers with broad expertise in available playa conservation programs, who will explain each program and will be on to facilitate program sign ups.

Complementary Playa Lake Technical/Program Delivery workbooks will be available for all participants.

The Playa Lake Tour and Workshop is free for landowners and land managers with playa on their land and includes lunch both days and tour transportation.

For others who like to attend, there is a $50 fee which covers lunch and transportation. Registration is required.

To learn more, visit the KAWS website or contact event coordinators Joe Kramer, Ducks Unlimited Special Projects Manager, at 620-388-5878, and Abe Lollar, Ducks Unlimited Biologist, at 620-214-2693.

The workshop builds on prior successes in promoting playa lake conservation in Western Kansas and will provide information about the value of playas and conservation programs available to playa landowners.

Kansas Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Ducks Unlimited, Kansas Division of Conservation other agencies have exceeded their conservation acreage allocations in the three that this tour/workshop has been held.

Full-time playa lake biologists, wetland specialists, conservation program specialists and playa lake habitat specialists have been hired to facilitate landowner goals for their conserved playa lakes.

The release said conservation of playa lakes is very much in the forefront of Western Kansas conservation efforts, and this tour/workshop will build on that momentum to provide up-to-date information to landowners and others.

“With partners’ hard work, we have broken all the previous records for new Kansas playa lake conservation acres in Western Kansas in 2017,2018 and 2019 combined,” Kramer said. “We all want to accomplish more playa lake conservation work everyone’s help in the future.”

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