Discover Magazine Features the Importance of Playas Photo by Miruh Hamend

Discover Magazine Features the Importance of Playas

Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness of playas and their role in recharging the Ogallala Aquifer, including published articles. The May 2021 issue of Discover Magazine included an article, These Wetlands Feed The Largest Aquifer In The U.S. What Happens If We Lose Them?, which highlights the importance of playas to groundwater recharge.

“Not only do playas contribute to recharge, they dominate recharge. During the early minutes of a rain inundation, water flows through cracks in the clay soil and into the zone just beneath the playa floor. These cracks, which form when the playa runs dry, can slice as deep as 3 feet. They facilitate water flow into the clay subsurface at rates up to 116 inches per hour.” Read the full article.

How Playas Work

How Playas Work

Healthy playas are a primary source of groundwater recharge — and provide important, year-round habitat for birds and other wildlife. Unlike many other wetlands, playas have an irregular wet-dry cycle, which is key to how they function. This video shows how playas recharge the Ogallala aquifer and provide critical wildlife habitat as they go through the cycle.