Monday, January 25, 2010

Get Smarter About Water

Ducks take off from the Taylor Lakes playa unit between Clarendon and Memphis. Courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife.

The thousands of playa lakes across the plains, including the Panhandle, are scattered wet treasures in need of a little TLC to stay their best, and several groups have gotten together some presentations for landowners on what we’re talking about.

Classes, including lunch, will be from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 3 in the Swisher Memorial Building at 127 S.W. Second St. in Tulia.

Playas are hangouts for all kinds of birds and provide what little recharge the Ogallala Aquifer gets. So it’s important to keep them healthy and happy.

“Since most playas are found on private land, landowner management is essential to maintaining and preserving playas as a linchpin in our precious water cycle,” said Darryl Birkenfeld, director of Ogallala Commons.

The workshop presentations will touch on depletion rates of the Ogallala, playa conservation programs, and techniques for playa grazing management. And best of all it’s free.

Dave Haukos, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service migratory bird specialist at Texas Tech University will begin with an overview. Kevin Mulligan, a Tech geographer, will talk about saturated thicknesses and depletion rates of the Ogallala. Manuel De Leon, wildlife biologist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, will cover federal incentive programs like the Wetlands Reserve Program and the Grasslands Conservation Program. He will also discuss grazing practices that enhance playa functioning and increase wildlife habitat, according to a news release.

To reserve a place at this workshop, or for more information, contact Jeff Lewter, NRCS District Conservation in Tulia at 806-995-4126, ext.3.

The workshop is sponsored by Ogallala Commons, with its partners: the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, and Playa Lakes Joint Venture.

graphic from Playa Lake Joint Ventures

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