Learn About Playas at Field Day

You are invited to attend a Playa Field Day presented by Ogallala Commons on Tuesday, November 16th from 9:30am-3:00pm at the Silverton Public Library Meeting Room in Silverton, Texas. Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases, the room will be set up for social distancing and masks are encouraged.

Along with information about playa ecosystems and playa restoration options, the program will focus on how healthy, functioning playas can recharge the aquifer and help to sustain municipal water supplies for rural communities such as Silverton. In the afternoon, there will also be a field tour to visit a couple of playas.

Doors will open at the Silverton Public Library Meeting Room (405 Broadway—east side of the County Courthouse) at 9am for registration and refreshments. Presentations will include:

  • an overview of playa ecosystems and the Texas Playa Conservation Initiative by Dr. Rachel Fern, Statewide Wetland Program Leader, and Heather Johnson, a Migratory Game Bird Specialist at Texas Parks & Wildlife Department;
  • the multiple benefits of playa conservation for landowners by Dr. Chris Grotegut, farmer-stockman from Hereford, and David Bateman, owner of Playa Lake Farm & Ranch and Chairman and co-CEO of SitePro, Inc. in Lubbock; and
  • examples of municipalities in New Mexico and Kansas that are employing playa restoration as a strategy for ensuring adequate groundwater supplies for the future of their communities by Mike Carter, Coordinator for Playa Lakes Joint Venture.

After a catered lunch, the group will depart at 12:45pm for a driving tour to visit some playas in the vicinity of Silverton, then return for a panel discussion on “Next Steps” moderated by Jim Steiert, outdoor writer and playa enthusiast from Hereford.  The event will adjourn at 3pm.

Playas are shallow, rain-fed wetlands throughout the Great Plains. When containing surface water, playas provide crucial habitat for many wildlife that depend on water to survive. When dry, playas also support several other Great Plains wildlife species because they are often the only natural lands in a region dominated by agricultural production. Playas also recharge water to the underlying aquifer, filter nutrients and chemicals from the surrounding watershed, and add recreational value to the region.

Registration for the event is $15 per person (which includes the cost of lunch, drinks, and snacks). To register, please email or call to Darryl Birkenfeld, Ogallala Commons Director (darryl@ogallalacommons.org or 806-945-2255).

The workshop is sponsored by Ogallala Commons and its partners: High Plains Water District and the Dixon Water Foundation.  To protect against Covid-19 cases, the room will be set up for social distancing and masks are encouraged.