Available free, video shows value of playa wetlands, how they may be conserved

Most people have never heard of, or seen, a playa wetland, but they are the most abundant and ecologically important wetlands in the southern High Plains. They recharge aquifers and help sustain wildlife and croplands. Despite these benefits, playas remain threatened and are rapidly disappearing from the landscape.

In an effort to raise awareness and conservation of these important wetlands, the Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) --- a partnership of conservation groups, landowners, and natural resource agencies -- has produced a new video about the wetlands, The Playas: Reflections of Life on the Plains, now available on DVD or VHS.

“Anyone who lives in the playa lakes region -- farmers, ranchers, hunters, school teachers, community leaders, policy-makers --- should see this video,” says Mike Carter, PLJV coordinator. “We all have a stake in securing our future on the plains. Seeing this video will help people understand the many benefits playas provide and give people the tools and resources they need to take action to conserve them.”

The 28-minute video illustrates the values of playas to wildlife, water, and people; threats to the wetlands; and how people are working to conserve them. The video features sweeping aerial footage of playas, as well as interviews with playa specialists, biologists, landowners, and community leaders throughout the six-state playa region.

Playas are shallow, seasonal wetlands. They are the primary source of recharge for the Ogallala Aquifer and support millions of birds and other wildlife. There are more than 60,000 playas in the shortgrass prairie regions of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, making them the most abundant wetland type in the region.

Major sponsors of the video include the Lannan Foundation, ConocoPhillips, The Nature Conservancy, Playa Lakes Joint Venture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, and Ducks Unlimited.

The video is available in either DVD or VHS format. To request a copy, visit the Playa Lakes Joint Venture website .