Central Plains Center for Bioassessment

Playa Mapping and Assessment

"Satellite View of Kansas" is a mosaic of 16 Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images acquired during late summers of 1988 through 1993.
Date October 2013 - December 2014
Contact Debbie Baker
Kansas Water Office
Location Western Kansas


Playas are shallow ephemeral lakes or wetlands that often occur where the topography is flat, climate is semi-arid, and evaporation rates are high, all of which contribute to the playa hydro period. Much of western Kansas meets this description and is home to numerous playas. Western Kansas is also intensively cultivated, and consequently playas within this region are embedded in a highly altered landscape, resulting in ecological and hydrological impairment of many playas. Healthy playas are biological “hot spots” within the Plains region that support a high diversity of plants, birds, mammals and invertebrates upon which many vertebrate species feed.  The CPCB will assist the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing (KARS) unit in identifying playas in western Kansas. Using remote sensing and data layers from the Playa Lakes Joint Venture, KARS will identify playas.  CPCB will then field verify the playas with visits to measure water chemistry and identify macroinvertebrates and vegetation.


Jude Kastens

Donald Huggins