Report Abstract

HYDROLOGIC AND ECOLOGIC INFLUENCE OF PLAYA BASINS IN THE SOUTHERN HIGH PLAINS, TEXAS AND NEW MEXICO

By Laura M. Bexfield

The only semipermanent surface water available on the Southern High Plains plateau of Texas and New Mexico is contained in saline lakes and in the playa lakes that form in shallow depressions, called playa basins, following heavy rainfall. The playas generally are accepted as the main source of recharge to the underlying High Plains (Ogallala) aquifer of the region, and they constitute the major wildlife habitat on the Southern High Plains. Their use as water sources, holding ponds, and waste-disposal sites by agricultural and industrial operations may potentially lead to ground-water contamination and habitat degradation. Therefore, playa lakes will play an essential role in the collection of surface-water quality and ecological data for the Southern High Plains study unit of the National Water-Quality Assessment program of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Abstract from Open-File Report 94-702



 
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