Playas with Ditches/Drains

Background

Ditches and drains are often found in playas throughout the western Great Plains as a means of draining water into another nearby drainage, or into a pit within the playa. Like the other changes described here, the main effects of drains are to interfere with the natural hydrology of playas (e.g., reduce ability to recharge the Aquifer) and to allow additional sediments to accumulate in playas. Fortunately for landowners interested in restoring drained playas, there are cost-sharing opportunities available.

Identification

Ditches and drains can often be seen connecting to pits within playa basins. If there is a linear feature within a playa that isn’t a road, chances are it’s a ditch. In some regions ditches lead from a playa basin out into another drainage (though this occurs less often than draining into a pit). The photos below show typical examples of what ditches in playas look like from satellite imagery.

DitchTextbook1

DitchTextbook2

DitchTextbook3

View more examples of playas with ditches…

 

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