Instructions & FAQs

In each of the following images you’ll see a playa outlined in blue. Your job is to identify any modifications such as farming, pits, or ditches that occur within this blue outline. If a modification such as a ditch occurs partially inside and partially outside the blue outline, that counts too. For examples, look at the images and descriptions below.


Example 1:
While this playa is not completely farmed, it looks like it is partially farmed within the blue outline. This one should count as farmed.

Example 2: While this playa hasn’t been farmed within the blue outline, there is evidence of a pit within the basin.

Example 3: This playa is most likely not farmed, and there is no evidence of any other modification. Faint parallel lines in the surrounding field indicate that it may have been farmed at some point in the past but the rough texture of the landcover within and surrounding the playa suggest some type of grassland.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How will these data be used?

Data resulting from this study will be publicly available as an element of PLJV’s Probable Playas dataset. They will be used to create better estimates of habitat available for wildlife, including waterfowl, across the playa lakes region. This information will help wildlife biologists and land managers design better voluntary conservation programs that work for both landowners and wildlife.

Q. What if I see something besides pits, ditches, or farming?

Select “other” from the list of possible modifications. So far we’ve seen barns, feedlots, and even a baseball field in a playa!

Q. What if the blue outline doesn’t match what’s in the satellite image?

The blue outlines come from the Probable Playas data layer, a publicly available dataset depicting probable locations of playas, but most of these playas have not been ground verified, so sometimes the outline doesn’t exactly match the satellite image. Answer the questions based on what you see within the blue line. If it seems really wrong, choose “Can’t tell.”

Q. What about roads, don’t those count as modifications?

Roads can be identified using other publicly available data sets, so you don’t need to mark “other” if you see a road through a playa. But if you do select “other,” don’t worry; it won’t cause any problems.

Q. What if I think I see more than one playa in the image?

Just focus on the one circled in blue; there will be only one of those per picture. If there is another playa, it will be assessed in a different image.

Q. Where do those blue outlines come from?

These outlines come from the Probable Playas data layer, a publicly available dataset depicting probable locations of playas. Most of these have not been ground verified and are based on a combination of Landsat imagery, National Wetlands Inventory data, Soil Survey Geographic Database, National Hydrography data, and National Agricultural Imagery Program data.

Begin Playa Modifications Assessment

Now that you’ve completed the training, you are ready to start the Playa Modifications Assessment. Click on the link below and enter “playasrecharge” when asked for the password.