City managers, public works directors, county judges, regional water planners, regional flood planners, groundwater conservation districts, educators and students at universities and community colleges, farmers, ranchers, agency personnel, and the interested public are invited to attend a Stewarding Our Aquifer Field Day presented by Ogallala Commons (www.ogallalacommons.org) and cosponsored by Panhandle Regional Planning Commission (PRPC), the City of Amarillo, and North Plains Groundwater Conservation District. Along with information about playa ecosystems and playa restoration options, the program will focus on how healthy, functioning playas can recharge the aquifer and help to sustain municipal water supplies for rural communities across the High Plains.
Doors will open at 9am for registration and refreshments. The opening presentations at 9:30am will include an overview of collaborations to respond to water challenges, followed by an introduction to the Ogallala Aquifer in the Texas Panhandle by Steve Walthour, General Manager of the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, Dumas, TX. At 10:25am, there will be an overview of playa ecosystems and the Texas Playa Conservation Initiative by Heather Johnson, Migratory Game Bird Specialist: Region I, of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Closing out the morning session, Mike Carter, Executive Director, Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Lafayette, CO, will present examples of New Mexico and Kansas municipalities employing playa restoration as a strategy for ensuring adequate groundwater supplies for the future of their communities. After a catered lunch at 11:40am, there will be an open discussion on “Next Steps” moderated by Jim Steiert, outdoor writer and playa enthusiast from Hereford, TX. At 1:00pm, participants can take a field tour to an urban playa located southwest of Randall High School. The event will adjourn at 2pm.