Evaluation of farmed playa wetlands as avian habitat using survey data and two rapid assessment techniques
Rivers, J.W.; Cable, T.T.
Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 106: 155-165
Playa wetlands contribute to the biological diversity of the southern Great Plains, yet many are modified by current farming practices. We surveyed 12 farmed playa wetlands from 1998-99 to (1) document seasonal avian use of these habitats and (2) assess the performance of two rapid assessment techniques, the Habitat Assessment Technique and the Wetland Evaluation Technique. Thirty-six bird species were observed on farmed playa wetlands, 42% of which are dependent on wetland habitats. In contrast, only 5 species were observed on upland reference sites in 1999, and none were dependent on wetlands. Collectively, both rapid assessment techniques rated farmed playa wetlands as poor habitats because of the physical characteristics of study sites. Based on field observations and published work, we conclude that farmed playa wetlands provide habitat for many avian species and the rapid assessment techniques examined are unsuitable for assessing playa wetlands as avian habitat in Kansas.