We summarize current knowledge about grass buffers for protecting small, isolated wetlands in agricultural contexts, including information relevant to protecting playas from runoff containing sediments, nutrients, pesticides, and other contaminants, and information on how buffers may affect densities and productivity of grassland birds. Land-uses surrounding the approximately 60,000 playas within the Playa Lakes Region (PLR), including intensive agriculture, feedlots, and oil extraction, can contribute to severe degradation of playas. Farming and grazing can lead to significant sedimentation in nearby playas, eliminating their ability to hold water, support the region's biodiversity, or adequately recharge aquifers. Contaminants further degrade habitats and threaten the water quality of underlying aquifers, including the Ogallala Aquifer. Grass buffers hold promise as a management tool to reduce the amount of sediments and contaminants from agricultural runoff that enters playas. More...
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Grass buffers for playas in agricultural landscapes: a literature synthesis