Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2022_NE_Hribljan

Nitrate loading and legacy effects on nitrogen and carbon cycling in playa wetlands of the High Plains

Institute: Nebraska
USGS Grant Number:
Year Established: 2022 Start Date: 2022-12-01 End Date: 2025-11-30
Total Federal Funds: $246,482 Total Non-Federal Funds: $246,482

Principal Investigators: John Hribljan

Abstract: Playa wetlands across the High Plains have experienced large losses with a substantial percentage of the remaining wetlands impacted from intense farming practices. Playas are particularly susceptible to agriculture runoff because of their landscape position and therefore can receive large loads of nitrates from farm fields. It is unknown what will be the short-term and long-term implications of nitrate loading on playa function. To address this knowledge gap, we propose a combination of field studies and laboratory experiments to gain insights into the effects of nitrate loading on playa nutrient cycling. Without a more complete understanding of the responses of playas to fertilization it is difficult to assess the extent that these systems are stressed and their long-term health throughout the High Plains region. This research will provide essential data to inform playa conservation, management, and restoration activities.