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Title: Delineating playas in the arid southwest : a literature review
Authors: Dugway Proving Ground (Utah)
White Sands Missile Range (N.M.)
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (U.S.)
Edwards Air Force Base (Calif.)
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Brostoff, William.
Lichvar, Robert
Sprecher, S. W.
Keywords: Delineation
Dry lake
“Waters of the United States”
Literature review
Publisher: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: ERDC TR ; 01-4.
Description: Technical Report
Abstract: Playas of the arid Southwest can be unambiguously identified in a geologic context. However, identifying those portions of playas that are defined as “Waters of the United States” (WoUS) in the Clean Water Act (CWA) and thus under the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers (Corps) and other Federal agencies charged with enforcing the CWA is sometimes problematic. While the WoUS definition specifically includes playas, the guidance for playa delineation is not as highly developed as for wetlands. Delineating WoUS, as performed by the Corps or by others to comply with Corps regulations, involves determining “Ordinary High Water” (OHW). However, under certain circumstances, the indicators provided in Federal regulations and available technical information for determining OHW have been found to be insufficient when applied to playas. Consequently, some delineations performed to date have involved the development of local indicators by integrating observational data obtained during cyclical inundation, information available for delineating wetlands, and inference based on technical knowledge. Examples of local indicators include small-scale cracks in the soil surface, soil algal crusts, and phreatophyte mounds. This report summarizes the pertinent literature and provides examples of case studies in delineating playas. This review, however, is not intended to provide protocols for delineating playas or to be interpreted as guidance provided by any Corps District or Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Rather, the scientific background and technical application needed for performing specific delineations are reviewed.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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