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					USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service
     New York City Soil
      Survey Program

  Envirothon – Soils Training
Who we are…
Who Are We?
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

What Do We Do?
“Provide leadership in a partnership effort
 to help land owners and managers
conserve, maintain, and improve
their soil, water, and other natural resources.”

                                                   Jacob Isleib & Lindsay Reinhardt
                                                      Envirothon 2009, Pelham Bay Park
Topics of Discussion

•   Part 1: What is Soil?
•   Part 2: Why is Soil Important?
•   Part 3: Soil Degradation
•   Part 4: Soil Formation
•   Part 5: Soil Properties
•   Part 6: Soil Surveys
Part 1: What is soil?
Soil is…
 a mixture of mineral and organic “Ideal” Agricultural Soil
 matter, which forms on the
 surface of the earth, and changes, 5% Organic
 or has changed, in response to
 climate and organisms.                           50% Pore
                                                   Space
                                                  (air and water)
 A “natural” soil is composed of:
 • mineral material •      /
 • organic material • water
What is soil?




  Mineral Soil Material
                           Sand - 2 to 0.05 mm
      Decreasing in size




                           Silt - 0.05 to 0.002 mm
                                                                             Too small to see

                           Clay - less than 0.002 mm
                                                                             individual particles with
                                                                             the naked eye




                             Sand-sized particles   Clay-sized particles, ESM imagery
What is soil?




  Relative Sizes of Particles
                  beach ball


                                                        frisbee

                                                                                         dime


                                                          Silt                          Clay
                                                     (feels floury)                 (feels sticky)
                                                                                   (< 0.002 mm)
                                                 (0.05 - 0.002 mm)
                    Sand
                 (feels gritty)
                (2.00 - 0.05 mm)


                                   Keep soil particle size in mind, later on we’ll discuss Soil Texture…..
What is soil?


  Mineral Soil Material:
  Coarse fragments

  Gravel - 2 mm to 3 inches

  Cobbles - 3 to 10 inches

  Stones - 10 to 24 inches

  Boulders -greater than 24’’
What is soil?




  Soil Organic Matter Fractions
Living
     Microbial biomass
     Roots
Active fraction
     relatively fresh residues
Well decomposed
     humus (stabilized
         organic matter)
What is soil?




  Soil Organic Matter Properties
    chemically active
    high surface area
    high water & nutrient holding capacity
    promotes aggregation
    reduces plasticity & cohesion
    supplies nutrients
Part 2: Why is soil important?

 Soil perform important
  functions in our environment
 Soils are variable
 Soils can be degraded
Why is soil important?

  Sustain Biological, Activity,
  Diversity, and Productivity


  Origin of terrestrial
   food chain

  Soil characteristics
  influence ecosystem
  characteristics
Why is soil important?




  Soil Function…
     Regulating and partitioning
                                         Filtering and Buffering
      water and solute flow


                                              Organic & Inorganic
                                                   materials

            Rain
                                                      Filters
                                    Detoxifies                      Buffers
                                                       soil

   Soil                    Runoff   Immobilizes                 Degrades
            Infiltration
                                     Physical, biological, and chemical!!
Why is soil important?




  Soil Function continued...
  Maintaining
   biodiversity &
   productivity
  Structural support    Pralls Island   Central Park




                         Battery Park
Part 3: Soil Degradation
  Erosion
  Compaction
  Contamination
Soil Degradation, continued




  Erosion




           Images of wind erosion from the Dust Bowl Days
Soil Degradation, continued


           Sheet and Rill Erosion




 Deposition
Soil Degradation, continued




  Urban Erosion
Soil Degradation, continued




  Contour Stripcropping System
Soil Degradation, continued

  Solutions:
   Terraces
Soil Degradation, continued

  Solutions:
   Buffer Strip
  Part 4: Soil Formation
              Soil Forming Factors
            + Soil Forming Processes
                         = A Unique Soil




Wethersfield soil, Staten Island   Deerfield soil, Staten Island   Laguardia soil, Manhattan
Soil Formation, continued




  Soil Forming Processes

      Translocations
      Transformations
      Additions
      Losses
Soil Formation, continued




  Q. Why does my soil look different?!
  A. Five Soil Forming Factors
      Topography
      Climate
      Organisms
      Parent Material
      Time


                            Drummer Soil, IL   Myakka Series, FL
Soil Formation, continued

  Soil Forming Factors:
     Topography




             The shape or configuration of the land
Soil Formation, continued

  Soil Forming Factors:
     Climate
   Warmer climates lead to faster soil
    development
      • Think of your kitchen stove….

   Lots of precipitation also cause faster
    soil development
Soil Formation, continued

  Soil Forming Factors:
     Climate
Soil Forming Factors, continued

  Soil Forming Factors:
     Organisms
  Trillions of them give soil life!

   Animals, plants, insects,
    microbes, humans
   Break down organic matter
   Increase soil porosity
   Affect soil chemistry
Soil Forming Factors, continued


   Typical Number of Soil Organisms in Healthy
   Ecosystems
Soil Forming Factors, continued

  Soil Forming Factors:
  Parent Material
       In New York City:
       • Glacial Till – unsorted
           • Basil Till (dense)
           • Ablation Till (loose)
       • Glacial Outwash – sorted
           • Lacustine- fresh water lake deposits
           • Glaciofluvial- meltwater stream deposits
       • Alluvium - recent stream deposits
       • Tidal Marsh (organic) deposits
       • FILL!-Wide range of characteristics
Soil Forming Factors, continued

  NYC Parent Materials:
     Outwash


                                   Deposited by glacial
                                    meltwater
                                   No coarse fragments
                                   Stratification may be
                                    visible
Soil Forming Factors, continued

  NYC Parent Materials:
      Till

                                   Deposited directly by
                                    glacial ice
                                   Heterogenous
                                   Unstratified
                                   Angular fragments
Soil Formation, continued

  NYC Parent Materials:
     Organic Deposits - Tidal Marsh




       Formed by accumulation of organic matter
Soil Formation, continued

  Soil Forming Factors:
     Topography




       0
                                         Time


                   Soil development as a function of time
             (parent material, topography, climate and biota being held equal)
Part 5: Soil Properties
Physical and Chemical


 Horizonation             pH and Nutrient
 Color                     Supply

 Redox Features           Soil water holding
                            capacity
 Texture
                              permeability
 Structure
                              drainage class
 Consistence
                           Organic matter
                            content
Soil Properties, continued




  Significance of Soil Color
  Tells a story of the history of each soil
       Can be an indication of the degree of weathering.
            Color changes from weathering are mostly associated with the
             formation of iron oxides. (parent material and age)

       Indicator of the amount and distribution of organic
        matter.
       Indicator of the degree of aeration or reduction.
Soil Properties, continued




               Major Forms of Iron
             and Effect on Soil Color


  Form                       Chemical Formula   Color
  Ferrous oxide              FeO                Gray
  Ferric oxide
   (Hematite)                Fe2O3              Red
  Hydrated ferric oxide
   (Limonite)          2Fe2O3 3H2O             Yellow
Soil Properties, continued




  Redoximorphic Features
  The mottled soil
  colors are the result
  of a fluctuating
  water table.


  They are caused by
  bacteria driven
  Oxidation-
  Reduction chemical
  reactions (redox).
Soil Properties, continued




  Texture

  -Soil texture refers to the
  relative amounts of the three
  particle size separates in
  mineral soil material:
     •Sand
     •Silt
     •Clay
Soil Properties, continued




  Sand 2 to .05mm
        mostly quartz
        low chemical activity
        large pore spaces
        low water holding capacity
        high conductivity
        feels gritty

                                      Myakka Series, FL
Soil Properties, continued




  Silt       .05-.002 mm


        low chemical activity
        medium pore spaces
        medium water holding capacity
        medium conductivity
        feels smooth


                                         Drummer Soil, IL
Soil Properties, continued




  Clay         <0.002mm

        chemically active
        high water & nutrient
         holding capacity
        small pore spaces
        low conductivity
        feels sticky & plastic


                                  Cecil Series, Georgia
Soil Properties, continued                        100
 32% Sand                                        90
 36% Silt
 32% Clay                                   80

                                       70
                                                      Clay
                                  60

                             50                               Silty
                               Sandy                          Clay
                        40     Clay
                                                              Silty clay
                                                  Clay Loam     loam
                   30        Sandy clay
                              loam
              20
                               Sandy                  Loam
                                                              Silt loam
         10                    Loam

           Sand                                                            Silt

Sand %
Soil Properties, continued                        100
 32% Sand                                        90
 36% Silt
 32% Clay                                   80

                                       70
                                                      Clay
                                  60

                             50                              Silty
                               Sandy                         Clay
                        40     Clay
                                                             Silty clay
                   30        Sandy clay                        loam
                              loam
              20
                               Sandy                  Loam
                                                             Silt loam
         10                    Loam

           Sand                                                           Silt

Sand %
Soil Properties, continued




  Horizons
  •O - Dominated by organic matter
  •A - Mineral layer with some accumulation
         of organic matter
  •E- Loss of clay, iron, and aluminum.
         Paler in color
  •B - Concentration of clay, iron, and
         aluminum. Development of structure
  •C - no evidence of soil forming process
         no structure but can have redox
         features
  •R - Bedrock
Soil Properties, continued




  Horizons


                 A horizon

                 B horizon

                 C horizon
Soil Properties, continued




  Horizons
                                          A                       A                   A
                                                                  B                   E
                                                                                      B


               C                          C                       C                   C




       0
                                          Time
       Soil development as a function of time; parent material, topography, climate
       and biota being equal.
Soil Properties, continued




  Horizons
 •Horizons are subtle in
 some soils, especially
 younger ones.

 •Boundaries between
 horizons are often wavy
 or irregular.
Soil Properties, continued




  Structure
                 Types of Soil Structure
            Granular
                                            Blocky
                             (Subangular)            (Angular)

                                                                 Structureless Soil Types
                                                                         •Massive
                                                                         •Single Grain
              Platy



                             Prismatic               Columnar


             Wedge
Soil Properties, continued




                             Structureless




                             Good Structure
Soil Properties, continued




Structure Continued
Soil Properties, continued




  Soil Acidity and pH
   A pH range of 6.0 to 6.8 is
    ideal for most crops
        because it coincides with
         optimum solubility of the most
         important plant nutrients.
   Most of the micronutrients for
    plant growth (and most heavy
    metals) are more soluble at
    lower pH’s (acid conditions)
Astoria Park, Queens
                 1905                                                           2009




 Park is outlined in Yellow! “Pt” on the surficial geology map stands for glacial till deposits.
                     There may actually be some natural soil in the park!!
Topo Map of Astoria Park
Measuring Percent Slope




  1. Position your eye height (H1) to the height of the reference point (H2)
  2. Put the clinometer up to your right eye
        Your right eye will take a reading from the clinometer
        Your left eye will look at the target in the distance
  3. With both eyes open, tilt the clinometer until the horizontal line you see with your right eye
     is level with the target at H2
  4. Take a reading from the RIGHT side of the Clinometer window to record Percent Slope
     (%)
Soils info on the Envirothon website:
www.nycswcd.net/envirothon.cfm
 This .ppt PRESENTATION
 General Information about Topographic
  Maps
 Topo Map of Astoria Park
 Blurb on Map Scale
 Soil Manuscript for NYC Reconnaissance
  Soil Survey at:
  www.nycswcd.net/soil_survey.cfm
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    Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (202) 720-5964