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					 Soil Surveys--
What are they?!?

Helping People Help the Land
How to use a Published Soil Survey

                  Each published soil survey is a
                 comprehensive report on the soil
              resources of a given county, or parish.

                It is a detailed report compiled by
                   the USDA Natural Resources
              Conservation Service in cooperation
              with Agricultural Experiment Stations,
               State Soil and Water Conservation
                  Committees, and local soil and
                    water conservation districts.
What is a published soil survey?
              A published soil survey is a detailed report
              which contains information on all the soils of
              a county or parish. The publication has
              maps with soil boundaries and aerial photos
              and narrative descriptions and tables
              explaining specific soil properties and
              features. Published soil surveys are used by
              farmers, real estate agents, city personnel,
              land use planners, engineers and others
              who desire information about the soil
              Soil Surveys are in printed books (hard copy
              format) or on CDs with digital soils data. The
              digital soils data can be used in GIS
              (Geographic Information Systems).
             Web Soil Survey
 NRCS   now has soil survey data
  available online
 Users from across the U.S. can
  quickly access soils data

The major parts of a soil survey publication...

    Index to map units
    Summary of tables
    Foreword
    General soil map units
    Detailed soil map units
    Prime farmland
    Use and management of soils
    Soil properties
    Classification of soils
    Formation of the soils
    References
    Glossary
    Tables
      Using the soil survey
   Obtain a soil survey publication from the NRCS
    office or your local Soil and Water Conservation
    District office.
   Open the soil survey to Index To Map Sheets in
    the middle of the publication. It is located
    opposite the General Soil Map. In the hard copy
    books, these maps are large fold out sheets.
   Locate your site or property on the parish map of
    the Index To Map Sheets.
Using the soil survey                        (Continued)

   Your land or site should be within one of the
    small rectangles on the map that has a
    number…say 22 or 40.
   That number is very important--it corresponds to
    the number on the aerial maps located in the
    second half of the publication. Your number
    should be circled at the top of the aerial
    photograph, right above the north arrow.
   View the aerial map closely Locate landmarks
    such as roads or streams.
Using the soil survey (Continued)...
   Notice that the aerial photograph has many lines drawn on
    it. Those lines separate different soil types or areas with
    different soil characteristics. Your tract or site should be
    located within one of those lines.
   After you locate your tract of land, look for the small letters
    or number imprinted on the map near your tract, but within
    the delineation lines such as ScC, or KnC, or LaC. Those
    letters or numbers designate a “map unit.” Remember that
    map unit. Map unit symbols may consist of numbers or
    letters, or a combination of both.
   Turn to the Index to Map Units (located at the front) which
    lists the map units by symbol and name and shows the
    page where each map unit is described. Or find the Table
    of Contents and find your Map Unit there.
        Using the soil survey...
   After you locate the Index to
    Map Units and find the
    corresponding page number for
    your map unit or the soil of your
    area, go to that page in the soil
    survey report.
   Here, you’ll find a detailed
    description of your map unit or
    Using the soil survey...
                            If you find a term or soil
                             description in the detailed
Glossary                     information sheet on your soil
Aeration, soil. The          and want to learn what that
exchange of air in           term means, go the Glossary
soil with air from the       section of the report.
atmosphere . . .            The Glossary is located in the
                             center of the publication.
Using the soil survey--Tables
                                The Tables section of the soil
TABLE 1.--TEMPERATURE AND        survey report provides detailed
PRECIPITATION                    information on the suitability and
TABLE 2.--FREEZE DATES IN        limitations of the map units as
                                 well as management and
                                 production potential of the
PROPORTIONAL EXTENT OF THE       various soils.
                                Tables help landowners,
                                 community leaders, and
                                 developers and builders know if
                                 it’s good to build on a certain
                                 location or if a different location
                                 would be better suited to their
             Using the Tables...
   Tables offer detailed information on
    crops and pasture, woodland
    management and productivity,
    recreation, wildlife habitat, and
   Tables give detailed information on
    engineering index properties, physical
    and chemical properties, soil and
    water features, soil fertility levels, and
    physical and chemical analysis of
    selected soils.
   To use the tables, simply remember
    your map unit symbol and find it in the
    appropriate table.
    Other useful information...
                The soil survey report has other useful
                 information about ALL the soils in the area.
                 You can learn about:
                The general soils map
                Which soils are considered prime farmland
                How to best use and manage soils
                What the processes of soil formation are
                What the factors of soil formation are
                What landforms and surface geology are in
There’s SO       the area
 MUCH to
         Find out more about soil
   If, after reviewing your personal soil
    survey report, you still have unanswered
    questions about the soil survey or your
    soil, please contact the USDA Natural
    Resources Conservation Service or
    conservation district office nearest you.

They know a lot about soil and
are here to serve!
                  Contact NRCS
   The USDA Natural Resources Conservation
    Service office number is located in the telephone
    book under U.S. Government.
   Visit online
                     Helping People Help the Land

            USDA~NRCS is an equal opportunity provider and employer

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