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Science of Interpretations (NRCS-NEDC-000288)


Soil survey interpretations predict soil behavior for specified soil uses and under specified soil management practices.  The ability to understand what a soil interpretation is, understand the relationships of soil properties to interpretations, and how to develop the criteria for soil interpretations is valuable for all soil scientists.


Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to: 

  • Define a soil interpretation and explain its application;
  • Understand that soil, landscape, and site characteristics impact land use;
  • Understand that developing interpretations requires interdisciplinary expertise;
  • Describe the steps for developing interpretations listed in NSSH Part 617.09; and
  • Develop a criteria table for an interpretation.


  • Basic Soil Survey - Field and Lab (NRCS-NEDC-000012) recommended;
  • Technical Soil Services (NRCS-NEDC-000246) recommended; and
  • 2+ years with the National Cooperative Soil Survey program recommended.


  • Pre-course: 1 hour
  • Course: 12 hours over 4 days
  • Post course: None


The course will be presented via blended learning to include instructor led distance learning using current NRCS means of delivery in conjunction with teleconferencing and small group activities led by mentors.  Connection information will be provided to participants.  no travel is involved.  Course must be "attended" on an individual basis, one computer-one person.  A pre-course assignment is required.  Homework will be required of all participants.

Target Audience 

The primary target audience includes ecological site specialists, resource soil scientists, assistant state soil scientists and state soil scientists.  However, all soil scientists of GS-11 grade level and above once they have met the prerequisites.

NEDC Contacts

Lisa Visokey

Technical Specialist 

Bob Dobos

NSSC Training Coordinator

Shawn McVey