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NSSH Part 609

Quality Control, Quality Assurance, and Soil Correlation

609.00  Definition and Purpose of Quality Control and Quality Assurance

  1. Soil survey quality control, defined

    Soil survey quality control is the collective set of activities described in National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) standards and procedures whose purpose is to achieve a high level of quality. Controlling quality involves providing direct review and inspection, direction, and coordination of soil survey production activities to ensure that soil survey products meet the defined standards for content, accuracy, and precision. The quality of soil survey products is controlled at the level where each of the soil survey process steps (from field level work through publication) takes place. Decisions made at the field level have a broad affect and errors are not easily detected or corrected. Responsibility for quality control of soil survey products, such as maps, descriptions, point and component data, texts, photographs, etc., rests with the major land resource area (MLRA) soil survey leader.
     
  2. Soil survey quality assurance, defined

    Soil survey quality assurance is the process of providing technical standards and guidelines, oversight and review, and training to ensure that soil survey products meet NCSS standards. Responsibility for assuring the quality of soil survey products such as maps, descriptions, data, texts, photographs, etc., rests with the soil survey regional office (SSRO).
     
  3. Purpose

    Quality control and quality assurance are important at all levels of the preparation, publication, and update of a soil survey. Their purpose is to ensure that soil survey products are accurate, consistent, meet the objectives outlined in the memorandum of understanding or project plan, and satisfy the needs of the majority of soil survey users. Quality control and/or quality assurance activities are also carried out at other locations where soil survey products are developed such as the National Soil Survey Center Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory (KSSL) and the National Geospatial Center of Excellence (NGCE).
     

609.01  Policy and Responsibilities for Quality Control and Quality Assurance

  1. Policy
     
    1. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) ensures the quality and integrity of soil surveys through a system of quality control and quality assurance at all levels of activity.
       
    2. The NRCS has the leadership responsibility for nationwide soil correlation within the National Cooperative Soil Survey.
       
    3. For soil surveys on federal lands, the NRCS works closely with partner agencies in carrying out these responsibilities.
       
  2. Responsibilities
     
    1. Soil Survey Office (SSO)

      The MLRA soil survey Leader is responsible for:
      1. Controlling the quality of all soil survey products developed by the SSO within the MLRA soil survey area;
      2. Periodically conducting quality control reviews to ensure all products meet NCSS standards;
      3. Ensuring that all soil survey products submitted for quality assurance review and certification have passed prior quality control inspections;
      4. Making initial correlation decisions for the survey area using NCSS standards and supplemental guidelines provided by the SSRO;
      5. Conducting progressive soil correlation during the course of all soil survey activities;
      6. Coordinating ecological site description development and correlation;
      7. Ensuring that all changes to map unit names and legends, and the reasons for the changes, are recorded in NASIS;
      8. Ensuring seamless soil survey products across political and physiographic boundaries in the survey area as defined in part 609.03;
      9. Timely preparation of agendas, soil descriptions, lab data, maps, and other information needed for quality assurance reviews conducted by the SSRO;
      10. Ensuring findings and recommendations identified in the SSRO quality assurance reviews are addressed and implemented in a timely manner;
      11. Developing soil survey publications that meet the NCSS standards as outlined in Part 644 of this handbook;
      12. Developing digital spatial information that meet the NCSS standards as outlined in Part 647 of this handbook; and
      13. Ensuring that draft or revised Official Soil Series Descriptions (OSDs) meet NCSS standards as outlined in Part 614 of this handbook, and have passed the validations of the OSD Check Program prior to being submitted to the SSRO for a quality assurance review.
         
    2. MLRA Soil Survey Regional Office (SSRO)

      The SSRO is responsible for:
      1. Coordination of soil survey activities and quality assurance for soil survey information; including data collection, NASIS data population, interpretation, correlation, publications, and digital map development; to ensure that all soil survey products developed in the MLRA soil survey region meet NCSS standards;
      2. Making broad regional decisions to determine where to separate soils based on performance, classification, and other factors in order to ensure a seamless and scientifically credible soil survey for the nation;
      3. Conducting quality assurance reviews to:
        • ensure that information developed by the SSO has passed quality control inspections and meets NCSS standards;
        • ensure that progressive correlation is being implemented and followed by the SSO staff; and
        • identify training needs and management and performance issues;
      4. Providing states with findings, recommendations and commendations from quality assurance reviews;
      5. Providing timely quality assurance review reports and follow-up from other assistance activities to soil survey offices and state offices;
      6. Providing (or helping to arrange) training for soil survey office staff in data collection and analysis, mapping techniques, map unit design and naming, soil classification, legend management, NASIS data population, interpretations, soil technologies, quality control procedures, progressive soil correlations concepts and techniques, and overall management of the soil survey;
      7. Conducting quality assurance of all attribute data residing in NASIS;
      8. Conducting quality assurance of all official soil series descriptions (OSDs) developed or revised in the MLRA region to ensure that they meet NCSS standards as outlined in Part 614 of this handbook, and have passed the validations of the SC/OSD Maintenance Tool prior to being uploaded to the OSD file share for public access;
      9. Quality assurance and maintenance of the OSD file share and soil classification (SC) databases for the MLRA region;
      10. Conducting quality assurance of all spatial data developed in the MLRA soil survey region;
      11. Quality assurance of ecological site description development and correlation;
      12. Assuring the development of seamless soil survey products across political and physiographic boundaries in the MLRA soil survey region as defined in section 609.03;
      13. Developing a region-wide memorandum of understanding for the entire MLRA soil survey region that outlines the responsibilities and specifications for conducting soil surveys in the region;
      14. Providing guidance to the SSOs in the region for implementing soil survey update policies as listed in Part 610, Section 610.01 of this handbook;
      15. Providing MLRA-specific correlation guidelines on soil temperature and moisture regimes and their associated ecological zones, vegetative communities, and any other MLRA-specific information;
      16. Providing leadership for the coordinated collection of soil survey-related soil characterization data and investigations in the region; and
      17. Approving final correlation documents for initial soil surveys.
         
    3. State Offices

      The state soil scientist is responsible for:
      1. Providing administrative and management support and guidance to the soil survey offices that they supervise;
      2. Actively participating as a member of the SSO management team;
      3. Participating in quality assurance review activities sufficiently to support and concur with findings and recommendations;
      4. Providing leadership and working with NCSS partners in identifying the need for new soil survey information and interpretations within the state;
      5. Providing digital files for general soil maps, index maps, soil legend and special features legend, geology maps, and block diagrams for use in publications;
      6. Submitting complete manuscripts that have passed a State quality control review to the SSRO; and
      7. Ensuring findings and recommendations identified in the SSRO quality assurance reviews are addressed and implemented in a timely manner.

    The state conservationist is responsible for:

    1. Actively participating as a member of the board of advisors (BOA) for the MLRA soil survey region;
    2. Certifying the quality of soil survey products; and
    3. Ensuring the findings and recommendations identified in the SSRO quality assurance reviews are addressed and implemented in a timely manner.
    1. National Soil Survey Center

      The National Soil Survey Center is responsible for:
      1. Formulation and coordination of national guidelines, procedures, and criteria for producing soil survey information;
      2. Quality control of the criteria for classifying soils and of training in soil taxonomy;
      3. Quality control of the standards for making soil interpretations;
      4. Quality control of standards and criteria and of training for the soils portion of geographic and information systems; and
      5. Quality control of analytical procedures used in both laboratory and field investigation of soils.
         
    2. National Geospatial Center of Excellence

      The National Geospatial Center of Excellence (NGCE) is responsible for:
      1. Ensuring the cartographic quality of soil survey maps for archiving and distribution;
      2. Providing technical guidance specific to cartography and map production;
      3. Providing subsets of the U.S. General Soil Map and Index to Map Sheets;
      4. Coordinating requests for cartographic products;
      5. Developing the techniques, standards, and specifications that assure quality in spatial soil data capture;
      6. Providing training in SSURGO quality assurance activities; 
      7. Assisting SSROs offices in the quality assurance of SSURGO, digital map finishing, and other cartographic soil survey products; and
      8. Providing geospatial web map services (WMS), image map services (IMS), feature map services (FMS), and the Geospatial Gateway for soil survey data distribution and application.
         

609.02  Soil Correlation

The NRCS has the leadership for soil correlation within the NCSS. Each SSRO assures quality of soil surveys through a formal process of soil correlation within their assigned area. For soil surveys on federal lands, the NRCS works closely with partner agencies in carrying out these responsibilities. Soil correlation:

  • Addresses the natural geographic distribution and extent of specific soils to ensure consistent and accurate mapping, naming, classification, joining, database population, and interpretation within the MLRA;
  • Requires that data entered into the National Soil Information System (NASIS) database meets NCSS standards;
  • Ensures that all adjacent soil survey maps sharing the same purpose, scale, and order of survey exactly join;
  • Requires that map unit component soil properties and qualities are populated using standards provided in Part 618 of this handbook;
  • Ensures that each map unit is distinguished from all others, and that proper interpretations are assigned to each map unit component; and
  • Facilitates the effective transfer of technology.
  1. Progressive soil correlation

    Progressive soil correlation is a process that identifies and records all the issues and decisions surrounding soil map unit level information throughout the course of a soil survey. Progressive soil correlation is used in initial soil surveys as well as in MLRA soil surveys. It is practiced throughout the course of a soil survey, keeping pace with progress. Field reviews and field assistance visits are vehicles through which the SSO and the SSRO promote progressive correlation, maintain quality control and quality assurance, and ensure that technical standards are met. Progressive correlation requires that, during each review or field assistance visit, any changes, deletions, or additions to taxonomic units and map units recognized since the last review or assist are evaluated and, if appropriate, certified. For soils that extend beyond the boundary defining the project area, data and descriptions representing the soil on similar landforms and parent materials are considered in defining ranges for soil properties and determining map unit composition and contribute to the documentation of the survey in progress. All soil survey activities, including interpretation, legend development, joining, soil investigation, and report development, are concurrent with mapping.
     
  2. Recording progressive soil correlation decisions

    All progressive soil correlation decisions and their reasoning are recorded in NASIS. Any changes or additions to legends, taxonomic units, or map units must be recorded. Significant changes to soil property data and interpretive data, such as ecological site designation, farmland classification, land capability classification, or crop yields, should also be recorded. The reasons for the decision should be recorded if it is relevant and important to future users of the information.
     
  3. Final correlation
    1. Final correlation is a process that is used when an initial soil survey is near completion. If, during the course of an initial soil survey, effective progressive soil correlation has taken place, the final correlation is primarily a review of the progressive soil correlation decisions that have been previously made. The final correlation serves as a data check and also identifies any incomplete work that needs to be completed prior to the soil survey being certified.
       
    2. After the final field review the SSO and the SSRO schedule a time for a final correlation conference, the outcome of which is the draft correlation document. Although the final correlation is a joint effort between the SSO and the SSRO, it is the responsibility of the SSO to ensure that all data to be reviewed has passed prior quality control inspections. The SSO is also responsible for gathering and preparing all materials needed for the final correlation.
       
    3. Items to be reviewed and completed at the final correlation include:
      1. Review and confirm the classification of each pedon that has been analyzed in a soil survey laboratory or engineering laboratory and revise the classification, as needed. If needed, update appropriate site and classification elements of soil laboratory data for all pedons sampled in the survey area.
      2. Review taxadjuncts and taxons needing a correlation note, and record the reason for the taxadjunct or correlation note in NASIS. Record unique or unusual information about a taxon that may prove useful to future users of the information.
      3. Review and confirm taxonomic units and their classification. Summarize and process final edits and changes to taxonomic unit descriptions.
      4. Review and confirm series validity and their classification. Summarize and process final edits and changes to official soil series descriptions.
      5. Review and confirm map unit names and ensure their conformity with current naming convention and consistency in the survey area.  Summarize and process final edits and changes to map unit descriptions.
      6. Review NASIS database entries for accuracy, completeness, and consistency.
      7. Review interpretations for accuracy and consistency.
      8. Review draft report and identify any needed edits or changes.
      9. Review and examine maps for joins, proper labeling, and line conformity with the landform imagery.
      10. Prepare a join statement that documents where and why map units do not join across survey boundaries. Identify how, where, and when field maps will be compiled, digitized, and map finished.
      11. Prepare and review other supporting documents or information to be included in the correlation document. This may include items such as soil-vegetation-climate schema or models, special investigative studies, and lists of references used throughout the course of the survey.
      12. Record where all field documentation, field maps, and other supporting materials and information will be archived.
      13. Prepare a draft correlation document. The soil survey regional director is responsible for approving the final correlation.
         
  4. Correlation document

    A correlation document, also sometimes referred to as a correlation memorandum, is a hard copy product that is developed and distributed after the completion of an initial soil survey.

    Exhibit 609-1 describes the format of a correlation document. It includes items such as:
    1. Heading
    2. Introductory Paragraph
    3. Headnote for Detailed Soil Survey Legend
    4. Field and Publication Names and Symbols
    5. Series Established by This Correlation
    6. Series Dropped or Made Inactive by This Correlation
    7. Cooperator’s Names and Credits
    8. Prior Soil Survey Publications
    9. Miscellaneous Items
    10. Instructions for Map Development
    11. Feature and Symbol Legend
    12. General Soil Map Unit Legend
    13. Conversion Legend
    14. Legend of Map Units in Alphabetical Sequence
    15. Classification of Pedons Sampled for Laboratory Analysis
    16. Sampled Pedons in Published Soil Survey Report
    17. Notes to Accompany the Classification and Correlation of the Soils in the Survey Area
    18. Classification of the Soils
    19. Join Statement
    20. Certifications
    21. Approval Signatures and Date
       
  5. Development, distribution, and amendment policy for the correlation document

    All changes to legends, map units, or taxons for a soil survey area, either initial or update, must be documented and recorded in NASIS. Recording changes to legends, map units, or taxons in NASIS will ensure portions of the correlation document can be generated directly from NASIS.
    1. For initial soil surveys, a correlation document will be produced by the soil survey regional office (SSRO) and distributed per the following guidelines:
      1. The state conservationist and the soil survey regional director sign the final correlation document. Their signatures certify that the soil survey is complete and accurate.
      2. The state conservationist distributes copies of the signed classification and correlation document and of any subsequent amendments to the document as follows:
        • One copy to the SSRO of responsibility for the survey area.
        • One copy to each SSRO that has responsibility for soil series used in the survey area.
        • One copy to each State that adjoins the survey area.
        • One copy to Director, National Geospatial Center of Excellence.
        • One copy to the Director, National Soil Survey Center.
        • One copy to NCSS cooperating agencies as appropriate.
        • Distribution to NRCS staff within the issuing state is made at the discretion of the state conservationist.
      3. The final correlation document is archived in the Legend Correlation table in NASIS.
      4. Prior to SSURGO certification, the archived final correlation document can be amended and hard copies redistributed for an initial soil survey area. Amendments to the final correlation document receive the same signatures and distribution as the original document.
      5. Once a survey is SSURGO certified, and is deemed to be in update status, the correlation document and amendments are archived in NASIS. Subsequent correlation decisions are recorded in NASIS, but the original correlation document is no longer amended.
         
    2. For update surveys:
      1. All changes to legends, map units, or taxons must be documented and recorded in NASIS. However, the archived correlation document will not be amended and redistributed each time a change occurs as part of update activities.
      2. In lieu of amending and redistributing a hard copy of the correlation document, a report will be generated from NASIS that lists and identifies all changes to legends, map units, and taxons. This report can be printed and distributed as the SSRO or State deems necessary.
      3. A formal correlation document may be prepared and distributed for an MLRA soil survey area, or for a special project, or to satisfy an agreement item with a cooperator.
         

609.03  Seamless Soil Survey

The goal of soil survey is a seamless product across political and physiographic boundaries. A seamless product entails an exact join of attribute and spatial data between soil survey areas. In some situations, an exact join may not be possible and an acceptable join is achieved.

  1. Exact Joins

    An exact join between soil survey areas occurs when soil polygon lines and features are continuous across and along the common boundary and joined soil polygons share the same basic soil properties and selected soil qualities (see Exhibit 609-2). Sharing basic properties and selected qualities includes major and minor component composition, basic property ranges (high, low, and representative values), as well as layer depths. An exact join should be achieved between two surveys of the same, or nearly the same, vintage, stated purpose, scale, and order of survey.
     
  2. Acceptable Joins

    It is the responsibility of the soil survey regional office (SSRO) when employing the acceptable join to affect the best join possible and to document the need for future improvement to the join as appropriate. Acceptable joins are employed primarily when joining previously correlated surveys that would require field investigations to resolve the join discrepancies.
    1. An acceptable join between soil survey areas occurs when soil polygon lines and features are continuous across and along the common boundary and soil properties and selected soil qualities share the same basic soil properties and selected soil qualities (Exhibit 609-2) for most polygons.
       
    2. Where map unit components do not match, they fit the concept of similar soils.
       
    3. Rationale for the non-joined polygons (map units) is to be documented.
       
  3. Joining Requirements
     
    1. When completing a soil survey, map unit delineations along the boundary with each of the adjacent survey areas are to be joined. To achieve this goal, soil landscape features must be identified, mapped, and described consistently across political and physiographic boundaries. Data collection, analysis, and summary must represent these natural landscapes.
       
    2. In most cases, an exact join should be achieved. An acceptable join may be the best join that can reasonably be achieved at the current time. It is a joint responsibility of the SSRO and state soil scientist to determine the appropriate join between soil survey areas.
       
    3. If two soil surveys of different investigation intensities (orders) of mapping are adjacent, an exact join is in effect since the boundary between soil survey areas also serves as soil map unit boundaries. On hard copy maps, a note is printed parallel to the boundaries that separate the areas of each survey order, such as “Limit of Order 3 Soil Survey”. Chapter 2 of the Soil Survey Manual provides more information. Each soil line in the survey of lower intensity must have a corresponding soil line in the adjacent survey of higher intensity, but the converse is not required.
       
    4. If an ongoing soil survey borders a survey area that is out-of-date and therefore acknowledged as being obsolete, the SSRO should effect the best join possible using available knowledge and tools, but it is not required to revise any part of the out-of-date survey until such time as an update project is initiated. The joining statement in the correlation document should state the situation.
       
    5. The SSO prepares a “Join Statement” document that records all discrepancies from an exact join, and any changes made to enact an exact or acceptable join between map unit polygons. Reasons for these changes should also be included in the join statement. This join statement documentation is included in the final correlation document and in NASIS.
       
    6. Changes in map unit names, or additions and deletions of map units or delineations to an existing soil survey as part of the SSURGO certification process must be documented with an amendment to the final correlation document. Section 609.02 (e) provides information on amending the final correlation document.
       
    7. When two previously correlated surveys were prepared for SSURGO, there was usually no soil survey office staff available to investigate join discrepancies in the field. To expedite SSURGO preparation, compilers may have had to adjust lines and associated data as was practical from the office to affect the best possible join. This generally involved moving lines slightly to conform with new imagery and to come together at the same point along the survey boundary, and coordinating the boundary between the two surveys. Changes in map unit names, or additions and deletions of map units or delineations were documented with a correlation amendment. Digital soil surveys and discrepancy documentation and statements recorded in NASIS are tools for future update activities to implement MLRA legends and exact joins.
       

609.04  Quality Control Reviews

Each individual involved in soil survey operations; whether it is mapping and describing soils in the field, on-screen digitizing of soil boundaries, sampling and classifying pedons, analyzing and summarizing data, populating databases, developing report materials, or any other soil survey activity; has the greatest influence on the quality of the work they perform. All are expected to perform their duties in a way that results in soil survey products that meet NCSS standards and are of a high quality.

The MLRA soil survey office leader is the first level manager who is responsible to see that all work performed within their assigned geographic area (including any satellite offices) is of high quality and meets NCSS standards. Much of this quality control responsibility is carried out on a day-to-day basis through direct interaction with subordinate staff members to schedule activities and make work assignments, review completed work, provide on the job training, and other related activities. In addition to these routine management activities, systematic reviews are periodically conducted to document the success of the quality control procedures used. The specific details of the items to be reviewed will vary with the kind of activities being carried out as described in the project plan of operations.

Exhibit 609-10 is an example of a Quality Control Review template for an initial soil survey. The soil survey regional offices (SSRO) are encouraged to adapt this or develop a new one to reflect the activities to be reviewed in a particular SSO. The kinds of activities reviewed may include items such as:

  1. administrative and scheduling
  2. progress reporting
  3. review of mapping
  4. legend development and progressive correlation
  5. adequacy of field documentation
  6. field investigations and sampling
  7. database development
  8. digital map development
  9. publication development

The template (exhibit 609-10) provides separate sections for various soil survey process steps and a set of specific items to be reviewed and certified for each. Each SSRO should work with the soil survey offices in their region to implement a quality control review process appropriate to their needs.
 

609.05  Quality Assurance Reviews

Quality assurance reviews are scheduled on a regular frequency to ensure that technical standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) are met. In addition, quality assurance reviews can also evaluate and certify that progress is consistent with timelines agreed upon in the work plan. To a lesser degree they can serve to help the soil survey office staff solve problems or provide on-the-job training for the project staff, but these goals are best achieved through separate field assistance visits scheduled for those purposes.

The NRCS General Manual Title 340, Subpart E, Internal Management Reviews, contains the NRCS policy for and content of other reviews. Access is through the NRCS Electronic Directives System at http://policy.nrcs.usda.gov. The NRCS conducts five types of reviews: Oversight and Evaluation Studies, Leadership Reviews, Operations Management Reviews, Program Operations Reviews, and Functional Reviews. Each type may include soil survey issues. Exhibit 609-7 lists potential items for these reviews.

  1. Leadership and Participation

    The soil survey regional office (SSRO), or the lead agency for quality assurance, conducts the review. The soil survey regional director must be present. Other suggested participants are:
    1. Soil scientists from other nearby areas;
    2. Members of the SSO;
    3. The local district conservationists;
    4. The representatives of cooperating agencies;
    5. The state soil scientist or their designee;
    6. Resource soil scientists familiar with the area; and
    7. Discipline specialists such as engineers, geomorphologists, plant scientists, geologists, and others are encouraged to attend as applicable to the agenda for the review.
       
  2. Kinds of Reviews for Initial Soil Surveys

    Each initial survey requires initial, progress, and final field reviews. Each of these surveys requires one initial field review and one final field review. Most require a yearly progress review. MLRA soil survey activities are reviewed for the status of progress toward meeting the goals and objectives set out in the project plan and annual plan of operation. The field review report is a record of items such as the current status of the fieldwork, of observations and decisions, digital map and database development, and of recommended actions. This working document guides future operations and certifies that completed work meets NCSS standards.
    1. Initial field reviews

      The purpose of the initial field review is to guide the soil survey project at the start of mapping, to review the collection and recording of soil data, and to complete preparation of the first formal draft of the descriptive legend, based on the mapping completed and data collected. Exhibit 609-3 lists important items to check before and during the initial field review.
      1. Preparation for an initial field review. An approved soil survey memorandum of understanding must be available for the initial review. (The MLRA region-wide MOU satisfies this requirement, but an MOU specifically for this project can be developed.) The long-range plan of operations must be available. The SSO assembles, reviews, and summarizes existing information about the major land resource area and the subset survey area. The staff is in place and has worked in the area long enough to become familiar with the project area and the surrounding surveys. The SSO staff prepares:
        • preliminary concepts of the major soil-landscape models within the context of the larger MLRA region;
        • test mapping of sample areas for the provisional legend;
        • notes that support tentative judgments about the range of important soil properties within the most important kinds of mappable soil areas;
        • information on the kind and amount of mapping components;
        • information on geomorphology, surface features, and kinds of vegetation that provide clues to the kinds of soil and soil boundaries;
        • a test of the initial interpretations;
        • a first draft of the descriptive legend;
        • preliminary data to support judgments about the kinds and number of map units needed for the project area; and
        • the equipment, supplies, and base maps.
      2. Conduct of the review
        • Initial preparations. The review team appraises all initial preparations to ensure that they are adequate and takes necessary action if they are not.
        • Field study. The review team evaluates the draft descriptive legend against mappable bodies of soil in the field and reviews the collected soil data. It checks the accuracy of descriptions and the adequacy of map units for making soil interpretations. It evaluates and comments on the mapping done in sample areas in relation to the adjacent surveys. It checks the joining of soil maps and selected soil properties or qualities within the soil survey area and to adjoining survey areas to coincide with the joining specification in the memorandum of understanding. It makes decisions on soils for which the classification is doubtful.
        • Descriptive legend. As a minimum, the descriptive legend consists of the taxonomic and map unit descriptions, the classification of the soils, the general soil map (U.S. General Soil Map–STATSGO2) and legend, the identification legend, and the feature and symbols legend. After the field study, the team evaluates the draft descriptive legend and makes necessary revisions. The review team examines the naming of the kinds of map units, the classification of the kinds of soil identified in the map units, the general soil map (U.S. General Soil Map–STATSGO2) and legend, the list of features and symbols for the soil survey, and the definitions of ad hoc features. The team emphasizes the design and description of map units to meet the objectives of the survey. The descriptive legend includes only the map units and features that are actually identified and described before or during the initial field review.
        • Scheduling. The review team discusses and schedules long- and short-range activities that are necessary for completing the survey. Exhibit 609-3 identifies many of the items to check before and during the initial field review. The team discusses activities and schedules:
          1. preparation of parts of the soil handbook for the survey area;
          2. plans for soil investigations and collection of samples for laboratory analysis;
          3. collection of data on yields and soil performance in all land uses;
          4. recording of field notes; and
          5. preparation of the soil survey publication.
        • The review report initiates and includes arrangements for completing laboratory work and schedules subsequent progress field reviews and special studies.
      3. Preparation of the report. The leader of the initial field review prepares a report of the review. The report includes a “Quality Assurance Worksheet.” The soil survey regional director approves the report. Exhibit 609-8 is an example of a quality assurance worksheet. In addition to the worksheet, the report includes:
        • the identification legend;
        • a progress map;
        • draft descriptions of proposed new soil series;
        • a statement on the accuracy of map unit composition and attribute data;
        • notes recording important observations made during the field study;
        • instructions and items agreed upon for the field soil scientists and others, which concern conduct of the survey and the assignment of responsibilities, priorities, and dates of accomplishment;
        • a list of classification of the taxa for the survey area;
        • a subset of the U.S. General Soil Map (STATSGO2) database for the survey area as a general soil map; and
        • a letter transmitting the report to the state conservationist and others as appropriate, in which the soil survey regional director highlights significant issues and items that are agreed upon.
    2. Progress field reviews

      The purpose of this review is to assess progress and assure that NCSS standards are being met. Progress field reviews emphasize progressive correlation in a manner consistent with the larger MLRA soil survey area, and certification of the work completed to date. Help may also be provided to the soil survey staff on problems of soil classification; field mapping; data collection, storage, and retrieval; and soil interpretation, but these are generally best addressed during a separate field assistance visit.

      The frequency of progress reviews depends on the rate of progress, the complexity of the soil survey area, and the experience of the SSO staff. Exhibit 609-4 gives a list of some of the important items to check before and during progress field reviews.
      1. Conduct of the review. The review team spends at least some of the time in the field observing examples of mapping, field descriptions, and associated data and interpretations to assure that the local quality control procedures are effective. They examine maps for correct soil identification, proper placement of boundaries, legibility, and kinds and amounts of components in delineations. They check the maps and databases for the join with adjacent surveys. The team compares findings with statements in the descriptive legend. Where problems are noted, the group concentrates on solutions to assist the staff in avoiding similar future problems.
        • The progress field review team reviews the recommendations of the soil survey staff for progressively correlating completed mapping. They make a record of the reason(s) for any correlation decisions and any work needed to update field sheets.
        • The review includes a check of all interpretations. The team cross-checks field data, such as forestry productivity, for use. The review recommends changes and additions soil property records.
        • The review includes the quality and status of the descriptive legend and the soil handbook of the survey area. The review team recommends revisions for the descriptive legend as necessary to meet the objective of the survey.
        • The review team checks the adequacy of field notes and the rate and progress of mapping and other scheduled survey activities.
        • The review team determines if action has been taken to correct deficiencies and complete items agreed upon that were noted in previous field reviews.
      2. Preparation of the report. The leader of the progress field review prepares a report of the review. The report includes a “Quality Assurance Worksheet” that has been approved by the SSRO. Exhibit 609-8 is an example. In addition to the quality assurance worksheet, the report includes:
        • a list of commendable activities of the soil scientists assigned to the survey area;
        • a list of items agreed upon, who is responsible, and the date for its completion;
        • a statement of the accuracy of map unit component and attribute data;
        • a progress map;
        • an updated list of classification of the taxa in the survey area;
        • notes recording important observations made during the field studies;
        • a record of additions, deletions, or other changes to the descriptive legend;
        • a complete updated identification legend;
        • a letter transmitting the report to the state conservationist and others as appropriate, in which the soil survey regional director highlights significant issues and items that are agreed upon; and
        • an evaluation and comments on the status of scheduled actions from earlier progress reviews.
    3. Final field reviews

      The purpose of the final field review is to evaluate the entire survey to assure that the work is of acceptable quality and to complete necessary modifications before field operations end. The final field review can be held about 1 year before the completion of mapping in initial soil surveys. Exhibit 609-5 provides a list of some of the important items to check before or during the final field review. Most soil survey activities are complete and the collected data is available prior to the final field review. The activities include:
      1. Completing the mapping; checking consistency and quality of mapping throughout the survey area; collecting soil sample and interpretation data for correlation; finishing the complete draft of the soil survey report and database entries; revising the U.S. General Soil Map (STATSGO2) database and if one is to be prepared, the general soil map; completing laboratory analysis and soil investigations; providing correlated names and classifications for pedons in the laboratory database; taking photographs; and preparing illustrations.
         
      2. Conduct of the review. The major portion of the review occurs in the office. Field checks take place if questions occur that can only be answered in the field. Those activities that were noted as needing corrective action during the last progress review receive special attention. Items scrutinized by the review team include the descriptive legend and supporting information; map unit names, composition, and associated data; the joining of the U.S. General Soil Map (STATSGO2) database; the draft soil survey report; and interpretative tables.
         
      3. Preparation of report. The leader of the final field review prepares a report of the review. The report includes a “Quality Assurance Worksheet” that has been approved by the SSRO. Exhibit 609-8 is an example of a quality assurance worksheet. In addition to this worksheet, the report includes:
        • an identification legend;
        • a feature and symbol legend;
        • a progress map;
        • a record of soil characterization samples that were collected for laboratory analysis in the survey area;
        • a record of soil samples that were collected for engineering tests;
        • a statement on the accuracy of map unit component and attribute data;
        • an updated list of classification of taxa in the survey area;
        • an evaluation of the soil survey report;
        • a list of commendable activities of the soil survey office staff;
        • a list of actions agreed upon;
        • a record of the decisions made during the review; and
        • a preliminary correlation memorandum;
        • a letter transmitting the report to the state conservationist, and others as appropriate, in which the soil survey regional director highlights significant issues and items that are agreed upon; and
        • an evaluation and comments on the status of scheduled actions from any earlier progress reviews.
      4. Final Soil Survey Field Activities for Initial Soil Survey Projects

        The soil survey office schedules time between the final field review and the final correlation for several tasks. These tasks are to complete the mapping, perform final checks, review the fieldwork and soil survey database, complete the final draft of the soil survey publication, and update all supporting records and data, such as map unit acreage data, map compilation, and statistical analysis for map unit composition information. Preparation of the final correlation memorandum requires completion of these activities. The final correlation memorandum is finalized upon signature by the soil survey regional director and state conservationist(s). Section 609.02 discusses preparing and distributing a correlation memorandum, and Exhibit 609-1 discusses the format of the final correlation memorandum.

         
  3. MLRA Soil Survey Quality Assurance Reviews
     
    1. MLRA soil survey progress reviews

      Progress field reviews emphasize evaluation of activities of the field staff to assure that they are carrying out soil survey update activities as described in the project plan of operations for the area, NCSS policy and procedures are followed, and certification that the completed work meets NCSS standards. They may also provide help to the staff on problems such as soil classification; updating of maps; data collection and analysis, storage, and retrieval; and soil interpretation.

      The frequency of progress reviews depends on the rate of progress the complexity of the project area, and the kinds of update activities being conducted. Exhibit 609-6 gives a list of some of the important items to check before and during project reviews.
      1. Conduct of the review. Activities are tailored to reflect the nature of the work being performed. Commonly the review team spends part of the time in the field reviewing the collected soil data. They also examine digital maps for correct soil identification, proper placement of boundaries with landforms and imagery, and validity of models used in revising the soil maps. As necessary, the group concentrates on solutions to problems brought to their attention by the field staff or discovered during the review process.
        • The review team checks the adequacy of documentation and the rate and progress of scheduled survey activities.
        • The review team determines if action has been taken to correct deficiencies and complete items agreed upon that were noted in any previous field reviews.
      2. Preparation of the report. The leader of the project review prepares a report of the review. The report includes a “Quality Assurance Worksheet” that has been approved by the SSRO. Exhibit 609-9 is an example of a quality assurance worksheet. In addition to the worksheet, the report includes:
        • a list of commendable activities of the soil scientists assigned to the survey area;
        • a list of items agreed upon, who is responsible, and the date for its completion;
        • a statement of the accuracy of map unit component and attribute data;
        • an updated list of classification of the taxa in the survey area;
        • notes recording important observations made during the field studies;
        • a complete updated identification legend for the project area;
        • a letter transmitting the report to the state conservationist(s), and others as appropriate, in which the soil survey regional director highlights significant issues and items that are agreed upon; and
        • an evaluation and comments on the status of scheduled actions from any earlier progress reviews.
    2. MLRA soil survey completion reviews

      The purpose of the project completion review is to evaluate the activities to ensure that the work meets NCCS standards and to complete necessary modifications before individual project operations end. The project completion review is held when activities described in the current plan of operations are nearing completion. Exhibit 609-6 provides a list of some of the important items to check before or during the project review.
      1. Activities completed prior to project completion reviews. The activities include completing the digital revisions, checking consistency and quality of previous mapping evaluated throughout the project area; collecting soil sample and interpretation data for correlation; completing laboratory analysis and soil investigations; and providing correlated names and classification for all applicable pedons in the laboratory database.
         
      2. Conduct of the review. The major portion of the review occurs in the office. Field checks generally are covered under field assistance visits (section 609.06) and take place if questions occur that can only be answered in the field. Those activities that were noted as needing corrective action during the any project progress review receive special attention. Items scrutinized by the review team include supporting information, the validity of map units and their names and the tabular database. A check is made to ensure that correlation decisions are recorded in NASIS.
         
      3. Preparation of report. The leader of the project completion review prepares a report of the review. The report includes a “Quality Assurance Worksheet” that has been approved by the SSRO. Exhibit 609-9 is an example of a quality assurance worksheet. In addition to this worksheet, the report includes:
        • an identification legend of revised map units
        • a feature and symbol legend;
        • a record of soil characterization samples that were collected for laboratory analysis in the survey area;
        • a record of soil samples that were collected for engineering tests;
        • a statement on the accuracy of map unit component and attribute data;
        • an updated list of classification of taxa in the survey area;
        • a list of commendable activities of the soil survey office staff;
        • a record of the decisions made during the review;
        • a letter transmitting the report to the state conservationist(s), and others as appropriate, in which the soil survey regional director highlights significant issues and items that are agreed upon; and
        • an evaluation and comments on the status of scheduled actions from any earlier progress reviews.
  4. Signature and Approval of Review Reports
     
    1. Review team leader. The SSRO or a cooperating agency leads the review and is responsible for preparing and signing all review reports, and transmitting copies of the review report to the state conservationist(s) and others as appropriate. The soil survey regional director signs the transmittal letter.
       
    2. Representatives of cooperating agencies. Representatives of cooperating agencies may also sign all review reports, such as the “Quality Assurance Worksheet”. When other partner agencies (for example, the USFS) lead the review, NRCS participates in a quality assurance role which does not replace the responsibilities assigned to the partner agency. Field review reports and other documentation regarding survey quality on federal land require the signature of either a representative of the agency who participates in the review activity, or a designated representative of the agency, to document agreement or disagreement by signing the report.
       
    3. State Conservationist. The state conservationist, or appointed designee, reviews and signs the report as a means of documenting the transfer of significant issues and agreed to items pertaining to the review.
      1. Arrangements for managing all review reports by participating cooperators can be described in the memorandum of understanding or the work plan.
      2. The signed document is a part of the soil survey record file.
         
  5. Distribution and Review of Review Reports

    The soil survey regional director distributes copies of all field reviews within 30 days after the final day of the review. The director sends at least one copy of the field review report and attachments and a letter of transmittal to the:
    1. Soil survey office in charge;
    2. State conservationist(s);
    3. State soil scientist;
    4. Agencies cooperating in the survey;
    5. Soil Survey Regional Office (SSRO); and
    6. Others as appropriate.
       

609.06  Field Assistance Visits

The soil survey office, state office, or a cooperating agency office may request help from the SSRO as needed. The SSRO may schedule field assistance visits as necessary also.

A written trip report is to be prepared documenting the activities from the field assistance visit and distributed to the participants, as well as the state soil scientist and any appropriate cooperating agencies. Decisions that affect the legend, data collection or recording, classification of soils, or interpretations become part of the permanent and formal record of the survey upon inclusion in the final field review or MLRA project completion report.
 

609.07  Final Soil Survey Field Activities for Initial Soil Survey Projects

The soil survey office schedules time between the final field review and the final correlation for several tasks. These tasks are to complete the mapping, perform final checks, review the fieldwork and soil survey database, complete the final draft of the soil survey report, and update all supporting records and data, such as map unit acreage data, map compilation, and statistical analysis for map unit composition information. Preparation of the final correlation memorandum requires completion of these activities.

  1. Final Correlation Memorandum. The draft of the final correlation memorandum is prepared at the final correlation conference. The final correlation memorandum is finalized upon signature by the soil survey regional director and state conservationist(s). Part 609.02 discusses preparing and distributing a correlation memorandum and Exhibit 609-1 discusses the format of the final correlation memorandum.
     
  2. Final Draft of the U.S. General Soil Map (i.e., Digital General Soil Map of the U.S.). The soil survey office prepares the general soil map for the final field review on its publication scale base map in final form. This map is from the Digital General Soil Map of the U.S. database. Inclusion of this map in the soil survey publication is optional. Revise the general soil map unit names as needed to agree with the general soil map legend in the correlation memorandum.
     

609.08  General Soil Maps, Index Maps, and Location Maps

The soil survey regional office (SSRO) assures the technical quality of general soil maps, index maps, and location maps. The general soil maps are optional in soil survey publications (manuscripts posted to the web or as hard copies), but index maps and location maps are required.

If a general soil map (GSM) is not to be included, cooperators should agree with the decision. Also, an up-to-date U.S. General Soil Map (STATSGO2) database map of the survey area should be readily available to the public. The availability of the U.S. General Soil Map should be noted in the publication. For example, it could be noted in the section “How To Use This Soil Survey.”

  1. General soil maps and index maps
     
    1. Each soil survey publication includes an Index to Map Sheets. The National Geospatial Center of Excellence (NGCE) staff provides an Index to Map Sheets. By request, a soil survey area subset of the U.S. General Soil Map is provided by NGCE as one of the map sources for the GSM. The other source for GSM is SSURGO. The NGCE assists in determining format and the number of maps needed. A draft of the general soil map developed from the U.S. General Soil Map or SSURGO and associated legend are completed to the extent possible after correlation decisions have been finalized. The soil data quality specialist reviews the GSM and legend to verify that:
      1. soil map boundaries are accurate;
      2. GSM map unit names conform to the correlated names on the detailed maps;
      3. the map legend and manuscript are in agreement;
      4. the general soil map legend matches adjoining survey areas which ensures that all delineations are closed and symbolized, that the area of each map unit compares with the percentage given for the survey area, and that the organization and levels of generalization of the map and legend are appropriate;
      5. map delineations and legends join the U.S. General Soil Map for adjacent surveys; and
      6. if the percentage of each component in the GSM is given, the total acreage of each is not more than is shown on the acreage table for the detailed map units.

      Once the draft general soil map is approved, the detailed soil legend and feature and symbol legend can be ordered.

    2. The procedure for ordering is as follows:
      1. Place orders with NGCE on-line at http://www.ftw.nrcs.usda.gov/ncgcos/
      2. Order the color check print of the general soil map, the index to map sheets, the feature and symbol legend, and the detailed soil legend from the NGCE. List the headnote to accompany the detailed soil legend if it is different from that shown in the final correlation memorandum. If the headnote is different, amend the final correlation memorandum to reflect the change.
      3. Indicate additional instructions for completing the order as. Include special instructions needed by the cartographic staff to prepare the symbols legend. Show suggestions for the selection of the colors that show soil groupings or levels of generalization on the supplement or on the edited legend. Attach a copy of the final correlation memorandum, including any amendments, the electronic file of the U.S. General Soil Map, and a copy of the edited general soil map legend to the order.
         
    3. Soil survey regional office (SSRO) checking. NGCE completes the order and sends the U.S. General Soil Map generated general soil map color check print, the index to map sheets, and the legends to the SSRO for final review and approval. The SSRO checks:
      1. the GSM legend against the edited copy,
      2. the detailed soil map legend against the final correlation memorandum and any amendments,
      3. the names of cooperating agencies on maps and legends against the final correlation memorandum and any amendments,
      4. the name of survey area on maps and legends against the final correlation memorandum and any amendments, and
      5. the conventional and special symbols legend for agreement with maps and the final correlation memorandum.

      The SSRO makes needed changes and corrections on the U.S. General Soil Map and returns them to NGCE. The NGCE staff makes the corrections identified.
       

  2. Location maps

    Each soil survey publication requires a location map. This map shows the location of the survey area in the state. The SSRO orders the location map at the time the soil survey manuscript is received for technical review. The NGCE staff prepares the location map.
     

Exhibit 609-1—Format for Correlation Document

The following outline shows the order and character of items and data ordinarily contained in a correlation document. It does not preclude the inclusion of other information pertinent to the survey or the explanation of actions taken in the correlation. An example follows each item.

1. Heading.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Classification and Correlation
of the Soil Survey of
Any Area, Any MLRA, Any State

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

2. Introductory Paragraph.

In this paragraph cite persons participating in the correlation, the date, the location, data reviewed, the basis for the correlation, and other items if pertinent. For example: “John C. Smith, soil data quality specialist, and David G. White, MLRA soil survey leader, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Joseph I. Black, associate professor, Anytown State University at Any Town, Any State, prepared this correlation the week of October 21-25, 2000. The soil survey database, soil survey publication, field notes, interpretations, laboratory data, correlation samples, field map sheets, and materials from the adjacent soil surveys provide the basis for this correlation.”

3. Headnote for Detailed Soil Survey Legend.

This headnote is an explanation of the symbols on the detailed soil maps in the published survey. It appears on the “SOIL LEGEND” in the published report and precedes the list of map unit symbols and map unit names. For example: “Map unit symbols consist of numbers or a combination of numbers and letters. The initial numbers represent the kind of soil. A capital letter following these numbers indicates the class of slope. Map unit symbols without a slope letter indicate nearly level soils or miscellaneous areas.”

4. Field and Publication Names and Symbols.

The correlation of soil map units is formatted into four columns. List map unit symbols for publication alphabetically or numerically in sequence. The heading and format are as follows:

Field Map Unit Symbol Field Map Unit Name Publication Map Unit Symbol Approved Map Unit Name
DeB Delta sandy loam, 2 to 6 percent slopes AbB Alpha sandy loam, 2 to 6 percent slopes
Bf Beta mucky silt loam Be Beta silt loam
GaB, GhB Gamma silt loam, 2 to 6 percent slopes GaB Gamma silt loam, 2 to 6 percent slopes


5. Series Established by This Correlation.

List the soil series established by this correlation. List in parentheses, after the series name, the county, the parish or survey area, and the state in which the type location occurs if the type location is in a soil survey area other than the one being correlated. For example: “The Alpha series is established by this correlation, the Alpha type location in the adjoining Beta County soil survey area, Any State.” Enter “None” if no new series were established.

6. Series Dropped or Made Inactive by This Correlation.

List the tentative soil series that were dropped or the established soil series that were made inactive by the correlation. For example: “The Beta series is inactivated by this correlation.” Enter “None” if no tentative series were dropped or no established soil series were made inactive.

7. Cooperator’s Names and Credits.

List the following:

  • The cooperator’s names, and credits to be given in the published soil survey.

The cooperators are:
“United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
In cooperation with
Anystate Agricultural Experiment Station
Anystate Conservation Commission
Anystate Cooperative Extension Service
Any Soil and Water Conservation District”

The credits to be given in the published soil survey are as follows:
“This survey was made for Any Survey Area, Anystate, by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Anystate Agricultural Experiment Station, Anystate Conservation Commission, and the Anystate Cooperative Extension Service. It is part of the technical assistance furnished to the Any Survey Area Soil and Water Conservation District. The Any Survey Area Board of Commissioners provided financial assistance for the survey.”

8. Prior Soil Survey Publications.

Indicate the reference to prior soil survey publications that will appear in the introduction of the published soil survey. A prior published soil survey is a literature citation in the soil survey publication. For example: “The first soil survey for Any Survey Area, Anystate, was published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1903. Maps were printed in 1905. This soil survey is on an aerial photography base and contains more interpretative information.” Enter “None” if there is no prior soil survey publication.

9. Miscellaneous Items.

Use the appropriate headings and include items pertinent to the correlation or publication of the survey. For example, the soil-vegetation-climate schema, or model, used to guide correlation for the survey area should be included. Other examples might include a summary of soil temperature or moisture studies, or special investigative reports that provided guidance for the survey area.

10. Instructions for Map Development.

These brief instructions should include:

  • Identifying who is responsible for the development of digital spatial data.
  • What is the date and projection of the orthophoto imagery being used for the base map.
  • Identifying who is responsible for digitizing the maps and when it is scheduled.
  • Identifying who is responsible for finishing the digital maps and when it is scheduled.
  • Identify if a layer for point and linear map units will be compiled and digitized.
  • Any other instructions that may be relevant to the achieving a digital soils layers.

Detailed instructions for soil map data capture are found in Part 647 of this handbook.

11. Feature and Symbol Legend.

Include a copy of form NRCS-SOI-37A and indicate the features and symbols that are used in the survey area by highlighting or underlining in red. For example: “Only those symbols indicated on the NRCS-SOI-37A will be shown on the legend.” Complete the descriptions for standard landform and miscellaneous surface features and descriptions for ad hoc features on the back of the NRCS-SOI-37A for those features indicated.

12. General Soil Map Unit Legend.

List the general soil map unit that will be shown on the legend of the general soil map of the survey area. For example:

“The following map units will be used on the general soil map legend:
Alpha-Beta to Alpha-Beta association
Beta-Gamma-Zeta to Beta-Gamma-Zeta association.”

13. Conversion Legend.

List all field symbols and their approved publication symbols. A conversion legend is not needed if field symbols and publication symbols are identical. For example:

CONVERSION LEGEND, ANY SURVEY AREA, ANYSTATE
Field Symbol Publication Symbol Field Symbol Publication Symbol
7A 7A 20B 20B
7B 7B 21C 21D
7C 7C 21E 21E


14. Legend of Map Units in Alphabetical Sequence.

This legend is used only where numeric symbols will be published to assist publication crosschecking. For example:

LEGEND OF MAP UNITS IN ALPHABETICAL SEQUENCE, ANY SURVEY AREA, ANYSTATE
Publication Symbol Approved Map Unit Name
43 Alpha clay
37 Beta clay loam, 5 to 9 percent slopes, eroded
39 Beta clay loam, 9 to 14 percent slopes, eroded


15. Classification of Pedons Sampled for Laboratory Analysis.

This table lists pedons that have laboratory data or engineering test data. Give the source of the data and other pertinent information. In the table “Publication Symbols,” refer to the map symbol that identifies the area from which the sample was taken. Additional columns can be added if needed.

CLASSIFICATION OF PEDONS SAMPLED FOR LABORATORY ANALYSIS
Sampled as Soil Survey Sample No. Publication Symbol Approved Series Name or Class Identification
1.  Laboratory Data from the NSSC Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory
Alpha S79AS-047-003 AbB Alpha
Beta S79AS-047-004 GbB Gamma
2.  Laboratory Data from the Anystate Agricultural Experiment Station Laboratory
Beta S79AS-047-005 BgB Beta
Gamma S79AS-047-006 AaA Alpha
3.  Laboratory Data from the Anystate Highway Department Laboratory
Alpha S79AS-047-007 AaA Alpha
Beta S79AS-047-008 BbC Beta


16. Sampled Pedons in Published Soil Survey Report.

This table lists the pedons and laboratory data that will be included in the published soil survey report. These pedons should represent the typical pedon for the series in the survey area. Where the pedon is not the typical pedon for the series in the survey area, also place a tabular or semi-tabular description in the soil survey report.

Series Sample No. Status
Alpha S79AS-047-003 Typical pedon for the Alpha in the survey area.
Alpha S79AS-047-011 Typical pedon from map unit Aa.


17. Notes to Accompany the Classification and Correlation of the Soils in the Survey.

Any notes of general explanation that contribute to the understanding of the correlation can be included as an introductory paragraph. For example: “This survey area is in a transitional zone of soil temperature regimes. Soils with mesic and thermic temperature regimes have been correlated.”

In the notes, include items such as:

  1. Pertinent information about series being established. For example: “Alpha Series. The Alpha series is established by this correlation for soils that were formerly mapped as Beta but that have mixed mineralogy rather than siliceous mineralogy as defined for Beta.”
     
  2. How taxadjuncts differ from the series concept. For example: “Gamma Taxadjunct. This soil is a taxadjunct to the Gamma series because it contains less than 15 percent sand that is coarser than very fine. The soil classifies as coarse-silty.”
     
  3. A correlation note for soils that are slightly outside the official series range but are not taxadjuncts. For example: “Beta soils in this survey have a redder subsoil and are slightly more acid throughout than those defined in the official series description. These differences do not affect taxonomic placement or use and management. The official series description was not revised because the color and reaction differences are due to the inherent characteristics of the Theta geologic formation in which these soils formed and which is not the typical formation in which the Beta series formed.”

18. Classification of the Soils.

This table is the classification of the taxonomic units that are used in the survey area. Classify taxonomic units that are named at a level above the series as precisely as the data permits. Designate taxadjuncts with an asterisk only if the representative pedon is a taxadjunct. Address map units with major components that are taxadjuncts in the “Notes”. Do not list miscellaneous area names in the classification table. For example:

CLASSIFICATION OF THE SOILS OF ANY SURVEY AREA, ANYSTATE
Soil Name Family or Higher Taxonomic Class
Alpha Coarse-loamy, mixed, active, frigid Aridic Haploxerolls
Beta Fine-silty, mixed, active, frigid Cumilic Epiaquolls
Gamma* Coarse-loamy, mixed, active, frigid Dystric Eutrudepts
Udorthents Udorthents

* Taxadjunct.  See “Notes to Accompany Classification and Correlation of the Soils of Any Survey Area, Anystate” for details.

19. Join Statement

The join statement prepared at the final field review is included that explains where an exact join was not achieved. It should identify what map units need to be reviewed and their joins resolved.

20. Certifications.

The correlation document is to contain certification of the following:

  1. Mapping is complete. For example: “Mapping completed in June 1999.”
     
  2. General soil maps and detailed maps are to exactly join with those of adjacent survey areas, and detailed maps join within the survey area. Discrepancies in the join of maps with those of adjacent areas are documented, and a detailed statement of join differences is referenced and included in the correlation document. The reason the maps cannot be joined is given in the join statement.
     
  3. Databases and interpretations are coordinated and complete. For example: “Databases and interpretations are coordinated, map unit lines of adjoining surveys are continuous across and along the shared borders and the joined map units share basic soil properties and selected soil qualities. All data elements are populated and no obsolete terms are used.”
     
  4. Type locations are in soil areas that have the referenced names, and location descriptions are correct. For example: “The locations of all typical pedons used in this survey are within the major land resource area and are correct and are within delineations that have the referenced name.”
     
  5. Forestland and rangeland site plots were taken in soil areas that have the referenced series names and the series names have been correlated in the forestland and rangeland databases and all data is certified.
     
  6. All typical pedons are classified according to Soil Taxonomy, 2nd Edition and the latest edition of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy. For example: “All typical pedons are correctly classified according to Soil Taxonomy, 2nd Edition and the latest edition of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy.”
     
  7. Only approved names for miscellaneous areas have been used as component names as specified in Part 627, Exhibit 627-1, of this handbook.
     
  8. The soil maps have been reviewed for completeness, accuracy, and consistency. For example: “The soil maps are complete, accurate, and consistent.”

21. Approval Signatures and Date.


________________________________________
State Conservationist


________________________________________
Soil Survey Regional Director

______________________
Date


______________________
Date


Exhibit 609-2—List of Soil Property or Quality Attributes for Joining

The following list provides basic soil properties and selected soil qualities that are to be joined between soil surveys to achieve an “exact” join. National Soil Information System (NASIS) data element names are used for convenience, but their usage is not intended to suggest a database solution.

National Attributes *

Soil Property or Quality Name
aashto_group_classification
aashto_group_index
albedo_dry
aluminum_oxalate
available_water_capacity
bulk_density_fifteen_bar
bulk_density_one_tenth_bar
bulk_density_one_third_bar
bulk_density_oven_dry
calcium_carbonate_equivalent
cation_exch_capcty_nh4oacph7
clay_sized_carbonate
clay_total_separate
component_kind
component_name
component_percent
corrosion_concrete
corrosion_uncoated_steel
diag_horz_feat_depth_to_botm
diag_horz_feat_depth_to_top
diag_horz_feat_kind
diag_horz_feat_thickness
earth_cover_kind_level_one
earth_cover_kind_level_two
effective_cation_exch_capcty
electrical_conductivity
elevation
erosion_accelerated_kind
erosion_class
excavation_difficulty_class
excavation_difficulty_moist_st
exists_on_feature
extractable_acidity
extractable_aluminum
flooding_duration_class
flooding_frequency_class
fragment_hardness
fragment_kind
fragment_roundness
fragment_shape
fragment_size
fragment_volume
free_iron_oxides
geomorph_feat_modifier
geomorph_micro_relief
geomorphic_feat_id
geomorphic_position_flats
geomorphic_position_hills
geomorphic_position_mountains
geomorphic_position_terraces
gypsum
hillslope_profile
horizon_depth_to_bottom
horizon_depth_to_top
horizon_designation
horizon_thickness
horz_desgn_discontinuity
horz_desgn_letter_suffix
horz_desgn_master
horz_desgn_master_prime
horz_desgn_vertical_subdvn
hydrologic_group
iron_oxalate
linear_extensibility_percent
liquid_limit
local_phase
major_component_flag
manner_of_failure
mean_distance_between_rocks
month
organic_matter_percent
parent_material_general_mod
parent_material_group_name
parent_material_kind
parent_material_modifier
parent_material_order
parent_material_origin
particle_density
ph_01m_cacl2
ph_1_1_water
phosphorous_bray1
phosphorous_oxalate
phosphorous_total
phosphorous_water_soluble
plasticity
plasticity_index
ponding_depth
ponding_duration_class
ponding_frequency_class
pore_continuity_vertical
pore_quantity
pore_shape
pore_size
potential_frost_action
restriction_depth_to_bottom
restriction_depth_to_top
restriction_hardness
restriction_kind
restriction_thickness
rock_frag_3_to_10_in
rock_frag_greater_than_10_in
rupture_resist_block_cem
rupture_resist_block_dry
rupture_resist_block_moist
rupture_resist_plate
rv_indicator
sand_coarse_separate
sand_fine_separate
sand_medium_separate
sand_total_separate
sand_very_coarse_separate
sand_very_fine_separate
sat_hydraulic_conductivity
shape_across
shape_down
sieve_number_10
sieve_number_200
sieve_number_4
sieve_number_40
silt_coarse_separate
silt_fine_separate
silt_total_separate
slope_aspect_clockwise
slope_aspect_counterclockwise
slope_aspect_representative
slope_gradient
slope_length_usle
sodium_adsorption_ratio
soil_erodibility_factor_rf
soil_erodibility_factor_whole
soil_moist_depth_to_bottom
soil_moist_depth_to_top
soil_moisture_status
soil_temp_depth_to_bottom
soil_temp_depth_to_top
soil_temperature_mean_monthly
stickiness
stratified_textures_flag
structure_grade
structure_group_name
structure_id
structure_parts_to
structure_size
structure_type
sum_of_bases_nh4oacph7
surface_frag_cover_percent
surface_frag_hardness
surface_frag_kind
surface_frag_roundness
surface_frag_shape
surface_frag_size
t_factor
terms_used_in_lieu_of_texture
texture_class
texture_modifier
texture_modifier_and_class
total_subsidence
unified_soil_classification
water_fifteen_bar
water_one_tenth_bar
water_one_third_bar
water_satiated
wind_erodibility_group
wind_erodibility_index

* Soil performance elements (range and forest production, etc.) and linkage to ecological site related data are not included as being required to be joined, but they should at least be coordinated between surveys.
 

Exhibit 609-3—Initial Field Review Checklist for Initial Soil Surveys and for Update Soil Surveys Requiring Extensive Revision

(Completed by the review leader)

  1. ______ Review completed mapping (digital or field sheets) for completeness

  2. ______ Review acreage for completed mapping and map units

  3. ______ Inspection of mapping in the field

  4. ______ Review of taxonomic and map unit descriptions

  5. ______ Review progressive correlation of map units

  6. ______ Review U.S. General Soil Map update and map unit descriptions

  7. ______ Review U.S. General Soil Map join

  8. ______ Check join to adjacent surveys and among field sheets

  9. ______ Review photographs and other figures for soil survey publication

  10. ______ Review soil interpretations

  11. ______ Review lab data

  12. ______ Review classification of all pedons with lab data

  13. ______ Review classification of all described pedons

  14. ______ Compare typical pedon to the OSD

  15. ______ Review transect/random sampling data

  16. ______ Review statistical data

  17. ______ Check documentation distribution and content

  18. ______ Update databases

  19. ______ Update long-range plan as needed

  20. ______ Review memorandum of understanding

  21. ______ Discuss development of annual plan for coming year

  22. ______ Complete “Quality Assurance Worksheet”

  23. ______ Complete comments, correlation notes, things-to-do, agreed-to-items, and commendable items

  24. ______ Provide completed report to soil survey regional office (SSRO)

  25. ______ Review proposed new soil series and assign dates to submit OSDs to the SSRO

  26. ______ Circulate proposed new soil series for peer review

  27. ______ Update soil data in field office technical guide

  28. ______ Update existing OSDs as needed

  29. ______ Review and revise scheduling dates
     

Exhibit 609-4—Progress Field Review Checklist for Initial Soil Surveys

(Completed by the review leader)

  1. ______ Review SSURGO spatial and attribute data for completeness

  2. ______ Review acreage for completed mapping and map units

  3. ______ Review of previous agreed-to-items, prepare response

  4. ______ Review field sheets in the office

  5. ______ Inspect field mapping

  6. ______ Review classification of all new lab data pedons

  7. ______ Review classification of all described pedons

  8. ______ Review comparison of all typical pedons to the OSD

  9. ______ Review all taxonomic and map unit descriptions

  10. ______ Continue progressive correlation approval

  11. ______ Review U.S. General Soil Map legend and descriptions

  12. ______ Review U.S. General Soil Map join

  13. ______ Check join to adjacent surveys and among field sheets

  14. ______ Review spot check of map digitizing

  15. ______ Review photographs for the soil survey publication

  16. ______ Review database entries and interpretations

  17. ______ Order or review set of interpretation tables

  18. ______ Review lab data

  19. ______ Review transect/random sampling data

  20. ______ Review statistical data

  21. ______ Check documentation distribution and content

  22. ______ Update long-range plan as needed

  23. ______ Review memorandum of understanding

  24. ______ Discuss development of annual plan for coming year

  25. ______ Complete “Quality Assurance Worksheet”

  26. ______ Complete comments, correlation notes, things-to-do, agreed-to-items, and commendable items

  27. ______ Provide completed report to soil survey regional office (SSRO)

  28. ______ Review proposed new soil series and assign dates to submit OSDs to the SSRO

  29. ______ Circulate proposed new series for peer review

  30. ______ Update soil data in the Field Office Technical Guide

  31. ______ Update existing OSDs as needed

  32. ______ Provide OSDs and checklist tables to soil survey office

  33. ______ Review and revise scheduling dates

  34. ______ Review special studies data, such as yield data, water table, data

  35. ______ Review or schedule other discipline assistance

  36. ______ Review soil survey information program and activities

  37. ______ Review check plots of digitized quads
     

Exhibit 609-5—Final Field Review Checklist for Initial Soil Surveys

(Completed by review leader)

  1. ______ Review SSURGO spatial and attribute data for completeness

  2. ______ Review previous agreed-to-items, prepare response

  3. ______ Review field sheets in the office

  4. ______ Review acreage for completed mapping and map units

  5. ______ Review classification and geo-reference of all described pedons

  6. ______ Review comparison of all typical pedons to the official series description

  7. ______ Review classification of all new lab data pedons

  8. ______ Review all taxonomic and map unit descriptions

  9. ______ Review documentation distribution and content

  10. ______ Review legend and descriptions for U.S. General Soil Map

  11. ______ Check join for U.S. General Soil Map update

  12. ______ Check join among field sheets

  13. ______ Review cartographic spot check of map digitizing

  14. ______ Review photographs for the soil survey publication

  15. ______ Check line work and database for the join with adjacent surveys

  16. ______ Review soil interpretations and all NASIS entries

  17. ______ Review lab data

  18. ______ Review transect/random sampled data

  19. ______ Review statistical data

  20. ______ Complete correlation approval

  21. ______ Review completed legend

  22. ______ Update laboratory database for correlated names and classifications

  23. ______ Review memorandum of understanding

  24. ______ Discuss development of annual plan for completion

  25. ______ Complete “Quality Assurance Worksheet”

  26. ______ Review preliminary correlation if prepared

  27. ______ Complete correlation notes, things-to-do, agreed-to-items, and commendable items

  28. ______ Prepare final field review report

  29. ______ Prepare preliminary correlation memorandum without certifications and state conservationist transmittal, attach to final field report

  30. ______ Update official series descriptions (OSD), the Soil Classification database, and NASIS

  31. ______ Provide official series descriptions, soil interpretations information, and checklist tables to soil survey office

  32. ______ Review and revise scheduling dates

  33. ______ Review check plots of digitized quads

  34. ______ Review complete report draft
     

Exhibit 609-6—Project Review Checklist for MLRA Soil Surveys

(Completed by review leader)

  1. ______ Review previous agreed-to-items, prepare response

  2. ______ Review SSURGO spatial and attribute data for completeness

  3. ______ Review spatial and attribute revisions in the office

  4. ______ Review classification and geo-reference of all described pedons

  5. ______ Review changes or proposed revisions to the official series description

  6. ______ Review classification of all new lab data pedons

  7. ______ Review documentation distribution and content

  8. ______ Review legend and descriptions for U.S. General Soil Map

  9. ______ Check join for U.S. General Soil Map update

  10. ______ Review photographs and other figures for the soil survey publication

  11. ______ Check line work and database for the join with adjacent areas

  12. ______ Review soil interpretations and all NASIS entries

  13. ______ Review lab data

  14. ______ Review transect/random sampled data

  15. ______ Review statistical data

  16. ______ Complete correlation approval of map units

  17. ______ Review completed legend

  18. ______ Update laboratory database for correlated names and classifications

  19. ______ Discuss development of annual plan (if needed) for completion

  20. ______ Complete “Quality Assurance Worksheet”

  21. ______ Complete correlation notes, things-to-do, agreed-to-items, and commendable items

  22. ______ Prepare project review report

  23. ______ Review correlation documentation in NASIS for completeness.

  24. ______ Submit updated official series descriptions (OSD) and Soil Classification data

  25. ______ Review and revise scheduling dates

  26. ______ Review check plots of digitized quads
     

Exhibit 609-7—Outline of Items Considered in an Operations Management Review or Program Operations Review for Soil Survey

  1. Objectives and Plans

    1. Long-range plan and priorities

      1. Soil survey evaluations

      2. Soil survey maintenance

      3. Soil survey areas

    2. State soil survey conference

    3. Memorandum of understanding for soil survey areas

    4. Cooperative and contribution agreements for soil survey activities

    5. Annual, monthly, weekly plans of operation
       

  2. Personnel and Schedules

    1. Previous soil survey appraisals

    2. Staffing and assignments

    3. Workload analysis and scheduling

    4. State and local contributions to the National Cooperative Soil Survey

    5. Cooperative relations

      1. Other federal agencies

      2. State agencies and representatives

      3. Local agencies and representatives

    6. Training given and received

    7. Adherence to EO/Civil Rights policies and procedures
       

  3. Field Operations and Quality Control

    1. Soil survey automation at all levels

    2. Status of digitizing soil maps

    3. Status of imagery

    4. Interdisciplinary needs and inputs to soil survey

    5. Quality control procedures used

    6. Soil survey appeals and disposition

    7. Archival of soil survey records

    8. Adherence to policies in the National Soil Survey Handbook

    9. Application of technology, such as computers, field equipment, ground penetrating radar, global positioning systems, and remotely sensed data, to increase efficiency
       

  4. Soil Interpretations

    1. Maintenance of database

    2. Maintenance of field office database

    3. Guidelines and criteria used for developing national, state, and local interpretations

    4. Updating and coordinating interpretations in state by major land resource areas

    5. Status of automated soil survey interpretation development and application (GIS, Pedon-PC, and other)

    6. Status of special lists, such as prime farmlands, hydric soils, and highly erodible land

    7. Technical guides

    8. Training given and received
       

  5. Field and Laboratory Investigations

    1. Plan for soil survey investigations

    2. Existing laboratory data availability

    3. Coordination of field and laboratory studies

    4. Benchmark soil data

    5. Special projects and interagency coordination

    6. Reference sampling for interpretations, classification, and correlation
       

  6. Preparation and Processing of Maps and Text for Publication

    1. SSURGO review

    2. Publication development
       

  7. Soil Survey Use

    1. Effectiveness and use of soil surveys, whether or not they meet objectives

    2. Inventory of published soil surveys

    3. Information activities

    4. Procedures for distributing published soil surveys

    5. Advance information

    6. Special and interim reports

    7. Supplemental reports
       

Exhibit 609-8—Quality Assurance Worksheet for Initial Soil Surveys (subject to change by the soil survey regional offices to reflect local conditions)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE

QUALITY ASSURANCE WORKSHEET

MLRA __________

__________________________ County, State
________ (stssaid)

(date)

This quality assurance report is to ensure that: the soil survey is science-based; that the legend and correlation use the MLRA concept; and that the survey meets the standards and specifications of the National Cooperative Soil Survey.

CONTENTS

GENERAL INFORMATION and SCHEDULING

MANAGEMENT ISSUES

CORRELATION and DESCRIPTIVE LEGEND

SOIL INVESTIGATIONS

SOIL MAPPING

MAP DEVELOPMENT and DIGITIZING

PUBLICATION

NASIS and DATABASES

INTERPRETATIONS

MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES

ATTACHMENTS and NARRATIVES

SIGNATURE PAGE

CERTIFICATION

All negative responses identified in this report must be adequately addressed in a narrative.

QUALITY ASSURANCE REVIEW

_____________ County, State - a subset of MLRA(s) ________
(date)


GENERAL INFORMATION and SCHEDULING

Agency in charge of survey:

Cooperating agencies:

Survey team (name and agency):

Total acres (land, census water):

Acres updated/mapped and percent of survey:

Status of Memorandum of Understanding (e.g. current, signed)

List quality assurance reviews (type and date):

Scheduled date - next quality assurance review:

Scheduled date - mapping completion:

Scheduled date - final correlation:

Scheduled date - publication to the soil survey regional office for technical review:

Scheduled date - map compilation completion:

Participants at this review:


MANAGEMENT ISSUES

______ Are deficiencies and agreed-to items stated in previous Quality Assurance Reviews satisfied?

______ Are management documents such as long-range plan, project plans, annual plan of operations, and standards of performance current?

______ Are any management problems associated with this survey?

______ Is the survey party accessing and using the latest versions of the NSSH, Keys to Soil Taxonomy, soil survey regional office technical notes and other guidance documents, past quality assurance reports, and other relevant documents?

______ Is the scheduling information for the soil survey correct in NASIS?

List in the narrative the specific technical training needs of soil survey staff not already identified by the local staff as part of the development plans.


CORRELATION and DESCRIPTIVE LEGEND

All map units correlated must have data to support the correlation -- if not from the subset, then from the MLRA. The MLRA concept must be used for developing the legend.

______ Do all project members and participants understand the concept of map units, data map units, and the MLRA process?

One legend is maintained for the survey containing the provisional and the approved map units for the MLRA. The legend is the official, progressively correlated subset legend of the MLRA. The map units in the legend have been approved by the soil survey regional office. The legend contains “provisional” map units that are being mapped but that have insufficient acreage or documentation. The type and amount of documentation required for the map units to become approved depends on the complexity of the map unit, existing documentation for the map unit within the MLRA, and previous correlation decisions.

Attach the legend. Include a list of map units added, dropped, or changed since the last review. Summarize the documentation gathered and provide a narrative of the field stops seen on this review.

______ Is documentation sufficient for approved data map units on the legend?

______ Do all new series components of map units to be added to the legend classify properly in accordance with the current edition of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy?

______ Are the properties (representative values) of all new components of map units as mapped in the survey area within the range of the named series?

______ Are the official soil series descriptions up-to-date and contain current data for all series used in the survey area (e.g., typical pedon georeferenced, taxonomic classification, metric units of measure, horizon designations, competing series section, diagnostic horizons and features listed)?

______ Have names for new series been reserved in the Soil Classification database accompanied by an Official Soil Series Description uploaded to the OSD file share?

______ Are the map unit names and design consistent with the MLRA soil survey area for this initial soil survey?

______ Are all proposed changes in the legend recorded and reported in the appropriate NASIS tables?

______ Are notes recorded in NASIS detailing the location and acreage of provisional map units until they are approved for the ID legend?

______ Is a strategy in-place for gathering documentation and are there instructions as to kind and quality of field notes needed?

______ Does each project member have an up-to-date copy of the descriptive legend?

______ Is the descriptive legend adequate to ensure consistency of the mapping by all project members and to ensure a timely completion of the publication?

______ Are the pedon descriptions stored in NASIS?

______ Are field notes, transect data, and laboratory data summarized regularly? Is the descriptive legend brought up to date?

______ Is a conversion legend generated? Is it up-to-date?

The project leader is responsible for updating the section “Notes to Accompany Classification and Correlation of the Soils.” Refer to NSSH exhibit 609-1, item 17 for an example. Attach the notes or the plans for developing this document.


SOIL INVESTIGATIONS

______ Is a soil investigation work plan prepared and approved by the soil survey regional office?

______ Are the taxonomic classification of NCSS lab pedons current with the latest edition of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy?

______ Is the disposition of the laboratory pedon data given and provisions made to update the NCSS soil characterization database?

The project leader is responsible for updating the section “Classification of Pedons Sampled for Laboratory Analysis.” Refer to NSSH exhibit 609-1, item 15 for an example. Attach the document or the plans for developing this document.


SOIL MAPPING

Describe in a narrative the process used by the soil survey office to ensure:

quality control of mapping and approval by the soil survey project leader;

an exact join as described in NSSH 609.05; or an acceptable join with

join statements to allow an exact join in the future (consider metadata).

______ Is there a process for ensuring security of the original maps, compiled maps, and data files (e.g., fire-safe copies, back-up disks at a secure location, etc.)?

Attach a list of field sheets reviewed

______ Is recent and/or update mapping consistent throughout the subset and MLRA?

______ Does the map unit design represent the landscape/landform position, and other information in the data map unit?

______ Do map unit boundaries generally conform to landscape features and other features visible on the photo base?

______ Is the level of detail in mapping consistent and does the level of detail conform to the specifications in the memorandum of understanding?

______ Do map sheets join?

______ Is a Features and Symbol Legend for Soil Survey, NRCS-SOI-37A (exhibit 627-5) applied properly and consistently?

______ Is the NRCS-SOI-37A current and are major/minor codes completed?

______ Are typical pedons located in a delineation with the component named?

______ Is there a system in place to track for each field sheet, the surveyors name, dates, acreage mapped, acreage reported, and date of completion of the field sheet?

______ Do completed maps show: survey name and state, date of survey, name of soil scientist, “advance copy”?

______ Are legible and oriented symbols in all delineations?

______ Are typifying pedons accurately georeferenced?

______ Are all ad hoc features clearly defined?

______ Where appropriate, are section corners marked?

______ Is a progress map maintained?

______ Is the general soil map concurrent with mapping?


MAP DEVELOPMENT and DIGITIZING

If applicable, describe the process to ensure quality control of soil map development activities (100% check)

______ Was the digitizing performed according to the NRCS data capture specifications as described in the National Soil Survey Handbook, Part 647?

______ Is the soil survey spatial data captured to NRCS approved base maps?

______ Do map unit delineations and their symbols match across map boundaries? Has an exact or acceptable (choose one for each adjacent survey) join been achieved with adjacent surveys?

______ Do plans ensure a 100% edit of the digital spatial data prior to sending the map files to the soil survey regional office for quality assurance and geographic data certification?

Attach plans to digitize the survey, including plans for preparing the maps for publication.


PUBLICATION PREPARATION

Date the following publication items that are complete. Address incomplete items in the narrative. Note: not all of the items listed below are required for a publication (see NSSH Part 644, Exhibit 644-1).

______ Map unit descriptions

______ Taxonomic unit descriptions

______ General soil map

______ General soil map unit descriptions

______ Edited pre-written material

______ General Nature of the County section

______ Climate tables and narrative

______ Interpretive tables

______ Database populated for generation of interpretations and map unit descriptions

______ Pictures and captions

______ Block diagrams or other graphics

______ Input from appropriate partners

______ Input from other disciplines

______ Soil formation section

______ Use and management narratives

______ Draft publication for technical review


NASIS and DATABASES

______ Is NASIS being populated by the soil survey office staff?

______ Are data elements for all map unit components (including miscellaneous areas as appropriate) being populated sufficiently with data to meet nationally mandated requirements as well as state and local needs?

Attach plans to populate the database. Include NASIS training received and training needed for all project members, along with the staff member(s) who have responsibility for editing.


INTERPRETATIONS

______ Are existing interpretations adequate for the purposes of the survey as described in the memorandum of understanding?

______ Are interpretive ratings being reviewed and tested?

In a narrative, describe:

What special interpretations or interpretive tables are needed?

What assistance have other disciplines provided or scheduled for making, testing, and coordinating interpretations?

What soil performance data (e.g. crop yields, site indices) are collected and how?


MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES

Attach responses to these in a narrative:

What are the roles and responsibilities of the resource soil scientist with this survey? Conversely, what are the roles and responsibilities of the survey party with the resource soil scientist?

What input and involvement is there from soil survey partners?

Describe the survey party’s involvement with technical soil services (i.e. CRP, soil quality, global climate change, FOTG, etc.).

What are the plans for certifying and updating the field office technical guide?

Does this office have adequate Internet access to run NASIS, obtain OSDs and SC data, query and download KSSL data, view the NSSH, etc? If not, state plans to obtain access.

What are the plans to provide advanced information and support to users?

How is the survey being publicized?

What are the plans to update the U.S. General Soil Map (STATSGO2) database when the survey is completed?

Other issues


ATTACHMENTS and NARRATIVES

All negative responses are to be addressed. In addition, include the following with this report:

Identification legend
Provisional legend
List the map units added, dropped, or changed
Conversion legend
Summary of documentation
Field stops report
Notes to accompany classification and correlation of the soils
Classification of pedons sampled for laboratory analysis
Field sheets reviewed
Plans to digitize the survey, including plans for preparing the maps for publication
How publication items planned but not completed are being addressed
Technical training needs
Response to miscellaneous issues
Quality control process of soil maps
Quality control process of soil compilation (if applicable)
Plans to populate the database
Commendable items
Recommended or significant items
Action items (agreed-to items)


SIGNATURE PAGE

We, the undersigned, have reviewed this report and concur with its findings.
 

__________________________________
Soil Survey Project Leader


__________________________________
Soil Data Quality Specialist


__________________________________
NCSS Partner(s)


__________________________________
State Soil Scientist


__________________________________
NRCS Management (AC, Team Leader, etc.)
______________________
Date


______________________
Date


______________________
Date


______________________
Date


______________________
Date


CERTIFICATION

As of _________________, this soil survey meets the standards and specifications of the National Cooperative Soil Survey. The survey is science-based and joins adjacent survey areas using the MLRA concept.

Director of _______________________________(city, State)_____________________________________
Soil Survey Regional Office
 

Exhibit 609-9—Quality Assurance Worksheet for MLRA Soil Surveys (subject to change by the Soil Survey Regional Offices to reflect local conditions)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE

QUALITY ASSURANCE WORKSHEET

MLRA __________

__________________________ MLRA SSA
________ (MLRAssaid)

(date)

This quality assurance report is to ensure that: the soil survey is science-based; that the legend and correlation use the MLRA concept; and that the survey meets the standards and specifications of the National Cooperative Soil Survey.

CONTENTS

GENERAL INFORMATION and SCHEDULING

MANAGEMENT ISSUES

CORRELATION

SOIL INVESTIGATIONS

SUPPLEMENTARY SOIL MAPPING

MAP DIGITIZING and SPATIAL REVISIONS

NASIS and DATABASES

INTERPRETATIONS

MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES

ATTACHMENTS and NARRATIVES

SIGNATURE PAGE

CERTIFICATION

All negative responses identified in this report must be adequately addressed in a narrative.

QUALITY ASSURANCE REVIEW

_____________ MLRA project area - a subset of MLRA(s) ________
(date)


GENERAL INFORMATION and SCHEDULING

Agency in charge of survey:

Cooperating agencies:

Survey team (name and agency):

Total acres (land, census water):

Acres updated/remapped and percent of survey:

List quality assurance reviews (type and date):

Scheduled date - next quality assurance review:

Scheduled date - project completion:

Participants at this review:


MANAGEMENT ISSUES

______ Are deficiencies and agreed-to items stated in previous Quality Assurance Reviews satisfied?

______ Are management documents such as long-range plan, project plans, annual plan of operations, standards of performance, and individual development plans current?

______ Are any management problems associated with this survey?

______ Is the survey party accessing and using the latest versions of the NSSH, Keys to Soil Taxonomy, soil survey regional office technical notes and other guidance documents, past quality assurance reports, and other relevant documents?

______ Is the scheduling information for the soil survey correct in NASIS?

List in the narrative the specific technical training needs of soil survey staff not already identified by the local staff as part of their development plans.


CORRELATION

One legend is maintained for the survey containing the provisional and the approved map units for the MLRA. The legend is the official, progressively correlated subset legend of the MLRA. The map units in the legend have been approved by the soil survey regional office. The legend contains “provisional” map units that are being mapped but that have insufficient acreage or documentation. The type and amount of documentation required for the map units to become approved depends on the complexity of the map unit, existing documentation for the map unit within the MLRA, and previous correlation decisions.

Attach the legend. Include a list of map units added, dropped, or changed since the last review. Summarize the documentation gathered and provide a narrative of the field stops seen on this review.

______ Do all project members and participants understand the concept of map units, data map units, and the MLRA process?

______ Is documentation sufficient for approved data map units on the legend?

______ Do all new series components of map units to be added to the legend classify properly in accordance with the current edition of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy?

______ Are the properties (at least the representative values) of all new components of map units as mapped in the survey area within the range of the named series?

______ Are the official soil series descriptions up-to-date and contain current data for all series used in the survey area (e.g., typical pedon georeferenced, taxonomic classification, metric units of measure, horizon designations, competing series section, diagnostic horizons and features listed)?

______ Have names for new series been reserved in the Soil Classification database accompanied by an Official Soil Series Description uploaded to the OSD file share?

______ Are the map unit names and design consistent with purposes and scale of the MLRA soil survey area?

______ Are all proposed changes in the legend recorded and reported in an accepted systematic procedure in the appropriate NASIS tables?

______ Is a strategy for gathering documentation in-place and are there instructions as to kind and quality of field notes needed?

______ Are the pedon descriptions stored in NASIS?

______ Are field notes, transect data, and laboratory data summarized regularly?

______ Is a conversion legend generated? Is it up-to-date?


SOIL INVESTIGATIONS

______ Is a soil investigation work plan prepared and approved by the soil survey regional office?

______ Are the taxonomic classification of NCSS lab pedons current with the latest edition of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy?

______ Is the disposition of the laboratory pedon data given and provisions made to update the NCSS soil characterization database?


SUPPLEMENTAL SOIL MAPPING

Describe in a narrative the process used by the soil survey office to ensure:

quality control of supplemental mapping and approval by the soil survey leader;

an exact join as described in NSSH Section 609.03.

Attach a list of spatial data reviewed

______ Is supplemental mapping consistent throughout the subset and MLRA?

______ Does the map unit design represent the landscape/landform position, and other information in the data map unit?

______ Do map unit boundaries generally conform to landscape features and other features visible on the imagery?

______ Is the level of detail in mapping consistent and does the level of detail conform to the objectives of the project plan?

______ Is a Features and Symbol Legend for Soil Survey, NRCS-SOI-37A (Exhibit 627-5) applied properly and consistently?

______ Is the NRCS-SOI-37A current and are major/minor codes completed?

______ Are typical pedons located in a delineation with the component named?

______ Are typifying pedons accurately georeferenced?

______ Are all ad hoc features clearly defined?

______ Is a progress map maintained?

______ Is the provisional U.S. General Soil Map (STATSGO2) map concurrent with mapping?


SSURGO DEVELOPMENT and REVISIONS

______ Do digitized map unit delineations and their symbols match across project boundaries? Has an exact join been achieved with adjacent MLRA soil survey areas?

______ Do plans ensure a 100% edit of the digital spatial data prior to sending the map files to the soil survey regional office for quality assurance and geographic data certification?


NASIS and DATABASES

______ Are all data elements for all map unit components including miscellaneous areas populated with data?

Attach plans to populate the database. Include NASIS training received and training needed for all project members, along with the staff member(s) who have responsibility for editing.


INTERPRETATIONS

______ Are interpretations consistent with the purposes of the survey as described in the project plan?

______ Are interpretive ratings being reviewed and tested?

In a narrative, describe:

What special interpretations or interpretive tables are needed?

What assistance have other disciplines provided or scheduled for making, testing, and coordinating interpretations?

What soil performance data (e.g. crop yields, site indices) are collected and how?


MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES

Attach responses to these in a narrative:

What are the roles and responsibilities of the resource soil scientist(s) with this project? Conversely, what are the roles and responsibilities of the survey party with the resource soil scientist(s)?

What input and involvement is there from soil survey partners?

Describe the survey party’s involvement with technical soil services (i.e. CRP, soil quality, FOTG, onsite investigations, etc.).

What are the plans for the state certifying and updating the field office technical guide?

What are the plans to update U.S. General Soil Map (STATSGO2) database when the survey is completed?

Other issues


ATTACHMENTS and NARRATIVES

All negative responses are to be addressed. In addition, include the following with this report:

Identification legend
Provisional legend
List the map units added, dropped, or changed
Conversion legend
Summary of documentation
Field stops report
Notes to accompany classification and correlation of the soils
Classification of pedons sampled for laboratory analysis
SSURGO data reviewed
Web Soil Survey reviewed
Technical training needs
Response to miscellaneous issues
Quality control process of soil maps
Plans to populate the database
Commendable items
Recommended or significant items
Action items (agreed-to items)


SIGNATURE PAGE

We, the undersigned, have reviewed this report and concur with its findings.
 

__________________________________
MLRA Soil Survey Leader


__________________________________
Soil Data Quality Specialist


__________________________________
NCSS Partner(s)


__________________________________
State Soil Scientist


__________________________________
NRCS Management (AC, Team Leader, etc.)
______________________
Date


______________________
Date


______________________
Date


______________________
Date


______________________
Date


CERTIFICATION

As of _________________, this soil survey meets the standards and specifications of the National Cooperative Soil Survey. The survey is science-based and joins adjacent MLRA survey areas.

Director of _______________________________(city, State)_____________________________________
Soil Survey Regional Office
 

Exhibit 609-10—Quality Control Template for Initial Soil Surveys (subject to change to reflect local conditions)

INITIAL SOIL SURVEY
QUALITY CONTROL REVIEW

Date: _________________________

Area Name: ________________________________________________________________________________

State Soil Survey Area Identification: ____________________________________________________________

Major Land Resource Area(s): __________________________________________________________________

This quality control report is to ensure this soil survey is science-based, the legend and correlation use the MLRA concept, and the survey meets the standards and specifications of the National Cooperative Soil Survey. This report consists of several soil survey functions. Each function (legend, soil mapping, database, etc.) can be completed at different times of the year depending on the flow of work during the year. However, after one year each function should be reviewed. As a function is reviewed, the document should be signed off and sent to the SSRO for a quality assurance check.
 

GENERAL INFORMATION AND SCHEDULING

Agency in charge of survey: __________________________________________________________________

Cooperating agencies: ______________________________________________________________________

Total acres from NASIS (see legend/legend land category): land ____________; census water _____________

Status of Memorandum of Understanding: _______________________________________________________

Scheduled date - mapping completion: __________________________________________________________

Scheduled date - final correlation: ______________________________________________________________

Scheduled date - manuscript to the State office for technical review: __________________________________

Scheduled date - manuscript to the MLRA Soil Survey Regional Office for technical review: ________________

Scheduled date - map digitizing completion: ______________________________________________________

Has a long range plan been developed? _________________________________________________________

Does the soil survey office have an official electronic soil survey area boundary? _______________________

What soil surveys does the project survey match to and what is the status of each survey:

1) ________________________________________________________________________________________

2) ________________________________________________________________________________________

3) ________________________________________________________________________________________

4) ________________________________________________________________________________________

For each adjoining soil survey, ATTACH a list of map units requiring a join by soil survey area.

NASIS: Provide location where NASIS tabular data is stored and edited:

Area Symbol __________________________________________

Area Name ___________________________________________

Survey Status _________________________________________

Is soil mapping being compiled and digitized to the imagery to be used for “publication”?

Data and source of imagery _______________________________

Will the survey have a general soil map? __________________________

Will the survey have a “published” soil survey report? ________________

If yes, list the manuscript sections and NASIS generated reports/tables to be included (this may change as reports are updated or revised)

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 

PROGRESS and LEGEND

Date: _________________________

  1. Cumulative total of acres reported as mapped in NASIS (see Legend / Legend Mapping Progress):

    ______________________________________

     
  2. Are ALL map symbols on the official soil maps for the survey in the legend:
    • ATTACH a legend from NASIS by map unit status
       
    • ATTACH a legend from NASIS by map unit name and include the additional symbols
       
    • ATTACH the SOI-37A indicating miscellaneous features and ad hoc features
       
    • ATTACH a list of map units added to the legend since the last quality control review
       
    • ATTACH a list of map units correlated or dropped since the last quality control review and include a correlation note report from NASIS identifying reason for decisions

    Does the legend contain all map units from adjacent surveys in order to have and exact join? __________
    If no, list the map units that are matching but not in the legend:

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Action or Recommended Items:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 

TYPICAL PEDONS

Date: _________________________

For each series or higher taxa in the legend, is the typical or representative pedon entered into NASIS pedon?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 If no, list the series or taxa not in NASIS pedon:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Are all new series names used in approved map units reserved? _______________________________________

If no, what names are not reserved?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Are all series and higher taxa properly classified using Soil Taxonomy? __________________________________

ATTACH a classification table from NASIS

Provide a list of all soil series (OSDs) having their type location in the survey area:

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Are all typical pedons for series and higher taxa located within the survey area? __________________________

If no, list the series or higher taxa and the survey area in which it occurs:

_________________________________________________________________________________________

List the typical pedons (and its range of characteristics) reviewed and compared to the OSD:

_________________________________________________________________________________________

List the OSDs to be submitted to the SSRO for revision with a proposed date for submission:

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Action or Recommended Items:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 

DATABASE

Date: _________________________

Are all map units in the legend table linked to a data map unit (DMU) thru the correlation table? _____________

If no, list the map units that are not linked to a DMU.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Are all components (major and minor) to be fully populated? _________________________________________

SSRO-X Technical Note ZZ provides guidance on reviewing Soil Survey Data Quality in NASIS.

  • List the map units and associated data map units reviewed:

    _______________________________________________________________________________________
     
  • List the Standard Reports as identified in Tech. Note 38 that were used to review data quality (for example):
    • UTIL – Comparison of LL and PI, stored vs. calculated (National)
    • UTIL – T. Factor Validation (National)
    • CORR – Slopes and Climate Data (SSRO-X)

    _____________________________________________________________________________________
     

  • List the NASIS Validations as identified in SSRO Tech. Note XX that were used to review data quality (for example):
    • Component / Horizon
      • percent passing sieves
      • particle-size distribution
    • Horizon Texture Group

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Action or Recommended Items:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 

MAP UNIT DESCRIPTIONS

Date: _________________________

List the NASIS MUG report to be used for the soil survey: ____________________________________________

List the map unit descriptions reviewed for quality and quantity of data populated:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

For each map unit description reviewed, identify data voids or data elements needing review (see SSRO-X Tech. Note XX for data population guides):

Map Unit Symbol Database element needing review
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   


Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Action or Recommended Items:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 

SOIL MAPPING

Date: _________________________

What are the official soil maps for the survey (field sheets, compilation sheets, digital files/plots)?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

What is the minimum size polygon (acres) to be delineated?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

ATTACH a small scale soil mapping progress map for the survey area.

List the field sheets reviewed along with date reviewed:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Review

  • Are all symbols on the maps in the NASIS legend? ________________________________________________
    If no, which symbols are missing?

    _______________________________________________________________________________________
     
  • Do map unit polygons conform to landforms, landscapes and are their segments visible on the photo base?

    _______________________________________________________________________________________
     
  • Are all miscellaneous or ad hoc features on the maps, identified on the NRCS-SOI-37A? __________________
    If no, which features are on the maps but not on the 37A?

    _____________________________________________________________________________________
     
  • Is the use of the feature symbol(s) consistent across the soil survey extent?

    _____________________________________________________________________________________
     
  • Are size of polygons consistent with specifications in the MOU?

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Action or Recommended Items:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 

DOCUMENTATION

Date: _________________________

List the map units in which transects were made since the last quality control review to determine map unit kind and composition:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Are the transect locations georeferenced with a GPS unit? _______________________________________

Has a spatial documentation layer in GIS been created. This layer would document by polygon, how the map unit was determined. Each polygon would be coded using a legend. For example: 1. transect made in polygon, 2. polygon was visited to confirm map unit, 3. polygon was observed with “high” degree of confidence; 4. polygon was observed with “low” degree of confidence, 5. polygon was remotely sensed.

For each new series proposed how many complete pedon descriptions are available? List series name and number of descriptions:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Action or Recommended Items:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 

COMPILATION and DIGITIZING

Date: _________________________

Describe the map compilation and digitizing process being used for the soil survey:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Provide the following information for off-site security of soil maps:

Location of site ________________________________________________________________________

Date of last security update ______________________________________________________________

Type of security material: paper or electronic _________________________________________________

List the compilation sheets (quads) reviewed and digital sheets reviewed, along with date reviewed:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

For each sheet reviewed, list issues or concerns:

Map Sheet (Quad) Issues/Concerns
   
   
   
   
   


Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Action or Recommended Items:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 

INVESTIGATIONS

Date: _________________________

Are there plans to have a project investigation within the survey area? ________________________________

If yes, when is the projected date for sampling? ___________________________________________________

List all pedons sampled within the survey area. This list will contain all pedons sampled for laboratory analysis (reference and complete characterization). This will be a running list from year to year. For example:

Sampled as Name Map Unit Symbol Pedon ID Laboratory Site ID
Cosbie 2017 050R035003 NSSL 99-JFD-04
         
         
         
         


Comments:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Action or Recommended Items:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________