NTCHS Annual Meeting Minutes (1/07)

January 30-31, 2007
Vicksburg, Mississippi

Meeting Minutes

Members Present: Chris Noble (COE), Steve Monteith (Mississippi, NRCS), Lenore Vasilas (Maryland, NRCS), Jimmie Richardson (NSSC, NRCS), Ralph Spagnola (EPA), Wade Hurt (NSSC, NRCS), Randy Dahlgren (University of California, Davis), Mike Vepraskas (North Carolina State University), and Chair, Karl Hipple (NSSC, NRCS).

Members Absent: Randy Davis (FS), Richard Griffin (Prairie View A&M University), Bill Volk (BLM), Chien-Lu Ping (University of Alaska), Wayne Skaggs (North Carolina State University), Dave Zuberer (Texas A&M University), Ed Blake (Nevada, NRCS), and Bill Wilen (USFWS).

Resource Personnel Present: Karie Pennington (Mississippi, NRCS; January 30 only).

Meeting was called to order by Hipple at 8:00 am on Wednesday, January 31. After introductions, Hipple distributed a copy of agenda items for this meeting and Hurt distributed minutes of the previous meeting. Members read the minutes and made corrections. A motion for approval of corrected minutes was made by Noble and seconded by Richardson. The motion passed.

Under old business, Hurt distributed an example (Indicator S6, Stripped Matrix) of the history of the development and evolution of the hydric soil indicators that he completed and requested copies. Electronic copies of the 80 page document were provided to Hipple and Vasilas. Hipple is to provide copies to Mike Whited and Chris Smith and request their input. The document is based on a paper trail and corrections and additions by reviewers must also be based on a paper trail.

Hipple noted that Mike Lily had retired and that Lily had been presented a plaque recognizing his service to NTCHS. Hipple welcomed new members Randy Dahlgren and Steve Monteith (Lily’s replacement).

Spagnolo led a discussion concerning EPA issues and concerns including funded projects, training, the mitigation rule, and loss of personnel. NTCHS indicator F3 verses the old COE indicator f (2). Concern has been expressed by EPA that the adoption of F3 may alter the way wetlands are delineated for regulatory purposes. Vepraskas led a discussion of “no more than 6 inches of chroma 2+ above the depleted matrix” rule and suggested that sites representing F3 and f (2) be monitored with IRIS tubes.

Vepraskas moved that Hipple request a letter from Harrington (EPA, TX) outlining his problems with indicator F3. There was no seconding of the motion. Spagnolo moved to table the motion until NTCHS discussed regionalization. The tabling motion was seconded by Richardson and the tabling motion passed with one dissenting vote. Noble provided NTCHS a copy of Harrington’s letter. Monteith moved to de-table Vepraskas’ motion. Vasilas seconded the motion and the de-table motion passed. The original motion by Vepraskas failed to get a second.

Action Item: Spagnolo is to request a formal letter from Harrington outlining his problems with all NTCHS indicators.

Noble provided an update of COE manual regionalization progress and plans.

Hurt provided a copy of the NSSC web page that contains the hydric soil definition and moved that all but the first sentence be deleted. Richardson seconded the motion. After discussion Richardson withdrew his seconding. Vepraskas moved that instead of eliminating the text following the hydric soil definition it be moved to below the Field Indicator discussion with the header Concept. Richardson seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Hurt provided a revised Hydric Soil Technical Standard (HSTS). Revisions added IRIS tube data to the Anaerobic Conditions portion of the HSTS and altered the “normal” precipitation calculation method. Richardson moved the NTCHS accept the HSTS as provided. Spagnolo seconded the motion and the motion passed.

NTCHS reviewed a revised proposal from David D’Amore concerning his proposed test indicator for Alaska (Clear Color Change). NTCHS still has concerns about the indicator.

Action Item: Vasilas is to review the material provided by D’Amore and provide Hipple comments and concerns. Hipple is to write a letter to D’Amore summarizing the concerns.

Hipple led a discussion concerning photos of the hydric soil indicators and the need to obtain high quality photos and stated the NRCS might pay for a photographer to obtain the photos nationwide.

Hipple mentioned that the NTCHS is short one university representative. Dahlgren agreed to chair institutional committee members’ effort to obtain an additional member. Target date to have the university representative’s name to Hipple is December 2007 so that new member can be invited to the 2008 annual meeting.

Noble outlined a planned effort by COE to obtain a hydrophytic vegetation/hydric soil indicators correlation and requested NTCHS’ assistance to locate field sites based on soils with anaerobic conditions/saturated conditions data.

Hipple provided a Soil Survey Division, NRCS requesting NTCHS consider the 1997 report by Vepraskas and Richardson (Review of the Aquic Conditions and Hydric Soils Status of the Sharkey and related Vertisols) for adoption. And include consideration that

  1. The concept of “hydric saturation” as satisfying the fundamental role of saturation and reducing conditions as required by the hydric soil definition, and
  2. Guidance within the hydric soil technical standard for monitoring soils with low or very low Ks values in the field to document their hydric status.

Vepraskas agreed to chair a committee whose members will be selected by him to review and report on the request.

Vasilas provided a Mid-Atlantic Hydric Soils committee report. They are working on indicators S7, S6, and TF2. Vasilas led a discussion on indicator S7 and outlined needed changes. Spagnolo moved that S7 be changed from:

S7. Dark Surface. For use in LRRs N, P, R, S, T, U, V, and Z. A layer 10 cm (4 inches) or more thick starting within the upper 15 cm (6 inches) of the soil surface with a matrix value 3 or less and chroma 1 or less. At least 70% of the visible soil particles must be covered, coated, or similarly masked with organic material. The matrix color of the layer immediately below the dark layer must have chroma 2 or less.


S7. Dark Surface. For use in LRRs N, P, R, S, T, U, V, and Z. A layer 10 cm (4 inches) or more thick starting within the upper 15 cm (6 inches) of the soil surface with a matrix value 3 or less and chroma 1 or less. At least 70% of the visible soil particles must be covered, coated, or similarly masked with organic material. The matrix color of the layer immediately below the dark layer must have the same colors as those described above or any color that has chroma 2 or less.

The strikethrough is a deletion and the underline is an addition.

Noble seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Vasilas reported no progress on revising indicator S6 and some progress with indicator TF2.

Vepraskas provided an explanation of the new method of “normal” rainfall evaluation adopted within the HSTS.

Dahlgren showed and provided NTCHS information on California Vernal Pools.

Hipple distributed copies of a Marty Rabenhorst IRIS tube evaluation proposal to NTCHS. NTCHS discussed the proposal but did not consider adoption at this time.

Action Item: Hipple to write letter of thanks to Rabenhorst.

Hipple distributed a letter from AK SSS Joe Moore which discussed indicator F3. NTCHS discussed the letter. Vepraskas will explain his concerns about the letter and outline them to Hipple.

Action Item: Hipple to follow-up on the concerns expressed by Moore.

Next year’s meeting will be February 26-27 at Virginia Beach, Virginia, and will be hosted by EPA (Ralph Spagnola).

Richardson moved for adjournment, Dahlgren seconded, and the motion passed at 4:00 pm.

Prior to the meeting, NTCHS participated in a field trip to two Sharkey pits dug by Monteith. The cropped field site with no visible wetland hydrology had the indicator F3. The wooded site with visible wetland hydrology had no indicator. Vepraskas explained the cause might be the close proximity of hydrologic modifications. Indeed, less than 75 feet away from the hydrologic modifications the indicator F3 was present.