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Bryan Soil Scientists Attend Vertisol Hydrology Workshop

Bryan Soil Scientists Attend Vertisol Hydrology Workshop

Story by Jacob Bushong, Soil Scientist

Soil scientists from the Bryan Soil Survey Office recently participated in a Vertisol Hydrology workshop hosted by Texas A&M University and the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

The main purpose of the workshop was to promote technology transfer between researchers involved in the Gulf Coast and Blackland Prairie Vertisols and researchers studying Vertisols in playa lakes on the Southern High Plains in Texas.

Vertisols and soils with vertic properties cover approximately 35 million acres across the state of Texas. Vertisols are typically soils high in expansive clays that shrink when dry and expand when wet. This shrinking creates deep cracks which can have major implications on surface water runoff and infiltration, and groundwater recharge.

The TWDB is currently initiating a 10-year research project focused on assessing methods for increasing the recharge to the Ogallala Aquifer on the Southern High Plains in Texas. Representatives for the TWDB were seeking input and discussion on specific items such as water movement and balance in Vertisols, modeling and predicting Vertisol cracking and associated hydrology, and field and laboratory techniques for measuring hydrologic properties.

Participants in the workshop included researchers from Texas A&M University, Baylor University, the University of Texas-Austin, and federal and state government personnel from agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Texas Water Development Board.

Texas Vertisol and Vertic Subgroup Soils - Map

Distribution of Vertisols and Vertic subgroups in Texas (PDF; 220 Kb)

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