This Soils Atlas is intended to be a dynamic document. There are continual
updates and additions.
Please check back often for most current materials.
This Washington Soils Atlas is designed to present information about
Washington State soils in an organized format to a nontechnical audience. The
intention is to assist readers understand the importance of soil. Soil is a
vital natural resource to residents of Washington because it serves numerous
functions that assist residents to live and to earn an income. It also produces
food and fiber for populations of the world.
Soil serves to regulate, partition, and filter air and water, it supports the
projects built into and onto it and serves as a building material for other
projects, it nourishes the plants that produce food and fiber for animal and
human consumption, it assists in decomposing and recycling organic materials,
and it preserves natural and cultural history. Therefore, soil is complex and it
is also a fundamental material for all life.
The soils presented in this atlas were selected from several hundred
soil series recognized, mapped, and correlated in Washington State. Each
of the soil series has a distinctive set of characteristics that make it
a unique individual just as each person is a unique individual. The
selected group of soils represents most of the unique soil features that
occur within Washington. This was done because it is impractical to
demonstrate each mapped and correlated Washington soil but the soils of
this atlas can represent most all Washington State soils. Soil series
are named after geologic formations, geographic locations, and some soil
names are “coined” or made up by soil scientists who describe, map, and
correlate soils from within the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS)
Other information that is included for each soil series
contained in the Washington Soils Atlas is the soil classification at
the family level for each soil series. It includes several items which
describe soil depth, drainage class, parent material, arrangement of
soil horizons, and other information. Also included is information on
climate, topography, elevation, natural plant community, soil use(s),
and management considerations. Management considerations are based on
soil properties that impact the soil’s use. In many cases, mitigation
measures must be used modify the soil to modify it for a specific
purpose. A map that shows where the soil series is located within the
state is also included for each soil series. A link is also provided for
the official soil series description that is maintained for each soil
series in the NCSS database.
These documents may require
Adobe Acrobat. Follow this link for free
These may be relatively large files and
may take a while to download. The best way to view them is to right mouse
click on the file name and select “Save Target As” to copy the file to your
computer before trying to open it.
Many publications have been make available in a .PDF format. Alternative text
is not available for these publications as they can not be depicted in a
narrative format. We apologize for any inconvenience. For any accessibility
issues, please contact 509.323.2982.