The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in cooperation with its partners, has the leadership role for conducting soil surveys on private lands across the country. The Massachusetts NRCS soils program is responsible for providing technical soil services—assisting government agencies and private citizens in understanding and applying soil information for the state of Massachusetts.
What is Soil?
Soil is a living, dynamic resource that supports plant life. It is made up of different size mineral particles (sand, silt, and clay), organic matter, and numerous species of living organisms. Soil has biological, chemical, and physical properties that are always changing.
What is Soil Survey?
Soil survey is a scientific inventory of one of our most basic and important natural resources—the soil. Soil surveys provide the basic information needed to manage soil sustainably. They also provide information needed to protect water quality, wetlands, and wildlife habitat. Soil surveys are the basis for predicting the behavior of a soil under alternative uses, its potential erosion hazard, potential for ground water contamination, suitability and productivity for cultivated crops, trees, and grasses. Soil surveys are important to planners, engineers, zoning commissions, tax commissioners, homeowners, developers, as well as agricultural producers.