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Wisconsin Soils Program

Soil Survey work in Wisconsin began in the early 1900s shortly after the inception of the National Cooperative Soil Survey.  On May 14, 2006, over 100 years of Wisconsin  soil survey work was completed when the digital soils data for Iron County, Wisconsin was posted to the Soil Data Mart bringing digital soils coverage for Wisconsin to 100%.  This accomplishment could not have been achieved without the National Cooperative Soil Survey program, which in Wisconsin is a joint effort of the NRCS and other federal, state, and local agencies.  Principal state cooperators include the University of Wisconsin-Madison & Stevens Point, and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.


water feature

New Web Soil Survey Feature for Wisconsin

"Water Features" is located in Web Soil Survey and then under the Soil Data Explorer tab, Soils Reports sub-tab, and then the Water Features folder. This new table gives estimates of various soil water features. Estimates are used in land use planning involving engineering, wetland considerations or conservation planning. The new column, "water features" kind, was added to help users to determine if water table is saturated throughout or sitting on top of a restrictive root limiting pan. The report also aggregates similar months together making it simplistic and easy to read.

soil survey

Soil Survey Uses and Limitations

Discusses what the soil survey is, the history, ongoing mapping efforts, uses, limitations, tools for planning, and more.

Cooperative soil Survey

NEW November 2015 Cooperative Soil Survey Planning Workbook

A cooperative soil survey workshop was held for many partners interested in NRCS-Wisconsin's Soil Program. Highlights in the workbook include soil data join correlations, maps, T and K factors, soil interpretations, technical soil services, wetland determinations, web soil survey, major land resource areas, and Wisconsin assistance available.

Simplified Infographics (PDF):

Unable to attend the Workshop? View the presentations below.


dta viewer icon NEW Soil Data Viewer Alternative!

The SSURGO OnDemand Dynamic Spatial Interpretations Tool can process soils data from large geographic areas rapidly and is a one-stop shop for any number of soil survey areas at once for any and all interpretations or properties. It accesses authoritative soils data without the need for downloading external tabular data sets. Please direct questions and comments to Chad Ferguson at or Jason Nemecek at

Download the tool below and directions:

Python scripts and ArcGIS SSURGO OnDemand toolbox (48 KB ZIP) (updated 4/14/2016)

SSURGO OnDemand Dynamic Spatial Interpretations Tool (documentation and instructions) (215 KB)

secrets in the soil

Unlock the Secrets in the Soil - Soil Health

These Soil Health resources are designed to help visitors understand the basics and benefits of soil health – and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from farmers who are using those systems.
So whether you’re a farmer, a researcher, a conservationist or an interested citizen, the information on this site will help you “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil.”
Web Soil Survey

Web Soil Survey
Wisconsin and national digital soil maps, products, and data  to meet the needs of our diverse users.  Find out more here.

MLRAs in Wisconsin

Soil Survey by MLRA
In 1995, NRCS reorganized the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) mapping program to a Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) basis in order to develop a seamless, higher quality digital soil survey of the U.S.

Wisconsin General Soils Map

Wisconsin Soil Survey Program History and Activities
Wisconsin is continuing to improve soil survey data and products to meet current and emerging resource concerns.

History of Wisconsin Soil Survey  (PDF; 13 MB)


Soil Study and Land Evaluation Materials for Land Judging Competitions
Land judging competitions are held every year in many Wisconsin high schools, FFA and 4-H programs.  Find the official handbook, event guidelines and Scorecards for Wisconsin competitions here.

Antigo Silt Loam - Wisconsin State Soil logo

Antigo Silt Loam - Wisconsin's State Soil
Antigo Silt Loam is the Wisconsin State Soil.  Antigo represents the many soils that support Wisconsin's economy and environment.

Cross Section Illustration of Dolomite Colluvium Bluff Prairie

Bluff Prairie Ecological Site Descriptions Now Available

Recently, NRCS staff in Wisconsin and Minnesota completed the first two Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs) for Wisconsin. These two ESDs represent the iconic “bluff prairie” ecosystems of Driftless region.  These sites occur throughout the region, but become prominent along the south- and west-facing bluffs of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, and their tributaries. Often they are overgrown with eastern redcedar and other woody plants. Removal of these trees and shrubs along with introduction of prescribed fire often results in an impressive restoration of these important prairie ecosystems. These ESDs provide a synthesis and framework for the inventory, description, and restoration of these plant communities



For Assistance

Statewide assistance provided by state office staff on the soils program, soil attribute data, and GIS data.

Major Land Resource Area assistance, provided by MLRA Soil Survey staff on the soil survey, soil attribute data and GIS data.

Local assistance provided by resource soil scientists who provide a wide range of local soils assistance including prime farmland protection and LESA.

To obtain soil maps and information for specific local areas, visit the Wisconsin Soils Information and Maps web page.