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Pennsylvania Soils


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Science Division is the lead agency for the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS), a joint effort of Federal and State agencies, universities, and professional societies. The NCSS is committed to delivering science-based soils information that helps people be good stewards of the Nation’s soil, water, and related natural resources.

Visit the current NRCS Soil Science Division Web Site for the most up-to-date and complete information including links to Web Soil Survey, Official Soil Series Descriptions, Soil Lab Data, SoilWeb Apps, and more.

Web Soil Survey

Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world. NRCS has soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation’s counties and anticipates having 100 percent in the near future. The site is updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information.

Soil Technical Resources

Visit Technical References | NRCS Soils ( to access some of the most requested technical soils resources used to carry out the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program, and for users of soils information at all levels including:

  • Field Book for Describing and Sampling Soils - standards for observing and recording soil and site characteristics.
  • Soil Survey Manual - major principles and practices for soil surveys
  • Soil Taxonomy - principal reference to soil classification
  • National Soil Survey Handbook - policy, definitions, and procedures for conducting soil survey.
  • Field Indicators of Hydric Soils (latest version)

Soil Health Fact Sheets

Download fact sheets about soil health. Available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Hmong, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Pennsylvania Soils Information

Soil Surveys by State | Natural Resources Conservation Service (

Hydric Soils Lists – can be queried by state

Pennsylvania Soil Health Coalition

Professional Organizations and Career Options

Pennsylvania Association of Professional Soil Scientist    

Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional Soil Scientist    

Soil Science Society of America 


agricultural land with crop residue

Soil Health

Soil is not an inert growing medium – it is a living and life-giving natural resource. It is teaming with billions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that are the foundation of an elegant symbiotic ecosystem.

Yuri Plowden

State Soil Scientist