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Soil and Plant Showcase

Recent projects from the Soil and Plant Science Division.

Soil Data Metrics

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Prove It – Measuring Success of Our Soil Data and Information Services

Most of the world’s food and fiber production directly depends on soil as a growth medium, nutrient supply mediator, and buffer against daily changes in available moisture. While erosion can contribute to surface water contamination, most sources of drinking water benefit from filtration through the soil and underlying geologic strata. Soil scientists continuously update national soil survey products to provide the best available soil properties and interpretations to support relevant land management decisions. Read more ...

Cover of the SPSD annual report.

Annual Report

The Soil and Plant Science Division (SPSD) provides a unique source of comprehensive, up-to-date, science-based data and information concerning all aspects of soil, plant, and ecological sites across the United States and its trust territories. While completing this work, the Division is fully engaged and connected to Agency and Department priorities of climate, diversity, and urban activities.

The SPSD is pleased to share its annual report for Fiscal Year 2023.

Urban Soil Survey Project is Planned for the City of Pittsburgh

Soil scientists map and describe a soil in a community garden plot.

The Soil and Plant Science Division announced plans for an Urban Soil Survey of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during NRCS Chief Terry Cosby’s visit to the city in mid-October. The Allegheny County Conservation District hosted Chief Cosby, Soil and Plant Science Division staff, NRCS Pennsylvania staff, and conservation partners to a roundtable discussion and field tour to highlight urban agriculture in Pittsburgh. Chief Cosby said, “Urban agriculture changes communities — neighbors meeting for the first time and coming together to help one another. It changes the city, and it changes lives!” Read more ...

National Cooperative Soil Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Research Vessel Tiglax: Unveiling the Aleutian Islands’ Environmental Secrets in 2023

NRCS Soil Scientist, Timothy Riebe, evaluates landforms on Amlia Island prior to sampling.

In June 2023, the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) embarked on an ambitious week-long scientific expedition to the Aleutian Islands. One team taking advantage of sites to be visited on Tanaga, Kanaga, Sequam, and Amlia Islands by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and another by road on Adak Island, this collaborative effort aimed to unravel the mysteries of this remote and ecologically significant region. The NCSS conducted a reconnaissance soil survey, while the USFWS collected related plant community information for use with the National Wetland Inventory and ecological site correlation. This joint endeavor promises to provide invaluable insights into the islands’ environmental health and conservation efforts. Read more ...

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