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Technical Soil Services - Wisconsin

Technical soil services (TSS) are the professional application of soils information, including free assistance to partner agencies, public and private, for-profit and non-profit organizations, and the general public by the TSS branch of the NRCS.

What does TSS do for NRCS and LWCDs?

  • We support conservation planning through compliance determinations and reviews (both HEL and wetlands).
  • We support other agency programs and initiatives, including NRI, ecological site development, and soil health investigations.
  • We conduct onsite assessments for resource inventories, practice designs, and practice implementation.
  • We conduct field and area office quality assurance reviews.
  • We maintain official reference documents, such as the relevant sections of the eFOTG.

What else does TSS do?

  • We provide general soils-related information in person, on the phone, by social media, and by email.
  • We provide soils-related training to partner agencies and organizations.
  • We provide support for youth education through soil judging, land judging, conservation awareness contests, and Envirothons.
  • We work with you to identify and obtain the soils information you need to address your specific concerns.
  • We help you find and use NRCS tools and information resources, such as Web Soil Survey and Soil Data Access.
  • We work with you on unique projects that required custom analysis of soil data and information.

How do I get help with TSS?

  • Contact your State Soil Scientist.
  • A State Soil Scientist is assigned to every State.
  • Some States also have an Assistant State Soil Scientist.
  • Contact a resource soil scientist.
  • They are located in national, regional, area, and field offices.
  • Approximately 75 resource soil scientists provide fulltime TSS support.
  • Contact a Soil Science Division staff soil scientist.
  • They are located in 12 regional offices and 124 soil survey offices nationwide.
  • Approximately 350 soil scientists spend an average of 15% of their time providing TSS.

Types of Technical Soil Assistance

  • Area wide knowledge of Soils to assist in Easement sites
  • Assistance on resolving wetland issues relating to Department of Natural Resources permits for crossings and streambank
  • Data collection and analyses
  • Determining Lateral Effects for Wetlands for Engineering
  • Developing Soil Criteria for Conservation Planning (Resource Concern)
  • Developing soil criteria to use in ranking applications
  • Developing workload analysis and business plans
  • Ecological Sites – data collection and analyses; review descriptions
  • Farmland Policy Protection Act, LESA
  • GIS (creating maps, performing analyses)
  • GIS/GPS (creating maps, performing analyses, verifying easement boundaries)
  • HEL and wetland compliance
  • HEL/determinations/compliance/appeals
  • Hydric soils list
  • Important farmlands identification
  • Important Farmlands list
  • Liaison to other Federal, State, Local, or non-governmental agencies
  • Maintain eFOTG
  • Maintaining soil databases for Planning and Programs (RUSLE2, initiatives)
  • Outreach (preparing/presenting informational or technical materials, Envirothon, Land  Judging)
  • Product publications (fact sheets, summary reports)
  • Program Management and Support
  • Program Management and Support (organizing annual work planning conference, developing business plan, reviewing/approving MLRA Soil Survey Office projects)
  • Program Management and Support (preparing reports, drafting bulletins, supervision, performance plans and reviews, recruiting/hiring)
  • Provide input for ranking
  • Provide input for restoration planning and design
  • Provide input for site eligibility
  • Provide training to field offices on Soil Quality Test kits
  • Providing soils information to internal and external customers
  • Quality Assurance Reviews (Area/Field Offices)
  • Receiving and presenting training
  • Resource inventories for conservation planning
  • Review and update soil rental rates
  • Reviewing conservation practice standards
  • Site-specific soil investigations
  • Site-specific soil investigations (Waste Storage Facility-313)
  • Soil Health Monitoring
  • Soil Interpretation Training Internal and External
  • Soil interpretations development
  • Soil survey – initial (mapping, database, compilation, field reviews)
  • Soil survey – update and maintenance (transects, database, spatial data edits, reviews)
  • Soil technology development/maintenance
  • Soil Training Course for Field Office and Partners
  • Special studies (carbon, soil quality, other characterization studies)
  • Wetland delineations/determinations/compliance/appeals
  • Wetland determinations for all of the above

Wisconsin Technical Soil Service Priorities (Top 5)

1. Provide Soil Information to internal/external customers
2. Site-Specific Soils Investigations
3. Site-Specific Soils Investigations for Waste Storage Facility
4. Ecological Sites – Data collection and analysis;
review descriptions
5. Soil Training Course for Field Offices and Partners

Note in Wisconsin, there is a large difference in national dominance of wetland workload, particularly for the Resource Soil Scientist position.

Pie chart breakdown of instances workload in Wisconsin
bar graph of instances breakdown
  • A total of 4,226 instances of TSS activity were reported in FY 2016
  • A total of about 12,646 staff hours of TSS activity were reported in FY 2016


Map of the US in shades of green denoting quantity of technical soil support instances with Wisconsin indicated as having the most.

Wisconsin is ranked first in the nation with hours and instances.