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Proposed Changes (NSSH)

The Soil Science Division is providing a 30-day comment period for proposed changes to the National Soil Survey Handbook. The comment period for the proposed changes will open on May 26 and close on June 30, 2016. Please send any comments to Curtis Monger, National Leader for Standards, National Soil Survey Center at

Summary of Significant Changes to Part 609

These changes in NSSH 609 are being integrated to better align and document the roles and responsibilities of the STC and SSS with the changes brought about by the restructuring of the Soil Survey Program which placed it directly under the Soil Science Division. Other minor wording changes were integrated to improve clarity.

609.01 Policy and Responsibilities for Quality Control and Quality Assurance

  • (b) (3) State Offices –Revised the roles and responsibilities of the STC and of the SSS.

609.02 Soil Correlation

  • (c) (3) (xiii) – Clarify that the Soil Survey Regional Director approves final correlation.
  • (e) (1) (i) and (ii) - Clarify responsibility for creation and distribution of correlation documents.

609.05 Quality Assurance Reviews

  • (b) (3) (iv) – Remove STC signature on correlation memorandum for initial soil surveys.
  • (d) (3) - Remove requirement for STC or their designee to review and sign MLRA soil survey quality assurance reviews.

609.07 Final Soil Survey Field Activities for Initial Soil Survey Projects

  • (a) – Remove requirement for STC signature on final correlation memorandum.

Exhibit 609-1—Format for Correlation Document

  • Remove STC signature from the Correlation Document template and add concurrence block for signature of the MLRA Soil Survey Leader.

Summary of Significant Changes to Part 610

  • Includes wording for update of ecological site information.

610.02 Inventory and Assessment

  • This section replaces the original ‘Long Range Plan’ to establish the importance of completing the I&A prior to MLRA update work.

610.03 Update Strategies

  • Remains as .03, but this section reduces the strategies to 4 (from 7), removing the “recompilation to planimetric base map’, ‘Extensive Revision’, and Soil survey boundary polygon joins’. All are incorporated into the 4 remaining strategies.
  • “MLRA recorrelation of soil attribute data” is renamed to ‘MLRA assessment and correlation” and incorporates the information from SDJR NI305 – does not rescind NI305, but instead references it as the policy process.

610.04 Project Plans

  • Remains as .04, however removes guidance on priorities and plan development. Provides the instructions from moving to the old method of writing up project plans to managing all projects in NASIS. Includes details on what is expected for population requirements and includes the new ‘resource concerns’ requested by strategic planning and assessment team at NHQ. Includes information on how to handle spatial updating.

610.05 Prioritizing and Ranking

  • This section replaces the original APO section. This is a major rewrite including the prioritizing information from the old Project Plans section. It emphasizes the need to rank and prioritize the project plans.

610.06 Long Range Plan

  • Replaces certification of data. This section removes all the description writing from the past and replaces the LRP with a report that mines the NASIS projects. Provides guidance on what is to be populated in NASIS for the report to display. Emphasizes the need for a 1000 character executive summary to assist in project review.

610.07 Annual Plan of Operations

  • Replaces the ‘publication of data’; moves the APO section to after the long range plan has been developed.

610.08 Certification of Data

  • Moves from .06 to .08 and includes the use of NI305 as a reference for the QC and QA of data.

610.09 Publication of Soils Data

  • Moves from 610.07 to .09.

Exhibit 610-1—Resources for Inventory and Assessment

  • Builds on the original to include additional items to consider.

Exhibit 610-3

  • Remove.

Exhibit 610-4—Project Plan Checklist

  • Expands to include information to be populated in NASIS Projects.

Exhibit 610-6—Project Description Examples

  • New section providing 12 examples of written summary descriptions to provide ideas on how the executive summaries should appear. Also provides an example of a full project description as an example.

Exhibit 610

  • 7a remove.
  • 7b remove.
  • 7c remove.

Exhibit 610-7—Agency Resource Concerns

  • Provides the 9 resource concerns addressed by the agency.