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Mascoma Project Introduction

The Mascoma Headwaters Project

Science Behind the Standards

NRCS in New Hampshire is providing leadership with the scientific verification and development of standards used to identify wetland soils. Our staff is currently involved in a long term study at the headwaters of the Mascoma River. This Comparative Field Study of Wetland Boundary Indicators is the only one of its kind in New England. It is receiving wide-spread interest because of the documentation it is providing to accurately identify and delineate wetlands as well as providing technical support for carrying out federal and state wetland regulations.

Aerial view of Mascoma project area in Grafton County

     Above is a view of the project area in Grafton County, New Hampshire.



Installing and testing field data gathering instruments

Karen Dudley, Data Analyst for the Mascoma Project, downloads data logged into the on-site automated system.


The Mascoma Headwaters Project - Soil Survey Investigations Report No. 50, Issued 2006  (18.9MB)


Map of Mascoma Headwaters Project Location



The diagram to the left shows the location of the Mascoma Project in Grafton County, near the Vermont border.


Project Design and Data Collection Methods

As the lead agency providing soil data and technical guidance on soils, it is important that NRCS meets the needs of our customers in their work with natural resources assessment and management. It was recognized that some types of landscapes in Northern New England presented challenges when it came to wetland indicators. Soils, plant communities, and hydrologic indicators were often complex and current technical documents did not provide adequate guidance. The Mascoma Project has been one way to provide the needed data to support or revise these standards.


The Purpose of the Project is to:

  • Better identify and describe hydric soil morphology indicative of saturation
  • Refine the National and Regional Field Indicators of Hydric Soils
  • Document defensible criteria for identifying and delineating wetland boundaries in Northern New England landscapes (frigid temperature regime).


The photo to the right shows the "SCAN site" where data collection is automated, then transmitted by satellite.


For information on the Mascoma Headwaters Project contact:

  Mascoma project data collection unit



Photo of the Mascoma River



Project Cooperators

The Mascoma Project has received interest and support from a variety of agencies involved in wetlands, soils, and other natural resources. The agencies cooperating with NH NRCS in this effort are: