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EPA National Wetland Condition Assessment

The National Wetlands Condition Assessment project allowed the KSSL to come into contact with a broader menagerie of soil properties – and colors – than they are used to seeing in pedons from a particular area.The NRCS Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory (KSSL) recently completed its participation in the EPA National Wetland Condition Assessment directed by Congress. For this project, wetlands at more than 1,000 representative sites throughout the United States were inventoried to determine their health and to identify factors that may be having a negative impact on their functioning.

Factors that contribute to the function of the wetlands, including plants, hydrology, and soils, were assessed according to carefully established standards. NRCS assisted with soil descriptions, soil sampling, and soil analysis. At each site, soils were described and individual soil layers were sampled to a depth of approximately 1 meter. The KSSL staff received bulk and core samples from over 4,000 layers. They conducted 12 analytical procedures, which produced 48 different analytical results, on each sample. This was a significant analytical project for the KSSL—the sample volume was equivalent to the workload in a “normal” year. The results of the soil analyses will be combined with observations of other factors at each site to provide a snapshot of the health of each site and to identify factors which may be degrading or impacting the function of the Nation’s wetlands. Results will be compared to those from a similar study in 2011.

Link: 2011 National Wetland Condition Assessment (EPA)