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Ecological Sites Team

Ecological Sites photo.Overview

Ecological Sites are conceptual divisions of the landscape that are used to support management decision-making and aid in designing and interpreting research. Ecological sites are based on soil survey maps. 

The information attached to these map units is documented in Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs). ESDs are the basis for individual field, farm, and watershed conservation planning and larger scale modeling projects in NRCS such as the Conservation Effects Assessment Project, National Resource Inventory, and Soil Health Assessment.

Ecological Sites EDIT button.

Homepage of EDIT.Ecological Site Descriptions contained in the Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool (EDIT) provide the basic information to support conservation planning, program implementation and policy development.   This online database can be searched by location, land uses, ecosystem services or common behaviors. Visit for more information.

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  • Provide leadership and guidance for the integration of Ecological Site information into NRCS programs and policies
  • Identify emerging opportunities for Ecological Site applications with federal and state partners
  • Recommend new Ecological Site products to support conservation planning, implementation and assessment
  • Develop strategic outreach to increase the utility and impact of Ecological Site information and products
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Ecological Sites Plans button.

FY 2019/2020

  • Complete Provisional Ecological Site Initiative
  • Establish autolinks between NRCS ES, Soils, and Plants databases
  • Develop protocols for ES development on intensively managed soil map units
  • Apply advanced analytical techniques to information in ES database
  • Develop web services to support NRCS and other access to ES information
  • Work with BLM and FS to complete Major Land Resource Area wide ES projects for sage grouse habitat management
  • Migrate Pastureland management information into the ES database
Ecological Sites Partners button.

Joint policy, in the form of Memorandum of Understanding and common Handbook guidance, among the BLM, NRCS, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) efficiently pools the agencies’ technical resources for the development and use of ecological sites to describe site characteristics, plant communities, and use interpretations for grazing land and forestland. Other federal agencies such as USGS, NPS and EPA are active collaborators.

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Joel Brown, Nat’l Ecological Sites Team Leader, Las Cruces, New Mexico

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SPSD Ecological Sites Focus Team

  • Craig Derickson, State Conservationist, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Terrell Erickson, Ecological Sciences Division Director, Washington, DC
  • Luis Hernandez, Soil Survey Regional Director, Amherst, Massachusetts
  • Cathy McGuire, Soil Survey Regional Director, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Kevin Norton, State Conservationist, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Chad Remley, Soil Survey Regional Director, Salina, Kansas

National Ecological Sites Team

  • Joel Brown, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Michael Kucera, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Curtis Talbot, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Forester – vacant