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Table of Contents (NSSH)

Note: Unlisted Parts are Reserved.

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Part 600 – Introduction
Part 601 – National Cooperative Soil Survey Organization
Part 602 – Conferences of the National Cooperative Soil Survey
Part 606 – Working Agreements
Part 607 – Initial Survey Preparation
Part 608 – Program Management
Part 609 – Quality Control, Quality Assurance, and Soil Correlation
Part 610 – Updating Soil Surveys
Part 614 – Applying Soil Taxonomy
Part 617 – Soil Survey Interpretations
Part 618 – Soil Properties and Qualities
Part 621 – Soil Potential Ratings
Part 622 – Interpretative Groups
Part 624 – Soil Quality
Part 627 – Legend Development and Data Collection
Part 629 – Glossary of Landform and Geologic Terms
Part 630 – Benchmark Soils
Part 631 – Soil Survey Investigations
Part 638 – Soil Data Systems
Part 639 – National Soil Information System (NASIS)
Part 644 – Delivering Soil Survey Information
Part 647 – Soil Map Development
Part 648 – Digital Soil Mapping - Raster Products
Part 649 – Land Resource Areas
Part 651 – Advance Soil Survey Information
Part 655 – Technical Soil Services

Parts 600 to 604 – General

Part 600 – Introduction

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 600.0  The Mission of the Soil Science Division, Natural Resources Conservation Service
    • 600.1  Purpose
    • 600.2  National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) Standards
    • 600.3  Principal References and Their Maintenance
    • 600.4  Conventions and Terminology
    • 600.5  Standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 600.10  List of Technical References
    • 600.11  Tracking Flowchart for NSSH Amendments (After Figure 503-D2: Workflow for National-Level Directives Approval in Title 120, National Directives Management Manual, 2017)

Part 601 – National Cooperative Soil Survey Organization

Part 602 – Conferences of the National Cooperative Soil Survey

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 602.0  Definition
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 602.10  Bylaws of the National Cooperative Soil Survey Conference
    • 602.11  Bylaws of the Western Regional Cooperative Soil Survey Conference (Updated June 2012)
    • 602.12  Bylaws of the Northeast Cooperative Soil Survey Conference (Revised June 2012)
    • 602.13  Bylaws of the North Central Regional Soil Survey Conference (Revised June 7, 2012)
    • 602.14  Bylaws of the Southern Regional Cooperative Soil Survey Conference
    • 602.15  Conducting NCSS Conferences

Parts 605 to 612 – Operations And Management

Part 606 – Working Agreements

Part 607 – Initial Survey Preparation

Part 608 – Program Management

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 608.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 608.1  Responsibilities and Organization
    • 608.2  Soil Survey Area Designation
    • 608.3  Areas of Limited Access, Denied Access Areas, and Areas Not Completed
    • 608.4  Determining Workloads
    • 608.5  Priorities for Soil Survey Activities
    • 608.6  Planning Workflow
    • 608.7  Goals and Progress
    • 608.8  Developing Other Schedules for Soil Survey Operations
    • 608.9  Status Maps
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 608.10  Long-Range Plan for Initial Soil Surveys

Part 609 – Quality Control, Quality Assurance, and Soil Correlation

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 609.0  Definition and Purpose of Quality Control and Quality Assurance
    • 609.1  Policy and Responsibilities for Quality Control and Quality Assurance
    • 609.2  Soil Correlation
    • 609.3  Seamless Soil Survey
    • 609.4  Quality Control Reviews
    • 609.5  Quality Assurance Reviews
    • 609.6  Field Assistance Visits
    • 609.7  Final Soil Survey Field Activities for Initial Soil Survey Projects
    • 609.8  General Soil Maps, Index Maps, and Location Maps
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 609.10  Format for Correlation Document
    • 609.11  List of Soil Property or Quality Attributes for Joining
    • 609.12  Quality Control Template for Initial Soil Surveys (subject to change to reflect local conditions)
    • 609.13  Outline of Items Considered in an Operations Management Review or Program Operations Review for Soil Survey
    • 609.14  Initial Field Review Checklist for Initial Soil Surveys
    • 609.15  Quality Assurance Worksheet for Initial Soil Surveys (subject to change by the SSRs to reflect local conditions)
    • 609.16  Progress Field Review Checklist for Initial Soil Surveys
    • 609.17  Final Field Review Checklist for Initial Soil Surveys
    • 609.18  Project Review Checklist for MLRA Soil Surveys
    • 609.19  Quality Assurance Worksheet for MLRA Soil Surveys (subject to change by the SSRs to reflect local conditions)

Part 610 – Updating Soil Surveys

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 610.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 610.1  Policy and Responsibilities
    • 610.2  Inventory and Assessment
    • 610.3  Update Strategies
    • 610.4  Project Plan
    • 610.5  Prioritizing and Ranking
    • 610.6  Long-Range Plan
    • 610.7  Annual Plan of Operation (APO)
    • 610.8  Certification of Soils Data
    • 610.9  Publication of Soils Data
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 610.10  Agency Resources Concerns
    • 610.11  Information Items for the Inventory and Assessment
    • 610.12  Resources for the Inventory and Assessment
    • 610.13  Sample Project Evaluation Worksheet
    • 610.14  Project Plan Checklist
    • 610.15  Example of a Project Evaluation Ranking Procedure
    • 610.16  Project Description Examples

Parts 613 to 616 – Soil Classification

Part 614 – Applying Soil Taxonomy

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 614.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 614.1  Policy and Responsibilities
    • 614.2  National Soil Classification System
    • 614.3  Use of the National Soil Classification System in Soil Surveys
    • 614.4  Soil Taxonomy Committees, Work Groups, and Referees
    • 614.5  Procedures for Amending Soil Taxonomy
    • 614.6  The Soil Series
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 614.10  Flow Chart of Amendment Process
    • 614.11  Example of an Official Soil Series Description in HTML
    • 614.12  Explanation and Content of a Soil Series Description
    • 614.13  Rounding Numbers from Laboratory Data
    • 614.14  Significant Digits for Soil Property or Quality Measurements Used as Criteria in Soil Taxonomy

Part 615 – Amendments To Soil Taxonomy
 

Parts 617 to 625 – Soil Interpretations

Part 617 – Soil Survey Interpretations

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 617.0    Purpose
    • 617.1    Responsibilities
    • 617.2    Interpretations for Map Unit Components and Map Units
    • 617.3    Developing and Maintaining Interpretation Guides and Ratings
    • 617.4    Reviewing and Implementing Soil Interpretative Technologies
    • 617.5    The National Soil Information System
    • 617.6    Presenting Soil Interpretations
    • 617.7    Updating Soil Interpretations
    • 617.8    Coordinating Soil Survey Interpretations
    • 617.9    Writing Soil Interpretation Criteria
    • 617.10  Documenting Soil Interpretation Criteria
    • 617.11  Requirements for Naming Reports and Interpretations
    • 617.12  Interpretation Overrides
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 617.20  Example of Descriptions for Documenting Interpretations

Part 618 – Soil Properties and Qualities

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 618.0    Definition and Purpose
    • 618.1    Responsibilities
    • 618.2    Collecting, Testing, and Populating Soil Property Data
    • 618.3    Soil Properties and Soil Qualities
    • 618.4    Albedo, Dry
    • 618.5    Artifacts in the Soil
    • 618.6    Available Water Capacity
    • 618.7    Bulk Density, One-Third Bar
    • 618.8    Bulk Density, Oven Dry
    • 618.9    Bulk Density, Satiated
    • 618.10  Calcium Carbonate Equivalent
    • 618.11  Cation-Exchange Capacity NH4OAc pH 7
    • 618.12  Climatic Setting
    • 618.13  Continuous Inundation Class, Depth, and Month
    • 618.14  Corrosion
    • 618.15  Crop Name and Yield
    • 618.16  Diagnostic Horizon Feature – Depth to Bottom
    • 618.17  Diagnostic Horizon Feature – Depth to Top
    • 618.18  Diagnostic Horizon Feature – Kind
    • 618.19  Drainage Class
    • 618.20  Effective Cation-Exchange Capacity
    • 618.21  Electrical Conductivity
    • 618.22  Electrical Conductivity 1:5 (volume)
    • 618.23  Elevation
    • 618.24  Engineering Classification
    • 618.25  Erosion Accelerated, Kind
    • 618.26  Erosion Class
    • 618.27  Excavation Difficulty Classes
    • 618.28  Exchangeable Sodium
    • 618.29  Extractable Acidity
    • 618.30  Extractable Aluminum
    • 618.31  Flooding Frequency Class, Duration Class, Inundation Type, and Month
    • 618.32  Fragments in the Soil
    • 618.33  Free Iron Oxides
    • 618.34  Frost Action, Potential
    • 618.35  Gypsum
    • 618.36  Horizon Depth to Bottom
    • 618.37  Horizon Depth to Top
    • 618.38  Horizon Designation
    • 618.39  Horizon Thickness
    • 618.40  Hydrologic Group
    • 618.41  Landscape, Landform, Microfeature, Anthroscape, Anthropogenic Landform, and Anthropogenic Microfeature
    • 618.42  Linear Extensibility Percent
    • 618.43  Liquid Limit
    • 618.44  Organic Matter
    • 618.45  Parent Material, Kind, Modifier, and Origin
    • 618.46  Particle Density
    • 618.47  Particle Size
    • 618.48  Percent Passing Sieves
    • 618.49  Plasticity Index
    • 618.50  Ponding Depth, Duration Class, Frequency Class, and Month
    • 618.51  Pores
    • 618.52  Reaction, Soil (pH)
    • 618.53  Restriction Kind, Depth, Thickness, and Hardness
    • 618.54  Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity
    • 618.55  Slope Aspect
    • 618.56  Slope Gradient
    • 618.57  Slope Length, USLE
    • 618.58  Sodium Adsorption Ratio
    • 618.59  Soil Erodibility Factors, USLE, RUSLE2
    • 618.60  Soil Erodibility Factors for WEPP
    • 618.61  Soil Moisture Status
    • 618.62  Soil Slippage Potential
    • 618.63  Soil Temperature
    • 618.64  Subsidence, Initial and Total
    • 618.65  Sum of Bases
    • 618.66  Surface Fragments
    • 618.67  T Factor
    • 618.68  Taxonomic Family Temperature Class
    • 618.69  Taxonomic Moisture Class
    • 618.70  Taxonomic Moisture Subclass (Subclasses of Soil Moisture Regimes)
    • 618.71  Taxonomic Temperature Regime (Soil Temperature Regimes)
    • 618.72  Texture Class, Texture Modifier, and Terms Used in Lieu of Texture
    • 618.73  Von Post Humification Scale
    • 618.74  Water, One-Tenth Bar
    • 618.75  Water, One-Third Bar
    • 618.76  Water, 15 Bar
    • 618.77  Water, Satiated
    • 618.78  Water Temperature
    • 618.79  Wind Erodibility Group and Index
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 618.80    Guides for Estimating Risk of Corrosion Potential for Uncoated Steel
    • 618.81    Guide for Estimating Risk of Corrosion Potential for Concrete
    • 618.82    Crop Names and Units of Measure
    • 618.83    Classification of Soils and Soil-Aggregate Mixtures for the AASHTO System
    • 618.84    Potential Frost Action
    • 618.85    Distribution of Design Freezing Index Values in the Continental United States
    • 618.86    Estimating LL and PI from Percent and Type of Clay
    • 618.87    Texture Triangle and Particle-Size Limits of AASHTO, USDA, and Unified Classification Systems
    • 618.88    Guide for Estimating Ksat from Soil Properties
    • 618.89    Guide to Estimating Water Movement Through Bedrock for Layers Designated as R and Cr
    • 618.90    Rock Fragment Modifier of Texture
    • 618.91    Soil Erodibility Nomograph
    • 618.92    Kw Value Associated With Various Fragment Contents
    • 618.93    General Guidelines for Assigning Soil Loss Tolerance “T”
    • 618.94    Texture Class, Texture Modifier, and Terms Used in Lieu of Texture
    • 618.95    Wind Erodibility Groups (WEG) and Index
    • 618.96    Key Landforms and Their Susceptibility to Slippage
    • 618.97    Example Worksheets for Soil Moisture State by Month and Depth
    • 618.98    NASIS Calculation for Estimating AASHTO Group Index
    • 618.99    NASIS Calculation for Estimating Cation-Exchange Capacity
    • 618.100  NASIS Calculation for Estimating Effective Cation-Exchange Capacity
    • 618.101  NASIS Calculation for Estimating Extractable Acidity
    • 618.102  NASIS Calculation for Estimating Liquid Limit and Plasticity Index
    • 618.103  NASIS Calculation for Estimating Particle Size
    • 618.104  NASIS Calculation for Estimating Rock Fragments and Percent Passing Sieves
    • 618.105  NASIS Calculation for Estimating Water Content Data
    • 618.106  References

Part 621 – Soil Potential Ratings

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 621.0    Definition and Purpose
    • 621.1    Responsibilities
    • 621.2    General
    • 621.3    Developing Soil Potential Ratings
    • 621.4    Steps in Preparing Soil Potential Ratings
    • 621.5    Collecting Data
    • 621.6    Definition of Soil Potential Classes
    • 621.7    Soil Potential Index Concept
    • 621.8    Procedures for Preparing Soil Potential Ratings
    • 621.9    Defining Soil Use, Performance Standards, and Criteria for Evaluation
    • 621.10  Terminology for Limitations and Corrective Measures
    • 621.11  Format for Presenting Soil Potential Ratings
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 621.12  Analysis of Preparations and Procedures for Soil Potential Ratings
    • 621.13  Soil Potential Ratings for Forest Land (Beta County)
    • 621.14  Soil Potential for Dwellings Without Basements
    • 621.15  List of Corrective Measures and Cost
    • 621.16  Reserved (Worksheet for Preparing Soil Potential Ratings)
    • 621.17  Explanation of Worksheets for Preparing Soil Potential Ratings for Forest Land (Beta County)
    • 621.18  Reserved (Worksheet for Preparing Soil Potential Ratings for Forest Land (Beta County))
    • 621.19  Reserved (Worksheet for Preparing Soil Potential Ratings for Septic Tank Absorption Fields (Sigma County))
    • 621.20  Reserved (Worksheet for Preparing Soil Potential Ratings for Dwellings Without Basements (Alpha County))
    • 621.21  Explanation of Soil Potential Ratings for Maps or Reports
    • 621.22  Soil Potential Ratings for Septic Tank Absorption Fields
    • 621.23  Soil Potential Ratings for Cropland
    • 621.24  Soil Potential Ratings and Corrective Measures for Cropland, Pastureland, Forest Land, and Residential Land

Part 622 – Interpretative Groups

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 622.0    Definition and Purpose
    • 622.1    Procedures and Responsibilities
    • 622.2    Land Capability Classification
    • 622.3    Farmland Classification
    • 622.4    Highly Erodible Land – Highly Erodible Soil Map Unit List
    • 622.5    Hydric Soils
    • 622.6    Ecological Sites
    • 622.7    Windbreaks
    • 622.8    Wildlife Habitat
    • 622.9    Plant Name, Common
    • 622.10  Plant Name, Scientific
    • 622.11  Ecological Site ID
    • 622.12  Ecological Site Name
    • 622.13  Earth Cover, Kind
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 622.20  Prime and Unique Farmlands
    • 622.21  Example of Soil Properties and Qualities Used to Assign Land Capability Classes
    • 622.22  Guide for Assigning Land Capability Classes to All Map Unit Components in California
    • 622.23  Guides for Assigning Land Capability Subclasses to Soil Map Unit Components in California
    • 622.24  Guide for Assigning Land Capability Units to Soil Map Unit Components in California
    • 622.25  Guide for Assigning Land Capability Classes to All Map Unit Components in Indiana
    • 622.26  Guide for Assigning Land Capability Subclasses to Soil Map Unit Components in Indiana

Part 624 – Soil Quality

Parts 626 to 636 – Soil Survey Field Procedures

Part 627 – Legend Development and Data Collection

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 627.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 627.1  Policy and Responsibilities
    • 627.2  Field Studies for Legend Development
    • 627.3  Map Units of Soil Surveys
    • 627.4  Map Unit Components
    • 627.5  Terms Used in Naming Map Units
    • 627.6  Phases Used to Name Soil Map Units
    • 627.7  Soil Performance Data Collection
    • 627.8  Documentation
    • 627.9  Ecological Site and Soil Correlation Procedures
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 627.10  Miscellaneous Areas
    • 627.11  Example of Form NRCS-SOI-1, “Soil Crop Yield Data”
    • 627.12  Instructions for Completing Form NRCS-SOI-1, “Soil Crop Yield Data”
    • 627.13  Identification Legend of Map Unit Symbols and Names
    • 627.14  Form NRCS-SOI-37A, “Feature and Symbol Legend for Soil Survey”
    • 627.15  Ecological Site and Soil Correlation Checklist
    • 627.16  Ecological Site Checklist
    • 627.17  Matrix of Investigation Intensity of Soil Surveys and Documentation 

Part 629 – Glossary Of Landform and Geologic Terms

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 629.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 629.1  Responsibilities
    • 629.2  Definitions
    • 629.3  References
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 629.10  Lists of Landscape, Landform, Microfeature, and Anthropogenic Feature Terms Contained in the Glossary
    • 629.11  List of Materials or Material-Related, Structure, or Morphological-Feature Terms Contained in the Glossary
    • 629.12  Genesis-Process Terms and Geologic Time Terms Contained in the Glossary
    • 629.13  North American Glacial Episodes and General Geologic Time Scale
    • 629.14  Till Terms
    • 629.15  Pyroclastic Terms

Part 630 – Benchmark Soils

Part 631 – Soil Survey Investigations

Parts 637 to 643 – Soil Survey Information Systems

Part 638 – Soil Data Systems

  • General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 638.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 638.1  Procedures and Responsibilities
    • 638.2  Components of the National Soil Information System
    • 638.3  Managing Soil Spatial and Tabular Databases
    • 638.4  Soil Survey Goals and Progress
    • 638.5  Distribution of Soils Data

Part 639 – National Soil Information System (NASIS)

Parts 644 to 646 – Soil Survey Publications

Part 644 – Delivering Soil Survey Information

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 644.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 644.1  Types of Soil Survey Delivery
    • 644.2  Policy and Responsibilities
    • 644.3  Soil Survey Products
    • 644.4  Development of Point Data
    • 644.5  Development of Detailed Soil Survey Information
    • 644.6  Development of a Complete Soil Survey Publication
    • 644.7  Development of the U.S. General Soil Map
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 644.10  Sections of a Soil Survey Publication
    • 644.11  Record Sheet for Collating State Orders for Published Soil Surveys
    • 644.12  Example of Letter to Senator – Notification of Availability of Soil Survey

Parts 647 to 650 – Soil Maps

Part 647 – Soil Map Development

  • Subpart A – General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 647.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 647.1  Procedures and Responsibilities
    • 647.2  Imagery
    • 647.3  SSURGO Characteristics
    • 647.4  Data Capture Specifications
    • 647.5  Archiving
    • 647.6  Digital Map Finishing and Print-on-Demand Maps
  • Subpart B – Exhibits (link to eDirectives)
    • 647.10  Soil Survey Geographic Data Certification
    • 647.11  Digital Map Finishing and Print-on-Demand Maps Flowchart
    • 647.12  Digital Map Finishing and Print-on-Demand Maps Specifications
    • 647.13  Digital Map Finishing Checklist
    • 647.14  Digital Map Finishing Certification
    • 647.15  Glossary
    • 647.16  SSURGO Metadata Template

Part 648 – Digital Soil Mapping - Raster Products

Part 649 – Land Resource Areas

Parts 651 to 659 – Information Delivery

Part 651 – Advance Soil Survey Information

  • General Information (link to eDirectives)
    • 651.0  Definition and Purpose
    • 651.1  Policy and Responsibilities
    • 651.2  General
    • 651.3  Restrictions
    • 651.4  Providing Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and Review
    • 651.5  Labeling of Advance Soil Survey Information

Part 655 – Technical Soil Services