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NTCHS Annual Meeting Minutes (2/08)

February 25-26, 2008
Virginia Beach, Virginia

DRAFT Meeting Minutes

Members Present: Chris Noble (COE), Steve Monteith (Mississippi, NRCS), Lenore Vasilas (DC, NRCS), Ralph Spagnolo (EPA), Wade Hurt (University of Florida), Mike Vepraskas (North Carolina State University), Richard Griffin (Prairie View A&M University), and Chair, Karl Hipple (NSSC, NRCS).

Members Absent: Randy Davis (FS), Bill Ypsilantis (BLM), Chien-Lu Ping (University of Alaska), Wayne Skaggs (North Carolina State University), Dave Zuberer (Texas A&M University), Ed Blake (Nevada, NRCS), Randy Dahlgren (University of California-Davis), Jimmie Richardson, and Jim Dick (USFWS).

Resource Personnel Present: Chris Smith (DC, NRCS; full-time), Harold Jones (Consultant Wetland Scientist, Virginia; part-time), and Mark Stolt (University of Rhode Island; part-time).

Meeting was called to order by Hipple at 7:40 am on Wednesday, February 26. After introductions, Hipple distributed a copy of agenda items for this meeting and requested comments on the draft minutes of the previous meeting. Members suggested no corrections. A motion for approval of the draft minutes was made by Noble and seconded by Griffin. The motion passed.

Old Business – Spagnolo and Vasilas led a discussion concerning a report of use of NTCHS hydric soil indicators in COE’s Arid West Region. The report was discussed at length by NTCHS members. NTCHS members are to review the report and provide Hipple specific written comments within two weeks.

Action Item 1. Based on comments provided to Hipple, he will submit a formal response from NTCHS to COE and report authors.

Scheduled Item – Stolt provided an overview of the history of the development Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in New England and the history of the activities of the New England Hydric Soil Technical Committee. He outlined:

  1. Six proposed field indicators for use in LRR R and MLRA 149B of LRR S that are currently used in New England to identify hydric soils.
  2. Two proposed field indicators for use in specific MLRAs and one proposed field indicator for use in LRR R and MLRA 149B of LRR S to identify hydric soils.
  3. One proposed test field indicator.

Old Business – No response from D’Amore on last year’s request for additional information regarding the new indicators that USFS AK are proposing. No action taken.

Old Business – Vepraskas presented a listing of nine individuals as possible replacements for exiting University representatives on the NTCHS prepared by Randy Dahlgren and indicated he had narrowed the list to three individuals whose names would be forwarded to present Institutional representatives on the NTCHS for their final selection. Dahlgren will provide name to Chris Smith, incoming chair, by June 1, 2008, so that the new member can be recognized and invited to next year’s meeting.

Old Business – Vepraskas presented a status report of Hydric Saturation evaluation in Vertisols. Work is progressing satisfactorily and a completion date of December, 2008, is expected.

New Business

Hipple led a discussion concerning the proposed New England Indicators. Data supporting none of the proposed indicators were presented. Hipple will provide a written response to the New England Hydric Soils Technical Committee with the requirements for approval of the newly proposed indicators. The NTCHS took no further action.

Noble provided an update of COE manual Regionalization efforts. Status is as follows:

  • Alaska
    • Version 2.0 published & implemented in October 2007
  • Arid West
    • “Interim” version implemented in January 2007
  • Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast
    • Interim version will be published in March 2008
  • Great Plains
    • Interim version will be published in March 2008
  • Midwest
    • Peer & public reviews complete; completing field testing
  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain
    • Peer & public reviews complete; completing field testing
  • Caribbean Islands
    • Second working group meeting 26-27 March 2008
  • North Central and Northeast
    • Second working group meeting 15-17 April 2008

The NTCHS will receive the Regional Supplement documents for the Caribbean Islands and the North Central and Northeast in the next month with a formal request for technical review and comment.

Noble led a discussion concerning the EPA’s Arid West report of testing of NTCHS’ hydric soil indicators. Concern was expressed by NTCHS members concerning the use of undefined terms (such as the soil texture silty sand) and other parts of the sampling point data sheets. Vasilas will provide Hipple a summary of these concerns and Hipple will take appropriate action (see Action Item 1 above).

Noble stated he has similar concerns with the Great Plains study tests as with the Arid West study.

Hurt presented hydric soil criteria issues and concerns report from Oregon NRCS. Main concerns were growing season and criteria 2.

Griffin moved that the NTCHS change its growing season from June-August to May-August. Noble seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Griffin moved that Vitrandic and Andic Subgroups be added to Hydric Soil Criteria 2. Noble seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Hurt presented a hydric soil issues and concerns report from Iowa NRCS. Main concerns were Test Indicators in previous Versions of the hydric soil publication. These test indicators were in test status for 10 years; no data were ever provided; the NTCHS took no action.

Hurt presented a proposed amendment to Indicator F13 (Umbric Surface). Discussion included a report by Vepraskas concerning a $500,000 use of the Hydric Soil Technical Standard in Florida. Vepraskas moved that the following Test Indicator be added to Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the U.S.

TF12. Very Shallow Dark Surface. For testing in LRRs T and U. In depressions and other concave landforms, one of the following

  1. if bedrock occurs between 15 cm (6 inches) and 25 cm (10 inches), a layer at least 15 cm (6 inches) thick starting with in 10 cm (4 inches) of the soil surface with value 3 or less and chroma 1 or less, and the remaining soil to bedrock must have the same colors as above or any other color that has a chroma 2 or less.
  2. if bedrock occurs within 15 cm (6 inches), more than half of the soil thickness must value 3 or less and chroma 1 or less, and the remaining soil to bedrock must have the same colors as above or any other color that has a chroma 2 or less.

Spagnolo seconded he motion and the motion passed.

Vasilas provided members a copy of the NRCS Tech Soil Services Manual Hydric Soil Section and requested that members provide her comments by May 1, 2008.

Hipple provided members an update on the status of NRCS’ effort to obtain soil profile, indicator feature, and landform photos of each of the hydric soil indicators. Photos have been obtained in the southeast US. The Great Plains and Alaska are the next areas where photos will be obtained. John Kelley (NC, NRCS) is the photographer. Vasilas explained that the NRCS planner for 2009 which is distributed annually by NRCS and the Soil Science Society of America will have a hydric soil theme.

Vasilas referenced a Well Installation protocol document provided all members and reminded them she still needed comments. Vasilas also mentioned that the Mid-Atlantic are still working on collecting data on TF2, still working on S6, and may initiate testing on glauconitic soils. Vasilas also led a discussion on the use of field grade volt meters. It appears that the initial reading is the “best” reading. The article on the use of field-grade volt meters written by Martin Rabenhorst will be hot-linked to the NTCHS website as soon as the reference is provided to Karl Hipple.

Hipple presented proposed changes to the introductory portions of the NRCS hydric soil web pages. NTCHS members suggested a few additional changes. Hurt moved that the web pages be updated as amended. Griffin seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Hipple and Jones led a discussion concerning the Field Trip prior to the annual meeting day. Specifically mentioned were the ease of formation of indicator S6 (Vepraskas-one ponding event) and the lack of a “for use” field indicator at one obviously wet location. Hurt suggested a modification of Indicator A5 (Stratified Layers) after data have been collected. The center portion of the site has all requirements of A5 except the black or organically enriched layer.

Members had a long discussion concerning the lack of adequate soil descriptions from those testing the regionalization supplements of the COE manual and the lack of a soil scientist during testing efforts throughout the US. Hipple is to insure this concern will be presented at the Soil Survey Division Leadership meeting and the Regional Sol Survey Work Planning Conferences this year with a proposal that NRCS provide a soil scientist.

Hipple presented a letter requesting a letter of support from NTCHS for Washington State’s efforts to pass legislation concerning the state licensing of soil and wetland scientist activities within the state. Hurt moved that Vepraskas provide Hipple a draft letter. Griffin seconded the motion and the motion passed.

Vepraskas and Hipple led a discussion concerning the use of the presence of methanogens in soils as an indication that hydric soils were present at a specific site. Also discussed were the concerns of this approach addressed by Zuberer. The NTCHS decided to take no action at this time.

Next years meeting will be in New Mexico (perhaps Albuquerque or Las Cruses) during the first week of March. It will be hosted by NRCS and EPA.

Hipple introduced Chris Smith as the incoming Chair, NTCHS. Members thanked Hipple for his leadership over the last several years.

Griffin moved for adjournment, Vepraskas seconded, and the motion passed at 4:15 pm.