Skip Navigation

Technical Soil Services

technical soil

What are technical soil services?

  • Technical soil services (TSS) are the professional application of soils information.
  • The Technical Soil Services branch of NRCS provides free assistance to partner agencies; public and private, for-profit and non-profit organizations; and the general public.

What does TSS do for NRCS and LWCDs?

  • We support conservation planning through compliance determinations and reviews (both HEL and wetlands).
  • We support other agency programs and initiatives, including NRI, ecological site development, and soil health investigations.
  • We conduct onsite assessments for resource inventories, practice designs, and practice implementation.
  • We conduct field and area office quality assurance reviews.
  • We maintain official reference documents, such as the relevant sections of the eFOTG.

What else does TSS do?

  • We provide general soils-related information in person, on the phone, by social media, and by email.
  • We provide soils-related training to partner agencies and organizations.
  • We provide support for youth education through soil judging, land judging, conservation awareness contests, and Envirothons.
  • We work with you to identify and obtain the soils information you need to address your specific concerns.
  • We help you find and use NRCS tools and information resources, such as Web Soil Survey and Soil Data Access.
  • We work with you on unique projects that required custom analysis of soil data and information.

How do I get help with TSS?

  • Contact your State Soil Scientist.
  • A State Soil Scientist is assigned to every State.
  • Some States also have an Assistant State Soil Scientist.
  • Contact a resource soil scientist.
  • They are located in national, regional, area, and field offices.
  • Approximately 75 resource soil scientists provide fulltime TSS support.
  • Contact a Soil Science Division staff soil scientist.
  • They are located in 12 regional offices and 124 soil survey offices nationwide.
  • Approximately 350 soil scientists spend an average of 15% of their time providing TSS.

Wisconsin Technical Soil Service Priorities (Top 5)

1. Provide Soil Information to internal/external customers
2. Site-Specific Soils Investigations
3. Site-Specific Soils Investigations for Waste Storage Facility
4. Ecological Sites – Data collection and analysis;
review descriptions
5. Soil Training Course for Field Offices and Partners


Types of Technical Soil Assistance

Types of Technical Soil Assistance

Area wide knowledge of Soils to assist in Easement sites

Assistance on resolving wetland issues relating to Department of Natural Resources permits for crossings and streambank

Data collection and analyses

Determining Lateral Effects for Wetlands for Engineering

Developing Soil Criteria for Conservation Planning (Resource Concern)

Developing soil criteria to use in ranking applications

Developing workload analysis and business plans

Ecological Sites – data collection and analyses; review descriptions

Farmland Policy Protection Act, LESA

GIS (creating maps, performing analyses)

GIS/GPS (creating maps, performing analyses, verifying easement boundaries)

HEL and wetland compliance


Hydric soils list

Important farmlands identification

Important Farmlands list

Liaison to other Federal, State, Local, or non-governmental agencies

Maintain eFOTG

Maintaining soil databases for Planning and Programs (RUSLE2, initiatives)

Outreach (preparing/presenting informational or technical materials, Envirothon, Land  Judging)

Product publications (fact sheets, summary reports)

Program Management and Support

Program Management and Support (organizing annual work planning conference, developing business plan, reviewing/approving MLRA Soil Survey Office projects)

Program Management and Support (preparing reports, drafting bulletins, supervision, performance plans and reviews, recruiting/hiring)

Provide input for ranking

Provide input for restoration planning and design

Provide input for site eligibility

Provide training to field offices on Soil Quality Test kits

Providing soils information to internal and external customers

Quality Assurance Reviews (Area/Field Offices)

Receiving and presenting training

Resource inventories for conservation planning

Review and update soil rental rates

Reviewing conservation practice standards

Site-specific soil investigations

Site-specific soil investigations (Waste Storage Facility-313)

Soil Health Monitoring

Soil Interpretation Training Internal and External

Soil interpretations development

Soil survey – initial (mapping, database, compilation, field reviews)

Soil survey – update and maintenance (transects, database, spatial data edits, reviews)

Soil technology development/maintenance

Soil Training Course for Field Office and Partners

Special studies (carbon, soil quality, other characterization studies)

Wetland delineations/determinations/compliance/appeals

Wetland determinations for all of the above

 Collaboration is the Key
TSS Collaboration is the Key

TSS Sum of Instances

Note in Wisconsin, there is a large difference in national dominance of wetland workload,particularly for the Resource Soil Scientist position.

TSS Breakdown

  • A total of 4,226 instances of TSS activity were reported in FY 2016
  • A total of about 12,646 staff hours of TSS activity were reported in FY 2016

TSS National Map

Wisconsin is ranked first in the nation with hours and instances.