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Engineering geology is the discipline of applied geology. Geology forms the foundation of the design and construction of most NRCS structures. Engineering geology applies geologic data, techniques, and principles to the study of naturally-occurring rock and soil materials, as well as groundwater. Careful evaluation of these geologic factors is necessary because they can affect the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of engineering structures. It is important to recognize, adequately interpret, and present these conditions for use in engineering practice.

Engineering geologists coordinate as interdisciplinary partners with all engineering disciplines, as well as landscape architecture. They provide professional technical reviews of geologic aspects of engineering projects involving earthen and concrete designs.  Geologists participate on ad-hoc engineering teams that conduct special investigations or studies of engineering problems; and provide expertise in the development, revision, and implementation of National engineering and geology directives and NRCS conservation practice standards.

NRCS Policy and Guidance Documents

National Engineering Manual - Title 210 - Part 531 - Geology

  • 531.0 Purpose
  • 531.1 Definitions
  • 531.2 Responsibilities
  • 531.3 Levels of Geologic Investigations
  • 531.4 Requirements for All Geologic Investigations
  • 531.5 Classification and Logging of Soil and Rock
  • 531.6 Requirements for Group A Structures Designed with Vegetated and Earth Auxiliary Spillways
  • 531.7 Geologic Reports
  • 531.8 Geologic Information Provided to Potential Construction Contractors

National Engineering Handbook

National Engineering Handbook - Part 628 - Dams

National Engineering Handbook – Part 631 – Geology

National Engineering Handbook - Part 650 - Engineering Field Handbook

National Engineering Handbook - Part 651 - Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook

Technical Notes