Monday, November 13, 2006 - 10:05 AM

Developing Soil Maps and Interpretations for Shallow-Subtidal Habitats.

Jim Turenne, USDA-NRCS, 60 Quaker Lane, Suite 46, Warwick, RI 02886

Coastal managers, resource specialists, and wetland scientists have considerable interest in subaqueous soils as they attempt make use and management decisions for shallow subtidal habitats. Examples of these subaqueous soil interpretations include siting areas for restoration of aquatic vegetation such as eelgrass, locating areas suitable for aquaculture, deciding whether an area should be dredged, the fate of the dredged materials, and the fate and transport of pollutants entering an estuary.  Making these interpretations is dependent upon having an accurate soil survey of our subaqueous soil resources. Over the past two years we have focused on developing a soil and habitat mapping protocol and  classification system for shallow (< 5m) subtidal environments. This work has been done within a partnership composed of a multi-disciplinary consortium of federal, state, and university professionals with backgrounds in pedology, coastal geology, benthic ecology, and remote sensing. The goal of MapCoast (Mapping Partnership for Coastal Soils and Sediment) is to provide soil and geologic data to the coastal community for a variety of applications. This paper will focus on the mapping protocol MapCoast has developed, the subaqueous soil survey of a coastal lagoon in Rhode Island, and the building of soil interpretations for providing the data requested and needed by the coastal community.