Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 8:30 AM

Soil Survey Investigation.

Warren C. Lynn and Wiley Nettleton. USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2820 Leonard St, Lincoln, NE 68508

The Soil Survey Investigations Division (USDA SCS) formed in 1952 with Dr. Guy D. Smith as Director.  Dr. Robert V. Ruhe headed field Soil-Geomorphology Investigations.  Dr. Lyle T. Alexander headed field soil sampling and generation of analytical analyses in support of the soil survey mapping program.  In the reorganization, Dr. Guy D. Smith was given staff leadership in development of a new classification system, later called Soil Taxonomy.  In developing the system, he drew heavily on research carried out by the laboratoies and that by university colleagues and those  overseas, particularly in Ghent, Belgium.

Four Soil-Geomorphology projects were established:  1) Eastern Iowa on the Iowan Erosion Surface, Bob Ruhe; 2) Desert Project in southern New. Mexico, Leland Gile and John Hawley; 3) Atlantic Coastal Plain Project in eastern North Carolina, Ray Daniels, Erling Gambel, and Dennis Nettleton; 4)  Wilamette Valley in Oregon, Roger Parsons and C. A. Balstar

Dr. Lyle T. Alexander headed operations of Soil Survey Laboratories in Beltsville MD; Lincoln NE, Robert Grossman; and Riverside CA, Klaus Flach; that provided soil sampling and analytical support for Soil Survey Field Parties.  Laboratory projects were engaged jointly with the Land-Grant University faculty representative.  The 3 laboratories combined in 1975 to form the National Soil Survey Lab (NSSL) in Lincoln, NE.  The major tasks were soil characterization to support accelerated soil mapping and revision of the water and wind erosion models.  The eruption of Mt. St. Helens produced a unique opportunity to examine volcanic ash, its aerial distribution, and its composition.  With help from USAID soils in several were sampled countries to be analyzed and classified at NSSL.   Soil Taxonomy was promoted as a common communication tool.