Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dynamic Soil Properties and the Soil Survey - Pilot Project in Arches National Park, 2005.

Cathy Scott1, Arlene J. Tugel1, Dana Truman1, Judy P. Ward2, Vic Parslow1, Pete Biggam3, Brendan Fitzsimons1, and Cathy Seybold4. (1) NRCS, 340 N 600 E, Richfield, UT 84701-2258, (2) New Mexico State Univ, MSC 3JER NMSU, Las Cruces, NM 88003-0000, (3) USDI-National Park Service, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225-0287, (4) NRCS-NSSC, 100 Centennial Mall N., Rm 152, Lincoln, NE 68508

Dynamic soil properties have recently garnered increased attention by the producers and users of soil survey data. Information on near-surface properties, along with vegetation characteristics, can provide soil survey users with important tools for management. Protocols to measure these dynamic soil properties, and to interpret the results, are inadequately addressed in standard soil survey procedures;  therefore, there is a need to define such protocols for use in future soil inventories of the national parks and other soil surveys.  A pilot study for the collection of dynamic soil properties was conducted in Arches National Park, Utah, in 2005. In addition to providing the park with information to evaluate and manage visitor impact on soils, the pilot study provided an opportunity to test and refine sampling procedures.  The sampling was conducted on Begay soils under two plant communities of the Semidesert Sandy Loam (fourwing saltbush) ecological site - a mixed perennial grass/shrub community (PG-S), and a cheatgrass-invaded community (AG) in Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) 35.  Vegetation properties sampled included herbaceous production, basal and canopy cover;  and basal and canopy gap sizes.  Soil properties sampled included field soil aggregate stability, bulk density, penetration resistance, carbon fractions and CaCO3% for multiple depth intervals.  A summary of the sampling procedures used, and an evaluation of those procedures, will be presented.