Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Site Specific Soil Mapping Standards for New Hampshire and Vermont.

Katherine Swain, USDA-NRCS, 10 Ferry St, Box 312, Concord, NH 03301

Site-specific soil mapping standards were developed by the Society of Soil Scientists of Northern New England (SSSNNE) in the mid 1990’s.  The impetus for the standards was the high rate of development and land-use pressure in Southern New Hampshire, the recognized need to protect the consumer from construction in inappropriate areas and to protect the environment from unnecessary harm. The membership of SSSNNE desired site specific standards that would meet the standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey because:  1)  New Hampshire had been using locally developed high intensity soil mapping standards for many years that were developed specifically for the siting of wastewater treatment systems.  The SSSNNE was interested in standards that would develop a multipurpose product.  2)  NCSS mapping standards use the taxonomic system of soil classification providing a strong science base for the product being developed.  3)  The common knowledge that NCSS standards are perhaps the most highly recognized and universally accepted soil mapping standards in the country which would add more public acceptance of the map product.  4) New Hampshire already had a soil scientist certification program and required certification before an individual can practice soil science in the state, therefore the soil science community had an oversight, or “policing” system that would provide a level of quality assurance for the soil map products produced under the standards of the NCSS. These are not the standards of the NCSS per se; rather, they are New Hampshire and Vermont Standards that are in conformance to the standards and guidelines of the NCSS and are endorsed by the National Cooperative Soil Survey.