Multistate Research Project Conducts Critical Wetlands Soil Research

2015 is International Year of Soils

Dec 30, 2015, 09:15 ET from Agriculture is America

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Soil scientists from 10 land-grant institutions are working across state lines to improve soil identification and soil resource management through extensive research on soil hydrology – the movement, distribution, and quality of water among soils. The data collected by Multistate Research Project NE-1038 Hydromorphic Soils (NE-1038) has been used widely by federal, state, and local stakeholders.

"Comprehensive data about wetlands soils, from their physical composition to their chemical characteristics, is crucial for wetlands management and restoration, environmental stewardship, and responsible infrastructure planning," said Jon Wraith, Administrative Advisor for the project, Dean of the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, and Director of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station.

NE-1038 scientists measure soil characteristics and observe landscape position and behavior to properly identify soil types and their management implications. NE-1038 scientists analyze three types of soil: hydromorphic soils; hydric soils (soils that are permanently or seasonally saturated by water); and subaqueous soils (soils that form in the presence of excess water and are permanently submerged).

"At work sites across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, NE-1038 researchers investigated the impacts of human practices like aquaculture and fracking on wetland soil hydrology and how soil conditions affect the amount of carbon that can be stored by wetlands. This work, in particular, helps us assess the impacts of global warming on coastal communities," said Wraith.

The information gathered by NE-1038 has benefitted a range of organizations including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Army Corps of Engineers, and Environmental Protection Agency. The group has also played an important role in educating and training soil scientists, land and resource managers, and regulatory agency personnel to better monitor soil and hydrologic changes and to appropriately comply with regulatory policies.

NE-1038 was supported in part through funding from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Although NE-1038 ended, members are working on a new multistate research project focused on vernal pools and their role in the ecosystem.

 To learn more about NE-1038, please click here. The 10 participating land-grant institutions include:

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