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OHIO TO CELEBRATE COMPLETION OF SOIL SURVEY

 OHIO TO CELEBRATE COMPLETION OF SOIL SURVEY
 COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- It has hundreds of legs and


has walked through every Ohio county during the last 93 years. It's poked millions of holes in cropland, pastures, forests and vacant lots. It's helped improve crop yields and alerted planners and developers to unseen dangers. But chances are you've never heard of it, much less seen it.
 No, "it" is not a pesky groundhog. "It" is the Ohio Soil Survey, and on Sept. 22, federal, state and local officials will join more than 100 pedologists (professional soil scientists) to commemorate the completion of the state's detailed soil inventory. The ceremony, which will take place during the first day of activities at the Farm Science Review near London, Ohio, will also open the door to new opportunities in land use and environmental planning that the first soil mappers could never have imagined.
 The program, dubbed the "Threshold Acre Celebration", is being hosted by the Association of Ohio Pedologists. Bill Richards, chief of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, will deliver the keynote address.
 The Ohio Soil Survey is part of a national program to identify and map the thousands of types of soil in the United States. Through the survey, detailed soil information is made available to farmers, engineers, developers, students and anyone else interested in understanding the physical and chemical properties of soils and their potentials or limitations for various uses. Ohio is one of only 13 states to have a completed soil survey.
 In Ohio, soil scientists from the Ohio Department of Natural Resource's Division of Soil and Water Conservation, USDA Soil Conservation Service, The Ohio State University and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center gather and analyze soil data for each county. Soil scientists study samples and classify soils an acre at a time, walking thousands of miles during a career.
 The first soil survey was conducted in 1899 in Montgomery County by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1915 the Reconnaissance Soil Survey of Ohio was published, identifying 26 basic kinds of soil in the state. These and other older soil surveys have been updated since the 1950s, when the Ohio Soil Survey was accelerated, and today soil scientists recognize about 450 soils in Ohio. A major advance in the usefulness of soil surveys arrived with the Soil Survey for Fairfield County, completed in 1951. This was the first survey to feature soils delineated on aerial photographs.
 Initially soil surveys dealt almost exclusively with agricultural management guidelines and crop yield estimates. Soil surveys now feature a wealth of information in addition to current crop production technology. Because soil provides the basic foundation for roads, buildings and most other structures, modern soil surveys contain tables detailing engineering interpretations and properties of soils. Soil surveys provide estimates on the degree and nature of soil limitations for land use planning, including flooding, seasonal high water table, slope and depth to bedrock. They also contain information on the suitability of soils for woodland and wildlife habitat.
 Today, detailed soil information is available for all 88 Ohio counties through local soil and water conservation district and Soil Conservation Service offices. Soil maps are also being computerized by the Ohio Capability Analysis Program (OCAP)(within the Division of Soil and Water Conservation). Soils data can then be combined with information about land use and land cover, groundwater, bedrock geology, sensitive natural areas, political subdivision or other mapped information to characterize the suitability of the land for a variety of uses, even before an on-site evaluation is made. Converting soil information to OCAP and other geographic information systems is one of the ways that soil scientists are providing updated resource information for easier utilization by Ohio residents.
 -0- 9/15/92
 /CONTACT: Nelson Strong, Soil & Water Conservation, 614-265-6779 or Mary Hayes, media relations, 614-265-6886, both of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources/ CO: Ohio Department of Natural Resources ST: Ohio IN: SU:


LC -- CL008 -- 9499 09/15/92 09:38 EDT
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Date:Sep 15, 1992
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