Through the partnership with the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Soil Resources Inventory (SRI) projects help parks secure the information needed to manage soil sustainability and to protect water quality, wetlands, vegetation communities, and wildlife habitats. The information also assists in the control of exotic species and establishment of native communities, as well as management of high-use or developed areas in the park (e.g., visitor centers, campgrounds, trails, access roads).
The key SRI products are:
- Digital maps of the park soils
- Data about the physical, chemical, and biological properties of those soils
- Information on the use and management of these soils
- Metadata describing information sources and quality
- Informational products such as a soil survey manuscript, fact sheets, and image galleries
The information is in sufficient detail for application by park managers, planners, engineers, scientists, and researchers to specific areas of concern. Although park soil resource inventories follow procedures identified by the National Cooperative Soil Survey, the specific work plans are customized by local park personnel to meet their soil resource management needs.
There are many challenges in completing a soil resource inventory on parklands, and most of our larger parks lack soil maps. Working cooperatively with the NRCS and several universities, the SRI is pursuing the use of new soil mapping technologies to facilitate data acquisition in remote areas, as well as those parks where wilderness designation or the presence of cultural landscapes preclude the use of traditional methods.