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Soil Resources Management

Policy and Program Objectives

Management Policies

NPS Management Policies (2001) relating to soil resources management are as follows: Soil Resource Management  

The Service will actively seek to understand and preserve the soil resources of parks, and to prevent, to the extent possible, the unnatural erosion, physical removal, or contamination of the soil, or its contamination of other resources. Parks will obtain surveys of soils adequate for the management of park resources. All soil surveys will follow National Cooperative Soil Survey Standards. Products will include soil maps, determinations of the physical and chemical characteristics of soils, and the interpretations needed to guide resource management and development decisions.

Management action will be taken by superintendents to prevent -- or if that is not possible, to minimize -- adverse, potentially irreversible impacts on soils. Soil conservation and soil amendment practices may be implemented to reduce impacts. Importation of off-site soil or soil amendments may be used to restore damaged sites. Off-site soil normally will be salvaged soil, not soil removed from pristine sites, unless the use of pristine site soil can be achieved without causing any overall ecosystem impairment. Prior to using any off-site materials, parks must develop a prescription, and select the materials that will be needed to restore the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of original native soils without introducing any exotic species.

When soil excavation is an unavoidable part of an approved facility development project, the Service will minimize soil excavation, erosion, and off-site soil migration during and after the development activity.

When use of a soil fertilizer or other soil amendment is an unavoidable part of restoring a natural landscape or maintaining an altered plant community, the use will be guided by a written prescription. The prescription will be designed to ensure that such use of soil fertilizer or soil amendment does not unacceptably alter the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of the soil, biological community, or surface or ground waters.

Program Objectives

Soil management objectives follow from the overall resource management objectives in NPS management policies. The objectives are not mutually exclusive, and, typically, more than one objective applies in a given situation. Soil management objectives are as follows:

1. Preserve intact, functioning, natural systems by preserving native soils and the processes of soil genesis in a condition undisturbed by humans to the extent possible.

2. Maintain significant cultural objects and scenes by conserving soils consistent with maintenance of the associated historic practices, and by minimizing soil erosion to the extent possible.

3. Protect property and provide safety by working to ensure that developments and their management take into account soil limitations, behavior, and hazards.

4. Minimize soil loss and disturbance caused by special use activities and ensure that soils retain their productivity and potential for reclamation.

Soil Resources Management Table of Contents | RM#77 Table of Contents
update on 02/05/2004  I   http://www.nature.nps.gov/Rm77/soils/ppo.cfm   I  Email: Contact Us
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