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Connect Learn Engage Academic Workshop and Forum Recordings
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In March 2018, soil scientists from throughout California came to California State University, Chico to share information about the state’s soil conservation efforts as part of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS). The survey is a project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In these presentations, speakers share survey information and how this data can contribute to soil and water conservation.

National Cooperative Soil Survey Planning Meeting


NCSS Overview in California

Toby O'Geen
Professor & Soil Resource Specialist in Cooperative Extension
Dept. of Land, Air and Water Resources
UC Davis

Tony Rolfes
National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

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This presentation is part of the opening session of a three-day event hosted by CSU Chico, the California NCSS (National Cooperative Soil Survey) Planning Meeting. The first day included presentations on survey projects, the second day featured field tours, and the gathering ended with the Region 6 Collegiate Soil Judging competition. In this recording, the speakers provide a preview of activities and basic information about the NCSS, a soil survey program that dates all the way back to 1896. The mission of the NCSS Strategic Plan is to provide knowledge about soils and ecosystems for resource management.

Presentation Time: 17 minutes


Using Soil Survey Information: SSJV Management Practices Project

John Dickey
SSJV Technical Program Manager

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The Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program is comprised of requirements placed on growers-irrigators in California. The speaker, John Dickey, works in the SSJV Management Practice Project, which assists growers to comply with the regulations. Dickey states the main focus of the project’s work with growers is measures to minimize nitrate leeching down into ground water tables.

Presentation Time: 12 minutes


Using Soil Survey Information: Addressing Resource Concerns through the Conservation Process

Phil Hogan
District Conservationist, National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS)

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The National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) aims to work with farmers and other stakeholders to address soil resource concerns. The NCSS defines a “resource concern” as “an expected degradation of the soil, water, air, plant, or animal resource base to the extent that the sustainability or intended use of the resource is impaired.” In this presentation, Phil Hogan explains how these areas of concern are identified and how objectives are put in place to improve the condition of soils in these areas.

Presentation Time: 24 minutes

Using Soil Survey Information: Conservation Effects Assessment Project

Carrie-Ann Houdeshell
National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS)

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Carrie-Ann Houdeshell presents the purpose, goals, and future work of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). The project is a multi-agency effort initiated in 2003 to estimate the environmental benefits of conservation practices at national and regional levels. CEAP was created to document conservation efforts to produce cleaner water and to enhance soil quality. When it comes to soils, priority acreage most in need of treatment are identified using criteria such as sediment loss from water erosions, nitrogen loss, and phosphorus loss.

Presentation Time: 17 minutes

University Project: Regional Soil Health Assessment Project

Dr. Garrett Liles
Faculty, College of Agriculture, CSU, Chico

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Although Dr. Garrett Liles is involved with a soil health assessment project that is regional in scope, he is also aware of the big picture. In this presentation, he states that soil health work can be seen as efforts “to ensure that humanity persists.” Dr. Liles advocates for active programs to protect the “precious resource” of soil from the ravages of such factors as erosion, compaction, and climate change. He discusses how tools such as soil surveys and sampling lead to constructive research.

Presentation Time: 19 minutes

University Project: Soil Integrating Research & Outreach in the Digital Age

Jessica Chiartas
Graduate Student, Soils & Biogeochemistry, UC Davis

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The primary goal of Jessica Chiartas’ research project at UC Davis is to communicate the value and importance of healthy soils. The project has two primary components. First, Chiartas has undertaken a campaign to raise public awareness about soil, with a focus on middle school and high school students. Second, she has been interviewing farmers about soil health; these interviews are recorded and posted online.

Presentation Time: 18 minutes


NRCS Soil Survey Products & Projects: Current Soil Survey Project Example

Philip Smith
Hanford MLRA Soil Survey Office

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Philip Smith works out of the government office that conducts Soil Survey Projects in the San Joaquin Valley and the Delta. He and his staff conduct map unit evaluations and updates, characterization sampling, soil climate studies, and data collection for the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). He illustrates the mapping and characterization data that are produced from work in the field.

Presentation Time: 12 minutes

NRCS Soil Survey Products & Projects: Soil Interpretations and New Soil Survey Technologies

Dr. Dylan Beaudette

Soil Scientist
United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation ServiceSoil

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Dr. Dylan Beaudette earned his Ph.D. in Soils and Biogeochemistry from U.C. Davis, and works as a soil scientist for the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soils group. Dr. Beaudette takes a look ahead into the possible future of soil survey, and examines how relevant and valuable soils data can be to us in different formats. Dr. Beaudette champions the idea of using soils data as a story which generates interest and creates lasting impressions among children and adults.

Presentation time: 25 minutes