New Field Indicators of Hydric Soils Manual

The National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils has published a new version of the Field Indicators of Hydric Soils handbook.  This update comes 6 years following the distribution of version 7.0 in 2010 and many questions and recommendations regarding the wording of indicator criteria.  The new manual replaces the word “within” with “at a depth ≤” additionally, thickness requirements are now given as “starting at a top depth” rather than “entirely within a bottom depth.”  These changes are a further departure from the diagnostic language used in the Keys to Soil Taxonomy which commonly makes reference to features “within” a particular depth.  Additionally, the term “faint” in the Glossary, which refers to the contrast between redox concentrations colors and matrix colors has an additional figure to clarify its lack of distinction.  Apart from these small changes, and a new set of cover photos, none of the indicator criteria have changed so don’t go running to reevaluate old data sheets.  As a result, the old 7.0 manuals will still work out in the field if you’re accustomed to the “within” language.  The new version is available digitally online at the NRCS Soil Use web page or you can order physical copies through the online NRCS Distribution Center.