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Educational links
National Geographic
Jerry Glover, Agroecologist “Food security is central to global relationships. If we can develop new crops that feed more people, yet do less harm to the planet, the world will feel the difference.”

Office of Ecosystem Services in the USDA
The new USDA Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets and the federal Conservation and Land Management Environmental Services Board will assist the Secretary of Agriculture develop new technical guidelines and science-based methods to assess environmental service benefits, which will promote markets for ecosystem services including carbon trading to mitigate climate change.

Protecting Puget Sound

Curbing stormwater pollution
Sightline Institute, January 21, 2010
As rainwater streams off roofs and over pavement, it mixes a toxic cocktail of oil, grease, antifreeze, and heavy metals from cars; pesticides lethal to aquatic insects and fish; fertilizers that stoke algal blooms; soap; and bacteria from pet and farm-animal waste. A heavy rainfall delivers this potent shot of pollutants straight into streams and water bodies—threatening everything from tiny herring to the region’s iconic orcas.

Shoreline program is critical for clean water, our survival
The Olympian, January 20, 2010
Thurston County contains 688 miles of shorelines, and these areas are in peril.

Failing our sound
The Seattle Times, May 14, 2008
"...The Sound is by no means dead. By some measures it's cleaner and healthier than it was 30 years ago. Yet that progress is at risk because we're still betraying Puget Sound with the choices we make about developing the land. It's not because people are breaking the rules. The rules are simply inadequate for the task at hand. .."

The painful cost of booming growth
The Seattle Times, May 14, 2008
"...It happens one creek at a time as bulldozers and pavement disrupt the natural flow of water through the ecosystem, destroying habitat and sending billions of gallons of polluted runoff into the Sound...."

Saving wetlands: A broken promise
The Settle Times, May 12, 2008
"...This year, even as Gov. Christine Gregoire, the newly formed Puget Sound Partnership and teams of scientists all work to protect and restore Puget Sound, the management of wetlands in Washington remains in disarray..."

From runoff to rain gardens: A new way to aid Puget Sound
The Olympian, August 31, 2006
A classic application of a soil science problem with a soil science solution that typically requires soil sampling and assessment to evaluate the soil's capability to absorb, treat, and store water. Sampling to characterize the soil capability allows us to develop a specific application prescription for that particular site, as well as to design a supporting program with fertilization and irrigation that will not overwhelm the background soil capacity.

Watering park may taint lake: Officials urge care to avoid runoff at Heritage Park
The Olympian, October 6, 2006
"...Using highly treated wastewater to irrigate Heritage Park will require great care to avoid adding more nutrients to nutrient-rich Capitol Lake, lake managers learned Thursday..."

Soil science, wetlands and stormwater

Shifting soil threatens homes' foundations
New York Times, March 3, 2010
The clay soils described in the linked article are 2:1 clays—expanding clays that are notoriously unstable for home construction and quite different from the 1:1 clays that are more common throughout the southeast. This would be a great opportunity for professional cooperation between the engineer and a soil scientist, where the soil scientist would properly identify the risky soil type and the engineer would design an appropriate solution. History of wetlands in the conterminous United StatesU.S. Geological Survey Interest in the preservation of wetlands has increased as the value of wetlands has become more fully understood.

How our economy is killing the Earth
New Scientist, October 16, 2008
Consumption of resources is rising rapidly, biodiversity is plummeting and just about every measure shows humans affecting Earth on a vast scale. Most of us accept the need for a more sustainable way to live, by reducing carbon emissions, developing renewable technology and increasing energy efficiency. But are these efforts to save the planet doomed? A growing band of experts are looking at figures like these and arguing that personal carbon virtue and collective environmentalism are futile as long as our economic system is built on the assumption of growth.

The lowdown on topsoil: It's disappearing
Seattle PI, January 22, 2008
While many worry about the potential consequences of atmospheric warming, a few experts are trying to call attention to another global crisis quietly taking place under our feet...Disappearing dirt rivals global warming as an environmental threat.

Problem solving in stormwater bioretention: Pitfalls in bioretention systems and how to avoid them
Barrett Kays
Soil Scientist innovations for containing stormwater runoff and transforming what was waste water into an asset by recharging groundwater reservoirs.

Methane belches in lakes supercharge global warming
National Geographic, September 6, 2006
Global warming is causing Siberian lakes to bubble methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere at an alarming rate, scientists say.

Thawing permafrost could supercharge warming
National Geographic, June 15, 2006
Thawing permafrost in the Arctic could play a role in fueling global warming, scientists in Russia and the United States report.

Conference report: breaking news from the world of geology
Discover Magazine, November 13, 2003
Geologist Gregory Retallack of the University of Oregon studied the soils around 40 ancient temple sites and concluded that the classical Greek gods and goddesses arose, quite literally, from the earth. He found a striking correspondence between the type of soil where a particular deity was worshipped and the personality or attributes of that god.

China's dust storms raise fears of impending catastrophe
National Geographic, June 1, 2001
"...China has mounted various efforts to halt the increasing desertification, which is caused by overuse of the land for farming and grazing. Nonetheless, as much as 900 square miles (2,300 square kilometers) of farmland in northern China—an area more than twice the size of Hong Kong—is blown away by the wind each year, according to a Chinese scientist quoted in a New York Times article last year..."

Ancient Fertile Crescent almost gone, satellite images show
National Geographic, May 18, 2001
"...The rich Mesopotamian marshlands known for centuries as the Fertile Crescent have almost completely disappeared, with only 10 percent of the important ecosystem still remaining, according to a study based on satellite images of the region..."

Streams reduce nitrogen pollution
National Geographic, May 4, 2001
Nitrogen pollution in streams due to poor soil management.

Video clips

Washington Soil Survey Data

Natural Resources Conservation Service provides soil survey maps, text, and tables.
Melinda Spencer,
Sep 29, 2010, 12:02 PM
Melinda Spencer,
Sep 29, 2010, 12:05 PM
Melinda Spencer,
Sep 29, 2010, 12:06 PM