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Soil Resources Management

Roles and Responsibilities

The Director of the National Park Service establishes and approves servicewide soils management policies and standards. The Director is ultimately responsible for establishing soils management programs that conserve soils unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations and for ensuring that such programs are in compliance with directives, policies, and laws.

Associate Director, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science (ADNRSS),has functional authority, through the Natural Resources Program Center, for

  • developing policies and standards for the Director's approval;
  • providing policy oversight of NPS soils programs, including evaluating the results of field performance in complying with directives, policies, and laws;
  • providing direct assistance to parks in specific soils program areas; and
  • administering soils programs for which the ADNRSS has direct authority.

The Natural Resources Program Center exercises the Associate Director's responsibility by

  • administering specific soils programs, including those that provide direct assistance to parks in carrying out soils management activities and in interpreting soils policies, regulations, and guidance;
  • formulating servicewide soils standards, policies, and regulations;
  • developing and promulgating methods, procedures, and guidelines to help parks conduct effective soils management programs; and    
  • carrying out functional oversight within assigned program areas.

The Natural Resources Program Center's soil scientist

  • provides guidance and advice to superintendents, resource managers, and regional office personnel in the interpretation of soil survey information and soil conservation techniques;
  • serves as NPS representative to the National Cooperative Soil Survey at the national level;
  • provides national coordination and technical oversight for soil and geologic mapping projects;

  • conducts or contracts for soil surveys and analysis of soil properties at specific sites;
  • identifies the level of soil survey that is needed and the areas to be surveyed; and
  • identifies and obtains soil inventory information that may be available from government agencies, individuals, or published literature.

The regional director,through or with the assistance of an assistant or associate regional director, is responsible for

  • ensuring that soils management programs within the region are uniformly implemented in compliance with directives, policies, and law;
  • identifying regional coordinators and contacts for specific program areas, where required, who can provide information and data about park soils and soils management programs to the Natural Resources Program Center;
  • providing representation at regional interagency National Cooperative Soil Survey meetings; and
  • circulating soil information and advice from the Natural Resources Program Center, other government agencies, and universities to superintendents for use in park soil resource inventorying and management.

Support office natural resource staff and/or cluster or regional natural resource program coordinators have responsibility for

  • assisting parks in needs identification;
  • data collection and analysis;
  • planning, program, and project development; and
  • providing advice on scientific and natural resource management issues.

The superintendent is responsible for

  • understanding the park's soils and their condition;
  • establishing and managing park soils management programs and ensuring that they comply with directives, policies, and laws;
  • ensuring that soil properties and limitations are considered in park development and project plans;
  • ensuring that NEPA and NHPA compliance has been completed for all soil-related actions (such as erosion-control projects) that might have an impact; and
  • incorporating soil conservation techniques in park management and activities.

The park natural resource manager, on behalf of the superintendent, conducts soil management activities in compliance with directives, policies, and laws, including

  • reviewing soil research and collecting proposals and issuing research and collecting permits to approved projects;
  • incorporating soil conservation techniques into park management and activities;
  • identifying the need for soil surveys and site analysis and incorporating these needs into the current resource management plan for the park;
  • providing guidance and advice to the park staff on soil use limitations and conservation techniques;
  • seeking soil inventory and analysis information from local, state, and federal agencies;
  • seeking advice and guidance on soils management from specialists within and outside of the NPS;
  • performing appropriate environmental compliance on proposed soil surveys or seeking the assistance of specialists capable of performing adequate compliance; and
  • identifying soil sources within and outside of the NPS units that will provide soils of the desired properties while minimizing the opportunity for introducing nonnatives and their impact on park resources.

The Denver Service Center

  • ensures that soil properties and limitations are identified and incorporated into the planning, design, and construction of roads, facilities, landscaping, and related projects;
  • works in coordination with the Natural Resources Program Center to obtain soil surveys and/or site specific soil data needed to facilitate project planning design and construction; and
  • provides advice, guidance, and information to parks and regional offices with respect to soil properties and limitations affecting construction and landscaping.
Soil Resources Management Table of Contents | RM#77 Table of Contents
update on 02/05/2004  I   http://nature.nps.gov/Rm77/soils/roles.cfm   I  Email: Contact Us
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