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Soil Quality – NRCS and You

Janice Calkins | December 12, 2022

The quality/health of the soil affects every living thing on earth, from the lowliest creatures to the mightiest – which includes soil  organisms, bacteria, fungi, earthworms, mites, ants, beetles, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and people! Healthy soil makes for healthy plants (grasses, forbs, shrubs, trees) which in turn provide us with food, shelter, and habitat.

Healthy soil absorbs water and cycles nutrients to the plants which in turn help to filter chemicals and other pollutants from soil and water.  The quality of soil is measured by its organic matter, number of earthworm populations, soil respiration, decomposition rates, crop yields and even its smell and texture.  Generally, a dark colored soil is indicative of high organic matter content, and better nutrient cycling – but not always.  Other physical characteristics are also used to distinguish one type of soil from another: texture, infiltration rate, bulk density, soil compaction, aggregate stability and soil crusting – which  help determine how well water and roots are able to move through the soil, and how stable the soil is to the harsher effects of climate.

The NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), a partnering agency of the District, was established back in 1935 following the  historic event in our nation, often referred to as the “Oklahoma Dust Bowl.”  Since its inception, the NRCS has conducted countless scientific studies of soil, what constitutes a healthy soil and which soils are capable of withstanding  the harshest effects of climate, and how man can work to improve, enhance and protect the soil so that it will continue to support life on earth, and provide a healthy environment for all.

We encourage everyone to check out the NRCS  website to learn more about the scientific findings on soil, as well as other natural resources that are important to us – like water!  Learn how you can become our partner in conservation, and work to improve, protect and enhance the land and other natural resources you have  been entrusted with for the good of posterity.  Go to: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/resource/

About the Author

Janice with a red sweater under a green jacket.

About the Author

Janice Calkins
Office & Facility Coordinator
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