Skip Navigation

Soil Surveys

Soil Survey Program in Washington

The National Cooperative Soil Survey Program (NCSS) is a partnership led by NRCS of federal land management agencies, state agricultural experiment stations and state and local units of government that provide soil survey information necessary for understanding, managing, conserving and sustaining the nation's limited soil resources.

Soil surveys provide an orderly, on-the-ground, scientific inventory of soil resources that includes maps showing the locations and extent of soils, data about the physical and chemical properties of those soils, and information derived from that data about potentialities and problems of use on each kind of soil in sufficient detail to meet all reasonable needs for farmers, agricultural technicians, community planners, engineers, and scientists in planning and transferring the findings of research and experience to specific land areas. Soil surveys provide the basic information needed to manage soil sustainably. They also provide information needed to protect water quality, wetlands, and wildlife habitat. Soil surveys are the basis for predicting the behavior of a soil under alternative uses, its potential erosion hazard, potential for ground water contamination, suitability and productivity for cultivated crops, trees, and grasses. Soil surveys are important to planners, engineers, zoning commissions, tax commissioners, homeowners, developers, as well as agricultural producers. Soil surveys also provide a basis to help predict the effect of global climate change on worldwide agricultural production and other land-dependent processes. The NRCS Soil Survey Division through its World Soil Resources Staff helps gather and interpret soil information for global use.

NRCS provides the soil surveys for the privately owned lands of the nation and, through its National Soil Survey Center, provides scientific expertise to enable the NCSS to develop and maintain a uniform system for mapping and assessing soil resources so that soil information from different locations can be shared, regardless of which agency collects it. NRCS provides most of the training in soil survey to Federal agencies and assists other Federal agencies with their soil inventories on a reimbursable basis. NRCS is also responsible for developing the standards and mechanisms for providing digital soil information for the national spatial data infrastructure required by Executive Order 12906.

Image: Map

Official Soils Information for Washington State

Web Soil Survey - Explore seamless soils data. View, download, and print custom maps, reports, and interpretations based on your area of interest. You can also download soil spatial and tabular data and use in your own GIS environment.

Soil Survey Status Map   (PDF; 697KB)   October 2018
Washington State Soil   (PDF; 145KB)   July 2009

Order Washington State Soil Surveys - Request hard copy of "in-print" surveys for those surveys not available electronically (very limited supply).


Image: Map of Wa MRLA Offices

MLRA Soil Survey Resources

Map of Washington's MLRA Offices - Washington's Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) and Offices.




Other Soil Links

National Soil Survey Center
Official Soil Series Descriptions
Soil Taxonomy
Washington Society of Professional Soil Scientists  
National NRCS Soil Survey Homepage
National Resources Inventory (NRI)
    Washington State NRI
    National NRI
Estimating Soil Moisture by Feel and Appearance
(SPANISH) Calculo de la Humedad del Suelo por Tacto y Apariencia