Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2009
Publication Date: 12/1/2009
Citation: Feng, G., Sharratt, B.S., Vaughan, J., Lamb, B. 2009. A Multiscale Database of Soil Properties for Regional Environmental Quality Modeling in the Western United States. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 64(6):363-373
Interpretive Summary: Quantitative information about soil properties is typically required by models that simulate physical processes at the Earth’s surface. Databases containing soil properties, however, may not exist or lack the information needed by models to simulate processes. A comprehensive soils database was created that contains information on 31 soil properties; these properties are defined at a resolution of 1 km across the eight western United States (WA, OR, CA, ID, NV, UT, MT, WY). The database is accessible through a website (http://www.lar.wsu.edu/nw-airquest//soils_database.html) and can be used by the modeling community in simulating soil processes in the western United States. In addition, similar soil databases can be created by the modeling community for other regions of the United States by using the USDA-NRCS STATSGO database and quantitative relationships historically developed among soil properties.
Technical Abstract: The USDA-NRCS STATSGO regional soil database can provide generalized soil information for regional-scale modeling, planning and management of soil and water conservation, and assessment of environmental quality. However, the data available in STATSGO can not be readily extracted nor parameterized to support regional environmental quality modeling. Therefore, each user must individually and repeatedly process existing data in STATSGO to obtain the necessary soil properties. In order to develop a comprehensive database for use in modeling and assessing regional soil and water resources and environmental quality across the eight western United States (WA, OR, CA, ID, NV, UT, MT, WY), we aggregated existing soil properties in STATSGO from 19,681 soil polygons/map units of the eight states as well as estimated soil properties based upon quantitative relationships among existing soil properties. Our database (available at http://www.lar.wsu.edu/nw-airquest/soils_database.html) comprises 3910 map units, with each map unit defined by 10 soil layers and each layer characterized by 31 soil physical, chemical and hydraulic properties. Additional parameters which are not included in the database can be readily derived based upon the properties provided by our database. In addition, our database was gridded to 1-km and 12-km resolution cells for application to grid-based environmental models such as WEPS and AIRPACT3 which respectively simulate wind erosion and transport of atmospheric pollutants.