Soil Survey

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
June 2011
Activity Type
Digitization/Online Information Access
Counties Affected
Crow Wing
Crow Wing
Project Overview

The Minnesota Soil Survey is an ongoing effort by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that is systematically collecting and mapping data pertaining to soil types and other soil properties in each county of the state. Soils data is used by governments, farmers, and other businesses for a number of purposes from protection and restoration of soil, water, wetlands, and habitats to agricultural soil management to building construction. This appropriation will accelerate the mapping and digitization of soil surveys for Crow Wing, Pine, Koochiching, Lake, Cook, and Saint Louis counties.

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Accurate soils information is essential for evaluating the potential for land to support development, crop and forest production, and for identifying the most suitable locations for conservation practices and other land uses. Readily accessible local soil information is critical to informing conservation decisions and provides a foundation for sustainable land use planning. The soil survey is the mechanism for how this basic natural resource information is made available to land use authorities and landowners to make the best land use decisions.

In the ongoing, multi-year project to map, classify, interpret, and Web-publish an inventory of the soils of Minnesota, this two-year phase of the project focused on accelerating the completion of a Statewide soil survey, increase soil mapping in targeted areas, and enhancing soils data through increased sample collection, availability and interpretation. Specifically:

  • 330,000 acres mapped in Crow Wing County;
  • 32,000 acres mapped in Pine County;
  • 85,000 acres mapped in Koochiching County;
  • 80,000 acres mapped in the Crane Lake subset of St. Louis County;
  • 219,000 acres mapped in Lake County;
  • 114,000 acres mapped in Cook County;
  • Data from 1,000 soil samples (some dating back to the 1970's) were interpreted for the first time and incorporated into Soil Surveys for many Minnesota counties;
  • Land use effects on soil carbon were determined on 122 sites in 14 counties throughout the State; this data can be used to develop soil carbon management guidance.


The soil survey project was extremely successful and many of the mapping goals were exceeded. Mapping surpassed initial acreage goals in both Crow Wing, Lake, Cook and Pine Counties, and the soil surveys for Koochiching and St. Louis Counties were completed 1 year ahead of schedule. A report detailing the results of re-analysis of lab samples from the 1970's highlighting land use impacts on soil carbon is available below and on BWSR's State Soil Office website.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The Soil Survey project funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is highlighted as a BWSR feature project on the Agency's home page. All the data, mapping information, and interpretations are available on the Web Soil Survey as a user-friendly, GIS-based application. Web Soil Survey provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world.

Project Publication:
Historical C Project Report on land use impacts on soil carbon

Project Details
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chp. 143, Sec. 2, Subd. 03c
Appropriation Language

$400,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to accelerate the county soil survey mapping and Web-based data delivery. This appropriation represents a continuing effort to complete the mapping. The soil surveys must be done on a cost-share basis with local and federal funds.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Board of Water and Soil Resources
Street Address
520 Lafayette Rd N
St. Paul
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155

651- 296-3767