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Hydric Soils (Day 1 of 3)

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Monday, April 17, 2023


9 a.m. – 3 p.m.




Mallory N. Gilbert, CPSS; PWS, Emeritus; CPESC, Retired; LtCol USAF, Retired


Wetland landscapes are characterized and classified by confirmation of the presence of three critical components: evidence of wetland hydrology, a predominance of hydrophytic vegetation, and presence of hydric soils. Typically, hydric soils are found in contemporary wetland ecosystems. Repeated periods of long duration saturation and anaerobic conditions have promoted development of morphological characteristics that distinguish them from soils found in better drained and more terrestrial landscape positions. Therefore, the presence of hydric soils is one of the primary parameters that must be documented in the identification of wetland areas and is a critical component needed to define and delineate wetland boundaries. The ability to identify hydric soils and assign one or more of the National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils “Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the United States” is an essential step in the wetland delineation process.

Through instructor-led online lectures and a virtual field exercise, you will learn the fundamentals of how hydric soils form and how to describe layers encountered in a hydric soil vertical cross section (profile). You will be trained on how to distinguish the nuances of soil color, redoximorphic features, and field estimates of soil texture. You will also be instructed on how to complete the minimum data entries needed to complete a generic wetland delineation data form and, based on the soil description, how to assign appropriate hydric soil indicators.

Course Objectives

1. To provide students with an understanding of how hydric soils are formed and how to field identify soil morphologies most often associated with wetland soils, including many of the terms and descriptors unique to soil science.
2. To ensure students are informed and instructed on how to complete the “Soils Section” of a typical wetland delineation data form. And, based on the soil description they present in the data form…
3. To ensure students are trained on how to select one or more of the “Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the United States” that apply to the description they have prepared… or, alternatively, they can dismiss the described soil as being non-hydric.
4. To ensure that this training allows the student to present both hydric and non-hydric soil descriptions that, in combination with vegetation data and presence/absence of wetland hydrology indicators, will allow them to field flag a defensible apparent wetland boundary.


See course webpage for details.


Rutgers NJAES Office of Continuing Professional Education


Suzanne Hills, 848-932-7234