Soil Health Assessment

Soils in montane meadows contribute greatly to ecosystem function by regulating essential ecosystem services including water regulation; sequestration of greenhouse gasses; vegetation productivity; and other biogeochemical processes. A lack of understanding of the effects of human management practices on essential biogeochemical processes can lead to degradation and loss of ecosystem services. Plant-soil interactions are at the core of global biogeochemical cycles and a key determinant of terrestrial feedbacks to both drought and climate change. As California enters its fourth year of drought; it is imperative to understand how weather extremes; and/or different land; agriculture & livestock management practices soil ecosystem processes.

This project proposes to further the understanding of the impacts of management practices on soil health through a combination of research and community outreach. NRCS defines soil health as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants; animals; and humans. Improving soil health and resiliency has the potential to increase agricultural productivity; restore natural hydrologic functions; and mediate local responses to climate change.

This project will consist of three phases; Phase 1 will include the establishment of a baseline for soil health of agricultural lands in the Upper Feather River Watershed and link with the statewide Soil Health Network; Phase 2 will involve research on the effects of different land management practices on targeted soil biogeochemical processes; Phase 3 will consist of region-wide outreach and education.

A collaborative team of local producers; resource managers and regional scientists will determine the final list of measurements to be assessed as well as the sampling locations; methods; and frequency.

Project collaborators will work with local stakeholders to identify ecosystem processes that need to be targeted for improvement.
Please read Step 1 form on this topic for full details.
Sponsoring Agency
University of California Cooperative Extension
Primary Contact
Holly George
Contact Email
Project Number
Matching Funds
Total Cost
DAC Benefit
DWR Resource Management Strategies
Agricultural land stewardship, Agricultural Water Use Efficiency, Conjunctive management, Economic incentives, Ecosystem restoration, Flood management, Forest management, Land use planning and management, Matching water quality to water use, Municipal recycled water, Outreach and engagement, Pollution prevention, Recharge area protection, Salt and salinity management, Sediment management, Surface storage - regional/local, Water and culture
Project Objectives
Address economic challenges of municipal service providers to serve customers, Address water resources and wastewater needs of DACs and Native Americans, Build communication and collaboration among water resources stakeholders, Coordinate management of recharge areas and protect groundwater, Effectively address climate change adaptation and/or mitigation in water resources management, Enhance public awareness and understanding of water management issues and needs, Improve coordination of land use and water resources planning, Maximize agricultural, environmental, and municipal water use efficiency, Protect, restore, and enhance the quality of surface and groundwater resources, Restore natural hydrologic functions, Work with counties/communities/groups to maintain capacity for water-related projects
Project Status
Potential Benefits
Assist the region in adapting to effects of climate change, Disadvantaged Communities, Drought Preparedness, Environmental Justice, Native American Tribal Communities
Project Owner

To the owner of Soil Health Assessment

1 resource

  • ALS-9 1 file Added 27 Aug 2016 Soil health assessment