As coastal saltwater moves inland and stays longer on the ground, understanding how salts are retained in terrestrial soils is key to establishing a rulebase for marsh migration as part of the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM). In soils, the retention of salts is influenced by soil texture, water table depth, cation exchange capacity and extractable cation exchange capacity.
Below are the physical and chemical characteristics of soils that influence salt retention due to coastal saltwater inundation for SLAMM as identified and deemed significant by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. This soil survey interpretation can be used with SLAMM to help predict marsh migration and plan reasonable alternatives for the use and management of these soils. This interpretation does not include such factors as elevation, slope, landcover, or landscape position which may be incorporated into SLAMM.
High Suitability: These soils have the best combination of soil properties and characteristics for marsh migration.
Moderate Suitability: These soils have an average combination of soil properties and characteristics for marsh migration.
Low Suitability: These soils have an adverse combination of soil properties and characteristics for marsh migration.
Not Rated – Areas labeled Not Rated have characteristics that show extreme variability from one location to another which may require an on-site investigation to determine soil conditions present at the site, are subaqueous soils, or are miscellaneous soil map units such as beaches.
Soil survey interpretations are predictions of soil behavior based on soil properties. Soil survey interpretations allow users of soil surveys to plan reasonable alternatives for the use and management of soils. They are used to plan both broad categories of land use such as cropland, woodland, or tidal marshes, as well as specific elements of those land uses (for example, marsh migration).
When soil interpretations are used in connection with delineated areas on soil maps, the information pertains to the soil for which the soil area is named. This is called the major soil component of the soil map unit. Other soils too small to map but observed within the delineated area are called minor soil components or inclusions. Soil interpretations do not eliminate the need for onsite study and testing of specific sites. Interpretations should be used as a guide to plan more detailed investigations and for avoiding undesirable sites for an intended use. The soil map and interpretations can be used along with other information, such as elevation and landcover, to select sites that have a certain potential for an intended use.
This soil interpretation does not include the minor soil components or inclusions. More detailed studies are required if small, specific sites are to be developed or used within a given soil delineation. No consideration was given in this interpretation to the size and shape of soil delineations, soil landscape position, elevation, slope, or to the pattern formed with other soils on the landscape. Although not considered in the interpretations, these items may influence the site.
Disclaimer: In obtaining this data from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), it is understood that you and your organization have the right to use it for any internal purpose. This data is not designed for use as a primary tool but may be used as a reference source. This data is not suitable for site-specific studies or litigation.
Web Soil Survey provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world. The site is updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information.
Jacob Isleib, Resource Soil Scientist, USDA NRCS
Debbie Surabian, State Soil Scientist CT/RI, USDA NRCS
Anisfeld, Shimon C., Katherine R. Cooper, and Andrew C. Kemp. 2016. Upslope development of a tidal marsh as a function of upland land use. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13398
Broome, S.W., Seneca, E.D. and Woodhouse, W.W. Jr., 1998. Tidal salt marsh restoration. Aquatic Botany, 32: 1-22.
Hussein, A.H. 2009, Modeling of Sea-Level Rise and Deforestation in Submerging Coastal Ultisols of Chesapeake Bay.
Hussein and Rabenhorst. 2001. Tidal Inundation of transgressive coastal areas: Pedogenesis of salinization and alkalinization. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 65:536–544.