NYC Soil Survey

The NYC Soil Survey is a pioneering study of urban soils, spanning a citywide reconnaissance soil map, a series of intensive soil surveys and special research projects. Study results are distributed via reports to the public, decision-makers and environmental managers. The survey is a cooperative effort of the US Dept. of Agriculture –Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cornell University and the District.

Citywide Initial Soil Map

The new initial soil map will provide a higher intensity scale and elaborate on the mapping and soil data provided by the reconnaissance soil map. The scale of mapping is 1:12,000 and provides a minimum-size map unit delineation of 1.43 acres (as opposed to 40 acres for the recon delineations). While the reconnaissance map still provides extremely useful general soils information for NYC users, the forthcoming initial mapping will supplement that with greater detail. Initial soil survey activities are currently in progress, and the final map and manuscript are scheduled for publishing in 2011.

Citywide Reconnaissance Soil Map

The reconnaissance soil map is the City's first standard soil survey and provides a scientific base for identifying areas for future intensive surveys. It includes some unique features; a higher level of analysis (at the soil series level), mapping at a smaller-than-usual scale (1:62,5000), and use of new soil series appropriate to urban needs. The soils map and an associated map of NYC geology will ultimately be available in a Geographic Information System format. The soil survey and map are available for download, on the right hand side of this page.

Intensive Surveys and Special Studies

Intensive soils surveys have been completed for South LaTourette Park on Staten Island (1:4,800), Central Park (1:4,800), and the Gateway National Recreation Area (1:6,000), covering units in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Sandy Hook in New Jersey.

The final intensive survey is the Bronx River Watershed in Bronx County (1:6,000). This survey is a collaborative effort among the District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, which has completed a feasibility study, and its co-sponsors, and the Bronx River Alliance. In addition to comprehensive soil and land mapping of the area, the BRW survey manuscript provides tabulated soil physical and chemical property data, detailed land use interpretation data, and contains information regarding the ongoing BRW infiltration study.

Special research projects under the aegis of the NYC Soil Survey have included Cornell University graduate theses on heavy metals in South LaTourette Park, and aquifer recharge in Brooklyn and Queens. The soil scientists have also accommodated special requests from agency and civic partners, as well as hosted a workshop for land managers in the City.

Download More Information
All files are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.

NYC Reconnaissance Soil Survey Updated: 2/23/2009
This survey provides a general guide to soil patterns across the city; it will serve as the starting point for more intensive surveys across the city. PLEASE NOTE: Soil survey maps are never intended to replace an on-site assessment.

NYC Recon Soil Survey Map
Updated: 2/23/2009
The scale of this map is 1:62,500, and the minimum size delineation is 40 acres. The map is composed of 88 soil map units, comprised of 20 anthropogenic and 24 natural soil series. The map projection is UTM zone 18N. The aerial photography is the DOITT 1996 orthophoto mosaic provided by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

DRAFT Bronx River Watershed Soil Survey Map & Legend New! 1/15/2010
Large file (28MB)
This is a DRAFT of the soil survey map and legend for the Bronx River Watershed in Bronx County NY. The scale of this map is 1:6,000, and the minimum size delineation is 0.15 acres. The map is composed of 89 soil map units, comprised of 9 anthropogenic and 15 natural soil series.

DRAFT Bronx River Watershed Soil Survey Manuscript New! 2/17/2010
Print Double-sided
This DRAFT manuscript provides the descriptions of soil map units and soils of the BRW. Included are sections on the nature of the watershed, the BRW Infiltration study, and comprehensive soil physical and chemical property data.

Gateway National Recreation Park Soil Survey This survey is one of the first attempts made by NRCS scientists to map and provide detailed soil series information for human modified soils. The information published in this document will provide technical guidance for future land use and management decisions. It will also serve as a valuable data element for research projects in natural resources and an important environmental education tool. For images of the Gateway soil maps, please contact us and we will send you a CD copy.

Gateway Soil Survey Maps
Updated: 2/24/2009
Images of the 1:4,800-scale Gateway soil maps. This file is a ZIP archive containing individual soil maps for the survey area. Its 25,300 acres are distributed in three New York City (NYC) counties (Kings, Queens and Richmond) and one New Jersey county (Monmouth). An index for the individual maps is found on the last page of the corresponding Gateway Soil Survey Manuscript

Soil Survey Vision Report