NYC Soil Survey

New York City Soil Survey Available on Web Soil Survey

A true milestone in soil survey occurred this past June with the posting of the 5 boroughs (counties) that encompass New York City to the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Web Soil Survey. The soil survey provides the 8 million plus residents of New York City with a state of the art modern urban soil survey to use for planning and interpretations for the present and well into the future. The 1:12,000 scale soil map covers 235,945 acres and has a minimum size delineation of 1.5 Acres.

New York City has approximately 27 percent open space and this is where the majority of the field investigations were conducted. 70 soil series were identified in the survey; 32 of which were developed in human transported materials (HTM) and 38 in naturally occurring parent materials (glacial till, outwash, etc.). Over 100 soil profiles were sampled and analyzed for complete characterization by the USDA-NRCS Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory. The soils of the city exhibit a wide range of physical, chemical and mineralogical properties in both the natural and anthropogenic soils.

The soil survey was truly a cooperative effort between NRCS, New York City Soil and Water Conservation District, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn College and many others.

In addition to providing a unique valuable resource inventory, information from the survey has useful applications for storm water management, restoration efforts, park and open space management, and urban soil education. With the expected growth of urban populations in the future, the importance of urban soil surveys for planning will only increase; the New York City Soil Survey provides a model of how soil survey can meet the needs of our changing world in the 21st Century.

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), the Great Meadow in Central Park, and the Gateway National Recreation Area (1:6,000), covering units in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Sandy Hook in New Jersey.

The next intensive survey in the Bronx river watershed in the Bronx and Westchester is a collaborative effort among the District, the Westchester Soil & Water Conservation 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.

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.

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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