Soils provide the foundation for vegetative and biotic communities.  Healthy soils sustain grasslands, woodlands and forests, safeguard water and air quality, and support numerous public land uses. 

The Soils Program’s broad goal is to increase the ability of soils to sustain vital ecosystem processes that sustain plans, animal, and human community needs.  The objectives or strategies to fulfill this goal over the next few years include:  

  • Updating policy guidance documents to ensure protection of soils in BLM planning efforts. 
  • Instituting standard practices and enhancing technical expertise for managing soil resources. 
  • Reducing erosion through collaborative restoration projects and coordination with other BLM programs. 

How We Measure Success

BLM’s soil monitoring program follows short-term and long-term trends in soil health including: 

  • Measuring erosion caused by wind or water to protect water quality from increased levels of sediment.
  • Assessing organic matter loss which affects soils’ ability to support vegetation.
  • Reducing compaction of soils from land uses that can impact groundwater and increase erosion. 
  • Preventing salinization or the accumulation of salts in soil.  Increased salt loads can flow to rivers and impact habitats.