The Clermont County Soil Survey, originally published in September 1975, is the primary source of information about the soils in Clermont County. Soil can be defined as a living, dynamic resource that supports plant life. Soil is made up of different size mineral particles (sand, silt, & clay), organic matter, and numerous species of living organisms. Soil maps provide critical resource information to Clermont County because soil is not just important to agriculture. Soils are also important to woodland management, development of recreational areas, building and construction materials, sanitation facilities, wildlife habitat, and water management.
The soils and miscellaneous areas in the county are in an orderly pattern that is related to the geology, landforms, relief, climate, and natural vegetation of the area. Each kind of soil and miscellaneous area is associated with a particular kind of landform or with a segment of the landform. By observing the soils and miscellaneous areas in the county and relating their position to specific segments of the landform, the soil scientists developed a concept or model of how the soils were formed. Thus, during fieldwork, this model enabled the soil scientists to predict with a considerable degree of accuracy the dominant type of soil or miscellaneous area at a specific location on the landscape within the county.
Soils are classified into orders, suborders, great groups, subgroups, families, and series. Series are the lowest and most specific category of the classification system. The series is determined by the characteristics of the soil profile including physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil profile. Each soil series is assigned a name, which is usually derived from a town, river, or other landmark near where the soil was first identified. There are over 400 different soil series in the state of Ohio.
A soil map, at first glance, appears to actually very simple to use and understand. The lines represent the boundaries between soils. Remember that although a soil boundary is a delineation between soil series, it is not the type of boundary that you could straddle and have one foot on one soil and the other foot on a different soil. The transition between soils is continuous and, in most cases, gradual. The text labels are what the soil map uses to identify the soil map units. The labels have a common theme that is quite easy to understand. The label is made up of three parts. The first part consists of an uppercase letter and a lower case letter, which designates the soil type. The second part is an uppercase letter, which designates the slope class. The third part, if shown, is a number, and this designates the erosion class of the soil. For example, look at the two labels seen on the sample map, AvA and RpB2. These can be broken down as follows:
•Av – Avonburg silt loam
•A – A slope soil (0-2% slopes)
•No number is shown for the erosion class so this soil is assumed to typically have minimal or no erosion.
•Rp – Rossmoyne silt loam
•B – B slope soil (2-6 % slopes)
•2 – Eroded state of 2 (soil is eroded)
The full name of a soil then is the combination of all of this information. For the symbol, AvA, the name is “Avomburg silt loam, 0-2% slopes.” For the symbol, Rpb2, the full name is “Rossmoyne silt loam, 2-6 % slopes, eroded.”
Slope classes will range from A to G, with A being the flattest slope and G being the steepest. Erosion class numbers in Clermont County range from 2 to 3. These classifications depict moderately and severely eroded soil respectively. The full list of soils in Clermont County can be found in the Index to Map Units found in the manuscript.
A printed copy of the original (1971) Clermont County Soil Survey is still currently available for viewing at our office. Hardcopy soil survey’s are no longer being produced. Websites such as Web Soil Survey are able to provide soil survey users with the most accurate and updated information regarding soils.
The tables give all the technical information about the many things that soil type can influence. Most of these tables rate the soils’ suitability for different uses on a three-level scale using the terms slight, moderate, and severe. “Slight” means that soil properties and site features are generally favorable for the indicated use and limitations are minor and easily overcome. “Moderate” indicates that soil properties or site features are not favorable for the indicated use and special planning, design, or maintenance is needed to overcome or minimize the limitations. “Severe” means that soil properties or site features are so unfavorable or so difficult to overcome that special design; significant increases in construction costs, and possibly increased maintenance are required. Special feasibility studies may be required where the soil limitations are severe. Individual tables are further described in the Descriptions of Selected Tables section found in the manuscript.