Texas Soil Profiles


Vol. 22 No. 1

September 2004

Published by the Professional Soil Scientists Association of Texas


In this Issue...


2004 PSSAT Officers

President's Letter ...Ted M. Zobeck PhD, NRCS-ARS

2004-2005 PSSAT Committee Chairpersons and Members

PSSAT Honorary Members

Treasurer's Report

Smithsonian Exhibit ...Ted M. Zobeck, PhD, USDA-ARS

Riparian Soils and the National Riparian Service Team ...Susan Casby-Horton, PhD


New Technology – LIDAR Research ...Susan Casby-Horton, PhD, USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey

New Members

Professional Soil Science Association of Oklahoma (PSSAO) Annual Meeting


2004 PSSAT Officers

President - Ted Zobeck
President-Elect - Eddie Bearden
Vice President - Alan Stahnke
Treasurer - Kelly Attebury
Editor - Susan Casby-Horton



Dr. Richard Drees requested that the following letter be included in the next newsletter.  We continue to wish (for him) health and prosperity and our deep appreciation for all his contributions.

I count it a privilege to have been elected as President of PSSAT. This is a fine organization which has many outstanding members and as a professional organization has accomplished a lot over the years. As many of you may know, I had some health issues last fall. I thought that after a heart valve replacement that things would be back to normal. But complications which aggravated a previous illness have kept me from full recovery. I feel that it is best for PSSAT and my continued recovery that I resign as President of PSSAT.

Tod Zobeck, vice-president, has graciously agreed to fill in as president for the remainder of the year. He will do a good job, and has already initiated committee assignments that I was not able to do. So, give him all the support you can, and give a willing hand if asked to do some task.

I will continue to support PSSAT and do all I can to further our profession. I look forward to seeing you all at the next PSSAT annual meeting.


Richard Drees

Texas A&M University


President's Letter ...Ted M. Zobeck PhD, NRCS-ARS

The Professional Soil Scientists Association of Texas was established to foster the profession of soil science and to further the increase and dissemination of information concerning all phases of soil science in order to contribute to the general human welfare (from the Constitution Preamble). I firmly believe in these goals and am proud of our record of past achievement. It is an honor to be of service to PSSAT to foster these goals. As you may know, I began the year as Vice-President and looked forward to issuing membership cards to new members and performing the other duties of the office. However, our incoming president, Dr. Richard Drees , has had unexpected health complications and he felt it best to resign (see letter above). Article VII, section 3a of the Bylaws stipulates that the Vice-President shall perform all duties of the president in cases of disability. I am honored to serve as President of the Association and will do my best to perform the duties of the office. I pray for Richard’s speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him at all future PSSAT activities.

As President, I will work closely with the other members of the PSSAT Executive Council: Vice-President Alan Stahnke, President-Elect Eddie Bearden, and Treasurer Kelly Atterbury. We have already appointed committees, as listed in this newsletter. Please contact any members of the Council if you have any questions about your committee duties. Let me know if you were not appointed but wish to serve on a committee. We need to know if you are interested. PSSAT’s work is done through the committees. I encourage all committees to work diligently to foster the goals of PSSAT and look forward to another successful year.



2004-2005 PSSAT Committee Chairpersons and Members

Constitution and By-Laws Committee

Chairman - John Jacob

Nellie Frisbee, Glen Chervenka

Membership Committee

Chairman - Eddie Bearden

Jon Wiedenfeld, Maurice Jurena, Richard Zartman

Clay Robinson

Finance Committee

Chairman - Dan Kowalski

Jamey Douglass, Rick Leopold

Nominations Committee

Chairman - Maurice Jurena

Dr. Tom Hallmark, Dr. B.L. Allen, Ed Janak

Public Relations and Education Committee

Chairman - Jan Horbaczewski

David Carty, John Jacobs, Susan Casby-Horton

Lee Nordt, Kirby Griffith, Alan Stahnke

Wayne Gabriel, Lynn Loomis, Wayne Hudnall

James Greenwade, Jon Brandt

Scholarship Committee

Chairman - Nathan Haile

Charles Thompson

Ed Janak

Ethics Committee

Chairman - Willie Crenwelge

Don Sabo, Levi Steptoe, Jr.


PSSAT Honorary Members

B. L. Allen, PhD - Lubbock, TX
Murray H. Milford, PhD - Bryan, TX
Larry Wilding, PhD - College Station, TX
James A. DeMent, PhD - Bossier City, LA
Arville Touche - Abbeville, LA
George Kunze, PhD - Warda, TX
Larry West, PhD - Athens, GA



Treasurer's Report

Kelly Attebury , USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey

122 members currently on membership roll, including 6 new members

17 members paid dues following Annual Meeting in February 2004 ($270.00)

28 members still remain unpaid ($420.00)


2004 Mid-year Treasurer's Report

Tax ID 76-0048015 by Kelly Attebury

Net Worth - January 1, 2004

$ 7,029.86












Earned Interest

Bank of America


Total Receipts to Date


Available Cash to Date



Susan Casby-Horton



Holloway's Sports

Scholarship Committee


C&J Barbeque

annual dinner


Jon Brandt

recognition awards


Jon Brandt (for 2004)

web site hosting/domain


Gary Harris, Jr.



Smithsonian Exhibit



Texas 4-H Contest



Total Disbursements to Date


Account Balance to Date


Net Worth - June 30, 2004

$ 5,892.29



Smithsonian Exhibit

Ted M. Zobeck, PhD, USDA-ARS

We hope that by now you have been made aware of an exciting new way to explain the importance of soils to millions of people, the Smithsonian Soils Exhibit. The purpose of this exhibit closely follows the purposes and goals of PSSAT and we are an important part of this project.

Well, what is it? A group of soil scientists from around the country as well as here in Texas is working with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) to develop a national Smithsonian Soils Exhibit. Our goal is for six to nine million people each year to better understand four key messages:
· Soils sustain life and are rich in biodiversity
· Soils store, recycle and renew energy and organic material
· Soils provide food, fiber, fuel and pharmaceuticals to humanity
· Soil scientists work to understand and conserve this critical natural resource

This education would be done through a multi-year museum exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. It could later be loaned out to other museums across the country, including those in our state. The exhibit would include a soil monolith from each state including Houston Black Clay, as well as interactive computer games, exhibits and information on soils (perhaps even a soil petting zoo!). Preliminary project information can be viewed at http://www.soils.org/smithsonian/mission.html.

We are working now to support the Houston Black Clay state soil monolith exhibit. Our overall goal is $10,000 to have a plaque placed on this permanent exhibit. PSSAT has already donated $1,000 toward this goal. According to SSSA headquarters records, as of April, Texas giving was third in the country, behind Missouri and California . We are asking you to personally, generously support this important public outreach project. Any donation to support this very worthy cause is welcome and encouraged. If we can reach our goal (and knowing the great generosity of Texans, we know we will) each person, business or organization that contributes $1000 or more will have their name printed on the plaque.

Your help is crucial to initiating this unique way to explain soils and soil science to millions of people from a science-based, trusted source, the Smithsonian. We are looking for educational outreach materials that may include soil educational kits to be sent to librarians and K–12 teachers and web educational activities, career information, and resource lists that will be available on the Smithsonian Institution and SSSA Web sites indefinitely. Please contact one of the committee members with your donations of these things. You can also donate the green stuff on-line at http://www.a-s-f.org/ by clicking on "Donate Online" and mentioning the Smithsonian Soils Exhibit Texas Monolith in the comments section. Gifts are fully tax deductible and can be made over three years. Thank you in advance.

The State of Texas Smithsonian Exhibit Committee includes Ted Zobeck , Committee State Liaison; Richard Drees , Research Scientist, Texas A & M University (TAMU); Sam Feagley, Professor and State Soil Environmental Specialist, TAMU; John Jacob, Environmental Quality Specialist, TAMU; Clay Robinson, Associate Professor, West Texas A & M University; David Weindorf, Assistant Professor, Tarleton State University; David Zuberer, Professor, TAMU.

Schematic Drawing of the Smithsonian Soils Exhibit




Riparian Soils and the National Riparian Service Team
Susan Casby-Horton, PhD, USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey


In June 2002, I attended a phenomenal training on Proper Functioning Condition of Riparian Areas conducted by the National Riparian Service Team. Proper functioning condition (PFC) refers to a qualitative method for assessing the condition of riparian-wetland areas – it is a qualitative assessment based on quantitative science. The PFC assessment is a "consistent approach for considering hydrology, vegetation, and erosion/deposition (soils) attributes and processes to assess the condition of riparian-wetland areas".

Interest in riparian areas caused the Agency heads of BLM and USFS (in March 1996) to sign a letter of agreement to "aggressively implement a cooperative management strategy to accelerate the restoration and improved management of riparian-wetland areas in the western United States . NRCS is a principal partner in this initiative. The National Riparian Service Team (and an extended coordination network) was then created to focus efforts on this approach to cooperative riparian restoration.

The web site for the National Riparian Service Team is http://www.or.blm.gov/nrst/. The site provides several training materials, including PFC publications and Powerpoint presentations on Riparian Soils and Riparian-Wetland Areas. In addition, reference materials include the publication "Soil Bioengineering – An Alternative for Roadside Management". I had the good fortune to meet the author (Lisa Lewis, soil scientist) at NRCS training last year, and she also mentioned an upcoming publication on riparian soils. Riparian-Wetland Soils was published in September 2003 and is currently available through the National Riparian Service Team web site. Lisa and the entire team are strong resources and contacts for restoration and soils work in riparian areas.

(Portion of text modified from web site and "A User Guide to Assessing Proper Functioning Condition and the Supporting Science for Lotic Areas", TR 1737-15, 1998)







The scholarship is intended to recognize and support an outstanding undergraduate student studying to become a soil scientist at a college or university in Texas and to promote interest in careers in soil science.


At the time of application, the student must be enrolled in a college or university in Texas , and be a sophomore, junior, or senior in a program of study that can lead to a career as a soil scientist. The student must be an undergraduate in good standing at the time the scholarship is awarded. Students seeking a second BS, BA, or equivalent degree are not eligible. The minimum completed course work necessary for consideration includes 3 semester hours in soil science and 12 semester hours in the biological, physical, or earth sciences that support soil science.



Includes relevance of course work to a career in soil science, difficulty and diversity of courses taken, grade point ratio, honors and awards for scholarship, and membership in honor societies.

Leadership and Extracurricular Activities

Participation in recognized clubs and organizations, soil judging teams and other judging teams, elected offices, committees, projects, and similar endeavors. Honors and awards for leadership and extracurricular activities.

Personal Traits

Evidence of personal traits, such as character, ethics, dependability, a can-do spirit, and a strong work ethic. Also includes work experience and honors, awards, or activities that reflect personal traits. These should be supported by letters of reference.


One $1,500 scholarship will be awarded for the 2004-2005 school year.


Applicants must submit the following materials to the chairman of the PSSAT Scholarship Committee by December 20, 2004 . This is an absolute deadline. Please note - this date may be in between semesters.

1) Completed application form

2) Brief resume

3) Two letters of recommendation (to be mailed with the application, but in a separate envelope)

4) Copy of current transcript

5) Letter addressing your background, educational programs, leadership qualities and career objectives.

Application forms and more detailed information concerning the scholarship may be obtainedon the PSSAT web site (http://www.pssat.org/Scholarship.htm) or by contacting:

Nathan I. Haile, Chairman
PSSAT Scholarship Committee
P.O. Box 47
George West, Texas 78022
(361) 816-0774



New Technology – LIDAR Research
Susan Casby-Horton, PhD, USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey

In general, topographic studies require researchers to select between localized, highly detailed information and less-accurate data that covers a broader area. A scarcity of rapid survey techniques has also limited researchers in their quest for topographic data with accuracies better than 30 cm and resolution of surface features smaller than 10 m. In Texas , these restrictions can affect survey work on low-relief areas of the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Southern High Plains. However, a new technology known as airborne LIDAR terrain mapping can provide both detailed and highly accurate topographic data covering a broad area. LIDAR data has a vertical accuracy of 10 cm and a data-point spacing of less than 1 m, allowing researchers to conduct geomorphic analysis across the continuum of spatial scale.

Using laser technology, LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) mapping systems can assist in gathering topographic information, such as surface vegetation, buildings, and highways, at 10-to 20-cm accuracy and submeter data-point spacing. Advances in GPS (Global Positioning Systems) have facilitated the development of airborne LIDAR.

Airborne LIDAR is a ranging technology that uses light instead of sound or radio waves. LIDAR uses optics in the laser system to scan the beam across the land surface along the aircraft flight path. For each individual pulse of the laser (25,000 times per second), the distance to the target from which the laser reflects is noted. Coincidentally, a sophisticated inertial measuring unit records the roll, pitch, and yaw of the aircraft. At the same time, GPS data are being collected both on the aircraft and at a reference point on the ground to determine aircraft position. Following the flight, these data are combined to yield the X, Y, and Z positions of the features that reflected the laser energy.

This process generates a volume of data, and data processing is a significant part of any LIDAR survey. Following data acquisition, poor data is filtered out and calibration parameters are determined for each flight to provide the best X, Y, and Z positions. The resultant data are then used to create models known as Digital Terrain Models (DTMs). LIDAR data can also be fused with additional remote sensing data, including aerial photography, imaging RADAR, and multi- and hyper-spectral data, to improve land-cover classifications.

The Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) in Texas is currently investigating LIDAR applications along barrier beaches and coastal bays. This work will provide topographic models necessary for geomorphic analysis and delineation of shoreline features particularly susceptible to storm damage, analysis of shoreline retreat and overwash, and review of shifts in coastal habitats. The BEG is also investigating flood-hazard mapping, landslide mapping, and mapping for forestry evaluation or wildlife habitat.

The BEG is also investigating use of ground-based LIDAR systems to study rock outcrops and complement (or replace) large and awkward photomosaics, cross-sections, and detailed measured sections as primary mapping and description tools. Is LIDAR in your future?

(Text modified from Bureau of Economic Geology Midyear Report 2001 and Midyear Report 2003.)



New Members

Christine Morgan, PhD

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX

Kenny Hall

USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey

Rosenberg, TX

Russ Pringle


Baton Rouge, LA

Jessica Zylman

USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey

Windthorst , TX

Edgar Mersiovsky

USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey

Conway , AR

Kelly Spencer

American Electric Power

Hallsville , TX




News Flash!  Wayne Hudnall has retired from Louisiana State University and is currently based at Texas Tech University .  You can contact Wayne with congratulations and requests for assistance at: 

Dr. Wayne H. Hudnall

B. L. Allen Endowed Professor of Pedology

Department of Plant and Soil Science

Campus Box 42122
Texas Tech University
Lubbock , TX 79409

(806) 742-4490




Professional Soil Science Association of Oklahoma (PSSAO) Annual Meeting

PSSAT members have been invited to attend the Annual Meeting for the Professional Soil Science Association of Oklahoma (PSSAO) on October 8-9, 2004 . The conference and lodging will be at the Noble Conference Center on the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Campus in Ardmore , OK . Room availability is limited, and reservations for the BBQ dinner must be made no later than September 10th. Meeting information will be posted to the PSSAO web site, http://pssao.okstate.edu/.

Friday, October 8th, 2004
11:00-12:00 Registration at the Noble Conference Center , Ardmore OK
12:00-1:00 Lunch (on your own)
1:00-5:00 Lecture and Tour of Noble Foundation Facilities (Lecture and tour may also include some local research projects and possibly a soil pit)
6:00-7:00 BBQ catered meal (hopefully we can keep this to approximately $10 per person) at the Noble Conference Center
7:00-8:00 Program (Mike Golden, current director of the Soil Survey Division, Washington DC , has agreed to come and present his thoughts on the direction of the National Cooperative Soil Survey)
8:00-? PSSAO Business meeting and visiting

Saturday, October 9th, 2004
8:00-8:30 Gather and leave Noble Conference Center (in personal vehicles)
9:00-11:30 Tour (several stops) Arbuckle Mountain area along old Hwy 77 between Ardmore and Davis , OK (a Geologist from Oklahoma University has agreed to meet us and guide us through several stops)



Want to see back issues of Texas Soil Profiles?

Click on the Hyperlinks below to view back issues that have been posted on the website.

Volume 17 No. 2 - August 1999
Volume 17 No. 3 - January 2000
Volume 18 No. 1 - March 2000
Volume 18 No. 2 - December 2000
Volume 18 No. 3 - January 2001
Volume 19 No. 1 - March 2001
Volume 20 No. 1 - April 2002
Volume 20 No.  3 - January 2003
Volume 21 No. 1 - April 2003
Volume 21 No. 2 - December 2003

  Texas Soil Profiles is Edited By: Susan Casby-Horton

Texas Soil Profiles on the web - designed by: Ricky Lambert

Questions and comments on Texas Soil Profiles newsletter: Susan Casby-Horton or PSSAT<webmaster@pssat.org>