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PA State Soil

The Pennsylvania Association of Professional Soil Scientists and Penn State Soil Characterization Lab are working with PA Legislators in an attempt to have the Hazelton Soil Series identified as the State Soil.

We support HB 771, which establishes the Hazleton Soil Series as the official state soil. The Hazleton series is the most extensive soil series in Pennsylvania, covering almost 1.5 million acres across half of the counties in the Commonwealth. On Hazleton soils, there are many productive farms and forestry operations present, in addition to small boroughs and rural communities. These soils are often found on ridge tops and comprise the soils for most of the headwaters of the great rivers in Pennsylvania (Schuylkill, Delaware, Susquehanna, Allegheny).

The state symbols of the tree (Eastern hemlock), bird (ruffed grouse), flower (mountain laurel), and animal (whitetail deer) all live on Hazleton soils. None of these species can survive without the soil under their feet (or roots); it is a vital component of the ecosystem! We, as an organization, feel that the importance of soil should be recognized. Issues related to soils are more frequently in the press, whether it be stormwater management and flooding in Southeastern Pennsylvania, prevention of nutrient loading into Chesapeake Bay from farms in Central Pennsylvania, or issues related to acid mine drainage or failing septic systems in Western Pennsylvania. In all of these issues, soils are a major component. Additionally, if the Hazleton series is adopted as the state soil, it will be included with the other state symbols in educational packets to PA public schools, providing young people throughout Pennsylvania educational information about the importance of soils.

Here is a link to House BILL (HB)771 online — http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2007&sind=0&body=H&type=B&BN=0771

Pennsylvania State Soil Bill to Go to House Floor!

To help support the bill to make the Hazleton series the official state soil, please write/email your representative. The bill goes to the house floor for a vote sometime in May or June. To find your representative, please look here: Pennsylvania House Representatives.