Texas Soil Profiles


Vol. 21 No. 1

April 2003

Published by the Professional Soil Scientists Association of Texas


In this Issue...


President's Message by Maurice Jurena

Minutes of 2003 PSSAT Annual Meeting

PSSAT Officer Biographies

PSSAT Dues Reminder

PSSAT Meeting & Soul Survey and Land Resource Workshop - Notes and Reflections

2003 PSSAT Committee Chairpersons and Members

Geoscientist Licensing - Now is the Time


President's Message by Maurice Jurena


As your new president I would like to extend my appreciation for allowing me to serve in this capacity, I have been a member since the inception of PSSAT and have watched it grow both financially and academically in to an organization to be proud of. I think this organization can be proud of its contribution to the study and promotion of soil science. Our commitment to the growth of soil science through scholarships, web sites, soil Judging contests and etc, would hopefully make the public more aware of the importance of soils.



Minutes of 2003 PSSAT Annual Meeting

G. Rollie White Visitor Center

February 5, 2003


At about 7:36 PM, President Jon Brandt called the meeting to order.

Jon stated the previous annual meeting minutes were printed in the March 2002 newsletter. He stated that we all had a year to look over the minutes, and were there any corrections or additions to the minutes, Dr. Bill Harris moved the minutes be accepted as presented. The motion was seconded and approved.

At this time, Jon called on Dr. Murray Milford to come forth. Dr. Milford said he was here to answer questions on the Geoscience Licensure Act. He stated it was a privilege to serve on the board. Dr. Milford then gave a brief history of the act.

He said the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG) is supposed to be self-supporting. At the current time, it is not. Three board members from TBPG met with the Department of Licensing and Regulation, and were able to obtain $200,000 for operating expenses from the Governor's Office, and this amount would have to be repaid. He said the geologists would like to see us be independent of the Texas Board of Licensing and Regulation. He stated that the minutes of five board meetings, rules of the act and application is available on the website. Dr. Milford said, "Now that we have it, and I know the fees are high; but if enough people apply, the costs will come down." For those of us who apply during the grandfather period, we won't have to take the Fundamentals of Soil Science exam, which the Soil Science Society of America administers for $150.00, or the Advanced Practice exam, which costs $175.00 to take. More details on the Council of Soil Science Examiners is located at http://www.soils.org/csse/. He emphatically encouraged all in attendance to become licensed as professional geoscientists. Dr. Harris stated the fees were tax-deductible.


Who does the licensing?

Dr. Milford said on the application one could check soil scientist. Once the application was received, it would be reviewed by four board members. One of the minimum requirements is at least 5 years professional experience. The education requirement is a minimum of 30 credit hours in soil science.

Dr. Larry Wilding stated that those who don't become Professional Geoscientists under the grandfather clause, must take the exams. So he asked Dr. Milford if there was a Texas test. Dr. Milford stated no! The exams are ARPACS exams. Dr. Milford reminded all, that 6 of the 8 board members could waive any requirement.

Dan Kowalski asked Dr. Milford how long does it take to review those applications? Dr. Milford said the goal is 10 days, unfortunately it currently takes much longer. Currently no soil scientists have been certified, but 10 applications have been received.

Cliff Landers asked what kinds of jobs does the licensure pertain to and who should be licensed? Dr. Milford said those in public practice of the discipline and those who are responsible for the work. He stated that NRCS and academia are exempt. Cliff remarked that many folks who do wetland delineations have no soil classes. Cliff hoped that soil scientists would not be questioned about wetland delineations.

Dr. Moye Rutledge said that folks, who work in Texas, should be registered in Texas. Wes Miller had a question on the references. Dr. Milford said it would be nice to have registered soil scientists, but since there aren't any, oh well. References of three professionals, and two persons are needed. Look for three persons who are senior to you.

Wayne Gabriel had a question about including your resume to send out to the references. Dr. Milford reminded all, that transcripts are supposed to be sent by your University Registrar to TBPG. As far as references, include all of the letters of reference in one large envelope mailed to TBPG.

Someone asked if CEU's are needed for certification. Dr. Milford stated at this time no! He added there is currently so Code of Ethics yet. He stated that the official title for all who become registered is Professional Geoscientist. Once we became registered, we would need to purchase an inkpad, for the stamp we would receive.

Next, President Jon Brandt recognized Charlie Thompson, Scholarshic Committee Chairperson,to give his report. Charlie said they had good results this past year. There were five applicants, and four of these were top notch. He thanked the other members of the committee, Nathan Haile, Ed Janak and Jennifer Minning for their efforts. Charlie said all announcements went out on our website, and no applications were mailed. He added that he would like to discuss with the PSSAT membership, a processing schedule needs improvement. The way the applications are received, it leaves little time for finals.

At this time, Charlie recognized, Sheila Gardner, a senior from Texas Tech University, to come forth. She gladly accepted a plaque and a check for $1,500.00. Charlie reminded all in attendance, this was the first year that PSSAT was able to give that amount for a scholarship.

Jon called on Maurice Jurena, Membershic Chaircerson, to give his report. Maurice stated our membership was not at a standstill. He and his committee processed 8 applications, and there were about seven more tonight. Our current membership stands at 116.

Jon called on Ted Zobeck, Ethics Chairperson, to give his report. Ted offered thanks to members on this committee, Dr. Tom Hallmark and Mittie Muse. He reported no ethic violations this past year. He did have an item of business, the committee had some changes to our Code of Ethics, to make things gender-neutral. Ted read off the seven or eight changes to the Code of Ethics. Ted recommended changes be accepted as presented. Dr. Larry Wilding so moved that the changes be accepted as read. The motion was seconded and passed. The changes will be reflected in our Code of Ethics and be posted on the website.

Jon called on the Public Relations and Education Committee to make their report. He added, that Dr. John Jacob was unable to attend tonight. Jon preceded to make a mini-report for this committee. He stated that the Ask a Soil Scientist had 43 hits this past year. Then he stated that 15 members had answered at least one question, 5 members answered two questions, and one member, answered 8 questions.

Next, Jon recognized Conrad Neitsch, Constitution and Bylaws Chairperson, to give his report. Conrad reported no activity for this committee and no changes at this time.

Jon next asked Michael Golden, MO9 Lead Soil Scientist, to come forth. Mike said it was good to see all the soil scientists here tonight. He had some awards to present at the meeting including 5, 10, and 20, 30-year service awards.

The first award was to a Project Leader, one of the first in the nation, and the first in Texas. He asked to Craig Byrd to come forth and receive his 15-year length of service award.

He then said the next person had worked doubly hard as Resource Soil Scientist and Soil Survey Party Leader. The person spent a majority of his time populating NASIS, RUSLE2 and working on the electronic FOTG. He asked Jamey Douglass to come forth and receive a Certificate of Merit.

Mike said each year; he gave an Outstanding Field Soil Scientist award to a GS-5, 7, 9 or 11. He said the recipient of this award did the project soil survey for Lee County. He asked Maurice Jurena to come forth and accept the boxed knife, for all his efforts. Mike said he also presented an Outstanding Resource Soil Scientist award. The recipient of tonight's award did much work on the database, and promotion of soil. He asked Willie Crenwelge to come forth and receive his boxed knife.

At this time, President Jon Brandt said he had some awards tto present. The person who answered 8 questions from Ask a Soil Scientist, was Dr. Dave Weindorf. Dr. Weindorf was not present to receive his plaque. Also another award, this person had the thankless job of Editor. He asked Jamey Douglass to come forth and receive the award for serving as Editor some 15 plus years for PSSAT.

As an oversight, Jon recognized Eddie Bearden, PSSAT Treasurer. Eddie said we made some money this year. He reminded all in attendance that there were to be no sponges here tonight, and reminded all to pay for their meal. He had a handout to file as his report.

Jon asked Dennis Brezina, Nominations Chairperson, to deliver his report. Vice President Joe Castille announced he had the absentee ballots and they were counted. Joe said there would be "no Louisiana elections," tonight. Dennis handed out the ballots for tonight's vote. He also asked those candidates present to stand up and be recognized as he read the nominees for each office. As the ballots were handed in, the tally began.

President Jon asked for any new business.

Dr. Tom Hallmark announced that TAMU was hosting the National Collegiate Soil Judging Contest on April 3 and 4, 2003. He expressed the need for lots of volunteers. He also asked the membership of PSSAT to make a contribution to the event. Dr. Hallmark did state that the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America had each donated $2,000 to the contest. He added that it cost approximately $8,000 to do the contest. Dr. Hallmark mentioned that backhoe costs were expected to be near $1,600, and the awards were about $800. He wanted us, PSSAT to consider giving some financial aid to the National Soil Judging Contest.

Maurice Jurena moved that PSSAT give $500 to the National Soil Judging Contest at TAMU, it was seconded. After some discussion, Dr. Larry Wilding moved to amend the original motion, that PSSAT give $1000, Ted Zobeck seconded this. After a little more discussion, a third motion wasmoved by Susan Casby-Horton to give $800 to cover the awards, this motion was not seconded. She suggested we give $800 for the awards, and the additional $200 go for the general fund.

Finally back to the amended motion, which was for PSSAT to give $1,000 to the National Soil Judging Contest. The question was called and the motion passed.

Jon reported that the USCSSA (United States Consortium of Soil Scientist Association) had a membership of 39 professional soil scientist groups nationwide. We, PSSAT, are a member. They do have a website, and currently there is no cost.

Jon also mentioned a proposed Agronomic Science Foundation was assisting the Smithsonian with a soil exhibit. They were requesting a monolith from each state, and there were varied donor levels. There has been much discussion nationally, with the sponsorship of a monolith costing up to $10,000. Jon reported that the World Congress of Soils would be held in Philadelphia, PA in

2006. Jon thought we, PSSAT, needed a Task Force to look into representing Texas in the exhibit.

Mittie Muse moved that a committee be created providing support to the Smithsonian. It was seconded and passed. Jon added that the incoming Executive Committee could appoint this ad hoc committee. Ted Zobeck said the Bylaws stated the Executive Committee could appoint an ad hoc committee .

Dr. Larry Wilding delivered a report on the International Union of Soil Scientists (IUSS). He said all of here, are members. Including hydrologists, membership is about 10,000 nationwide. But, he did say that the IUSS is paying all of our dues. He gleefully announced that the International Congress would be in Philadelphia in 2006. The last time the congress met in the United States, was in Madison, WI in 1960. Dr. Wilding agreed to serve as an organizer for this event. He said there were many opportunities for PSSAT to present items to the public, and it would be a great opportunity to get involved. He emphatically said, put it on your calendar and plan to attend.

Jon asked if there was any more New Business.

Wes Miller said he had one knife left to sell, cost is $25.

Dr. Tom Hallmark wanted to report the results of the PSSAT Texturing Contest. He did admit he picked some difficult samples to texture. He said of the 12 entrants, only 3 got both textures. Third Place goes to Alan Stahnke; Second Place goes to Dennis Brezina, who missed the percent clay by a total of 11 percent. This year's winner was off by a total of 7 percent, and he is actually from out-of-state. This year's winner is Dr. Wayne Hudnall, who was presented with a PSSAT cap and t-shirt. The two samples were fs1 8% clay, and sicl, 32% clay.

At this time, Jon called on Dennis Brezina to give the election results.

President-Elect: Dr. Richard Drees

Vice President: Tom Feuerbacher

Treasurer: Kelly Attebury

Editor: Susan Casby-Horton

Next, Jon passed the gavel (it was not lost!) to Maurice Jurena. Jon summarized his tenure, saying he had hoped to get the Soils of Texas set finished. He is considering putting it on the website.

Maurice said it was good to work with Jon this past year. Maurice presented Jon with a plaque for serving as President of PSSAT for 2002-2003.

Maurice mentioned that according to the Treasurer's report, we were able to save about $500 to $600 by meeting here and catering, than if we had met at our previous location.

Maurice asked if there was any New Business.

Charlie Thompson, Scholarship Committee, said there were some problems his committee had on the application form. He asked the membership, was it appropriate to offer the scholarship to the same person more than once. It was suggested that the Scholarship Committee handle these problems of policy decisions within the committee.

Charlie had some comments about the transcripts and the due date. He proposed moving the date to December 1st, and this would be posted to the website in August.

Willie Crenwelge moved that we move the due date to December 1st. The motion was seconded and passed.

At about 9:20 PM, Maurice entertained a motion to adjourn, and we did!



PSSAT Officer Biographies


Maurice Jurena, President

I have worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service for almost 29 years. I graduated from Texas A&M University in 1974. I presently reside in Caldwell, Texas. I have been married for 27 years and have 3 daughters, Lindi, Lani and Jill. My wife, Terri, teaches kindergarten at Caldwell Elementary School. My hobbies include playing the pedal steel guitar and hunting.


Tom Feuerbacher, Vice President

I am married to Kristin and have four children; Travis at Baylor University, Elise at Loyola Marymount (Los Angeles), Jacqueline at Colorado State (Ft. Collins), and Aissa in the 5th grade

My title is Senior Environmental Specialist/Soil Scientist with Marston Environmental, Inc. in San Antonio. After 7 years with the SCS (NRCS), I have been a consultant to the surface mining industry for 15 years providing assistance in permitting, compliance issues, baselines, and bond release.

My hobbies, well with three kids in college I can't afford a hobby, but I do like to spend time in the garden for stress relief.


Kelly Attebury, Treasurer

I was born in Lubbock, Texas but grew up and graduated from High School in Hope, Arkansas (where they have trees and everything!). Followed the family back to Lubbock in 1976 and began a career as a west Texas cotton farmer where I became accomplished at growing cotton and losing money. That was working so well I left the farm and went to school. I received a BA in Geography (1993) and an MS in Soil Science (1997) from Texas Tech University. I started with the Soil Conservation Service as a Lubbock County Conservation District employee when MLRA-77 was established in 1996, was soon converted to a SEEP trainee, and NRCS Soil Scientist in 1997. We cover a lot of territory out on the plains and I've worked in 13 update surveys in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas. My 1999 field season was spent on the Western Kenai Peninsula update survey in south central Alaska (they had trees too).

After 25 years, my wife Gay still puts up with me. She will finish an MS in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management in May at Texas Tech. We have a daughter (Robyn, 21) who is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin and a son (Taylor, 18) who is a freshman at Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon. My hobbies are yard work, growing a garden (great tomatoes!), and I have a large smoker in the backyard and cook the best barbecue brisket in west Texas!


Dr. Susan Casby-Horton, Editor

I started with two degrees in geology - B.S. from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and M.A. from Rice University in Houston. For about 18 months between these two degrees, worked as Geological Field Assistant for US Geological Survey, Office of Marine Geology in Corpus Christi.

Following graduation from Rice, began work in the petroleum industry for 14 years, primarily for Shell Oil Company in Houston. Moved to Lubbock with Jim's transfer to West Texas and began work on a Ph.D. in Agronomy (Soil Science) under Dr. B.l. Allen at Texas Tech University. Completed Ph.D. research and began work for USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey in the MLRA 77 Soil Survey Office in Lubbock on soil mapping and map compilation. Approximately two years ago, I transferred to the MO-9 staff in Temple as an SDQS-Soil Geomorphologist. In my spare time I enjoy quilting, needlework, and golf.



PSSAT Dues Reminder


Itís never too late to submit your PSSAT 2003 Dues!

Kelly Attebury wants to remind those of you, who could not attend the Annual Meeting, back in February, that it's not too late to submit your dues. Your prompt action will prevent the Vice President in sending out reminders to pay the dues. Dues are $15.00.

Please send your dues to:

Professional Soil Scientist Association of Texas
C/o Kelly Attebury
2310 30th Street
Lubbock, TX 79411-1602



PSSAT Meeting & Soul Survey and Land Resource Workshop - Notes and Reflections


Each year prior and possibly during the SSLRW, I ask two to three folks to submit their reflections and thoughts on the meetings. This year f we have two dedicated folks who took the time to prepare articles for this issue of Texas Soil Profiles. My thanks go each of them. - Jamey Douglass II


Reflections from Amber Basinger, MLRA 83 SEEP

Being a new employee with the NRCS, I was glad I was invited to attend the PSSAT meetings and the 40th Annual Soil Survey and Land Resource Workshop in 2003. I really enjoyed listening to the guest speakers on informational topics dealing with soil science and geologic formations. Topics on vertisols and the soils and flood problems of Harris County were very interesting. I was introduced to many people from academia, other NRCS employees, and environmental companies. It might be hard remembering everyone's name that I meet, but I will eventually learn, I promise. I was very impressed with the poster displays by graduate students, NRCS employees, and other companies and the snacks. The meetings ran very smoothly and were well organized. I became a new member of PSSAT while at the meetings and plan on attending the annual meetings regularly.


2003 Annual Soil Survey and Land Resource Workshop -Notes and Reflections
by Dr. Jan Horbaczewski

What did I learn from the 40th Soil Survey and Land Resource Workshop? On reflection I think it comes down to three themes.

The first was the philosophical theme. How should vertisols be classified given the variation between micro-highs and micro-lows? Should the concept of the pedon be redefined and the concept of the polypedon discarded, as Dr. Wilding was suggesting? Should geology-driven classical pedology yield to hydrology-driven modern pedology? Should Hans Jenny's factors be expanded to include hydrology as an additional factor? This is what good science or "Natural Philosophy", as it used to be called, should be. But, despite Dr. Hudson's joke about philosophy being "a safe haven when facts become harder to hold onto", good philosophizing needs hard field-testing. Hence the current testing of the thermic/hyperthermic boundary, of gradations of the aquic regime, and of the spatial distribution of key parameters in vertisols. As a geologist and a soil scientist, I particularly enjoyed the paleo-vertisol and other paleo-sol studies. Those of us in the mining industry are constantly trying to bridge the pedology/geology divide as we interpret weathering profiles that extend to the geochemical redox boundary between oxidized and unoxidized overburden at depths of 30 feet or more. Two things that I have learned are that such geochemical profiles are dynamic (i.e., the oxidation front in overburden is gradually advancing as geological erosion occurs at the surface) and that they represent "palimpsests" (i.e., incomplete records on which geochemical signatures have been recorded, erased, and re-recorded a number of times over the 35 million years or so since original deposition).

The second was the practical theme. Should 35% clay content be the cut-off instead of 40% for sewage systems? How should we evaluate claypans for such applications? How do we continue developing and applying the Soil Conditioning Index? How do we deal with dispersive clay soils and resulting erosion problems? Where do we place a road to avoid natural geological and soil hazards? Should we use the Bray or the Mehlich III soil phosphorus test for land application of biosolids? How could we use Suaeda spp. or other halophytes to remove salts from saline soils? These questions force the professional to "put his money where his mouth is" and that money can run into millions of dollars. It is not uncommon in the mining industry to apply lime at the rate of 100 tons per acre as mine-soils are being reconstructed to a four-foot depth. At a cost of $20 per ton applied on the ground that comes to $2,000 per acre and a lot of pressure on the scientist making the calls!

The third was the theme of our discipline as a profession. The label "geoscientist" has the merit of bringing geology and soils together and the licensure program provides an opportunity for us to cooperate and bring issues of common interest to the public. Dr. Brams has shown us the way. It is ironic that our workshop was just a stone's throwaway from the university's broadcasting station, KAMU-FM, which has a number of brief weekly programs, such as the architectural "The Shape of Texas", the psychological "Family Talk", the medical "Health-Wise", and the civic-minded "Voter's Choice". If we truly believe that geoscience is relevant to society (e.g., if the costliest national hazard really is due to high shrink-swell soils) then why is our voice not on the air? Are we even registering on the radar with other professions - how is it that urban professionals are unaware of soil surveys? At least in the scientific community geologists have some visibility - they have been making regular contributions to Scientific American for decades but I don't recall ever seeing an article on soils in over twenty years. Even the National Geographic Magazine has only featured soils once in my recollection in spite of the fact that soils are a fundamental component of all physical geography curricula! We are going to have to take the initiative and stop wringing our hands. And the first step in that direction is to listen to Dr. Milford and become licensed: "we all need to become licensed because being licensed is a means of promoting and supporting our profession". After that we will have a forum and some standing to start spreading the word.


2003 PSSAT Committee Chairpersons and Members

Finance Committee

Chairperson-Glenn Chervenka

Lynn Gray, Lindsay Lang


Constitution and Bylaws Committee

Chairperson-Conrad Neitsch

Dr. C. T. Hallmark

Jamey Douglass

Ethics Committee

Chairperson-Dr. Ted Zobeck

Joel Bolin, Mittie Muse

Dr. C. T. Hallmark

Nominations Committee

Chairperson-Jon Brandt

Dr. Jan Horbaczewski, Michael Golden

Sam Brown, Dr. Bill Harris

Public Relations and Education Committee

Chairperson-Dr. John Jacob

Susan Casby-Horton, Willie Crenwelge

Wayne Gabriel, James Greenwade, Jerry Rives

Dr. Lynn Loomis, Dr. B. L. Allen, Alan Stahnke

Ramiro Molina, Allen Neuman, Jon Brandt

Membership Committee

Chairperson-Dr. Richard Drees

Tom Feuerbacher, Sidney Paulson

Dr. Richard Griffin

Dr. Richard Zartman

Scholarship Committee

Chairperson-Charlie Thompson

Nathan Haile

Ed Janek



Geoscientist Licensing - Now is the Time

Geoscientist Licensing - Now is the Time!

The question might be, "Why should I get a license?" For the past several years, PSSAT working in conjunction with professional geologists struggled to get a bill passed through our state legislature. PSSAT and its members provided financial assistance to the tune of over $10,000 for this effort. This is an important deal.

On March 28th, I tried to assess how many soil scientists had sent in their applications and how many were approved as licensed geoscientists. Eighteen soil scientists (most are PSSAT members) have submitted their applications, and currently three are approved. Geologists and Geophysicists in category A-H, have submitted 169 applications with 49 being approved.

I know several of you are currently working on the application, but now is the time to stand up and be counted. For me personally, with more than 10 years to retirement, the thought of keeping my license renewed does not thrill me, but I know it is the right thing to do. Dr. Milford says the Fundamentals of Soil Science exam and the Advanced Practice Exam will cost you over $300 to take. We all have to September to get our applications in, or we will have to go the testing method.

If you need more information on Geoscientist licensing, visit http://www.tbpg.state.tx.us/



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

  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>