Technical Soil Services to

Underserved Customers:
Brownfields to Greenfields

Richard K. Shaw, USDA-NRCS

Richard K Shaw
State Soil
Scientist
Somerset, New
Jersey
USDA-NRCS
Oversee delivery
of technical soil services
to New Jersey & New York
City

Problems, Soils in Urban/Suburban Areas

“Sealed” soils (paved over)

Modified chemical properties

More compaction

Addition of artifacts

More contamination

Modified physical properties

More runoff

More “non-soil” material

Greater variability

More unpredictable

Construction debris soil
Manhattan

Technical Assistance
to Urban / Suburban areas
Soils information for
climate change resiliency:


Restoration & revegetation
Storm water mgmt/green
infrastructure
Community gardens/urban agriculture
Open space inventory/site
suitability

Technical Soil Services to
Underserved Customers
NJ & NYC

1)
2)

Soils information
Onsite Investigations
Soil description/characterization
b) Hydrologic measurements
c) Lead & trace metal screening (PXRF)
d) Ground penetrating radar scanning
a)

3)Soils
4)

training, workshops, lectures
Volunteer & internship opportunities

Some of our Cooperators

City, State, Federal
NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Colleges & Universities
NYC Department of Environmental
Cornell University
Protection
NYC Office of Environmental
Queens College
Remediation
Brooklyn College
NYC Housing Authority
College of Staten Island
NYC Department of Design and
Lehman College
Construction
Columbia University
New York State Department of
New York University
Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Health Pratt Institute
Fashion Institute of Technology
New Jersey DEP
USDI – National Park Service
Rutgers University
US EPA
Stockton College
USDA Forest Service
New Jersey City University

Drexel University
Delaware Valley College

Other
NYC Soil & Water
Conservation District

Con Edison
NY Botanical Garden
Hort. Soc. of NY
RETEC

Some Local Community Connections

Ironbound Community Corp,

Newark
Center for Environmental
Transformation, Camden

Sustainable South Bronx

NY Restoration Project

Friends of Brook Park, Bronx

Unity Square, New Brunswick

City Green, Inc, Clifton

Isles Inc, Trenton

Grow Pittsburgh

P.S. 48, Bronx*

*“The Best School in the
Universe”

Sustainable South Bronx soils
training

Onsite Investigations
Storm water management

Checking depth to water
table
with Ground Penetrating
Radar
Friends of Brook Park,
Bronx

Measuring Infiltration,
NYCDPR Greenstreets,
Staten Island

PXRF trace metal screening
community garden soils
Newark

Camden

Paterson

Bronx

Harlem

New
Brunswick

New York Times, January 25, 2014
“South Bronx Students May Have Found Site of Slave Burial Ground”
“..a group of students and teachers
from nearby Public School 48 may have
discovered another piece of New York
City history at Joseph Rodman Drake
Park, one long forgotten:
an African slave burial ground.
Poring over census data, maps,
photographs and wills, the students
identified an area outside the handsome
wrought-iron fence surrounding the
cemetery as the likely site of the final
resting place for scores of slaves.”

“Last September, a team of scientists from the United States
Department of Agriculture used ground-penetrating radar at the
site and found ‘anthropogenic features,’ suggestive of skeletal
remains, about six feet beneath the parkland. ”

Urban Soils Training Sessions
Green Jobs/Environmental Restoration Training Programs

Sustainable South Bronx
B.E.S.T.
Horticultural Society of New
York
NY Restoration Project

Volunteer & Internship
Opportunities
Some Volunteers & Interns:





Imad Harone
College of Staten Island
Yiyi Wong
North Carolina State
Dave Cochrane U of Illinois
Erin Wyckoff Oregon State
Joe Lorenzo
NYU
Rose Mankiewicz Belmont Abbey College

Summary:
Technical soils
assistance in
urban/suburban areas
Urban/suburban population is
underserved by NRCS
 Underserved population is
unfamiliar with our agency
 NRCS has something of value
to offer
 Need to “broaden the
conservation partnership”
* Make the local connection and
listen to local needs

Lakeshore Drive
Community Garden
Camden, NJ

richard.shaw@nj.usda.gov