Thursday, January 05, 2006

Retirement of Gary Muckel

Access to data. Access to standards. Access to continuing education. Soil consultants need all three to thrive professionally. The reciprocal is that the profession needs the participation of consultants to thrive. This is less of a disconnect than in 1992, when Gary Muckel began in his efforts to bring soil science consultants in closer with the efforts and products of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS). Gary retires today. He will be missed.

Just a quick note to pass along the attached notice of Gary Muckel's retirement. Gary has been a wonderful facilitator to us via his NRCS NCSS position in Lincoln -- he has always gone out of his way to forward us publications and other helpful resources and information.

Gary B. Muckel, soil scientist at the National Soil Survey Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, is retiring January 3, 2006, following a 35-year career with the Soil Conservation Service/ Natural Resources Conservation Service (SCS/NRCS).

Gary is a native of California but grew up in Reno, Nevada. He received his bachelor of science degree in plant science and his master of science degree in soil science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Gary began his SCS career in Burley, Idaho, in November 1970 as a field soil scientist. In 1974, he became the soil survey party leader in Twin Falls, Idaho.

In 1977, Gary moved on to Bismarck, North Dakota, as the soil correlator. He later became the assistant state soil scientist in North Dakota. His next stop was in 1980 at Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he served as the state soil scientist. In 1988, Gary joined the West National Technical Center in Portland, Oregon, as the head of the soils staff. It was during this time that Gary initiated activities for the National Soil Survey Centennial.

In 1992, Gary joined the National Soil Survey Center with primary responsibility for the National Soil Survey Handbook. He chaired the Soil Survey Centennial in 1999, during which time more than 1,000 projects were completed nationwide. Gary initiated the Soil Quality Information Sheets and has published more than 50 articles on soil survey. He recently released the publication “Using Soil Survey to Identify Risks and Hazards to Human Life and Property.� Gary has managed the national soils website at for many years, as both content manager and webmaster. As national marketing coordinator for soil survey for several years, he successfully established a marketing plan for the National Cooperative Soil Survey program. Gary developed and authored soil education CDs and soil profile cards that are used by thousands of schools. He is a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and the Nebraska Society of Professional Soil Scientists.

The above was passed along through PSSAC (Thanks, Mary!).

As we in Washington gear up for the next stage in pursuing state licensing of soil scientists, no doubt we will be dusting off Gary's "Understanding Soil Risks and Hazards", mentioned above. I have a link for downloading it below.

Understanding Soil Risk and Hazards: Using Soil to Identify Areas with Risks and Hazards to Human Life and Property. Gary B. Muckel, editor. 2004. 93 pp. Available free online from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center, 100 Centennial Mall North, Room 152, Lincoln, NE 68508; (402) 437-5499;

By drawing on local knowledge and experience, this publication aims to expand awareness of various soil risks and hazards to human life and property and encourage city and county officials, planners, developers, and others to consider the soil in their land use decisions.

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1 comment:

Philip Small said...

The original post of this was January 3rd. It is identical and can be viewed at