There are approximately 2,000 named soils in the United States that may occur in wetlands. Such soils, called hydric soils, have characteristics that indicate they were developed in conditions where soil oxygen is limited by the presence of saturated soil for long periods during the growing season. If the soil in your area is listed as hydric by the Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS), the area might be a wetland.
If the name of the soil in your area is not known, an examination of the soil can determine the presence of any hydric soil indicators, including:
- Soil consists predominantly of decomposed plant material (peats or mucks)
- Soil has a thick layer of decomposing plant material on the surface
- Soil has a bluish gray or gray color below the surface, or the major color of the soil at this depth is dark (brownish black or black) and dull
- Soil has the odor of rotten eggs
- Soil is sandy and has a layer of decomposing plant material at the soil surface
- Soil is sandy and has dark stains or dark streaks of organic material in the upper layer below the soil surface. These streaks are decomposed plant material attached to the soil particles. When soil from these streaks is rubbed between the fingers, a dark stain is left on the fingers.