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Wetland Evaluation and Delineation Program

Delineation Program 
Hydric Soils In Florida: Fact Sheet

  1. Definition: Hydric soils are those soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded long enough during the growing season for the development of anaerobic conditions in the topsoil. The anaerobic conditions in a hydric soil favor the growth and regeneration of hydrophytic vegetation.
  2. Hydric soils include all of the very poorly drained and some of the poorly drained soils.
  3. Generally, in sandy textured soils, the hydric soil indicators must be within 6 inches of the soil surface.
  4. Generally in loamy and clayey textured soils, the hydric soil indicators must be within 12 inches of the soil surface.
  5. The presence of just one hydric soil indicator within the appropriate depth is enough evidence for a soil to be called hydric. Hydric soils must be verified in the field.
  6. The hydric soil indicators used in Florida were developed by the Soil Conservation Service (now known as the NRCS, Natural Resources Conservation Service) specifically for Florida.
  7. A detailed description of the hydric soil indicators developed for Florida is provided in Soil and Water Relationships of Florida's Ecological Communities, FL-SCS, 1992, second edition.
  8. Chapter 62-340, F.A.C., Delineation of the Landward Extent of Wetlands and Surface Waters (1994) cites the above publication for the description and use of hydric soil indicators.
  9. According to the NRCS, 4 hydric soil indicators indicate a water table at or above the soil surface. These 4 indicators can also be used as hydrologic indicators for the Florida Wetland Delineation (62-340.500(8)).

The indicators are:

  1. Muck
  2. Mucky Texture
  3. Gley Color
  4. Sulfidic Smell
  1. The following hydric soil indicators identify soils with a high water table capable of providing saturation to the soil surface for extended periods of time.
All Soils Sandy Soils Loamy and Clayey Soils
Stratified Layers Sandy Redox Depleted Matrix
Organic Bodies Stripped Matrix Marl
Dark Surface Fe/Mn Masses
Thin Dark Surface Umbric Surface
Polyvalue Below Surface Thick Dark Surface
Redox Dark Surface
Depleted Dark Surface

A complete list of soil map units (by county) that have hydric soils as a principle component or as an inclusion is in Hydric Soils of Florida Handbook, 1995. Florida Association of Environmental Soil Scientists (Direct all inquiries to FAESS, P.O. Box 7025, Gainesville, FL. 32605, or call V.M. Carlisle (904-376-5079)

Last updated: June 30, 2015

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