Landscape modification and land use over the past 150 years have impacted the Region’s soil resources. These impacts are especially prevalent in and around developed areas, and in areas influenced by Comstock era logging. Urban development in particular has physically altered the landscape, resulting in soil removal, grading, compaction, and higher erosion risk. These impacts have altered the ability of soils and vegetation communities to cycle nutrients and absorb and store water.
Soils provide a variety of key functions including sustaining vegetation, water filtration and storage, providing habitat for a wide variety of organisms, and providing a platform for development. The soil conservation threshold standards protect the Region’s soil resources and provide their continued ability to filter and retain nutrients for a variety of purposes.
Soils support the Region’s vegetation and provide natural filtration that prevents pollutants from negatively impacting water quality. The threshold standards for soil conservation direct development towards less sensitive lands and establish restoration goals to reverse the impacts of legacy development in stream environment zones (wetlands).