Tuscarora Soil Survey

The Niagara County soil survey was conducted in 1958 and again in 1972. In both instances, the Tuscarora Nation was not included in the assessments.  Then in 1997, the TEP made an inquiry to the Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) about the possibility of having a soil survey completed for the Nation.

In 1999 the Tuscarora Nation, the TEP, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture NRCS office developed a MOA to conduct the first Tuscarora Nation Soil Survey. The survey was performed as part of a Treaty obligation between the U.S. and the Tuscarora Nation. During the summer 2000, field work for the survey began with Soil Scientist Steve Carlisle assessing all 5,700 acres of Tuscarora.
This survey provided valuable information abou the soil types at Tuscarora, making decisions about land usage easier to interpret based on soil types. Septic locations, pond construction, building design, and agriculture are all dependent on our soil.

- Soil Survey in the News -
Download the article about the Tuscarora Soil
Survey from the NYS NRCS News - May 2007.

White Corn Inventory Project

The Tuscarora White Corn Inventory Project was an idea born from the need to promote and nurture the ability of ehkwehewe people to continue growing kahnehake:rat, or Indian Corn. Tuscarora people have been well recognized for their ability to grow notable crops of white corn across Haudenosaunee territory.
During the development of the soil survey, the TEP noticed an increase in the amount of our own farmers growing Indian Corn. A standard soil survey report includes estimates on fruit and vegetable yields for specific soil types, but does not include estimates for our Indian Corn varieties. The Tuscarora White Corn Inventory Project began in 2002 to gain preliminary yield estimates for Indian Corn production for different soil types on Tuscarora. However, another unexpected benefit of the project was realized when Tuscarora farmers began taking an interest in soil science and the friendly competition between farmers to better their yields. The project continues at Tuscarora to better understand how land can be managed for sustainable agriculture practices and to promote and continue the legacy of Tuscarora Indian Corn.


Tuscarora Soil Names

During the three years of fieldwork performed by the TEP and the NRCS, several new map units of soils were identified. These new units went under national peer review by soil scientists across the U.S. and were given the Tuscarora names we have developed for them:
Hilton:  XHmA, XHmB, XHmC  -  Yune?nyeti  -  Ridge "it-hill-extends"
Madelin:  Xma  -  Uwihreh  -  swamp, bog, dam
Ovid:  XOwa, XowB  -  Nuhi  -  Red-stemmed Dogwood