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Soils of the Doukhobor (former CCUB) lands of British Columbia Van Ryswyk, Albert L.

Abstract

The soils of the Doukhobor lands of British Columbia were studied as a part of a research project undertaken by faculty members of the University of British Columbia at the request of the Attorney General of the Province. These lands comprise about 18,872 acres that occur in 16 parcels or communities in two general areas, 5327 acres near Grand Forks and 13,545 acres in the West Kootenay area. Soil surveys of these areas were conducted during the summers of 1951 and 1952. They were traversed by automobile and on foot and the soil type boundaries and related information plotted on aerial photographs of the scale of about one mile to 13 inches. From these photographs, soil maps were prepared of the scale of 400 feet to the inch. In the course of the field operations bulk and undisturbed soil profile samples were collected from the more important soil types and test were conducted relative to infiltration rates and field moisture capacities. The soil profile samples were used in the laboratory during the winters for the determination of soil reaction, organic carbon, nitrogen, mechanical composition, apparent specific gravity, pore size distribution, permanent wilting percentage and other properties. The more important soils of the valleys at Grand Forks were found to belong to the Black soil group while those in the West Kootenay were classed as Brown Podzolio. Small areas of Glei soils were also found. The soil parent materials were chiefly alluvium, glacial till and till derivatives and alluvial fan. From this information soil series were tentatively named and described. The Black soils have reactions ranging from about pH 7 in the A₁ horizon to pH 8.5 in the 0 horizon where free lime occurred. In reaction the Brown Podzolio soils were acid in all horizons and free lime was characteristically absent. The organic carbon content of the Black soils was significantly higher and the carbon to nitrogen ratio narrower than that of the Brown Podzolio soils. The mechanical analysis showed the soils to be low in clay and silt and high in sand in both areas, the exceptions being the soils derived from fine textured alluvium such as the Shoreacres, Glaybrlck and Claypit series. High macro-pore space, infiltration rates and hydraulic conductivities also characterize most of the soils. The field moisture storage capacity and permanent wilting percentage values showed that most of the soils have very low available moisture storage capacities which seriously limit their use for crop production without irrigation. When the soils were classified on the basis of their suitability for crop production without irrigation, only 3,037 acres or 17 percent of the area was classed as arable, and of this only 321 acres or 2 percent was Class 1. The land classed as nonarable without irrigation is suitable for forestry, wildlife, water storage, building sites and other uses. When rated on the basis of its suitability for crop production with sprinkler type irrigation 11,053 acres or 58 percent of the total area was classified as suitable for irrigation but of this only 635 acres or 3 percent was rated as Class 1, It is evident that Irrigation will be a very Important consideration in the use of these lands.

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