Last modified on 19 July 2014, at 21:10

Scouting/BSA/Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge

The requirements to this merit badge are copyrighted by the Boy Scouts of America. They are reproduced in part here under fair use as a resource for Scouts and Scouters to use in the earning and teaching of merit badges. The requirements published by the Boy Scouts of America should always be used over the list here. If in doubt about the accuracy of a requirement, consult your Merit Badge Counselor.
Reading this page does not satisfy any requirement for any merit badge. Per National regulations, the only person who may sign off on requirements is a Merit Badge Counselor, duly registered and authorized by the local Council. To obtain a list of registered Merit Badge Counselors, or to begin a Merit Badge, please contact your Scoutmaster or Council Service Center.

Requirement 1Edit

Tell what soil is. Tell how it is formed.

Soil is a combination of rock, sand, clay, minerals, organic material, air, moisture, organisms, crystals, plant roots, decayed leaves & other materials. As bits of crumbled material & moisture collect on a rock, simple plants begin to grow. After some time, water, decaying plants, and more minerals collect

Describe three kinds of soil. Tell how they are different.

Sand - Coarse and gritty and you can just barely see individual particles. Silt - Feels smooth like flour. You cannot see the individual particles without using a strong magnifying glass. Clay - Fine granules bond together.

Describe the three main plant nutrients in fertile soil. Tell how they can be put back when used up.

Nitrogen (N)- Main nutrient that contributes to the growth of the above ground plant. Makes grass greener. Returned to soil by: Mowing grass & leaving clippings in lawn. Phosphorus (P) - Helps plants germinate. Also helps plants absorb nutrients to produce more. Provides overall plant health and disease resistance. Returned to soil by: Decomposed plants back into the soil. Potassium (K): Mainly for strong roots. Returned to soil by: Decomposed plants back into the soil.

Requirement 2Edit

Define soil erosion.

Erosion is the displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock, and other particles) by the agents of wind, water, ice, movement in response to gravity, or living organisms.

Tell why it is important. Tell how it affects you.

It's important because it helps prevent soil from being eroded and becoming chemically altered by overuse. Soil Conservation helps keep the environment in good working order, which helps provide clean air, food, shelter, clothing and living space which we all need and use.

Name three kinds of soil erosion. Describe each.

Water Erosion: Beating rain & moving water loosen up & carry soil particles, organic material and plant nutrients to a new location. Wind Erosion: A problem in windy areas when the soil is not protected by residue cover. Geologic: In dry regions where there is little vegetation and infrequent but intense rains that carves hills and scour valleys.

Take pictures or draw two kinds of soil erosion.

Requirement 3Edit

Tell what is meant by conservation practices.

Is any specific action or process to care for natural resources, so they are protected from damage and improved for certain uses.

Describe the effect of three kinds of erosion-control practices.

Terraces: Are structural practices that can reduce erosion by holding back the water and routing it along a channel at a lower velocity to where it can be safely discharged, usually into a grassed waterway. Cover Crops: Crops such as rye that grow in late fall and provide soil cover during winter. By providing a cover to the soil, winter soil erosion from both air and water can be greatly reduced. Strip - Cropping: Is the practice of planting along the slope instead of up and down slopes, and planting strips of grass between row crops.

Take pictures or draw three kinds of erosion-control practices.

Requirement 4Edit

Explain what a watershed is.

It's the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater.

Outline the smallest watershed that you can find on a contour map.
Then outline on your map, as far as possible, the next larger watershed which also has the smallest in it.
Explain what a river basin is. Tell why all people living in it should be concerned about land and water use in it.

An area of land drained by a river and all its large and small tributaries. All river basins are large watersheds. The way that land and water are used and managed affects the quality and quantity of water people in cities downstream will have.

Requirement 5Edit

Make a drawing to show the water cycle.
Show by demonstration at least two of the following actions of water in relation to soil: percolation, capillary action, precipitation, evaporation, transpiration.
Explain how removal of vegetation will affect the way water runs off a watershed.

It will make the water run off faster, because nothing is holding it back.

Tell how uses of forest, range, and farm land affect usable water supply.

It helps slow down the run-off into the watershed and prevents flooding in other areas.

Explain how industrial use affects water supply.

It can cause water pollution by dumping chemicals into the rivers and also the ground which gets into our well water.

Requirement 6Edit

Tell what is meant by water pollution.

The contamination of water by undesirable foreign matter. It impacts our oceans, our surface water, and our underground water. Pollution comes in many forms--some conventional and others toxic.

Describe common sources of water pollution and explain the effects.

Sources of water pollution are people, factories, septic tanks, road salt, fertilizer. The effects of water pollution are weed Infested lakes, dead fish, sick birds.

Tell what is meant by "primary water treatment," "secondary waste treatment," and "biochemical oxygen demand."

Primary water treatment: Allows the un-dissolved solids in raw sewage to settle out of suspension forming sludge. This only removes 1/3 of the BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) and none of the dissolved minerals. Secondary waste treatment: The effluent from the primary water treatment is brought in contact with oxygen and aerobic microorganisms. They break down much of the organic matter to harmless substances such as carbon dioxide. After chlorination to remove its content of bacteria, the effluent from the secondary treatment is returned to the local surface water. Biochemical oxygen demand: The BOD is a measure of the amount of oxygen needed (in milligrams per liter or parts per million) by bacteria and other microorganisms to oxidize the organic matter present in a water sample over a period of 5 days.

Make a drawing showing the principles of complete waste treatment.

Requirement 7Edit

Take a trip to two of the following places. Write a report of more than 500 words about the soil and water and energy conservation practices you saw.
An agricultural experiment.
A managed forest or woodlot, range, or pasture.
A wildlife refuge or a fish or game management area.
A conservation-managed farm or ranch.
A managed watershed.
A waste-treatment plant.
A public drinking water treatment plant.
Industry water use installation.
Desalinization plant.
Plant 100 trees, bushes and/or vines for a good purpose.
Seed an area of at least 1/5 acre for some worthwhile conservation purpose, using suitable grasses or legumes alone or in a mixture.
Study a soil survey report. Describe the thing in it. On tracing paper over any of the soil maps, outline an area with three or more different kinds of soil. List each kind of soil by full name and map symbol.
Make a list of places in your neighborhood, camps, school ground, or park having erosion, sedimentation, or pollution problems. Describe how these could be corrected through individual or group action.
Carry out any other soil and water conservation project approved in advance.

External LinksEdit


Earning Merit Badges in the Boy Scouts of America
Agriculture
Animal Science | Farm Mechanics | Horsemanship | Plant Science | Soil and Water Conservation
Earning Merit Badges in the Boy Scouts of America
Nature and Conservation
Astronomy | Bird Study | Environmental Science | Fish and Wildlife Management | Fishing | Forestry | Gardening | Geology | Insect Study | Mammal Study | Nature | Reptile and Amphibian Study | Soil and Water Conservation | Weather