Kerry Arroues Is Recognized For Work in Soil Science

Kerry Arroues Is Recognized For Work in Soil Science

February 9, 2014

Soil Scientist Kerry Arroues Recognized by Agronomy Society

Kerry in Soil Pit
Kerry Arroues in the Soil Pit he references in story

At the recent American Society of Agronomy meeting in Fresno, Kerry Arroues was recognized for his extinguished service in Soil Science

Kerry Arroues grew up in northeastern CA in Susanville.  He received a BS degree in Agriculture specializing in Soil Science from Chico State in 1973.  He held the following professional positions:

SCS/NRCS Supervisory Soil Scientist (Soil Survey Leader, most recently covering the San Joaquin Valley and CA Delta), Hanford, CA, 1991-2012; SCS Soil Survey Project Leader, Hanford, CA, 1979-1991; SCS Soil Scientist, Hanford, CA 1976-1979; SCS Soil Scientist, Bakersfield, CA 1975-1976.

During his work as a soil scientist with Natural Resources Conservation Service he was co-author or author of the following soil surveys covering a total of about 4.5 million acres that include the top three counties in market value of agricultural production in the United States: Kings County, Published 1986; Tulare County, Western Part, Published 2003; Fresno County, Western Part, Published 2006; Yosemite National Park, Published 2007; Kern County, Northeastern Part, Published 2007; Kern County, Southwestern Part, Published 2009.  He has been a Certified Professional Soil Scientist for 33 years.

Kerry Arroues is author or co-author of more than a dozen publications.  He co-authored a November 2012 publication for the National Cooperative Soil Survey Newsletter titled “Field Investigations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.”  In the fall of 1996 Kerry sampled soils in Uruguay with Dr. Warren Lynn and considers this one of the highlights of his career.

He also presented posters and papers at the 6th International Meeting of Soils with Mediterranean Type of Climate in Barcelona, Spain in 1999.  He has been an auxiliary member of Kings County Agricultural Advisory Committee for many years.  He was a member of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and Earth and Soils Department Advisory Councils at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and provided input for 15 years on issues related to maintaining the viability of a soil science program.

Kerry retired from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in late December, 2012 after more than 39 years of Civil Service.  In his retirement he has continued to work as a volunteer for NRCS.  This work involved digging pits and describing soils in July, 2013 on the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park Soil Survey in an area located in the upper part of the South Fork of the San Joaquin River watershed.

In receiving his award, Mr. Arrouses told this story:

I am grateful and truly thankful for this recognition.

Last July I was sitting on the edge of a soil pit I had just dug on the side of a glacial valley floor just below Martha Lake and near the headwaters of the South Fork, San Joaquin River.  I reflected on my 40 years of work as a soil scientist as I looked around at the incredible scenery and I understood how fortunate I had been to be able to work in so many diverse and wonderful places during my career.  That is one of the reasons that prompted me to volunteer for soil survey work on the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park soil survey on a 10 day backpack soil survey trip to elevations as high as 11,200 feet.

Thinking of the soils I had personally touched may seem a little weird, but it also brings a certain reality to work and life.  I think of the diverse soils I have worked with here in our valley, the peat and muck soils in the CA Delta, the glaciated soils in Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and the high shrink-swell clay soils in the plains of Uruguay.  I also think of lacustrine lake bed soils in the Honey Lake area near Susanville where I was first introduced to soil mapping and soils in the Tulare Lake and Buena Vista Lake that illustrate what an incredible place this valley was and is.

As amazing as soils are however it is the many interactions with great people who also enjoy their work with soil in the field that have added  much more value to my work as a soil scientist.  My first supervisor as a soil scientist with the Soil Conservation Service was Kan Kim Chang in Bakersfield.  He instilled in me what a privilege it was to work on soil surveys.  Kim Chang was trained by the late Dr. Gordon Huntington while working on the Eastern Fresno Area soil survey.  Gordon became a mentor to me after I was a student in the University of CA, Soils 105 “Field Studies of Soils” class in 1984 that he instructed with 4 others (Gene Begg, Drs. Mike Singer, Randy Southard, and Ron Amundson.

I spent 6 weeks describing about 100 soils in California and Nevada and developed a deep respect for him that continues to this day.  A short time before his death he gave me a number of items related to his work as a soil scientist.  I brought his Master’s Thesis with me today.  It was signed by three individuals in 1954 and one of those was Dr. Hans Jenny.  Dr. Jenny, born in Switzerland in 1899, was the author of the book “Factors of Soil Formation” published in 1941 which neatly laid out a strong paradigm for soil formation factors responsible for differences in soil.  This book has been referenced repeatedly since 1941 in a multitude of soils-related publications.

In Hanford, Bob Beede and I have maintained this kind of a relationship over the decades.  Trees do grow in soil after all!  Another UC Extension Specialist who I depended on for assistance was Blake Sanden who helped write soil survey agronomy sections for published soil surveys in Kern County.  Another person who had a big impact on my work with soils was the late Carl Anderson, supervisor for my first four years in the Hanford Soil Survey office.  His love of soil chemistry and effects on soil salinity gave me a great foundation to build on in later years here in the San Joaquin Valley.  The list is long and I have appreciated all of the interactions with others who have the same passion for science and soils that I have.

As I reflect back on those who had an influence on my career it illustrates the importance of giving back to others in soil science some of the lessons I have learned and experienced.  Jackie Robinson had an appropriate quote for this idea when he stated:  “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”