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2023 National Soil Moisture Workshop

Aug 14
August 14, 2023 - August 17, 2023
Beltsville, MD
A seedling grows out of the soil in the rain, representing soil moisture.

Stimulating progress towards realizing the National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network's vision was a key goal of the 2023 National Soil Moisture Workshop, held on August 14–17, 2023 at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD. The 2023 National Soil Moisture Workshop was co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and NIDIS. This was the 14th consecutive year for the workshop, which was started by the researchers who created the Marena, Oklahoma, In Situ Sensor Testbed (MOISST). It has now grown to be a premier event for sharing soil moisture research and applications.

Video recordings are now available for the workshop presentations. Or, see below for a detailed agenda with links to individual presentations.

2023 Soil Moisture Community Award Recipient: Dr. Tyson Ochsner

Marina Skumanich presents Tyson Ochsner with the Soil Moisture Community Award at the 2023 National Soil Moisture Workshop.
Marina Skumanich presents Tyson Ochsner with the Soil Moisture Community Award at the 2023 National Soil Moisture Workshop. Photo credit: Michael Cosh, USDA ARS.

As a highlight of the workshop, the workshop organizing committee and the National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network (NCSMMN) Executive Committee awarded Dr. Tyson Ochsner the 2023 Soil Moisture Community Award, in recognition of his unflagging commitment to building the soil moisture community and to advancing soil moisture monitoring, as well as his highly impactful research applying soil moisture information to urgent natural resource issues. Dr. Ochsner is a Professor of Plant & Soil Sciences at Oklahoma State University. He was one of the founding organizers of both the Marena Oklahoma In Situ Sensor Testbed (MOISST) and the annual National Soil Moisture Workshop. He has also served on the NCSMMN Executive Committee for several years. 

The Soil Moisture Community Award is presented annually at the National Soil Moisture Workshop to the individual—whether a researcher or practitioner—who demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to building the soil moisture community of practice and delivering soil moisture–related products and services to support the public good. 


Workshop Agenda & Presentation Recordings

Monday, August 14: Field School (No Recordings Available)

Time (ET)



9:00 am

In-Room Session at National Agricultural Library

Mike Cosh, USDA ARS

1:15  pm

Field Session

Mike Cosh, USDA ARS

VIctoria Walker, USDA ARS

Todd Caldwell, USGS

4:15 pm

End of Day


Tuesday, August 15: General Session Day 1

Time (ET)



9:00 am

Welcome and Overview

USDA Perspectives on the Value of Soil Moisture Observations

  • Marina Skumanich, NIDIS
  • Mark Brusberg, USDA

Session 1:  Soil Moisture Networks | Moderator: Marina Skumanich  

9:40 am

Soil Moisture Monitoring in the Urban Landscape

Katalin Szlavecz, Johns Hopkins University

9:55 am

Southeastern U.S. Soil Moisture Network Build-Out

Lee Ellenburg, University of Alabama in Huntsville

10:10 am

LoRa Telemetry Network for Soil Moisture Monitoring (recording not available)

Patrick Haluska, U.S. Geological Survey

Session 2:  Soil Moisture Networks (Continued): Drought  |  Moderator: Todd Caldwell

11:00 am

U.S. Climate Reference Network Status Update

Tilden Meyers, NOAA ARL (virtual)

11:15 am

NRCS Soil Moisture Sensor Platforms

Kent Sutcliffe, USDA NRCS

11:30 am

Real-Time Measurements to Improve Drought Monitoring

Ashish Raval, Synoptic Data

11:45 am

The Role of Soil Moisture in Compounding Droughts and Heatwave Event Intensity and Exposure

Ronald Leeper, NCEI/NC State

Lunch Discussion: Soil Moisture Data Quality and Metadata Guidance Documents
|  Moderator:  Marina Skumanich, NIDIS 

12:30 pm

Soil Moisture Data Quality Guidance

Nandita Gaur, University of Georgia

12:50 pm 

Soil Moisture Metadata Guidance

Briana Wyatt, Texas A&M University

1:10 pm 

Community Discussion and Feedback


Session 3:  Data Quality  |  Moderator: Todd Caldwell

2:30 pm

New Multi-State Soil Moisture Testbeds

Andres Patrignani, Kansas State University

2:45 pm

Developing Tools to Assess Soil Moisture Sensor Accuracy and Variability

Chris Chambers, METER Group

3:00 pm

Evaluating the Utility of Machine Learning to Quality Control Soil Moisture Observations

Garrett Graham, NC Institute for Climate Studies / NOAA NCEI

3:15 pm

Evaluating Eight In Situ Soil Moisture Sensors with a CPN 503DR Hydroprobe

William Brown, Oklahoma State University

3:30 pm

Poster Session


Wednesday, August 16: General Session Day 2

Time (ET)



9:00 am

Keynote: How Soil Moisture Information Improves Drought Risk Protection Provided by the USDA Livestock Forage Disaster Program

Tyson Ochsner, Oklahoma State University

9:30 am Presentation of National Soil Moisture Community Leadership Award (Recording included at end of Tyson Ochsner's presentation)

Session 4:  Applications  |  Moderator: John Bolten

9:45 am

Machine Intelligence for Estimating Soil Water Flux from Soil Moisture Data

Stephen Farrington, Transcend Engineering

10:00 am

A New High-Resolution Soil Moisture Analysis from UFS Land Model

Li Xu, NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Session 5:  Applications, including Remote-Sensing Applications  |  Moderator: Peter Goble

10:45 am

Testing the Newhall Water Budget Approach for Predicting Watershed-Scale Soil Moisture in the S. Central US 

Matt Levi, University of Georgia

11:00 am

Informing Decision Making Using Ground and Satellite-based Soil Moisture – What We've Learned

John Bolten, NASA

11:15 am

High-Resolution Soil Moisture Mapping of Natural Lands Using an UAS-Based L-Band Radiometer in Sonoma Co., CA (recording not available)

Michelle Stern, USGS

11:30 am

Precision Soil Moisture Monitoring with L-Band Drone Mapping

Robin Kim, University of Virginia

11:50 am

Campbell Scientific–Sponsored Lunch (70 minutes) – Including Community Discussion on Future NSMW Meetings

Session 6:  Remote-Sensing Applications (Continued)  |  Moderator:  Briana Wyatt

1:00 pm

Identifying the Optimal Approach for Developing a 1-km Downscaled Soil Moisture Product for CONUS

Eshita A Eva, Ohio State University (virtual)

1:15 pm 

Sustainable L-Band Soil Moisture Measurements from the Muon Small Satellite Constellation

Clara Chew, Muon Space (virtual)

1:30 pm

Using Dense Radar Time Series for Mapping Soil Moisture Trends in Forests

Simon Kraatz, USDA ARS

1:45 pm 

The Upper Missouri River Basin Build-out: Transforming Soil Moisture and Snowpack Monitoring

Nathan Edwards, South Dakota Mesonet

Session 7: Forest Soil Moisture Monitoring*  |  Moderator: Scott Jones

2:30 pm

How Soil Moisture Influences Forest Management of the Daniel Boone National Forest

Claudia Cotton, USDA Forest Service Daniel Boone National Forest

2:45 pm

Leveraging the Soil Biome for Soil Moisture: A Tool to Maintain Healthy Forests and Watersheds

Lisa Markovchick, Center for Adaptable Western Landscapes / Northern Arizona University

3:00 pm

Measuring and Modeling Soil Moisture in Complex Terrain

Benjamin Rau, USDA Forest Service

3:15 pm

High (~6m) Resolution Soil Moisture over Forests and Mountains Using Airborne and Satellite Radar

Seungbum Kim, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab

3:30 pm

Poster Session


Thursday, August 17: General Session Day 3

Time (ET)



Introduction to Forest Focus Session:  Why We Need Forest Soil Moisture Monitoring*

8:45 am


Cynthia West, USFS Northern Research Station Director, and Forest Products Lab Director

9:00 am

What We Hope to Achieve and How We Got Here: Follow-Up from the 2018 Monitoring Forest Soil Moisture in a Changing World Meeting

Rich Pouyat, Scientist Emeritus, USFS  

9:15 am

Current Knowledge/Data, Gaps, and Needs

Russell Briggs, SUNY ESF 

Session 8: Challenges for Monitoring Forest Soil Moisture – Defining What & How to Monitor

9:30 am

Relevancy of Forest Soil Moisture Monitoring in the Context of the NCSMMN Strategy Publication (recording not available)

Steven Quiring, Ohio State University

9:45 am

Existing and Near Future Potential for Forest Soil Moisture Monitoring

Stephanie Connolly, USDA Forest Service

Session 9: Panel Discussion: Methods and Approaches for Gathering Soil Moisture Data

10:15 - 11:00 am

In Situ Monitoring

Claudia Cotton, USDA Forest Service Daniel Boone National Forest

Remotely-Sensed data

Mike Cosh, USDA ARS


Tyson Ochsner, Oklahoma State University

Citizen Science / Conditions Monitoring

Peter Goble, Colorado State University

Session 10: Panel Discussion: What Do Land Managers Need Soil Moisture Data For?

11:00 – 12:00 am

(Modeling, forecasting, risk ratings)

Zach Holden, USFS Region 1 Montana (virtual)

(Forecasting, status, rankings)

Mark Brusberg, USDA Chief Meteorologist

Forest Health and Management
(Soil moisture links to resiliency, harvest-trafficability, drought and flood risk assessments, adaptive management strategies)

John Kabrick, USFS Northern Research Station

Geomorphologic Hazard Prediction (Soil moisture as an indicator for mast wasting, landslides, floods)

Lynne Chastain-Carpenter, USFS Geologic Hazards Coordinator, Washington Office (VIRTUAL)

Urban Settings
(Urban grasslands and forests, how to implement)

Ian Yesilonis, US Forest Service Northern Research Station

Session 11: Modeling

1:00 pm

Overview of Existing Modeling Activities

Carlos Quintero, ORISE Fellow

1:15 pm

Data Availability & Sensor Technologies: What Data Do Models Need?

Noemi Vergopolan, Princeton University

1:30 pm

Case Study: Linking the Dynamic Soil Survey and Ecohydrology at the Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest

Salli Dymond, Northern Arizona University (virtual)

1:45 pm 



Session 12: Closing Comments, Outcomes, and Next Steps

2:15 pm

  • How do we develop a framework for forest soil monitoring that addresses previously discussed challenges while being consistent with the current NCSMMN Framework?
  • How can forests and grasslands fit into the existing soil moisture networks that focus on agricultural lands?
  • What product should come out of this workshop?

Stephanie Connolly, Moderator


Attendees at the 2023 National Soil Moisture Workshop gather outside.
Attendees at the 2023 National Soil Moisture Workshop. Photo credit: Michael Cosh, USDA ARS.

Workshop Organizing Committee

  • Todd Caldwell, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Michael Cosh, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • John Bolten, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Stephanie Connolly, U.S. Forest Service, USDA
  • Trent Ford, University of Illinois
  • Peter Goble, Colorado State University
  • Scott Jones, Utah State University
  • Steven Quiring, The Ohio State University
  • Marina Skumanich, NOAA National Integrated Drought Information System
  • Briana Wyatt, Texas A&M University

For more information, please contact Michael Cosh ( or Marina Skumanich (