Numerous important soil groups come together to form a lake. With more than 219 square miles of watershed, the ecosystem of Geist Reservoir must work together to ensure that all plants, animals, and people have access to a healthy body of water. All soil groups are important for their own reasons. There are also converted land use classifications that have been created for business and residential use.

What are a few examples of soil types in the local area, and why are they important?

In general, the soil around the lake includes silt loams, clay loams, and other types of soil. Some soil types are well-drained, meaning that water can pass through the individual particles relatively easily. On the other hand, some types of soil do not drain nearly as well. Then, there are steep soils on the uplands as well. It is important to understand the different types of soil that play a role and how they directly relate to the lake.


Clay particles are the finest of all soil particles. They’re incredibly difficult to see, even with a standard microscope. Even though clay might feel thick in the fingers, the particles are very small. In the lake, clay binds together very well. Therefore, it creates densely packed material that can hold a tremendous amount of water. Clay can hold up to twice its own volume of water. Because clay is so dense, it does not allow a lot of air to pass through its individual particles. On the other hand, it does contain a lot of nutrients that are tremendously important to the plants and animals that live in the ecosystem.


Silt particles are a bit larger than clay particles; however, they are still invisible to the naked eye. If you put cells underneath the microscope, you should see the individual particles if you turn up the magnification enough. Silt is unique because it stays soft even when it dries out. When it is wet, silt particles hold together well. Silt is smooth to the touch when it receives enough moisture. 

Even though water can drain directly through individual silt particles, the soil still retains a lot of moisture. Silt is important to the lake’s health because it allows water and air to flow naturally through its individual particles. It also contains a lot of nutrients that plants and animals require.


When people talk about loam, they usually refer to soil that contains silt, clay, and sand. Clay and silt allow loamy soil to retain its nutrients and moisture for the reasons discussed above. Then, sand is important because it minimizes the compaction of the soil and improves its drainage. Loam is important to the health of the lake for several reasons. It can hold a tremendous amount of water, protecting the area from drought. Furthermore, loam can hold a lot of nutrients, making it an important foundational ingredient for plants and animals. Because there are multiple soil types in loam, air and water can still move through the soil freely.

These are just a few of the many types of soil that are present in the lake. It is important to preserve the area to protect access to vital nutrients.

Understanding the Different Types and Soil and the Health of the Lake

The lake is a vibrant, lively, diverse ecosystem with many moving parts that have to work together to protect people, animals, and plants that live in the area. Each type of soil has an important role to play, and all of them need to be considered before any projects move forward. The watershed area is large, and people must rely on experts to make decisions for the lake’s future. These soil types are among the most important factors.