Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|42b.Collapsed Glacial Outwash||Level IV Ecoregion|
|Home||The Northwestern Glaciated
Plains ecoregion marks the westernmost extent of continental glaciation.
The youthful morainal landscape has significant surface irregularity
and high concentrations of wetlands. The rise in elevation along the
eastern boundary defines the beginning of the Great Plains. Land use
is transitional between the intensive dryland farming on Ecoregion 46i
to the east and the predominance of cattle ranching and farming to the
west on the Northwestern Great Plains (43).
Areas of Collapsed Glacial Outwash formed from gravel and sand deposited by glacial meltwater and precipitation runoff over stagnant ice. Many large, shallow lakes are found in these areas; these lakes and wetlands tend to be slightly to very alkaline depending upon the flowpath of groundwater moving through the permeable outwash deposits. They attract birds preferring large areas of open water, such as white pelicans, black terns, and Forster's terns, as well as those living in brackish water, such as avocets and tundra swans.
Area (square miles): 1771
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Needleandthread, plains muhly, prairie muhly, prairie junegrass, blue grama. Saltgrass in alkaline areas.
Land Use and Land Cover
Small grains, sunflowers, alfalfa, and corn on deeper soils. Grazing land on shallow soils over gravel. Sand and gravel quarries. Wetlands provide wildlife habitat.