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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Ecoregions of
North Dakota
South Dakota

42. Northwestern Glaciated Plains

42c. Missouri Coteau Slope Level IV Ecoregion


North Dakota Ecoregions

South Dakota Ecoregions

42a. Missouri Coteau

42b. Collapsed Glacial Outwash

42c. Missouri Coteau Slope

42d. Northern Missouri Coteau

42e. Southern Missouri Coteau

42f. Southern Missouri Coteau Slope

42g. Ponca Plains

42h. Southern River Breaks

42i. Glaciated Dark Brown Prairie

  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).

GIF - Pronghorn
Pronghorn antelope coexist with cattle on rangeland in the western Dakotas.

The Missouri Coteau Slope ecoregion declines in elevation from the Missouri Coteau (42a) to the Missouri River. Unlike the Missouri Coteau (42a) where there is a paucity of streams, the Missouri Coteau Slope has a simple drainage pattern and fewer wetland depressions. Due to the level to gently rolling topography, there is more cropland than on the Missouri Coteau (42a). Cattle graze on the steeper land that occurs along drainages.


Area (square miles): 5793

Elevation/Local Relief (feet): 1700-2450/50-150

Glaciated. Level to gently rolling plain sloping to Missouri River. Sparse drainage pattern; few wetlands.


Surficial Material and Bedrock
Wisconsinan glacial till over Tertiary sandstone and shale in Cretaceous Pierre Shale.


Order (Great Groups)
Mollisols (Haploborolls, Argiborolls, Argiaquolls, Calciborolls)

Common Soil Series
Williams, Max, Zahl, Bowbells, Parnell

Temperature/Moisture Regimes


Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)

Frost Free - Mean annual (days)

Mean Temp. - Jan. min/max; July min/max, (°F)

Potential Natural Vegetation

Western wheatgrass, needleandthread, prairie junegrass, green needlegrass.

Land Use and Land Cover

Mainly tilled agriculture of spring wheat, barley, alfalfa, silage corn. Some grazing on steep and saline or wet areas.

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