USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Ecoregions of
North Dakota
South Dakota

42. Northwestern Glaciated Plains

42e. Southern Missouri Coteau 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).
The Southern Missouri Coteau ecoregion, located on the southern fringe of continental glaciation, exhibits a muted coteau topography: gentle undulations rather than steep hummocks, smaller areas of high wetland density, and more stream erosion backcutting into areas of internal drainage. There is more tilled land on the Southern Missouri Coteau than on the Missouri Coteau (42a) because of its gentler topography. More soybeans and corn are planted on the Southern Missouri Coteau due to its milder climate and increased precipitation.


Area (square miles): 2382

Elevation/Local Relief (feet): 1500-2100/10-400

Glaciated. Gently undulating topography. Scattered areas of high wetland density.


Surficial Material and Bedrock
Wisconsinan glacial till over Cretaceous Pierre Shale.


Order (Great Groups)
Mollisols (Haplustolls, Natrustolls, Argiustolls, Calciborolls)

Common Soil Series
Eakin, Highmore, Java, Beadle, Dudley, DeGrey, Zahl

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, green needlegrass, needleandthread, and porcupine grass. Prairie cordgrass and northern reedgrass in poorly drained areas.

Land Use and Land Cover

Dominantly cropland. Corn, small grains, grain sorghum, and alfalfa.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 04:49:54 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww54]