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Ecoregions of
North Dakota
and
South Dakota

42. Northwestern Glaciated Plains


42f. Southern Missouri Coteau Slope Level IV Ecoregion

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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 Slope differs from the Missouri Coteau Slope (42c) to the north; it has mesic soils rather than frigid soils and a substantial cap of rock-free loess. To the south, the coteau areas (42a, 42e) east of the Coteau Slope ecoregions (42c, 42f) become progressively narrower and more eroded. The level to rolling uplands of the Southern Missouri Coteau Slope are planted in sunflowers, wheat, millet, and barley. Corn is a marginal crop that does well in wet years. The stream drainages tend to be grazed. Willows, green ash, and elm grow in the riparian areas.

Physiography

Area (square miles): 4673

Elevation/Local Relief (feet): 1400-2200/40-200

Glaciated. Level to rolling uplands sloping westward to Missouri River. Simple stream drainage.

Geology

Surficial Material and Bedrock
Wisconsinn glacial till and loess over Cretaceous Pierre Shale.

Soil

Order (Great Groups)
Mollisols (argiustolls, Haplustolls)

Common Soil Series
Highmore, Mobridge, Houdek, Ethan

Temperature/Moisture Regimes
Mesic/Ustic

Climate

Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
19-21

Frost Free - Mean annual (days)
130-150

Mean Temp. - Jan. min/max; July min/max, (°F)
9/30;64/89

Potential Natural Vegetation

Western wheatgrass, green needlegrass, big bluestem and needleandthread.

Land Use and Land Cover

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

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