Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|43a. Missouri Plateau||Level IV Ecoregion|
|Home||The Northwestern Great Plains
ecoregion encompasses the Missouri Plateau section of the Great
Plains. It is a semiarid rolling plain of shale, siltstone, and sandstone
punctuated by occasional buttes and badlands. Native grasslands persist
in areas of steep or broken topography, but they have been largely replaced
by spring wheat and alfalfa over most of the ecoregion. Agriculture
is limited by erratic precipitation patterns and limited opportunities
On the Missouri Plateau, west of the Missouri River, the landscape opens up to become the "wide open spaces" of the American West. The topography of this ecoregion was largely unaffected by glaciation and retains its original soils and complex stream drainage pattern. A mosaic of spring wheat, alfalfa, and grazing land covers the shortgrass prairie where herds of bison, antelope and elk once grazed.
Area (square miles): 20000
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Blue grama, wheatgrass/needlegrass association, little bluestem, prairie sandreed.
Land Use and Land Cover
Dryland farming and cattle grazing. Spring wheat a predominant crop with acreageof barley, oats, and sunflowers. native areas consist of mixed grasses.