Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|43f. Subhumid Pierre Shale Plains||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
A continuous vegetative cover is essential to keep the Subhumid Pierre Shale Plains intact. Tilling the rolling hillsides risks wind and water erosion. Stream channels are deeply incised in its soft, black shale soils and slumping is common along exposed banks.
Area (square miles): 7544
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Wheatgrass, grama grass, needlegrass, porcupine grass, needleandthread.
Land Use and Land Cover
Cattle grazing, dryland farming. Winter wheat, alfalfa and sorghum.