Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|43h. White River Badlands||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
The spectacular White River Badlands formed through the erosion of the soft Brule and Chadron clays and siltstones. The turbulent topography ranges from the sheer, highly dissected "Wall" to pastel-hued toeslopes laden with Oligocene fossils. This seemingly barren landscape is broken by grass-covered, perched "sod tables" that may be grazed or tilled.
Area (square miles): 1913
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Sand sagebrush, silver sagebrush, western wheatgrass, grama grass and buffalograss.
Land Use and Land Cover
Cattle grazing. Range and hayland.