Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|43i. Keya Paha Tablelands||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 Keya Paha Tablelands form a perimeter of sandy, level to rolling plains that surround the steeper dune topography of the Nebraska Sand Hills (44a). Ponderosa pines grow in the drainages in the hilly land east of the Pine Ridge escarpment. Millet and corn grow on the level land, but the sandy soil limits nonirrigated agriculture.
Area (square miles): 3451
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Blue grama, sideoats grama, western wheatgrass, little bluestem, and needleandthread.
Land Use and Land Cover
Cattle ranching predominates north with some dryland farming for alfalfa and winter wheat. Corn and sugar beets in irrigated areas south. Mixed prairie range with cropland.