Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|46a. Pembina Escarpment||Level IV Ecoregion|
|The Northern Glaciated Plains
ecoregion is characterized by a flat to gently rolling landscape
composed of glacial drift. The subhumid conditions foster a grassland
transitional between the tall and shortgrass prairie. High concentrations
of temporary and seasonal wetlands create favorable conditions for duck
nesting and migration. Though the till soil is very fertile, agricultural
success is subject to annual climatic fluctuations.
The Pembina Escarpment is a rugged, forested slope that marks the boundary between the Northern Black Prairies (46g) and the Lake Agassiz Plain (48). Though small, it is a distinctive level IV ecoregion. Originally formed by the undercutting of Cretaceous sandstones by the ancestral Red River, the escarpment was later steepened by glacial scouring. The vista today, of wooded hills with small farms tucked into valleys, is reminiscent of pastoral sections of New England. Streams flowing off the escarpment have high gradients and a cobble substrate.
Area (square miles): 274
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Burr oak dominant; some aspen and paper burch. Understory plants: beaked hazel, highbush cranberry (pembina), service berry, red osier dogwood.
Land Use and Land Cover
On steep slopes, woodland retained for woodland grazing and wildlife habitat. In flatter areas, cleared areas used for small grain, sunflowers and flax.