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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Ecoregions of
North Dakota
South Dakota

46. Northern Glaciated Plains

46f. End Moraine Complex Level IV Ecoregion


North Dakota Ecoregions

South Dakota Ecoregions

46a. Pembina Escarpment

46b. Turtle Mountains

46c. Glacial Lake Basins

46d. Glacial Lake Deltas

46e. Tewaukon Dead Ice Moraine

46f. End Moraine Complex

46g. Northern Black Prairie

46h. Northern Dark Brown Prairie

46i. Drift Plains

46j. Glacial Outwash

46k. Prairie Coteau

46l. Prairie Coteau Escarpment

46m. Big Souix Basin

46n. James River Lowland

46o. Minnesota River Priaire

  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 End Moraine Complex is a concentration of glacial features in east central North Dakota. Blue Mountain and Devils Lake Mountain are composed of blocks of surficial material scraped off and thrust up by the continental glacier at the south end of the Devils Lake basin. In the western part of the ecoregion, patches of stagnation moraine similar to the Missouri Coteau (42a) have high wetland densities. On the moraines south of Devils Lake basin, favorable precipitation, aspect, and slightly higher elevations result in wooded lake margins and morainal ridges.


Area (square miles): 1518

Elevation/Local Relief (feet): 1450-1790/20-170

Glaciated. A diverse area of hummocky stagnation moraine, parallel end moraine ridges, and other glacial features such as eskers, kames and thrust ridges.


Surficial Material and Bedrock
Wisconsinan glacial till and outwash


Order (Great Groups)
Mollisols (Haploborolls, Argiborolls, Calciborolls, Calciaquolls)

Common Soil Series
Heimdal, Emrick, Esmond, Barnes, Buse, Bottineau, Aastad, Edgeley, Hamerly

Temperature/Moisture Regimes


Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)

Frost Free - Mean annual (days)

Mean Temp. - Jan. min/max; July min/max, (°F)

Potential Natural Vegetation

Tallgrass/midgrass prairie: western wheatgrass, green needlegrass, big and bluestem, blue grama. Forest vegetation of burr oak and aspen associated with Devils Lake.

Land Use and Land Cover

Mixed range and cropland depending upon slope and presence of rocks in soil. Spring wheat, oats, barley, flax, and hay.

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