Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|46g. Northern Black Prairie||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 Northern Black Prairie represents a broad phenological transition zone marking the introduction from the north of a boreal influence in climate. Aspen and birch appear in wooded areas, willows grow on wetland perimeters, and rough fescue, common to the Rocky Mountain foothills, becomes evident in grassland associations. This ecoregion has the shortest growing season and the lowest January temperatures of any level IV ecoregion in the Dakotas. Most of the area is used for growing small grains, with durum wheat being a major crop.
Area (square miles): 5040
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Northern prairie: western wheatgrass, green needlegrass, little bluestem, blue grama, and rough fescue.
Land Use and Land Cover
Extensively tilled to durum and spring wheat, other small grains, sunflowers and alfalfa.