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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Ecoregions of
North Dakota
South Dakota

46. Northern Glaciated Plains

46h. Northern Dark Brown Prairie 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 Souris and Des Lacs Rivers generally divide the Northern Dark Brown Prairie from the Northern Black Prairie (46g). These ecoregions differ in precipitation, soil, and vegetation characteristics. The Souris River is within the broad transitional zone between subhumid and semiarid climatic conditions. Soils west of the Souris River developed under drier conditions than those soils further east; they have less organic material which gives them a lighter color. In addition, crop and native grass production is generally lower than in ecoregions further east.


Area (square miles): 1114

Elevation/Local Relief (feet): 1980-2220/8-100

Glaciated. Generally flat, with occasional "washboard" undulations. High concentrations of temporary and seasonal wetlands. Simple drainage pattern.


Surficial Material and Bedrock
Glacial till over Tertiary Ft. Union Formation.


Order (Great Groups)
Mollisols (Argiborolls, Natriborolls, Calciborolls, Argiaquolls)

Common Soil Series
Williams, Bowbells, Zahl, Noonan, Hamerly, Parnell

Temperature/Moisture Regimes


Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)

Frost Free - Mean annual (days)

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

Potential Natural Vegetation

Western wheatgrass, green needlegrass, little bluestem and needleandthread. Aspen and green ash in drainages.

Land Use and Land Cover

Extensively tilled to durum and spring wheat, other small grains, sunflower and alfalfa. Saline areas used for range or wildlife.

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