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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Ecoregions of
North Dakota
South Dakota

46. Northern Glaciated Plains

46j. Glacial Outwash 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.

GIF - Cattle in a stream
Near-stream areas are often reserved for grazing and other bovine activities.

The disjunct areas of Glacial Outwash differ from outwash areas on the Missouri Coteau (42a) in that they generally have a smoother topography. The soils are highly permeable with low water holding capacity. Areas of excessive soil permeability have a poor to fair potential for dryland crop production. Some areas are used for irrigated agriculture. The risk for blowing soil in droughty areas is reduced by retaining native range grasses like little bluestem, needleandthread, and green needlegrass.


Area (square miles): 890

Elevation/Local Relief (feet): 1300-1550/0-50

Glaciated. Flat to slightly rolling. Ancient channel depressions, relict lakes.


Surficial Material and Bedrock
Sand and plane-bedded gravel, sediments of glacial meltwater rivers


Order (Great Groups)
Mollisols (Haploborolls, Natraquolls), Entisols (Udipsamments)

Common Soil Series
Brantford, Claire, Totten, Renshaw, Arvilla, Fordville, Sioux

Temperature/Moisture Regimes


Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)

Frost Free - Mean annual (days)

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

Potential Natural Vegetation

Little bluestem, needleandthread, blue grama, prairie junegrass. Elm, ash, burr oak in river bottoms.

Land Use and Land Cover

Cattle grazing on droughtiest soils. Tilable land produces wheat, oats, barley, rye and alfalfa.

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