Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|46l. Prairie Coteau 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 Prairie Coteau Escarpment ecoregion, though small, is a distinctive ecosystem, rising 300 to 600 feet in elevation from the Minnesota River valley to the brow of the Prairie Coteau (46k). The elevation, broken topography, and sufficient precipitation favor dense deciduous forest growth in riparian areas. Cool, perennial streams flow off the escarpment, providing habitats and oxygenated water not found elsewhere in eastern South Dakota.
Area (square miles): 415
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Burr oak, green ash, elm, aspen, basswood, chokecherry, sumac with openings of little bluestem, green needlegrass, western wheatgrass, and blue grama.
Land Use and Land Cover
Steepest areas in native woodland, used for pasture. Flatter areas tilled for small grains, corn, sunflowers, and alfalfa or used for pasture.