USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Ecoregions of
North Dakota
and
South Dakota

46. Northern Glaciated Plains


46m. Big Sioux Basin Level IV Ecoregion

Home

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 Big Sioux Basin is a trough penetrating the core of the Prairie Coteau (46k). Its topography was affected by pre-Wisconsinan glaciation; later advances of the Wisconsin glacier diverged around the basin. In contrast to the neighboring Prairie Coteau (46k), the basin has a well-developed drainage network. There is more tilled land in the Big Sioux basin due to the relative paucity of wetlands and the gentler topography.

Physiography

Area (square miles): 1539

Elevation/Local Relief (feet): 1625-1990/20-200

Only lightly glaciated. Erosional, rather than depositional landscape. Rolling, with incised stream drainage network, few wetlands.

Geology

Surficial Material and Bedrock
Glacial till over Cretaceous Pierre Shale

Soil

Order (Great Groups)
Mollisols (Haploborolls)

Common Soil Series
Brookings, Kranzburg, Vienna, Lismore

Temperature/Moisture Regimes
Frigid/Udic

Climate

Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
20-22

Frost Free - Mean annual (days)
110-140

Mean Temp. - Jan. min/max; July min/max, (°F)
2/22;60/85

Potential Natural Vegetation

Tallgrass prairie: big and little bluestem, switchgrass, and indiangrass, sideoats grama, lead plant. Riparian vegetation: willows and cordgrass north; more hardwoods south.

Land Use and Land Cover

Extensively tilled for small grains, corn, sunflowers, and soybeans.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/habitat/ndsdeco/46m.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 04:50:28 EST
Menlo Park, CA [caww55]