Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|46o. Minnesota River 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.
Thick glacial drift composes the level terrain of the Minnesota River Prairie. Wetlands are common, though they are fewer and less persistent than those in the neighboring stagnation moraines (ecoregions 46e and 46k). The desiccating winds and historic fire regime promoted the prairie ecosystem in this region; however, it is transitional to woodland that occurs to the north and east in Minnesota. Today, the original tallgrass prairie has been replaced by intensive agriculture for grain, corn and soybeans.
Area (square miles): 826
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Big and little bluestem, green needlegrass, western wheatgrass, blue grama. Elm, boxelder, and green ash along river bottoms.
Land Use and Land Cover
Extensively cultivated to small grains, corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.