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Ecoregions of
North Dakota
South Dakota

47. Western Corn Belt Plains

47d. Missouri Alluvial Plain Level IV Ecoregion


North Dakota Ecoregions

South Dakota Ecoregions

47a. Loess Prairies

47d. Missouri Alluvial Plain

  The high agricultural productivity of the Western Corn Belt Plains ecoregion is due to its fertile soil, temperate climate, and adequate precipitation during the growing season. This ecoregion has a relatively homogeneous topography of level to gently rolling glacial till plains with areas of morainal hills and loess deposits. The original tallgrass prairie vegetation has been converted to intensive rowcrop agriculture of corn, soybeans, and feed grains to support livestock production.

GIF - Corn
Corn is the dominant crop in ecoregion 47.

The human development of the Missouri Alluvial Plain over the last two centuries has separated the Missouri River from its floodplain. A system of dams, levees, and stream channelization has largely controlled the flood cycles to allow intensive agriculture in the river bottomland. Much of the northern floodplain forest has been cut, and oxbow lakes and wetlands have been drained to reclaim additional agricultural land.


Area (square miles): 349

Elevation/Local Relief (feet): 1100-1200/3-25

Level floodplain alluvium. Riparian wetlands largely drained.


Surficial Material and Bedrock
Alluvial deposits over Cretaceous sandstone and shale (Carlile Shale and Dakota Sandstone).


Order (Great Groups)
Entisols (Fluvaquents, Udipsamments, Udifluvents), Mollisols (Haplaquolls, Endoaquolls)

Common Soil Series
Lamo, Luton, Albaton, Haynie, Sarpy

Temperature/Moisture Regimes


Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)

Frost Free - Mean annual (days)

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

Potential Natural Vegetation

Northern floodplain forest of cottonwood, green ash, boxelder, and elm; shrubs and woody vines in the understory.

Land Use and Land Cover

Intensively farmed for corn and soybeans. Transportation corridor.

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