Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|48c. Saline Area||Level IV Ecoregion|
|Home||Glacial Lake Agassiz was the
last in a series of proglacial lakes to fill the Red River Valley
since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The Lake agassiz Plain is composed
of thick lacustrine sediments underlain by glacial till. It is extrememly
flat and has fewer lakes and pothole wetlands than neighboring ecoregions.
The historic tallgrass prairie has been replaced by intensive agriculture.
The preferred crops in the northern half of the region are potatoes,
beans and wheat; soybeans and corn predominate in the south. Sugar beets
are grown throughout the region.
In the Saline Area of the Lake Agassiz basin, salty artesian groundwater flows to the surface through glacial till and lacustrine sediments from the underlying beds of Cretaceous sandstone. The regional boundary of ecoregion 48c delineates an area where salt effects are most evident. Other saline areas occur along the tributaries of the Park, Forest, and Turtle rivers in northeast North Dakota. Salt-affected soils in the saline area reduce crop productivity. Many areas are not suitable for fanning, but are used for range or wildlife habitat.
Area (square miles): 348
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Tallgrass prairie, salt tolerant western wheatgrass, saltgrass.
Land Use and Land Cover
Grazing land on strongly saline soils. Where salinity levels are moderate, sunflowers, barley, sugarbeets, and potatoes are grown. Brackish wetland habitat.