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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Wooded Islands in a Sea of Prairie

Study Area

The Study Area (Fig. 2) lies in the Missouri Plateau physiographic region of Bluemle (1977), in Williams, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, and Oliver counties. The Missouri Plateau is a rolling-to-hilly plain with gentle slopes and local relief ranging 90-150 meters. The surface geology consists of glacial till made up of mixtures of sand and gravel that vary primarily in relation to topography.
Click on the gif -- Cenus Plot Symbol to view the corresponding data for that census point or follow the links listed below.

gif -- Study Area Map

Plot Numbers:
1-3 -- 4-6 -- 7-9 -- 10 -- 14-15 -- 16-18 -- 19-21 -- 22-24 -- 25-27 -- 28-30 -- 31-33

Figure 2. Geographic location of wooded draw study sites in western North Dakota. Each dot represents the location of 13 census plots.

Much of the study area is underlain with coal reserves. These five counties contain about 5.5 billion tons of strippable coal, or about 34.4% of the total strippable reserves in North Dakota (Bluemle 1977). Major oil and natural gas reserves exist in McKenzie, Dunn, and Williams counties.

The climate is continental, with hot dry summers and cold winters. Mean annual precipitation and temperature vary little across the study area, but show gradual changes along an east-west gradient (Table 1).

Table 1. Differences in climatic variables along an east to west gradient in western North Dakota.1 Temperatures are in centigrade, precipitation in mm.
Symbol for mean of X annual temp.
Symbol for mean of X January temp.
Symbol for mean of X July temp.
Symbol for mean of X annual precip.
Williston, Williams Co.
Center, Oliver Co.
1Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce (1981). Climatological data - North Dakota. Vol. 90 No. 13. Nat'l Climatic Center, Asheville, NC.

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