Map of Great Plains Province States including:

Northern Panhandle of Texas

Western Oklahoma

Northern Missouri

West Central Illinois

Iowa

South Dakota

North Dakota

Nebraska

Kansas

Southern Minnesota

Eastern Montana

Eastern Wyoming

Eastern Colorado

 

OVERVIEW: CHARACTER OF THE GREAT PLAINS PROVINCE BUILT AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS

Great Plains Province

The Great Plains Province can be divided into

landscapes that include flat land, rolling land,

and riparian areas. These are subtle landscapes

that merit sympathetic design. Users of this

guide should pay attention to the following

characteristics:

 

Climate: The Great Plains climate is arid but rapidly

changeable with dramatic extremes. Blizzards are

common, although the sun evaporates or melts

the snow quickly. Flash floods can occur in spring.

Winds are strong and tornadoes are a factor.

 

Topography: The flat line of the horizon dominates

the Great Plains. The topography actually varies

from strictly flat, to rolling sandhills, to mesas

and buttes.

 

Vegetation: With the exception of large

cottonwoods that grow near creeks and ditches,

the native vegetation of the Great Plains is sparse

and small in scale, dominated by grasses and

shrubs. The Great Plains appears both sparsely

inhabited and highly domesticated because of

widespread agriculture. Crops such as wheat,

corn, soybeans, and pasture grasses contribute

to our vision of the typical Great Plains landscape.

 

Water: Water may be the most precious resource

on the Great Plains, as well as the element that

most attracts people and wildlife. People are

drawn to the shade, the lush substory vegetation,

the wildlife, and the opportunities for fishing,

boating, and swimming. Water elements include

lakes, wetlands, creeks, and rivers.

 

ďAridity, more than anything else, gives

the western landscape its character.

It is aridity that gives the air its special

dry clarity; aridity that puts brilliance

in the light and polishes and enlarges

the stars; aridity that leads the

grasses to evolve as bunches rather

than turf; aridity that exposes the

pigmentation of the raw earth....Ē

óWallace Stegner

 

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