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Northern Lake States Forest and Forage Region

Total Land Area 118,775 square miles (307,795 square kilometers)

Location is the Central Lowland areas south and west of the western Great Lakes. Includes parts of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.


Glaciated region with numerous lakes and wetlands.

Topography -

Generally level to gently undulating in glacial lake deposits. Undulating to rolling on till planes and ground moraines, and steep on end moraines, on valley sidewalls, and on escarpments along the margins of lakes.


Regional Precipitation
Regional Temperature

Average precipitation ranges from 26 - 34 inches (660 to 865 millimeters). Most precipitation occurs in spring and summer.

Average annual temp ranges from 39 - 44 degrees F (4-7 degrees celsius).

Freeze free period ranges from 120 days in north to 175 days in south. Cold winters and significant snows can accumulate.


Freshwater withdrawls average 5,650 million gallons per day (21,385 million liters per day).
82% of withdrawl (approx) is from surface water sources.
18% of withdrawl is from ground water sources.

75% of water used for municipal and industrial supply (approx)
18% used for public supply


  • Histosols
  • Alfisols
  • Spodosols
  • Entisols
  • Some areas have significant acreage of Mollisols or Inceptisols.

    Almost all regional soils have a frigid soil temperature regime.
    All have an aquic or udic soil moisture regime.
    Mesic soil temperature regime in many southern parts of region.
    Mineralogy is dominatly mixed but is isotic in some areas.

    Land Use

    90% (approx) privately owned.
    Most Federal land is National Forest.

    Major regional land uses include farming and timber production.
    Wood pulp, paper, mining and food processing industries use significant amounts of the water.

    Western and Southern shore of Lake Michigan heavily populated.

    58% Native vegetation consists of forest species in region (approx)
    Remaining region cropland or grassland.

    Crops include corn, wheat, alfalfa, oats, barley and soybean. Forage and feed grain grown in region is primarily used by onsite dairy and beef cattle industries. Other crops include sunflower, potatoes, beans, sweet corn, peas, berries and fruit.

    Water erosion, especially cropland erosion is major resource concern. Wind erosion in areas of silty and sandy soil. Soil wetness, fertility and tilth and protection of water quality are additional resource concerns.

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