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McGrath Till Plain and Drumlins

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About the McGrath Till Plain and Drumlins

The McGrath Till Plain and Drumlins is a region in eastern Minnesota, extending roughly from the center of the state to the border with Wisconsin.

This region mostly consists of gently-rolling terrain, although parts of it are nearly level. The lower elevations here are glacial outwash plains. There are large areas of drumlin fields, but the drumlins here are less pronounced than in some regions. In places there are shallow peatlands in the depressions between drumlins.

Prior to European settlement, this region was mostly covered with a transition from prairie in the southwest, aspen-oak woodlands and oak savanna in the southeast, and a mix of northern hardwoods and aspen-oak forest in the north. Overall, most of this region was forested, but the forest did open to prairie in places. There are few lakes here. Soils here tend to be acidic and rocky, often reddish in color, and range in texture from silt loams to sandy loams and loamy sands.

Nowadays, about 60% of this region is used for agriculture, mostly for corn, soybean, dairy farming, or hay production. Hay production is more dominant in the north where the terrain is steepest. About 20% or 1/5th of the land remains as forest and the same amount as wetlands.

This area is sparsely populated. St. Cloud lies just outside this region to the south, and besides that there are only small towns here and even fewer towns than some of the surrounding regions.

This region is bordered to the southwest by the Anoka Sand Plain and Mississippi Valley Outwash, a region with droughtier soils that mostly supported savanna and oak barrens. To the north lies the Minnesota/Wisconsin Upland Till Plain, a region mostly covered in forests and wetlands and with little agriculture. Both of these borders are long and irregularly curved. The far eastern end of this region borders the St. Croix Stagnation Moraines to the south and east, a region that originally had pitted, hummocky terrain but has become extensively urbanized in the south. North of that, there is also a small border to the east with the St. Croix Pine Barrens, a fire-prone region with coarse, drought-prone soils.

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