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Clayey High Lime Till Plains

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About the Clayey High Lime Till Plains

The Clayey High Lime Till Plains are a large, irregular-shaped region that stretches through much of northwestern Ohio, inland from Lake Erie, a broad area of northeastern Indiana, and a narrow stretch in southeastern Michigan. This region can be seen as transitional between the loamy High Lime Till Plains and the swampier areas around Lake Erie.

This region is a nearly level plain. The bedrock is a mix of shale, carbonates, and sandstone, but is overlain by glacial till that is clayey and high in lime, with some lake deposits, and scattered loess. The glacial till here produces soils that are generally fertile, but often poorly-drained, although the exact composition and characteristics of soils varies considerably throughout the region due to varying mixes of the different materials. The climate is humid and continental, with slightly more precipitation falling in summer. The frost-free period ranges from 150-180 days.

Originally, this area was mostly covered with closed-canopy forest. Beech and beech-maple forest were found on clayey soils, and oak-hickory forests on well-drained soils, with scattered elm-ash swamp forests with American elm, white ash, red maple, and American basswood. There were a small amount of wet prairies.

This area has been almost completely cleared for agriculture, which now produces corn, soybean, wheat, and livestock. Remaining forest cover, of which there is very little, is mostly beech-maple forest, and on wetter sites, pin-oak and swamp white oak. Forest is mostly found as small, isolated woodlots separated from each other by large distances, although there are a few larger tracts of forest in public lands along streams. Fort Wayne, IN is the largest urban area, and this region also includes Lima, OH.

This area has had a major problem with soil erosion and chemical pollution associated with agriculture, leading to soil loss and increased stream turbidity. The use of no-till agriculture and forested buffers along streams has somewhat reduced this problem.

Due to this region's large size and irregular shape, it borders many other regions. At its far east end, it borders the lake-moderated Erie/Ontario Lake Plain to the northeast, and the Low Lime Drift Plain south of that, to the east. Most of this region is bordered to the south and southwest by the similar but better-drained Loamy High Lime Till Plains, except in two areas in Ohio where there are borders to the southwest with the smaller, unique regions of the Darby Plains, and west of that, the Mad River Interlobate Area. In Indiana, the westernmost part of this region is bordered to the northwest by the Middle Tippecanoe Plains, and in the rest of the state by the Northern Indiana Lake Country. Northeast of this, mostly in Michigan, there is a border to the northwest with the Battle Creek/Elkhart Outwash Plain, and at the northernmost end, with the Interlobate Dead Ice Moraines. The portions of this region all wrap around the Maumee Lake Plain as well, and in Ohio, there is a small border to the north with the Marblehead Drift/Limestone Plain as well.

References

1. Woods, A.J, Omernik, J.M., Brockman, C.S., Gerber, T.D., Hosteter, W.D., Azevedo, S.H. "Ecoregions of Indiana and Ohio (Poster)", US Geological Survey (1998) Web.

2. Omernik, J.M., Bryce, S.A. "Michigan: Level III and IV Ecoregion Descriptions / Mapping Issues", US EPA (2007) Web.