Six ways of seeing the St. Croix: Lots of landscapes

The varied types of lands found in the region offer insights into natural and human history.




< 1 minute read

Anyone can see there are many different kinds of landscapes in the St. Croix River region: rolling forest hills and broad flat prairies, lowland forest and vast wetland complexes. And more. These types of landscapes have a big effect on people, animals, and nearly everything else. Some landscapes offer rich soil, while others provide wildlife habitat.

These landscapes are each unique in their own ways, and have been carefully delineated by scientists. Referred to as Ecological Land Type Associations, this database describes areas connected by shared landforms, bedrock, topography, waters, wetlands, groundwater, soil material, and the types of vegetation growing there before European settlement.

These landscape types are the smallest way that geographers slice up North America’s ecosystems. LTAs are part of sub-sections, which are part of sections, which are part of provinces.

There are 81 units of Land Type Associations in the 7,700 square miles of Minnesota and Wisconsin that drain toward the St. Croix River.

Wisconsin helpfully provides short descriptions of each Land Type Association. I unfortunately have not been able to track down definitions for Minnesota.

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