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Intermountain Grassland
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Intermountain Grassland areas of Montana

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Intermountain Grassland Statistics

Intermountain Grassland: 14.3% of the state
Precipitation: Mean annual precipitation overall is 15.4"
Soils: Valley soils are fertile
Topography: Ranges from mountain valleys lower than 3,000’ to an elevation of 5500’
For more details see the CFWCS

Description

The intermountain/foothill grassland ecosystem is a mosaic of private and public land that extends from the glaciated Flathead River Valley to the north, south to the Centennial Valley, and east to the Little Belt foothills, where some of Montana’s most diverse fish and wildlife habitats remain. This western Montana ecosystem has more wildlife communities than any other in Montana. It also has Montana’s greatest concentration of human population in and near the towns of Kalispell, Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman. The attraction for wildlife and people is western Montana’s broad, lush, and sweeping valleys cradled by the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The intermountain/foothill grasslands are cut and formed by meandering rivers that create core riparian zones and wetland areas that often include glacial lakes and potholes that attract nesting waterbirds.

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Intermountain Grassland

Fish & Wildlife

The intermountain grassland ecosystem still supports most of the species that were historically found here, including grizzlies, bald eagles, terrestrial garter snakes, trumpeter swans, and western toads. The riparian communities support a high diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

Vegetation

The intermountain grasslands are the transition zone between prairie grasslands and montane forests, sometimes referred to as foothill grasslands. These large, open valleys support plant communities dominated by grasses. Large rivers surrounded by lush riparian plant communities flow through the larger valleys.