Northeast Colorado Range

hairy grama and sand sagebrush

Northeast Colorado Range (vegetation consisting primarily of ring muhly,hairy grama, and sand sagebrush). Photo taken by Casey Matney.

With the exception of land currently being used for crops, most of northeast Colorado is range.  Of the six major types of grassland in the United States, northeast Colorado is predominantly shortgrass prairie, with a hint of mixed grass prairie as you near the most eastern boundary of the state.  Shortgrass prairie is considered to be the third most important range type in terms of livestock production, following the southern mixed prairie and northern mixed prairie.  The mixed prairies include a number of species from both the tallgrass and shortgrass prairie regions. In the shortgrass prairie, the soils are mostly Mollisols, Entisols, and Vertisols.  Annual rainfall is approximately 14 to 16 inches a year, coming mostly in the summer.  There are many grass species found here.  I have noted/collected over 90 different grass species since I began my work in the region in July of 2010.  Some of the more common grass species in the area are blue grama, buffalograss, prairie sandreed, sand dropseed, needle-and-thread, little bluestem, sideoats grama, western wheatgrass, and switchgrass.  Native shrubs include sand sagebrush, fourwing saltbush, and winterfat.  Buffalo and pronghorn antelope were the predominant native herbivores, and today grazing continues to be the major force in the area, with much of the range being grazed by cattle. Ranching and livestock production are a major force in the economy, contributing greatly to the prosperity of the state.

If you are interested in learning more about northeast Colorado range or have a question or comment, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be adding content to this website as I compile it.  I will be adding information, links, and tools that will be useful to land managers.  My contact information is provided on the “Contact Me” link provided at the top of the page in case you would like to send me an email.