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North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department
 

Smoky Lake State Natural Area

This 276 acre natural area is located immediately adjacent to Smoky Lake. The natural area is comprised of two units. The northwest unit contains mixed grass prairie, pockets of aspen woodlands and interspersed wetlands. This unit is accessible at the northwest corner of the unit via a two track trail. The southeast unit contains larger wetlands and native prairie but access is extremely limited to non-existent at times.

The 227 acres of dry mixed grass prairie is found on fine sandy soils on gently rolling slopes. Dominant grass species include porcupine grass and junegrass. Little bluestem is also found on the site.

Smoky Lake Natural Area
 

Characteristic forbs include yarrow, fringed and white sagewort. Dominant shrubs include rose and snowberry. Bird species of concern that have been observed here include the Baird’s sparrow, chest-nut collared longspur, upland sandpiper, marbled godwit and the Ferruginous hawk.

The approximately 37 acres of scattered wetlands range from seasonal to semi permanent in nature and often are saturated by standing water throughout most of the growing season. These shallow wetlands and shoreline provide habitat for species of concern such as piping plovers, Wilson’s phalaropes, black terns, and upland sandpipers. Bulrushes, rushes, common reed, and sedges characterize this habitat.

There are four small aspen woodlands totaling about 12 acres which are located in the northwest unit. Dominant woody species include quaking aspen, poison ivy, chokecherry, silverberry and snowberry.

Plants and Birds

 
  • Area Birds Include:
  • American goldfinch - Spinus tristis
  • Baird’s sparrow - Ammodramus bairdii
  • Barn swallow - Hirundo rustica
  • Black tern - Chlidonias niger
  • Black-crowned night heron - Nycticorax nycticorax
  • Blue-winged teal - Anas discors
  • Brewer’s sparrow - Spizella breweri
  • Brown thrasher - Toxostoma rufum
  • Chestnut-collared longspur - Calcarius ornatus
  • Clay-colored sparrow - Spizella pallida
  • Common yellow throat - Geothlypis trichas
  • Coot - Fulica americana
  • Cowbird - Molothrus ater
  • Eastern kingbird - Tyrannus tyrannus
  • Eastern meadowlark - Sturnella magna
  • Ferruginous hawk - Buteo regalis
  • Gadwall - Anas strepera
  • Horned lark - Eremophilia alpestris
  • House wren - Troglodytes aedon
  • Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus
  • Least flycatcher - Empidonax minimus
  • Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
  • Marbled godwit - Limosa fedoa
  • Mourning dove - Zenaida macroura
  • Northern oriole - Icterus galbula
  • Northern shoveler - Anas clypeata
  • Pintail - Anas acuta
  • Piping plover - Charadrius melodus
  • Red head - Aythya americana
  • Red-winged blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus
  • Ruddy - Arenaria interpres
  • Tree swallow - Tachycineta bicolor
  • Upland sandpiper - Bartramia longicauda
  • Warbling vireo - Vireo gilvus
  • Western kingbird - Tyrannus verticalis
  • Wilson's phalarope - Phalaropus tricolor
  • Yellow warbler - Dendroica petechia
  • Yellow-headed blackbird - Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
  • Smoky Lake Natural Area
  •  
  • Area Plants Include:
  • Absinth wormwood - Artemisia absinthium
  • Blue lettuce - Lactuca tatarica
  • Bluebell - Campanula rotundifolia
  • Blue-eyed grass - Sisyrinchium montanum
  • Canada thistle - Cirsium arvense
  • Canada wildrye - Elymus canadensis
  • Canadian anemone - Anemone canadensis
  • Cattail - Typha spp.
  • Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana
  • Common milkweed - Aslepias syriaca
  • Common reedgrass - Phragmites australis
  • Common scouring rush - Equisetum hyemale
  • Cudweed sagewort - Artemisia ludoviciana
  • Daisy fleabane - Erigeron strigosus
  • Dwarf milkweed - Asclepias ovalifolia
  • Field pussytoes - Antennaria neglecta
  • Field sowthistle - Sonchus arvensis
  • Fringed sagewort - Artemisia frigida
  • Goatsbeard - Tragopogon dubius
  • Green needlegrass - Stipa viridula
  • Green sagewort - Artemisia dracunculus
  • Harstem bulrush - Schoenoplectus acutus
  • Kentucky bluegrass - Poa pratensis
  • Leafy spurge - Euphorbia esula
  • Little bluestem - Schizachyrium scoparium
  • Milkvetch spp. - Astragalus spp.
  • Needle-and-thread - Stipa comata
  • Pincushion cactus - Escobaria vivipara
  • Plains muhly - Muhlenbergia cuspidata
  • Poison ivy - Toxiodendron rydbergii
  • Porcupine grass - Stipa spartea
  • Prairie cordgrass - Spartina pectinata
  • Prairie junegrass - Koeleria macrantha
  • Prairie ragwort - Packera plattensis
  • Prairie rose - Rosa arkansana
  • Prairie smoke - Geum triflorum
  • Purple coneflower - Echinacea angustifolia
  • Purple locoweed - Oxytropis lambertii
  • Quaking aspen - Populus tremuloides
  • Rocky moutain beeplant - Cleome serrulata
  • Salt grass - Distichlis spicata
  • Sedge spp. - Carex spp.
  • Silverberry - Elaeagnus commutata
  • Smooth bromegrass - Bromus inermis
  • Spiderwort - Tradescantia bracteata
  • Thickspike wheatgrass - Elymus lanceolatus
  • Western snowberry - Symphoricarpos occidentalis
  • Western wallflower - Erysimum asperum
  • White prairie aster - Symphyotrichum ericoides
  • White sweetclover - Melilotus alba
  • Yarrow - Achillea millefolium
  • Yellow sweetclover - Melilotus officinalis
 

Location

 

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