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Climate and Biota of the Crow Reservation

This page was written by Erin Klauk as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education. Funding was provided in part by the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Mule deer in southern MT. Details

The climate on the Crow reservation varies from humid above 7,000 feet in the Bighorn Mountains, with 24 inches of annual precipitation, to semi-arid around 2,900 feet near Hardin, with 12 inches of annual precipitation. Because of this variation, the vegetation ranges from conifer forests to grasslands. Approximately 75% of the precipitation falls from March through July. The growing season ranges from 115 days at Busby, 123 days at Hardin, 126 days at Wyola, to 135 days at Crow Agency (Final Statewide Oil and Gas Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Amendment of the Powder River and Billings Resource Management Plans (more info) ). This southcentral portion of Montana enjoys "Indian Summers" which frequently extend into November, when there are warm sunny days and cool evenings. The mean annual temperature is 45.5oF with a summer high of 110oF and a winter low of -48oF. For more information about the climate of this area, click here (more info) .

It is estimated that 79 species of mammals, 260 species of birds, five species of amphibians, 14 species of reptiles, and 19 species of fish are found on the Crow reservation at some time during the year. Most of these species are non-game wildlife. Big game species include pronghorn antelope, elk, white-tailed and mule deer, buffalo, and black bear (Crow Indian Tribe: Wildlife Resources Report (more info) ).


Bison herd in southern MT. Details

To further investigate the climate and biota of the Crow Nation, follow the links below.

Climate of the Crow Reservation

Resources containing information about the climate of the Crow reservation.

  • Western Regional Climate Center (more info) The Western Regional Climate Center website provides links to information on historical climate data, current observations and forecasts, Western Regional Climate Center projects, climate monitoring, and educational and travel pages. Links are also provided to the National Climatic Data Center, Regional Climate Centers, State Climate Offices, and sites pertaining to wind energy, marine climatology, and solar energy. Because of the abundance of information and data, a site map is provided to ease navigation.

Flora of the Crow Reservation

Resources containing information about the flora of the Crow reservation.

  • Crow Indian Tribe: Vegetation Resources Report (more info) This 11-page PDF is part of the final statewide oil and gas environmental impact statement and proposed amendment of the Powder River and Billings Resource Management Plans. This section describes the vegetation of the Crow Reservation. Included are vegetation, soil, and forest land maps.
  • Vegetation Appendix (more info) This 16-page PDF is part of the final statewide oil and gas environmental impact statement and proposed amendment of the Powder River and Billings Resource Management Plans. This section is a vegetation appendix for the Crow Reservation. Included are habitat type and biological diversity descriptions. Tables are also included that illustrate these habitat types, their acreage, distribution and species richness; as well as species and their habitats.
  • Salinity, Sodicity and Flooding Tolerance of Selected Plant Species of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation (more info) This resource from Montana State University investigates the impact that coalbed methane product water could have on native and culturally significant plants on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The site features a table that lists 31 native plants and their tolerance to salinity, sodium, flooding and varying pH levels.

Fauna of the Crow Reservation

Resources containing information about the fauna of the Crow reservation.

  • Crow Indian Tribe: Wildlife Resources Report (more info) This 5-page PDF is part of the final statewide oil and gas environmental impact statement and proposed amendment of the Powder River and Billings Resource Management Plans. This section describes the wildlife of the Crow Reservation. Big game habitat maps and tables are also included.
  • Wildlife Appendix (more info) This 106-page PDF is part of the final statewide oil and gas environmental impact statement and proposed amendment of the Powder River and Billings Resource Management Plans. This section is a wildlife appendix for the Crow Reservation that includes a series of tables about the wildlife there. Copies of the Coalbed Methane Programmatic Wildlife Monitoring and Protection Plan, developed by the BLM, and the Biological Assessment and Biological Opinion are also included.
  • Coal-bed Methane Gas Development in Montana, Some Biological Issues This 11-page Department of Environmental Quality report discusses biological issues that are expected to occur from coalbed methane development in Montana. These issues include dewatering of local and regional aquifers; decreased surface water availability in some areas; increased surface water flows in areas receiving CBM discharges in other areas; water quality effects of CBM development discharges on waters and biota receiving the CBM discharges; and creation of significant surface disturbances from CBM facility and service road construction.


For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.




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