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​​​​​​North Sterling State Park features a 3,000 surface-acre reservoir lying on the South Platte Terrace of the western Great Plains at 4,060 feet in elevation. 

​The water from the reservoir and its drainages supports a greater abundance of plant and animal species than normally found in a shortgrass prairie ecosystem.

The major plant communities at the park are remnants of shortgrass prairie, rehabilitated farmland, wetland,​ and riparian communities.

  • Shortgrass prairie, including blue grama, western wheatgrass, needle-and-thread grass, buffalograss and Indian ricegrass, is the primary native plant community of the park. 
  • Bunchgrasses, such as little bluestem, sideoats grama, sand dropseed and threeawn, grow on rocky soils and bases of outcrops. 
  • A few communities of tall grass prairie are present, left from cooler, wetter times.

Submergent and emergent wetland and riparian plant communities are well established because of the reservoir. 

  • ​Sandbar willow dominates the riparian scrubland that occurs in areas protected from wave action. 
  • Plains cottonwood with a strong component of peach leaved willow exists along the reservoir shore. 
  • Plains draw scrubland and rabbitbrush scrubland grow where the water table is deeper under the surface and/or sites have more alkaline soils.