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.