The Blue River is a wonderful little steam located on the south side of the Kansas City metro area. The headwaters for the river is in Johnson County, Kansas, south of Olathe. The Blue starts out as two different streams, Coffee Creek and Wolf Creek. These 2 combine, south of Stanley, to form the Blue. From that point, the river heads north-east, combines with another stream, called the Camp Branch and then flows into the state of Missouri. It passes through Martin City and then heads north, skirting the east side of Kansas City. Major tributaries in Kansas City include Indian Creek and Brush Creek. The Blue continues north and then flows into the Missouri river.
The purpose of this homepage is to provide a common community for the different groups and individuals who are interested in the welfare of the Blue.
Calendar of Events
April 2, 2005. Blue River Rescue, Friends of Lakeside Nature Center. Click here for the flier in pdf format.
April 16, 2005. KC Clean Streams, the Clean Water Celebration. Students are provided gloves, bags and safety equipment and encouraged to clean up a river or stream near their school - or to work to pick up trash in greenspaces and on their campus..
April 23, 2005. EarthFest. Managed by Bridging the Gap. www.eathdaykc.org
September 2005. Missouri River clean-upand River Festival. Go to riverrelief.org for more info
BLUE RIVER GREENWAY - Public Meetings
The City of Kansas City, Missouri, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are currently preparing a greenway masterplan study of the lower Blue River. This study will focus on natural resource conservation, recreation, and trail development along the lower Blue River (from Bannister Road, north to
the Missouri River). A vital component to this process is public involvement. Kansas City residents, business owners, and employees are invited to attend one of three public meetings to contribute their thoughts on the future of this important river corridor in Kansas City.
Meeting Objectives: Learn the benefits of Greenway systems. Identify key issues associated with the Blue River corridor. Help formulate a future vision of the lower Blue River corridor.
For more information, please contact Karin Jacoby, Manager, Special Projects, KCMO Public Works Dept. 4600 East 63rd Street, Kansas City MO 64130 816.513.7975
Ecological Restoration Workday, Cutting down and removing non-native shrubs, KCWildlands
Conservation Organizations Several organizations support activities that benefit the Blue River.
Blue River Watershed Association - seeks to improve the quality of the Blue River, its tributaries, and nearby streams through education and the development of comunity partnerships. BRWA sponsors several events and programs in the local area. BRWA's Vicky Richmond recieved an Environmental Excellence award for Individuals from Bridging the Gap in 2002. This award was given for her work to ecducation, clean up and monitor the Blue.
Friends of Lakeside Nature Center (FOLNC) Lakeside Nature Center, located in Swope park, rehabilitates injured wildlife. The FOLNC has adopted 7 miles of the Blue River from Indian Creek (near Bannister) to 63rd Street, as part of the MO Stream Team Program. They sponser the Blue River Rescue, an event held every April, where 100's of people clean up tons of trash, plant trees, and monitor water quality along the River. You can read about their progress in the spring 2002 issue of the MO Stream Team newsletter: April/May 2002 Channels (It's a very large file, in PDF format)
Heart of America Fly Fishers (HOAFF). The Fly Fishers are one of the local affiliates of the Federation of Flyfishers, an organization that promotes conservation and education through fly fishing. HOAFF has adopted 2 miles of the Blue River, from Indian Creek to Red Bridge Road, as part of the MO Stream Team Program. They sponsor river clean-ups every spring. The HOAFF is affiliated with the Southern Council Federation of Flyfishers , who have provided financial support for environmental causes on the Blue.
Jackson County Parks and Recreation . The parks deparment purchased most of the land along the Blue River, from Swope Park to the Kansas state line, in the 1950's. Most of this land is maintained as an undeveloped park. They have their own programs to support the Blue. They also freely support many of the volunteer organizations listed on this page.
Steams in Kansas are looked after by members of the Kansas StreamLink . This is a conservation project developed by the Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance . Several StreamLink groups are involved in the headwaters of the Blue:
Science Center is an educational facility created with the primary
goal of providing authentic learning opportunities for the students of
Blue Valley Schools.
Overland Park - Indian Creek Trail
Overland Park - Arboretum
Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club OWWC has adopted several miles of the Blue River,from the KS/MO border to Red Bridge Road, as part of the MO Stream Team Program.
BRP Trailwatchers . This group maintains trails for mountain biking and hiking along the river, between Minor Park at Red Bridge and Holmes Road, south of Martin City. Their web site contains maps and other general information about the trails.
Want to volunteer for conservation related activities?
The Blue River Watershed Association needs several volunteers. Several oportunities are available, including:
Assist in the develoment and the maintenance of the blueriver.org website. Contact Bill Brant at 816.941.9691 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Assist with the maintence of the hiking, biking, and equestrian trails south of the Red Bridge Road. Contact Rob Stitt at email@example.com or 816.941.2384 (a JCP&R volunteer who helps coordinate the trail work). You may also contact Angela Jeffries, Jackson County Parks and Recreation, at 816.795.8200 x1275 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The park land along Blue River and it's tributaries is undeveloped. There are plants that sting, critters that bite, and places where you can fall off of cliffs.
The parks are next to populated areas, and not everyone has your best interest at heart.
River levels can raise rapidly after a storm.
Several waste water treatment plants discharge into the Blue. Other point-source and non point-source forms of pollution enter the Blue. Some portions of the river are not suitable for human contact.
Use the following links to view aerial photographs for different locations along the Bue River, or it's tributaries:
The United States Geological Survey maintains stream gages at several locations along the Blue River and its tributaries.
Bannister Road in Kansas City
Blue Ridge Blvd Extension north of Martin City
Indian Creek at 103rd, west of Metcalf Blvd, in Overland Park
Brush Creek at Rockhurst, east of the Plaza
Threats to the Blue
Construction projects, with poorly maintained stormwater runoff control, are becoming a bigger and bigger problem as development increases in the the watershed.
Both Kansas City MO and Johnson County KS maintain sewer lines along the banks of the Blue. Sometimes a sewer leaks. Sometimes a sewer gets plugged, and sewage overflows out of the nearest upstream manhole. Untreated sewage is a threat to fish and other living things in the Blue.
If you see a problem with one of the sewers, call the local sewer department. The phone number is 816.513.2800 in Kansas City, or 913.681.3200 (913.432.3820 evenings or week-ends) in Johnson County.
Feel free to send comments or website updates to Bill Brant at 816.941.9691 or email@example.com
One person deserves an honorable mention for using his artistic and multimedia talents to assist several organizations supporting the Blue: His name is Tom James at Black Dog Sports. You can visit his site at www.blackdogsports.com