Blue at I-435 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.

September 2005.  Missouri River clean-upand River Festival.  Go to for more info


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

Blue News

October 9, 2002
Overland Park adopts Stream Corridor Ordinance
City's website
December 29, 2002
Civil war battlefield at Byram's Ford
KC Star report
February 14, 2003
Feds fund Blue River rechanneling
KC Star report
February 15, 2003
The Sierra Club is concerned about PCB's
KC Star report
February 18, 2003
The Sierra Club intends to sue the U.S. Dept. of Energy and Honeywell
KC Star report
February 22, 2003
Missouri River Cleanup Planned
KC Star report
March 10, 2003
Overland Park erosion control ordinance goes into effect
City's website
March 11, 2003
Kansas City approves start of engineering for improvements from Blue River Road to Interstate 435
KC Star report
March 15, 2003
Olathe plans to annex part of the Blue River headwaters
  KC Star report
April 1, 2003
Blue River Rescue looking for volunteers
KC Star report
May 14, 2003 Kansas City Parks Department approves Brush Creek beautification KC Star report
May 27, 2003 Water garden built at Don Bosco Center KC Star report
Sept 20,2003
The Red Bridge is getting replaced
KC Star report
Nov 29, 2003
Pride keeps woman on litter patrol
KC Star report
April 20,2004
Science student discovers large sewage leak
Wed. mag.

Conservation Organizations  Several organizations support activities that benefit the Blue River.

HOAFF Cleanup 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:

The Wilderness Science Center is an educational facility created with the primary goal of providing authentic learning opportunities for the students of Blue Valley Schools.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is very involved in the care and feeding of the Blue River:

  • The Discovery Center is a conservation learning center, located on the east side of the County Club Plaza. It's a joint project with the Missouri Department Natural Resources (DNR)
  • In conjunction with the Missouri DNR and the Conservation Federation of Missouri, they sponsor the Misssouri Stream Team Program
  • , which is a very cool program.
  • The Blue River Watershed Inventory and Assessment .  provides a framework for the future of the Blue
  • Scott Rice is the Conservation officer that looks after the Blue River, along with a few other areas in Jackson County, MO.  Contact Scott at 816.537.7208 if you want to report fishing or hunting violations or if you have any questions about the rules.
  • Todd Gemeinhardt is the Fisheries Biologist who takes care of several local waterways, including the Blue.  Todd can be reached at 816.655.6250, x230.
The city of Overland Park has become very proactive in moderating the negative consequences of land development within it's borders.

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.

Volunteer Opportunities

green sunfish Want to volunteer for conservation related activities?

The Blue River Watershed Association needs several volunteers.  Several oportunities are available, including:
  • Water quality monitoring mentors
  • Website services 
  • Events planning
Adopt a section of Blue River Parkway. This is the scenic roadway that parallels the Blue River from Swope Park to Blue Ridge Blvd Extension. Volunteers pick up litter along their selected section of roadway. Contact: Angela Jeffries, Jackson County Parks and Recreation, at 816.795.8200 x 1275 or e-mail at .

Assist in the develoment and the maintenance of the website.  Contact Bill Brant at 816.941.9691 or

Assist with the maintence of the hiking, biking, and equestrian trails south of the Red Bridge Road.  Contact Rob Stitt at 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


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.

Be careful

Aerial Photographs

Use the following links to view aerial photographs for different locations along the Bue River, or it's tributaries:

South of Olathe (headwaters of Coffee Creek and Indian Creek)
Martin City
Further south of Olathe (headwaters of Wolf Creek)
Red Bridge Road
Heritage Park at Pflumm (Coffee Creek)
Highway 69 & 175th, (Coffee Creek
and Wolf Creek combine to form the Blue)

Bannister Road (Indian Creek/Blue River confluence)
103rd & Metcalf (Indian Creek)
71 Highway
I-435 & State Line (Indian Creek)
Swope Park
159th & Mission Road
The Plaza (Brush Creek)
Stilwell (Camp Branch)
Confluence with Brush Creek, east of the Plaza
Mission Hills (Brush Creek)
I-70, near I-435
KS/MO state line
The Blue entering the Missouri River
Stream Flow

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

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