Blue River Parkway
Vision for a Healthy Action Area
This Action Area represents a portion of the Blue River Parkway, a linear park owned and managed by Jackson County Parks + Rec in partnership with Kansas City Parks and Recreation. The entire park system encompasses 2,255 acres. It borders the Blue River from Swope Park south to the southern end of Jackson County.
About the Blue River Parkway
The greatest concerns for the health of the Upper Watershed are protecting undeveloped land and existing habitat while increasing access. This Action Area scored a “D” for riparian cover in the 2019 Blue River Report Card. It is under severe threats from development in Martin City, just south of the Action Area. Development is increasing impervious surfaces, degrading streambanks, and reducing tree canopy. There is significant native habitat present in this Action Area, but it is under threat from invasive species, providing many opportunities for restoration and improvement.
Focal Species: PawPaw
Total Acres in Action Area
Summary of Threats
Severe flooding causing streambank erosion
Illegal dumping of trash
Lack of management of natural resources, allowing invasive species to infest and damage areas
•Lack of collaborative governance to support best practices
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Action Area Management Goals
A key strategy for this Action Area is working to support public land managers with assessing and managing natural resources. A key component of this strategy is providing public outreach and education. This Action Area focuses on protecting riparian corridors that are still largely intact but experiencing threats from development and invasive species. This Action Area represents the first phase to a conservation plan to restore more of the Parkway over time.
While many organizations and individuals are working to protect undeveloped natural areas in this Action Area, this Plan highlights a few Alliance members that are leading successful projects to meet the goals of this plan, including:
Jackson County Parks + Rec
Urban Trail Co.
Heartland Conservation Alliance
Kansas City WildLands
Indicators of Health
The Blue River Action Plan prioritizes projects to maintain or improve health indicators. We're focusing on the following indicators for the Blue River Parkway.
Summary of Conservation Priorities
Maintain and establish quality wildlife habitat by managing invasive species and expanding native riparian tree and shrub cover
Engage surrounding communities in workdays and outdoor events to increase awareness
Advocate for enforcement of stream setback ordinances to protect park land
Collaborate with park departments to adopt management plans, manage natural resources, and protect land from development
Support trail building and trail maintenance