The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is committed to working with local communities to restore waterways and reconnect people in ‘underserved’ communities with their rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans.
The Urban Waters Initiative was launched 2011 to build Partnership Communities across the United States to protect our nation's urban waterways. There are 19 designated community locations In the Kansas City Metro, the Middle Blue River Urban Waters Federal Partnership seeks to catalyze the restoration and revitalization of the Middle Blue River. We leverage resources and coordinate local efforts and initiatives. Heartland Conservation Alliance together with Mid-America Regional Council lead a local Steering Committee working to Renew the Blue by:
Restoring riparian forests, upland habitats and wetlands.
Revitalizing brownfields and urban neighborhoods with connections to the river, and
Engaging the community to connect people – especially neighbors – to the river.
Participating Agencies in the local Urban Waters Partnership
City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO), including Water Services, Planning, Brownfields Team, Parks and Recreation Departments
Corporation for National and Community Service AmeriCorps VISTA
Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA)
Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)
Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Kansas City Region, Urban Forester Waters Regional Lead
- Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Our Missouri
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture including Forest Service (USFS), Midwest Region's Watershed Forester
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 7 (EPA)
U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) including: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Missouri Water Services Science Center and National Park Service (NPS), Midwest Region's Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program
Why is the Blue River Important?
Urban waters, which often serve as drinking water sources, may become polluted by the runoff from the roads and parking lots, as well as industrial sources. Yet, they serve large populations in the adjacent, upstream and downstream communities. Healthy and accessible urban waters help grow local businesses and enhance educational, recreational, and social opportunities in the communities through which they pass. Urban waters have the potential to be treasured centerpieces of urban revival. Protecting them can help to then protect the public and environmental health of these communities.
We work collaboratively on these core project areas
Municipal Farm Restoration
The partnership catalyzes the implementation of Kansas City, Mo.'s city council adopted, integrated, sustainable reuse and concept plans resulting from EPA-funded Area Wide Brownfields Planning for the 445-acre multiple brownfields site near the confluence of the Blue River and Brush Creek. The vision is for a hub of urban agriculture, ecological restoration and outdoor learning and recreation.
Blue River Greenways Ecosystem Restoration
The partnership is implementing the Army Corps of Engineers and Kansas City, Mo. Water Services concept plan for restoration of ecosystems at the Blue River and Brush Creek confluences and the western half of Municipal Farm. Plans include significant areas of bottomland hardwood forest, wetlands and upland prairie at the convergence of multiple regional greenway and trail systems.
Brush Creek Restoration Sites
The partnership is mobilizing the building of restoration alternatives that have been planned for two reaches of Brush Creek via an Army Corps of Engineers and a local sponsor feasibility study and community engagement process. The Brush Creek Coordinating Committee - a partner ship of watershed stakeholders- has also created a habitat model unique to this urban watershed and is developing a watershed management plan. There are ongoing studies and training to implement restoration: invasive species studies and removal, native plant community restoration techniques and natural resources mapping.
Upper Blue River COA
The Blue River and Brush Creek Confluence area is the only urban state-designated Conservation Opportunity Area (COA) in Missouri, and the partnership is working on enabling restoration in thee priority sites, which overlap the other three project sites. A large area of the COA is undergoing active restoration through grants and volunteer action through conservation partnerships, and those successes with volunteer engagement and public education are transferable to the confluence site and Municipal Farm.
For more information and a detailed map of the Blue River, visit www.marc.org/renewtheblue
Middle Blue River Project Ambassador
Heartland Conservation Alliance Director