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KC Water Joins Project Partners to Celebrate the Completion of the Blue River Channel Project

Posted on March 28, 2016

(Kansas City, Mo.) – The Blue River Channel Project, an almost 50 year project to protect homes and businesses from flooding along the lower Blue River, is finally complete.

The Blue River, a tributary of the Missouri River, flows southwest to northeast through the Kansas City region. For nearly a century, heavy rains would cause floodwaters to rise over roadways and into homes and businesses. After a record-setting flood in the 1960’s, Congress took action and in the 1970 Flood Control Act authorized a series of flood mitigation projects. Construction began in 1983 on the 12-mile long channel project extending from near the mouth of the Missouri River upstream to 63rd street.

For nearly five decades the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Kansas City, Missouri worked in partnership with the support and input of the community and its representatives to accomplish this $300+ Million improvement. The work lowered the floodplain 6 to 8 feet which reduces the flooding risk to 68,000 workers in the Blue Valley. During the project, the historical Civil War-era Byram’s Ford was preserved and a new walking/biking trail was created alongside the river.

Other significant achievements include:

  • Approximately 600 acres, 200 structures and 8 miles of roadway were removed from the 100 year floodplain.
  • Major improvements to 21 bridges and related utilities were accomplished.
  • More than 10,000 tires have been removed.
  • Over 350 abandoned barrels and 95,000 tons of solid waste were removed and disposed of safely.

“These improvements protect people, property and prosperity – making Blue River a corridor to live, work and play without the worry of frequent flooding. It took a tremendous amount of cooperation at the federal and local levels to complete the work,” said KC Water Director Terry Leeds. “The project we have today was made possible through community input and involvement, including that of the Blue Valley Industrial Association, Kansas City Industrial Council, and the Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition (MOARC). These efforts will reduce flooding and better manage the remaining flood risk for years to come.”

Lynda Hoffman, KC Water Waterways Division Manager, said, “The partnership we formed and the extreme involvement of our stakeholders, not only with the City of Kansas City but with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Congressional leaders, throughout this entire process serves as model for the rest of the nation. We worked together as a coalition to prioritize regional water resource projects and brought this Blue River Channel Modification Project to the forefront.”

To celebrate this long awaited completion, KC Water invites you to participate in a month-long celebration beginning with Blue Friday, Friday, April 1st. Wear your blue for the Blue River and the Kansas City Royals. Blue Fridays continue through April 29th.

Saturday, April 2nd is the annual Project Blue River Rescue. This is a community-wide event to clean up along the Blue River. The event runs from 8 a.m. to noon at Lakeside Nature Center. Be part of Missouri’s biggest one-day clean-up and help us clean the Blue, plant trees, and remove invasive honeysuckle. Breakfast, lunch, and free T-Shirt are provided. Call 816.513.8960 for more information or email to register.

Wednesday, April 6th is the KCIC Brick-by-Brick Award reception at Union Station. For nearly 30 years, KCIC has recognized individuals and companies that have made outstanding contributions to the economic strength of Kansas City’s industrial areas with Brick-by-Brick awards. Join KCIC at Union Station beginning at 5:00 p.m. as we celebrate major investments in our city’s industrial areas including one of this year’s recipient the Blue River Channel Project. Visit, contact Jennifer Fortin at 816.678.1337 or email for more information and to register and pay for the event.

Friday, April 8th is Blue River History Day. Please join members of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City at the Battle of Westport Visitor Center and Museum located at the west entrance of Swope Park in the historic Swope Park Administration Building to learn what happened along the Big Blue River on October 22-23, 1864 during the Battle of Westport. Historical pictures of the Blue River Channel will also be on display. This event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Beginning at 1 p.m., a series of short presentations about the Battle of Westport will be given. Tours of the Big Blue Battlefield starting at 5951 Manchester Trafficway are planned for 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. For more information, contact Dick Titterington,

Saturday, April 16th is Blue River Education Day. Join us at the Kansas City Zoo from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for a day of celebrating the Blue River at its most used pedestrian bridge. Participants will learn about the Blue River watershed, native plants, how to prevent stream pollution, and the habitats and wildlife that make the Blue River an important natural area in Kansas City. Interactive booths will be located just before the swinging bridge that connects Africa to the Congo section. A representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be onsite to discuss channel improvements that have been made to the Blue River near the Zoo. At 9:30 a.m. Black & Veatch will unveil the new Blue River signage at the bridge to the Africa section. For more information contact Lara Isch at

Friday, April 22nd is Business on the Blue. Come celebrate business on the Blue from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Clay & Bailey. The Blue Valley Industrial Association will hold its monthly meeting and lunch celebration. The USGS will give a demonstration of the Blue River inundation mapping flood risk management web based tool. Contact Jennifer Fortin at 816.678.1337 or email for more information and to RSVP and pay for lunch by April 15.

Friday, April 22nd is Blue River Channel Project Dedication. Celebrate the completion of the Blue River Channel Project with bus tours of the flood risk management features of the Blue River beginning at 2:00 p.m. Then, congressional leaders, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and City officials will help dedicate the project at 3:30 p.m. Throughout the event, enjoy Blue River Project informational displays, shared stories, and refreshments. Tour busses will leave from both Clay & Bailey (see Business on the Blue) and the Project Dedication location at 4721 Coal Mine Road and return to the ceremony at 3:30 p.m. For more information contact Glenda Johnson at 816.513.0487 or email at

Friday, April 29th is Blue River Trails Day. Take a nature walk on the Blue River Trail starting at the Swope Park Pool at 67th and Lewis Road. Join us from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a restorative walk along the Blue River with trained naturalists leading the way. Enjoy the company of others and the stillness of nature as we reflect on the importance of the completion of the Blue River Channel Modification Project. Contact Brianna Leiker with the Heartland Conservation Alliance at 816.759.7300, ext. 1148 for more information.

Saturday, April 30th is Revolving Green Around the Blue. This community-wide event, hosted by the Blue River Watershed Association, partners stewardship with cycling. The event will begin with a litter pickup and invasive honeysuckle removal at Watts Mill Park (on 103rd Street between State Line and Wornall). Participants will then enjoy a free bicycle safety and maintenance workshop before heading out on the beautiful Indian Creek and Blue River Trails for a 5.5 mile ride to Alex George Lake for a free picnic lunch and surprise entertainment. This is a family friendly event, but registration is required. Register here. Contact Lynn Youngblood at 816.462.5199 for more information.

For more information, please contact Brooke Givens, Media Relations Coordinator, at or 816.513.0284.


KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.

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