KC Urban Stream Network

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with States and other partners to assess the status of the nation's rivers, streams, lakes and other waterbodies. An important part of this effort is accomplished through the National Aquatic Resource Surveys. The Surveys provide a key tool for communicating to the public what is known about the condition of the nation's waters. The surveys are designed to yield unbiased estimates of the condition of a whole resource, based on a representative sample of waters, answering key questions such as what's the extent of waters that support healthy ecosystems, recreation, and fish consumption, how widespread are the most significant water quality problems, and is water quality improving? This work informs the science at a national scale, but an acknowledged data gap exists regarding urban waters since the selection of waters is conducted randomly. For the first time in the 2008-2009 National Rivers Assessment, EPA included a representative number of urban sites across the country in an effort to answer these same questions regarding urban setting on the national scale.

To further address this gap at a local scale, EPA's Kansas City Regional Office has established an Urban Stream Monitoring Network in the Kansas City Metropolitan area that utilizes the same protocols and approach as national efforts, but provides data and information at a much finer resolution. This work was built on existing EPA efforts and complements other monitoring efforts, most notably U.S.G.S. stream monitoring activities in the greater Kansas City area (see Water-Quality in the Blue River Basin, Kansas City Metropolitan Area, Missouri and Kansas, July 1998 to October 2004.)

In addition to providing important data regarding aquatic resources in urban settings for consideration in future National Survey design, the network may also provide the backbone for ongoing status, trends, and current condition of Kansas City area streams, in a similar way as the familiar air quality index.

EPA's Urban Stream Monitoring Network consists of 36 monitoring sites located on 12 separate streams across the metropolitan area. Monitoring sites have been located on the upper, middle and lower portions of each stream. Streams we currently monitor are: Line Creek, Shoal Creek, Jersey Creek, Brenner Heights Creek, Brush Creek, Blue River, Mill Creek, Tomahawk Creek, Indian Creek, Coffee Creek, Cedar Creek and Turkey Creek.

Click on any of the streams on the map to be directed to information about the specific stream or click on the name in the list above. Information regarding the types of sampling, specific protocols and can be found here.