From the Missouri-Kansas state line to its confluence with the Missouri River, the Blue River meanders through more than 20 miles of suburban and urban neighborhoods, industrial areas, brownfields, wetlands and forest. The river is a regional asset with great potential. The Middle Blue River Urban Waters Federal Partnership works to “Renew the Blue” by:
- Restoring riparian forests, upland habitats and wetlands.
- Revitalizing brownfields and urban neighborhoods with connections to the river.
- Engaging the community to connect people — especially neighbors — to the river.
The “Renew the Blue” Vision
We envision a vibrant, resilient Blue River ecosystem that boasts healthy riparian corridors, diverse plant communities, urban forests and prairie grasslands, with abundant habitat for wildlife. It offers a variety of recreational opportunities that promote healthy activities, including a network of hiking and biking trails; places to boat, float, fish or swim; links to a larger regional system of trails and greenways; and access to cultural and activity centers. The river is a centerpiece of revitalized neighborhoods and a community asset that is valued and maintained by residents and visitors alike. It is an important part of our region’s history and our future.
Download a copy of the Renew the Blue Map»
Blue River Documentary Project
The Blue River Documentary Film will feature oral histories and the ecological and cultural history of the river and be an asset in the Renew the Blue campaign. Through this campaign and film, we aspire to bring attention to the river, its needs, and the many organizations working to improve it. Together we will promote positive outdoor experiences, remind people of the river’s proud past and inspire them about its future, and promote sustainable development.
City of Kansas City, Missouri (Water Services, Planning, Brownfields, Parks Departments)
Heartland Conservation Alliance
Mid-America Regional Council
Missouri Department of Conservation
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
National Park Service
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Geological Survey
You can get involved!
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Opportunities to Volunteer:
Blue River Watershed Association
Blue River Watershed Association began 20 years ago, focusing efforts on water quality education on the Blue River and its watershed. Since then, literally thousands have learned how their behaviors impact the river and what they can do to minimize these impacts. Staff, board and volunteers spread the word of how communities can work together to bring the Blue River back to its former glory. To learn more, check out BRWA’s Facebook page or website: brwa.net.
Heartland Tree Alliance
Heartland Tree Alliance, a program of Bridging The Gap, engages people of the Greater Kansas City region to take action and advocate for a healthy community forest. Heartland Tree Alliance educates and trains hundreds of volunteers each year to assist with planting, mulching and pruning small trees. Find out how you can get involved with planting in the Blue River watershed at www.bridgingthegap.org/volunteer.
Healthy Rivers Partnership
No one likes trash: discarded Styrofoam containers, floating plastic bottles and beer cans, cigarette butts, tires. But no one exactly owns it, either, since much of the debris floats into river storm drains. Unlike our streets and highways, our rivers rely on citizen volunteers to clean up litter. Otherwise, it will never go away. Healthy Rivers Partnership physically connects people to their rivers providing hands on opportunities to make a difference in the health of streams. Learn more at http://healthyriverspartnership.com.
Project Blue River Rescue
In 1991 a group of forward-thinking citizens formed Friends of Lakeside Nature Center Stream Team #175 and planned a river cleanup. Project Blue River Rescue continues today as the largest one day clean up in Missouri, removing dozens of tons of trash from the Blue River the first weekend in April of each year. Thousands of volunteers met the Blue River up close at this river cleanup. Contacts for volunteering are at http://www.lakesidenaturecenter.org/folnc.html.
Friends of Lakeside Nature Center
Learn about Blue River wildlife at Lakeside Nature Center, 4701 E. Gregory. LNC specializes in environmental education, conservation and native Missouri wildlife rehabilitation. Friends of Lakeside Nature Center, Stream Team #175 cleans up the Blue River every April. They also do honeysuckle removal and habitat restoration. Enjoy a savannah, prairie, pollinator garden, rain gardens and an ‘attracting wildlife to your yard’ garden at Lakeside Nature Center. Contacts for volunteering are at http://www.lakesidenaturecenter.org/folnc.html.
Friends of Other KCMO Parks
The Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation volunteer program aims to increase and improve the capabilities of KC Parks staff by effectively using volunteers and, more importantly, to provide a means for people to participate in their community in a fulfilling, fun and rewarding way. With several parks along the Blue River, including Swope Park, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities. You can volunteer by contacting the volunteer coordinator at Parks. Volunteer@kcmo.org or calling 816-513-7515.
Overland Park Arboretum
The Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, in the upper Blue River watershed, was founded to keep the city at the forefront of environmental and ecological issues. A leader of environmentally sound community development, the Arboretum is an educational, recreational and cultural resource for the Kansas City region. Learn about garden amenities, including Blue River headwater trails, at http://www.opkansas.org/things-to-see-and-do/arboretum-and-botanical-gardens. Learn how to volunteer at http://www.opkansas.org/things-to-see-and-do/volunteer-opportunities-in-op/arboretum-volunteer-opportunities.
Heartland Conservation Alliance
The Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA) proactively conserves, protects, and restores natural lands within the Kansas City region, benefitting the community and future generations by improving water quality, creating recreational opportunities, protecting life and property, and preserving our natural and cultural heritage. HCA fulfills this mission by building and supporting a network of conservation organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, and other local entities whose missions are supported by land conservation and ecosystem restoration. Learn more about their focus on the Blue River corridor at HeartlandConservationAlliance.org.
The Stream Team Program is a working partnership among concerned citizens with goals of education, stewardship, and advocacy for Missouri streams. Volunteers can perform activities such as litter pickup, tree planting, storm drain stenciling and many others. The Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring (VWQM) portion of the program trains volunteers to measure the biological, physical and chemical aspects of a stream. To find out about Blue River and tributary stream teams, how to form a Stream Team, and how to sign up for VWQM workshops near you, visit www.mostreamteam.org.
Kansas City WildLands
Kansas City WildLands is a partnership coalition committed to conserving, protecting and restoring the remnant wild places of the Kansas City region by involving people in the stewardship of the land. Thousands of KC WildLands volunteers work in collaboration with public land managers to help the region’s biologically rich and aesthetically stunning wild places thrive again. Check out www.kcwildlands.org or contact Bridging The Gap at 816-561-1087 to get involved.
Urban Trail Company
Urban Trail Co Go has volunteer-built more than 100 miles of beautiful, natural-surface trails, located on varied terrain throughout natural places in the Kansas City area. Each trail, including those at Blue River Parkway, is open for hiking, trail running and mountain biking. Check trail status before you go, and please don’t hike, run or ride on muddy trails. Volunteer at http://urbantrailco.com/volunteer.