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Brush Creek Basin

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This work is a congressionally authorized feasibility study, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Johnson County (JOCO), the City of Kansas City, MO (KCMO), and done with the support of the area’s metropolitan planning organization, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). The Brush Creek Basin has 30 square miles of urban land requiring coordination on water resource issues across a multitude of various geographical, social and jurisdictional boundaries. The long-term goal of the effort is the collaborative development of integrated watershed planning products, coordinated across the 18 cities in the basin.

Summary Brush Creek Basin Brochure

The sponsors are focused on three watershed planning products, and this is known as the Three-Prong Approach, which the Brush Creek Coordinating Committee developed. One product will be a Watershed Management Plan. Another will be the development and facilitation of a future Organizational Framework for the local entities that can be used to implement the watershed management plan. For the Corps, a feasibility report will be produced, documenting Project Sites, whether just locally funded or jointly funded with a Federal cost share.

These are the basic components of the watershed planning effort’s Three-Prong Approach:

  • Development of an integrated watershed management plan

  • Development of an organizational framework

  • Formulation of project sites that meet watershed goals and objectives

An integrated effort is important for the success of this bi-state effort. This integrated effort will be oriented toward the development of better water resources management in the Brush Creek Basin (BCB) through the study’s sponsors. Together, this integrated effort will address the need to recommend a locally lead organizational framework for the watershed, establish a watershed management plan, and formulate alternatives for construction projects consistent with that watershed management plan. The construction of the formulated projects may or may not involve the Corps. The feasibility study will provide a cost effective analysis of the projects that best meet the goals and objectives established in the Brush Creek Coordinating Committee, and where projects sites align with stakeholders’ values throughout the watershed.

Congress gave this authorization July 24, 2002 (see Section I). The Corps completed the Reconnaissance Study in February 2005 indicating a federal interest. With both authorization & funding in place work has been progressing on the feasibility effort.

Resolution of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, July 24, 2002, Docket 2698.

“Resolved by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the United States House of Representatives, that the Secretary of the Army is requested to review the report of the Chief of Engineers on Brush Creek and Tributaries, Missouri and Kansas, dated January 3, 1983, and other pertinent reports to determine whether modifications to the recommendations contained therein are advisable at the present time in the interest of flood damage reduction, environmental restoration, and project and related purposes in the vicinity of Johnson County, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.”

Watershed Planning Brochure

Partnership Card

The Brush Creek Basin will benefit the most from work assembling a watershed management plan. This will be a living document that will contain the shared vision of stakeholders and local community’s leaders on how the watershed’s resources must be operated to meet the vision. A major part of this document will be the floodplain management plan.

The floodplain management plan is chapter that will present the latest findings on existing flood risks and how the communities want to jointly address those hazards. Existing flood risks will be documented. A forecast of future conditions is also part of this effort. This chapter on the floodplain management plan will address all of the alternatives, even discussing those that have been eliminated and why those alternatives were not selected. Land use, policies, values, and many other concerns from stakeholders along creeks and in the upland areas will be included in the process of establishing this chapter, and the overall watershed management plan document.

The watershed management plan is a product that comes out of the feasibility study, and this effort is one of three primary thrusts of the study, as shown in the top prong of the figure below. The study also has three project purposes, which are mission areas supported by the Corps: Watershed Planning, Ecosystem Restoration, and Flood Risk Management.

Watershed Planning

  • Seeks sustainable water resources management
  • Integrates water and related land management
  • Considers future demands while integrating existing projects
  • Coordinates planning and management
  • Promotes cooperation among government agencies at all levels
  • Encourages public participation
  • Evaluates monetary and non-monetary trade offs
  • Establishes interdisciplinary teams
  • Applies adaptive management as changing conditions or objectives occur
The Corps may lead or be a participant in the effort of watershed planning.


Ecosystem Restoration Brochure

Unlike flood damage reduction, ecosystem restoration is not restricted to locations that exhibit a problem in need of a remedy. In the Brush Creek basin, ecosystem restoration actions could occur on any property that drains into Brush Creek, although some properties are obviously better suited than others for this use. Through examination of aerial photography and field surveys, we have identified most of the locations that exhibit qualities well suited to known types of ecosystem restoration.

In cooperation with local communities, we will design a number of ecosystem restoration actions focusing on those that contribute to the ecosystem in Brush Creek itself. Other locations may be screened out of the alternatives in the Feasibility Study but remain candidates for ecosystem restoration under the Continuing Authority of Section 206 of the 2000 Water Resources Development Act. The schedule, costs, and benefits of any actions accomplished under this Continuing Authority would be separate from the Brush Creek Basin Feasibility Study.

As the alternatives are formulated flood risk management features and activities will be included, where feasible, with the environmental measures. Flood risk management is a shared responsibility of local, state and federal agencies. A floodplain management plan will be included as part of the watershed management plan, which both sponsors are interested in. This planning project is assisting with the establishment of a system of tools, including enhancing hydraulic models, which will help manage the watershed.

Flood Risk Management Poster

Take the Flood Quiz! (pdf)

Flood Quiz, Answers (pdf)

The feasibility study goals and objectives are based on collaboration and planning done within the Brush Creek Coordinating Committee. Some of the potential projects sites that may have environmental or flood risk management construction projects may not be able to meet objectives, because of unique constraints at the site or because of different values that the site’s stakeholders have. Public involvement will further identify and recognize these differences during the feasibility study.

Vision, Mission, Goals & Objectives (pdf)

Project sites have been noted where the best opportunities have been identified for improving the environment at locations throughout the watershed. A total of at least ten sites have been identified as good opportunities, although funding for the study allows planners to analyze the three. The project sponsors have agreed on three initial project sites that will be evaluated on how well they address watershed goals and objectives.

  1. Bi-State Reach (Alternative 1, Alternative 2, View and Compare)
  2. Rock Creek (green solutions for the entire sub-basin
  3. Bruce R. Watkins Reach
Map showing all of the project sites

The most appropriate features and activities, which are both considered measures within the alternatives, will vary. Each project site faces unique circumstances, depending on site conditions, the values of stakeholders near and at those sites and the way these measures produce the most effective output to achieve watershed objectives. Planners will establish the alternatives after considering public feedback about features and activities for these project sites.

Besides project sites, the Brush Creek Basin study will also look at activities, or management measures, whether better managing floods or improving the environmental quality. Management measures or activities, may include policies, operation and maintenance practices, codes and ordinances, and guidance plans (see Watershed Planning.)

Public participation is encouraged during this feasibility study in several ways. Your comments may be submitted clicking the link on this page. In addition, public workshops will be announced on this webpage and via public notices.

Upcoming Public Involvement

In the summer of 2011, the public will be invited to the next public meeting. The focus will be about how a watershed management plan will benefit the communities in Brush Creek. The tentative location is the Sylvester-Powell Community Center, which is where the October 2010 bus tours started.

Past Public Involvement

  • On Thursday, April 21, 2011 a Public Meeting was held at Mission Hills Country Club. This meeting was held jointly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Brush Creek Coordinating Committee, Johnson County, Kansas, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, with the support of the area’s metropolitan planning organization, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). The meeting was from 5:30 to 7:30 at 5400 Mission Drive, Mission Hills, KS.

    The purpose of this meeting was to:

    • Review feedback from stakeholders regarding possible measures for improving water resources in the Brush Creek watershed and how to apply them, first, in the Bi-State Reach project site, while considering other locations in the Brush Creek watershed
    • Present alternatives created from those measures, specifically in the Bi-State Reach project site
    • Discuss integrating environment, flooding, and socio-economic opportunities for the Brush Creek watershed
    • The sponsors reviewed feedback from the last public meeting, and the planners responded by assembling the publically favored measures in these two alternatives. (see the Project Planning webpage at left for more information)


  • On Monday, November 15, 2010 a Public Scoping Meeting was held at The Pembroke Hill High School. This meeting was held jointly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Johnson County, Kansas (JOCO), the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO), with the support of the area’s metropolitan planning organization, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). The meeting was from 5:30 to 7:30 in the Centennial Hall Auditorium of The Pembroke School high school, 5121 State Line Road.

    The purpose of this meeting was to:

    • Listen to public concerns about the Brush Creek watershed
    • Collect feedback on stakeholders’ concerns with corrective measures in the Bi-State Reach project site
    • Offer knowledge on watershed issues related to environment, flooding, and socio-economic opportunities


  • On October 1 and 9, 2010, Bus Tours of the Brush Creek Basin were offered for the purpose of showing various activities that communities have taken and implemented along Brush Creek.

  • On October 20, 2004, the US Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting for the reconnaissance phase of this project.

For those that wish to be more involved, the Brush Creek Coordinating Committee is an excellent resource. The link below has more information.

ASA-CW Assistant Secretary of the Army - Civil Works
CENWK Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
PM Project Manager
POC Point of Contact
USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers