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Upper Turkey Creek Basin

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Welcome to the web site for the Upper Turkey Creek Basin feasibility study. This web site contains information about the study.

Upper Turkey Creek Basin Review Plan 
Independent External Peer Review (IEPR) Comments


Turkey Creek begins just south of 89th Street in Lenexa, Kansas, and flows due north until it passes under Interstate 35 near 87th Street. From 87th Street, the creek meanders along the same general route as the interstate highway for nearly its entire length. After passing under 7th Street Trafficway south of Interstate 35, the creek channel bends northward toward the Interstate and passes under the Interstate in a tunnel that carries the creek to its end at the Kansas River.

Historic Flooding

Heavy rains in 1998 produced flooding that caused over $50 million dollars in damage to businesses and public property along Turkey Creek in Johnson and Wyandotte counties, Kansas. Following those losses, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed a resolution directing the Secretary of the Army to review recommendations of the Chief of Engineers in a report dated June 21, 1999. At the time of this resolution, Congress had already passed the Water Resources Development Act of 1999 which authorized a plan for flood damage reduction on Turkey Creek in an area generally from the tunnel upstream for about 10,000 feet. The authorized project is termed the Turkey Creek Basin, Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, Project.

Upper Turkey Creek Study

The Upper Turkey Creek study is different from the study that resulted in the Turkey Creek Basin, Missouri and Kansas, project in two important ways.

First, in 1999, Congress enacted legislation favoring a watershed approach to future water resource development proposals. What this means for Turkey Creek is that a successful plan must fit a broad range of community goals for the whole Turkey Creek watershed to assure the resulting project will be "sustainable" in the sense that the community will want to use, maintain, and possibly even enhance the project as a community asset after it is constructed. This goal is somewhat more ambitious than the traditional goal of a flood damage reduction study aimed at economically reducing recurring flood damages without producing harm to existing environmental or social values.

Second, in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000, Congress established an independent authority of the Corps of Engineers to recommend actions to restore the environment. Previous to this new authority, actions to benefit the environment were companion recommendations associated with a project that produced economic benefits such as flood damage reduction or navigation.

The Feasibility Study began in July 2002. Up until 2010, collaborative planning had a watershed focus, and work included identification of ecosystem restoration opportunities and three project sites for significant planning alternatives to address flood hazards. A summary draft report was posted in 2013 in the Kansas City District's Regulatory webpage for public notices.

A report on the findings, including recommendations for a levee and floodwall, has been prepared. Analyses have been updated to address the increased flood risk identified from rainfall intensities in the most current NOAA National Weather Service atlas. A final report is expected by 2016. If the schedule proceeds (subject to availability of funding), construction could begin by 2019.

The five major milestones associated with the study are listed below:  

Release of the Draft Feasibility Report - July 2013

District Submittal of the Final Feasibility Report - March 2015

MSC Transmittal of the Final Feasibility Report - March 2015

Civil Works Review Board - May 2015                  

Signed Chief’s Report - November 2015

Turkey Creek is a right bank tributary of the lower Kansas River. The Upper Turkey Creek Basin study area is located in northeastern Johnson and southeastern Wyandotte Counties in Kansas and is a part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area (KCMSA). Study area boundaries are Turkey Creek river mile -1.199 to +7.508. River mile 0 is the county line boundary with the negative distance extending downstream into Wyandotte County and the positive mileage extending into Johnson County. The basin contains a highly developed urban area in the Kansas portion of the KCMSA.

The study divides the area along Upper Turkey Creek into five reaches, and also designates two Upper Turkey Creek tributaries as reaches. Table 1 lists the study reaches, their river mile boundaries, and the designated index point location for each reach. The reach index point is used to aggregate the stage damage relationships for the different categories of investment in the reach at a common location.

Table 1. Study Reaches

Damage Reach Name Beginning Station (R.M.) Ending Station (R.M.) Bank Index Location Station (R.M.)
Reach 1
Reach 2
Reach 3
Reach 4
Reach 5
Trib 81 Reach
Trib 85 Reach


Reach 1

Reach 1 is in Wyandotte County. The downstream Reach limit is river mile -1.199 slightly east of the intersection of 12th Street and Merriam Lane. The upstream limit is mile 0 which is the Wyandotte/Johnson County Kansas boundary.

Reach 2

Reach 2 is within Johnson County Kansas, extending from mile .00 to 2.035, flowing through portions of Mission, Kansas and Overland Park, Kansas.

Reach 3

Reach 3 is located in the City of Merriam Kansas between river mile 2.035 and river mile 5.407 near 75th Street.

Reach 4

Reach 4 extends from mile 5.407 to mile 7.247 just north of 87th Street Parkway.

Reach 5

Reach 5 is located between river miles 7.247 to 7.508 in the area of 87th Street Parkway.

Reach Tributary 1

Reach Tributary 1 is located at Turkey Creek mile 5.838 and extends upstream to tributary mile 6.708.

Reach Tributary 2

Reach Tributary 2 is located at Turkey Creek mile 5.855 (confluence) and extends approximately .9 mile upstream to tributary mile 6.712.

The Upper Turkey Creek study area is part of the KCMSA, which has a diverse and varied economic base. As a centrally located market, the KC metropolitan area is a major warehouse and distribution center and a leading agribusiness center. It ranks first in the nation as a farm distribution center and as a market for hard wheat. In addition to its agribusiness activities, the metropolitan area has major industrial activities such as auto and truck assembly, steel and metal fabrication, and food processing. The metropolitan area also fosters a growing non-manufacturing sector. Wholesale and retail industries and service organizations are now chief employers in the area. The Upper Turkey Creek study area contains approximately 105 businesses. Types of businesses cover a wide range including light manufacturing, construction and earthwork, auto repair, auto sales, tool and die manufacturing, retail, and service businesses.

Census 2000 data for 10 census tracts were compiled to describe the socioeconomic characteristics of the study area. Census 2000 data were also compiled for counties in the study area and for the Kansas City Missouri and Kansas Metropolitan Statistical Area (KCMSA). Although census tracts cover areas that may typically be somewhat larger than the study area, census tract data are considered to be generally representative of the study area data and characteristics.

Total population in the census tracts was 38,734 persons in 2000. Approximately 76 percent were 18 years of age and older and about 9.7 percent were 65 years of age and older. There were 16,348 households in the study area census tracts with an average household size of approximately 2.4 persons. Approximately 94.7 percent of the study area census tract housing units are occupied.

Using the Mid America Regional Council 1999 County Business Patterns by Zip code, employment data were compiled for five zip codes. (The zip code boundaries extend beyond the study area boundaries.) The five zip code areas had total employees of about 58,280 persons and an annual payroll of about $1,851,000.

Table 2 displays the population and housing characteristics for the study area census tracts, Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, and for the KCMSA.

Table 2. Population, Employment and Housing Characteristics, 2000

Study Area Census Tracts Johnson County, KS Wyandotte County, KS Kansas City, MO KS MSA
Population 2000
Households 2000
Average Number of
Persons per Household
% Under Age 18
% Over Age 65
Housing Vacancy Rate
Source: Census 2000


We estimate total investment in the study area to be more than $190 million (Oct 2008 price levels) including investment in structures, contents and equipment for commercial, industrial, residential, and public categories of investment. Our survey of the study area identified 106 commercial structures and 10 residential structures that could be damaged in a Turkey Creek flood. Depreciated replacement value for buildings and infrastructure in the study area is estimated to be about $89 million, or 47 percent of total investment. The study area businesses and residences have more than $93 million worth of investment in contents (53 percent of total investment) that is subject to flood damage. Business contents include inventory, office equipment, computers, production equipment and machinery, and other miscellaneous contents.

Reach 1

Upper Turkey Creek Reach 1 contains 12 structures. Protected investment is in the public and commercial categories and totals more than $52 million.

Reach 2

Reach 2 is narrow and damageable property consists of local streets and a portion of Interstate 35. Estimated protected investment in the reach is more than $2.8 million dollars.

Reach 3 and Tributaries 81 and 85

For confidentiality, Reaches Tributary 81 and Tributary 85 were aggregated with Reach 3 data for purposes of this report. Reach 3 is in the City of Merriam and is a major damage center in the study. Tributary 81 and 85 Reaches are located in Overland Park, Kansas. Estimated investment in the reaches totals nearly $138 million.

Reach 4

Reach 4 has only public investment subject to flood damage (streets and highways). The estimated protected investment is about $1.65 million.

Reach 5

Reach 5 is a small, narrow reach and contains about $200,000 in street investment.

Summary of Study Area Investment

Table 3 provides a summary of study area investment subject to flooding.

Table 3. Study Area Investment (without uncertainties)
for Structure and Content

October 2002 prices, $000

Reach Number of Structures/ Groups of Structures Structure/ Infrastructure Investment Contents Investment (various) Reach Totals
Reach 1
Reach 2
Reach 3+Tribs 81 & 85
Reach 4
Reach 5
Study Area Totals


Tributary data merged with Reach 3 for confidentiality.

Note: any discrepancies are due to rounding

Flood risk management measures are necessarily located at or near the locations that have historically experienced flood damages. In the Upper Turkey Creek study area, historical flood damages are centered in the downtown Merriam area and in the Roe Lane Industrial Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Unlike flood damage reduction, ecosystem restoration is not restricted to locations that exhibit a problem in need of a remedy. In the Upper Turkey Creek basin, ecosystem restoration actions could occur on any property that drains into Turkey 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 Turkey 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 Upper Turkey Creek Feasibility Study.

Public participation is encouraged during this feasibility study in several ways. In addition to the key events that represent the minimum required opportunities for public input to the study process, the study may include workshops and/or meetings with small groups or individuals. If you are unable to attend public workshops, you may still provide your comments by clicking the link on the right side of this page. Public workshops will be announced on this webpage and via public notices.

Upcoming Public Involvement

The preliminary design work will collect feedback from the public in various public meetings, as coordinated by the city.  Public comments can be considered in adjusting details of the design.

A flloodplain Management Plan is being developed under a joint partnership of the City of Merriam, Kansas, Merriam Drainage District, Kansas Department of Agriculture (Division of Water Resources), Johnson County, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The city will coordinate further meeting will present a draft document on floodplain management planning directed to the city as part of the USACE project in 2016.  Risks of flooding will be highlighted.  Needed future actions for managing the floodplain as part of a comprehensive hazard mitigation plan will be a large part of the document.

Past Public Involvement

October 14, 2014

The city held a meeting on the preliminary design. The Corps showed the levee/floodwall designed and explained how higher rainfall intensities called for a more robust approach over the last year.  This was tied to an update from NOAA, National Weather Service, in their precipitation atlas called Atlas 14. This new flood risk was known in April 2013. The Corps decided to address this in the design in November 2013. The meeting described the performance ability of the proposed low, 6-foot high levees and floodwall. Approximately ten people attended and offered good comments.

August 14, 2013

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented the findings of the planning study. Flood walls and levees were described as being proposed along the creek between Shawnee Mission Parkway and Johnson Drive extending through the Merriam Marketplace to Merriam Drive.

October 19, 2011

The public was invited to a public workshop to collect comments on the various measures that were used to form solutions to flood hazards on Turkey Creek. Three focus areas for this planning study have included

1.    the Roe Lane Industrial Park on the northeast corner of Interstate-35 and Roe Avenue

2.    the Interstate-35 corridor upstream and between Roe Avenue and as far south as 79th Street

3.    the Merriam channel between Shawnee Mission Parkway and Antioch Avenue 

A stronger focus will be on the Merriam channel, as this has been identified by the sponsor, the City of Merriam, as an area of interest.  

The public was able to

*     see a summary of the existing flood hazards

*     discuss combining flooding, environmental enhancements and recreation opportunities, such as biking and trails, throughout the Turkey Creek watershed

*     give feedback on possible measures for addressing flood hazards and locations for those measures

This meeting was from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. The location was at the Merriam Community Center at the address below:  

Irene B. French Community Center

5701 Merriam Drive

Merriam, Kansas 66203

    Recon Study Announcement

    Feasibility Study

    Turkey Creek Awareness Day

Upper Turkey Creek Basin Review Plan - Acrobat PDF - 164 KB

A Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement between the City of Merriam, Kansas, and the government is in effect. That agreement, signed in June 2002, calls for a Feasibility Study of flood damage reduction and ecosystem restoration in the Turkey Creek Basin at a cost of approximately $2.4 million. Half the Feasibility Study cost will come from Federal funds. The non-Federal share includes work performed by the non-Federal sponsor as well as cash contributions. The non-Federal sponsor has provided a hydrologic and hydraulic model valued at more than $200,000 in addition to cash payments. The model was obtained through an agreement between Merriam and Johnson County, Kansas. Johnson County and Wyandotte County both support the study financially through agreements with Merriam and provide members to the team that monitors the progress of the study.