Streams, waterways and watersheds

Healthy Streams - Making the Natural ConnectionOverland Park has more than 70 miles of natural streams and rivers, and multiple watersheds.

The water running through these streams and watersheds is important to residents as well as others downstream.

Clean water is critical for drinking, irrigation, agriculture, industry, fishing and recreation.

Stormwater runoff, resulting from rain storms or snowmelt, can adversely affect the quality of our water.

Stormwater runoff flows over lawns and hard surfaces - rooftops, driveways, sidewalks and streets - picking up pollution along the way. The stormwater flows directly to streams without treatment.

Residents, businesses, scientists and government agencies across the nation are working to protect water quality and stream integrity by educating the public about stormwater, or rain from a storm.

Become a "Green Neighbor" and preserve our streams and waterways by preventing pollution at home, reporting pollution and certifying your lawn as a "Healthy Yard".

Watersheds

You probably know your house address, but do you know your watershed address?

You might be asking yourself, what is a watershed? A watershed is an area of land in which all water, including rainwater, drains to a common waterway, like a nearby creek, river or lake.

Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They can be large, covering several states or much more local, like inside the city of Overland Park. Ultimately, all the water that falls into a watershed, no matter where, will end up in the same place.

For example, if you live near Coffee Creek in south Overland Park, you'd be in the Blue River watershed. Water runoff from your neighborhood would make its way to Coffee Creek, which then runs into the larger Blue River. The Blue River then flows into the larger still Missouri River and continues to flow into successively larger watersheds until it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.

That is quite a trek.

So, why is this important?

Well, anything that ends up in a watershed ends up in our water, including pollutants like motor oil, paint, dirt, and pet and yard waste. These pollutants cause major problems for aquatic life and even pollute our drinking water. Remember, if it's on the ground, it's in our waters.