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Five Star Urban Waters Grants Awarded to Projects in Kansas City Area

With support from EPA, community-led projects will restore urban waters and streams and address water quality in priority watersheds

Contact Information: 
Ashley Murdie (

Environmental News


image of Blue River in MissouriBlue River flows through Kansas City area(Lenexa, Kan., Aug. 9, 2018) - Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced grants for the Miami County (Kansas) Conservation District and Heartland Conservation Alliance, Inc., to support habitat restoration and urban water quality initiatives in the Kansas City area.

With the support of a $30,553 Urban Waters Grant, the Miami County Conservation District will convert 80 acres of degraded farmland to diverse prairie habitat to improve water quality in the Bull Creek stream system and larger Hillsdale Lake Watershed. This restoration will provide critical habitat for declining populations of grassland birds, native bees, and other pollinators in the Bull Creek Watershed in southern Johnson County, Kansas.

The project will also engage eight local resource management partners, 20 trained volunteer seed collectors, and 300 volunteers, including local high school students who will survey plant, bird and pollinator species in the restored area and monitor water quality conditions in Bull Creek.

“The restoration work that Matt Garrett with Johnson County Parks and Recreation is doing is so beneficial to the region and the watershed on many levels – environmentally, recreational, and general access to nature,” said Lesley Rigney, Miami County Conservation district manager and watershed coordinator. “This project has the potential to inspire more stewardship in this very high-priority watershed, and that’s why we jumped on the opportunity to write this proposal.”

Alliance members will use their $49,934 Urban Waters Grant to host five community events to support local land managers in their efforts to restore habitat and improve the health of the Blue River Watershed. These Community Days events will provide opportunities to inspire, educate and engage the public in learning through hands-on activities about conservation, wildlife and water quality.

“Continued support from EPA’s Urban Waters programs has been key to our success connecting communities to the Blue River,” said Jill Erickson, Heartland Conservation Alliance executive director. “Heartland Conservation Alliance will work with more than 10 local partners, including the landowner, the city of Kansas City, to engage youth and families in stewardship of this amazing Kansas City gem.”

Both grants were among 59 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grants awarded, totaling $2.2 million to restore wildlife habitat and urban waters in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Grantees have committed an additional $5.2 million in local project support, generating a total conservation impact of more than $7.4 million.

“These grants will support projects that help communities improve local water quality and restore degraded wetlands and streams, both of which are critical for a healthy environment and strong economy,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “By working alongside our public and private partners, we can encourage community stewardship and incentivize innovative solutions to address today’s environmental and public health challenges.”

The grants are awarded through the NFWF’s Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program, which supports projects that develop community stewardship of natural resources and address water quality issues in priority watersheds across the country. Support for the 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program is provided by the Wildlife Habitat Council, and major funding by EPA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fedex, Shell Oil Company, Southern Company and BNSF Railway.

“The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program generates measurable results for wildlife and communities across the nation,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The 59 grants announced today will help communities improve water quality and support wildlife through a variety of conservation efforts, from the removal of invasive species and planting of native vegetation to the reduction of stormwater runoff and creation of wetlands.”

The 2018 grant winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 250 applications. A full list of 2018 projects is available online.

Since 1999, the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program has supported more than 945 projects, with more than $11.9 million in federal funds, $10.6 million in private and corporate contributions, and $74.7 million in matching funds at the local level.

Learn more about the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program.

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