Healthy Stream Corridors

Streams are complex ecosystems that require fully functional buffers to stay healthy. Lenexa’s streams are bordered by 315 acres of adjacent vegetated area – called a riparian corridor. Maintaining a natural stream buffer of native plants is a simple, highly effective way to protect our streams.

  • Native flowers, grasses and shrubs have very deep roots that can break down clay in the soil and turn the ground into a sponge. They also protect the streambank from erosion, which can cause flooding.
  • Shade from the trees lowers the water temperature, preventing algae and bacteria from thriving in the stream. Rapid algae growth starves the water of oxygen, killing fish and plants. It can also release toxins harmful to humans and pets.
  • Native plants filter pollutants from rainwater before it reaches the stream. Pollutants like sediment, nutrients and bacteria can make the water smell, taste and look bad. They have to be treated in drinking water, which adds to your water cost. They’re also harmful to plants and animal in stream habitats.

Ways you can help protect our water

Know your invasive species

Maintaining healthy native plant growth in our stream corridors is a priority for our Parks and Stormwater staff. Each year, the City of Lenexa invests abundant labor and equipment to remove invasive vegetation from our parks – a critical component of maintaining the health of our riparian corridors.

Invasive plants are non-native plants that aggressively spread, overtaking the native plants and trees that ensure a healthy stream ecosystem.

You can help stem the spread of harmful plant species by removing them from your property. When removing invasive species, remember not to put them in a compost pile, as this can cause them to spread in new parts of your lawn or garden.

Here are four of the most common invasive species our staff see.

More invasive plant resources

A different approach to invasive species removal

GoatThe City of Lenexa is working with Goats on the Go KCMO on a targeted grazing project along the stream corridor in Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. The goats will be hard at work for several weeks in June 2023.

Goats are ideally suited for taking care of stream corridors. They love to feast on invasive plants, weeds and brush, and they tend to leave beneficial plants alone. Plus, their nimble hooves navigate the steep, rocky terrain of streambanks without creating much erosion.

Don’t try this at home — livestock aren’t allowed in residential zoning areas.