Olsson Associates


Watershed management plan revived in Lenexa, Kansas

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Linda Van Hoosen, Communications

In the early 2000s, the City of Lenexa, Kansas, kickstarted its watershed management master plan, which included the Clear Creek Regional Stormwater Facility. The Clear Creek facility was to be located on 130 acres of undeveloped land the city acquired. It was the city’s intention to build a large flood control lake within the watershed on that land. Design plans got underway, and construction for the lake was scheduled to begin in 2009. Then the recession hit, and the project came to a halt. Several years later, development within the watershed returned and the city resurrected the Clear Creek project.

Olsson Associates was hired to look at alternatives for the project and meet the city’s goals. There were four goals to the project:

  • Provide regional stormwater detention for developments within the watershed
  • Incorporate green infrastructure to improve water quality for developments within the watershed
  • Preserve and enhance the stream corridor within city property
  • Create a recreational amenity for western Lenexa.

“The city hired us and gave us some guidelines on what needed to be done,” said Brent Johnson, Olsson project manager. “They were also concerned about water quality efforts that were put forth by the developments that had been built. Some of the developments started before the recession and stopped before completing stormwater management improvements.”


Brent said many of the developments had stormwater facilities that were partially constructed or poorly designed. The city was frustrated by this and asked Olsson to make improvements to water quality in the design plans.

“We assisted the city with the development of a fee structure for developers to buy in to the city’s regional stormwater facility and reimburse the city for a portion of the construction costs,” Brent said. “The fee allows the developer to maximize the use of its land through the construction of additional lots instead of being taken up by a detention basin.”

Olsson designed three alternatives for the project and the city chose the most economical and lowest-impact alternative. The preliminary design involved creating two regional in-stream wetland basins. During the design phase, the city added some amenities to the plan.

“They wanted to provide a connection from the adjacent developments with a recreational trail,” Brent said. “The city also thought a park would be ideal for part of the property, so we prepared a few layouts to visualize what it would look like. The park would include trails, practice fields, BMX pump tracks, tennis courts, and many other features. We also designed and built a fishing pond for the park.”

The project had its challenges. Brent said the city had a goal but didn’t have a clear vision for what it was going to look like. Also, the stream corridor had been impacted through utility construction that removed the riparian corridor. Olsson provided recommendations on how to restore the corridor and revegetate it with native grasses and trees.

Olsson was recognized this year by the Kansas City Chapter of the American Public Works Association for the project. Olsson won the Environmental Project Less Than $5 Million category.

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