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Fact Sheet 2011–3033

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Independence, Missouri, Water Pollution Control Department

Condition of Streams in Independence, Missouri: What is Being Done to Protect Stream Health and How Citizens Can Help

By Shelley L. Niesen1, Dorris L. Bender2, Richard H. Champion, Jr.2, Eric D. Christensen1, and Thomas E. Harris1

1U.S. Geological Survey.
2City of Independence, Water Pollution Control.

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.3 MB)


The City of Independence, Missouri is located on the eastern side of the Kansas City metropolitan area in north-central Jackson County. Within Independence there is a mix of developed (residential, commercial, industrial) and agricultural land. The Independence Water Pollution Control Department (IWPC) maintains more than 13,000 stormwater structures, more than 220 miles of stormwater pipe, and 15 regional stormwater detention basins. The State of Missouri issued a pollution control permit for the City of Independence stormwater system, and the City is implementing a Storm Water Management Program (SWMP), funded by voter-approved, dedicated stormwater-management funds, to minimize pollution in stormwater runoff. The SWMP provides for improved maintenance and increased capacity of stormwater structures to improve stormwater quality, as well as stream monitoring, flood response, and flood prevention activities.

Twelve streams [Rock Creek, Sugar Creek, Mill Creek, and Fire Prairie Creek; and the Little Blue River and its tributaries: East Fork of the Little Blue River, Adair Creek, Crackerneck Creek, Spring Branch Creek, Burr Oak Creek, Bundschu Creek, and West Fire Prairie Creek] drain most of the land surface within the Independence city limits. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with IWPC, began a study in June 2005 to characterize the water quality and ecological health of streams within Independence. Streamflow, physical properties, nutrients, chloride, metals, organic micro-constituents, and bacteria were collected during base-flow (low-flow) and stormwater sampling at five sites between June 2005 and December 2008. Illicit discharges and other sources of contamination were monitored through the use of dry-weather screenings. Stream ecological health was evaluated using benthic (bottom-dwelling) macroinvertebrate surveys and habitat assessments at seven sites. Initial study results (from June 2005 through December 2008) were released in 2010 (Christensen and others, 2010) and indicated that practices to reduce sediment delivery to streams likely would result in reductions in associated contaminants.

First posted April 5, 2011

For additional information contact:
Director, USGS Missouri Water Science Center
1400 Independence Road
Rolla, MO 65401
(573) 308-3667

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Niesen, S.L., Bender, D.L., Champion, R.H., Jr., Christensen, E.D., and Harris, T.E., 2011, Condition of Streams in Independence, Missouri: What is Being Done to Protect Stream Health and How Citizens Can Help: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3033, 6 p.

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