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Green Stewards program aims to protect KC water quality

Posted: 8:46 AM, Jan 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-09 14:46:07Z
Green Stewards program

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When you see rain water running down the street, do you ever wonder where it goes, or maybe what's actually in that water?

When water hits the pavement, it mixes with everything that's already there, including trash, oil, debris, and more.

That's why Kansas City is trying to eliminate the amount of storm water that enters storm drains through a new program called Green Stewards, managed by the organization Bridging the Gap.

The organization hires people from various backgrounds and trains them on creating more green spaces and cutting down on debris that goes into the sewer systems.

"Extra storm water can cause problems in our sewer system, in our combined sewers especially, and so these projects use nature-based solutions to take the water and soak it into the ground, mimicking the way nature would do it in, like, a forest," said Lisa Treese, a senior landscape architect.

People from different backgrounds participate, some who have experience in green infrastructure, and others who don't. Stewards help beautify neighborhoods, maintaining 200 rain gardens and picking up anything that could get caught in storm drains and disrupt water quality.

"Everybody in the Kansas City, Missouri, area drinks from the same water shed," Bridging the Gap Program Manager Chris Cardwell said. "We pull out of the same river and everything that falls in place in any of our neighborhoods ultimately ends up in our drinking water one way or another. So if you have drinking water, you should probably be concerned at treating it at the source."

Bryan Harris, a veteran who transitioned from a federal job to green steward, said the experience so far has been humbling.

"Now that I'm learning about the program and about the environment, I'm really taking this stuff to heart. I mean I'm really learning a lot of stuff," Harris said. "I pay attention now."

"We are coming and we are being proactive you know, not only are we picking up trash, but we're cleaning," Stafford said. "We're beautifying and so if we can get as many green stewards as we have EMTs and police officers beautifying this city — that would be so encouraging."

"We are coming and we are being proactive you know, not only are we picking up trash, but we're cleaning," Stafford said. "We're beautifying and so if we can get as many green stewards as we have EMTs and police officers beautifying this city — that would be so encouraging."

For more information on the program, click here.