Rain to Recreation

Aerial view of spillway on Lake Lenexa at Black Hoof Park


Rain to Recreation is the name of our innovative stormwater management program that aims to reduce flooding and protect water while preserving natural habitat and providing educational and recreational opportunities for our residents. This award-winning program is nationally recognized as a leader for its practices that focus on stormwater protection, restoration and education.

The program identifies stream corridors as critical ecosystems, vital in managing water quality and quantity. We incorporate the principles of hydrology, watershed management and ecology with traditional infrastructure to create a more sustainable system. Our stormwater staff works with gray stormwater infrastructure — pipes, culverts and ditches — and green stormwater infrastructure to control and reduce flooding and polluted runoff.

The program is paid for in three ways:

  • A stormwater utility fee established in 2000 that is collected as a special assessment on Johnson County property tax bills.
  • A systems capital development charge, so that as new developments are built, growth pays for growth.
  • Erosion and site development fees, assessed at the time of land disturbance and site development permits.

Stormwater fast facts

  • Average annual rainfall in Lenexa is 37 inches per year.
  • The main surface water pollutants are sediment, fecal coliform bacteria, phosphorus and trash.
  • Our stormwater staff maintain over 160 miles of pipe. We maintain nearly 9,000 storm drain inlets.
  • We maintain 22 miles of streams.
  • Our Stormwater Division has 14 full-time employees.  

Protecting water quality

Our staff helps protect water quality by preventing and reducing pollution on a watershed level through:

  • Educating residents on ways to prevent pollution and reduce stormwater runoff
  • Finding ways to engage the community – residential and professional – in protecting stormwater
  • Responding to emergency spills and pollution complaints
  • Issuing permits for commercial businesses, construction sites and land development to prevent pollution
  • Inspecting permitted job sites for compliance
  • Utilizing green infrastructure and stormwater Best Management Practices to treat and reduce runoff
  • Monitoring lakes, creeks and streams for pollution, identifying problem areas and planning protection.

How how you can help

Stormwater management plan

Our stormwater management plan guides us in designing, funding and implementing a comprehensive stormwater program that addresses our regulatory requirements. It also helps us manage stormwater runoff, flooding problems and natural resources. 

Stormwater Management Plan(PDF, 17MB)

You are invited to give feedback about our stormwater management plan.

Click here to view form.

Frequently asked questions

What is a watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that drains to a common body of water, such as a nearby creek, stream, river or lake. Watersheds vary considerably in size. For example, when it rains, all the water from a small watershed may travel to a local creek. That creek will flow into a larger stream, like Mill Creek, which collects water from an even larger watershed. Mill Creek flows into the Kansas River, which then deposits water into the Missouri River.

See a map of Lenexa's watersheds(PDF, 2MB)

What is stormwater, and why should I worry about it?

Runoff from rainstorms is called stormwater. When stormwater flows over surfaces such as streets, parking lots and lawns, it picks up pollutants such as oil, fertilizer and trash. This water then flows directly to streams, rivers and lakes without treatment. Without treatment polluted waters are a health concern and detrimental to wild life and plants.

What is a storm drain?

Storm drains are the metal grates found on urban and suburban streets, often at corners and on the sides of curbs and gutters. They help prevent flooding by draining rainwater and melted snow off of streets and other paved surfaces.

Are sewers and storm sewers the same thing?

No. The water that goes down a sink or toilet in your home or business flows through a sewer system to a wastewater treatment plant, where it is treated and cleaned. Water that flows down a driveway or street and into a gutter goes to storm drain and directly to a natural body of water, untreated.

Do storm drains get cleaned out?

We are responsible for ensuring that thousands of storm drain inlets and hundreds of miles of conveyance pipes citywide are clear of obstructions that might cause water to back up and cause flooding. Storm drains and inlets are cleaned on a periodic basis across the community as conditions and seasons dictate.

To report flooding from a storm drain, please call the Municipal Services Department at 913.477.7880 or submit a Service Request.

What is the Stormwater Utility Charge?

Lenexa's Stormwater Utility Charge pays for stormwater improvements and infrastructure rehabilitation to ensure our lakes, stream and natural habitats stay healthy and our residents stay safe.

What is the Storm Systems Development Charge?

Our Storm Systems Development (SSD) Charge is a stormwater utility fee that functions like a wastewater or drinking water utility fee. It is a dedicated fee that is only used to fund the operation, construction and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure to prevent flooding and protect water quality. The SSD Charge is a one-time fee collected at the time of construction.

The fee is based on the amount of stormwater a particular parcel passes to the stormwater system from the average amount of impervious surfaces (things such as driveways and rooftops) associated with a single-family home in Lenexa. We take a standard measurement, termed an Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU), of 2,750 square feet. For commercial and multi-family units, we calculate the total impervious area and divide it by 2,750 square feet to arrive at the total number of EDUs for any particular dwelling. Therefore, the more runoff a building contributes, the greater the fee.

If a property is not near a body of water, why is it charged?

All businesses and homes within a given watershed have an effect on the quantity and quality of the stormwater runoff in that area, despite how far the property is located from a stream or lake. All Lenexa residents have equal responsibility to support stormwater programs and infrastructure, based on their calculated contribution, the EDU.