Stormwater Management Project
INITIATIVE NAME Stormwater Management Project
UNIVERSITY Johnson County Community College
TAGS water | flood prevention | student-funded | living laboratory
CONTACT Kristy Howell <>


In addition to serving as a buffer for runoff, the stormwater management project is studied by students in scores of science classes. 


The wetland, incorporating native plants to promote ecological activity and provide habitat for animals and beneficial microbes, is used for student education and for the community as a recreational and learning environment. Students test the quality of water as the water goes through the entire system, and an interpretive sign describes the system to the public.  

The project allows water runoff from nearly 438,000 square feet, or about 21 percent, of the campus’s impervious parking and driving surfaces to drain to a constructed wetland on the south side of the parking areas. Before entering the wetland, the stormwater runoff filters through a sequence of treatment systems, planted with native vegetation and designed to treat diverse pollutants, including manufactured filtration tanks, bioswales and bioretention cells.

The wetland is at the site of an old farm pond that was later converted to a detention basin. By expanding the basin’s footprint and adding gravel, topsoil and native plants adapted to such conditions, water is allowed to stand under a layer of gravel to avoid the problems of an exposed pool of water and provide one last cleaning before the water leaves the campus and makes its way to Indian Creek.

Two rows of limestone seats are available as an outdoor classroom, and a pervious concrete walkway lines the wetland perimeter.


The project was funded by stimulus money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and a 20 percent match from the college, including funds from the student-allocated Sustainability Initiatives Fund, for a total of $700,000.

The system was designed and constructed by engineering firm Burns & McDonnell and landscape architects Bowman Bowman Novick.

Agri Drain Corporation donated a series of wick drains, specifically designed so as not to plug with debris, as field-inlets for water. Native and drought-tolerant plants were custom grown by KAT Nurseries, Olathe.


JCCC hopes to expand its stormwater management practices to other corners of campus when funding becomes available, but for now the Southeast Quadrant Stormwater Management Project serves as a demonstration project for others in the area seeking best management practices.