First created in 1935 to be a “conservation and reclamation district” for the Grand River, the Grand River Dam Authority has been involved in the protection and preservation of Oklahoma’s natural resources ever since.

With the establishment of its Ecosystems Management Department in the early 2000s and the completion of a state-of-the-art water quality monitoring laboratory in 2010 in Langley and 2019, on the campus of Northeastern State University, GRDA continues to make water quality monitoring a primary objective.

With the responsibility to preserve and protect the waters of the Grand River Watershed – including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson, W.R. Holway Reservoir – as well as the waters of the scenic Illinois River, new research-related programs are always being explored.

Whether its bacteria management, nutrients research, metals, zebra mussel monitoring, fisheries enhancement or a number of other studies, GRDA’s lab is equipped and involved in the research.  

However, that research never takes place in a vacuum.

Since its beginnings, the department has worked with other resource and research agencies in Oklahoma and across state lines (the watershed reaches across four states).

In fact, collaboration with Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and other institutions has resulted in both equipment and research assistance, much progress has been made on Oklahoma water quality management in recent years.

You can read a lot more about those efforts in the Ecosystems Explorations 10 Year Review, and by visiting the Ecosystems Management section of

In short, the original mission from 1935 has not been altered, but rather strengthened and expanded. 

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