On July 1, two Oklahoma agencies, both committed to caring for some of the most important waters in the region, became one.
That was the date when the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission (OSRC) officially merged into the Grand River Dam Authority.
The result of a bill passed earlier this year by the Oklahoma Legislature, the merger will help preserve the ongoing mission that has driven the OSRC since its creation in 1977.
While that mission has suffered in recent years due to shrinking budgets, the need to protect, enhance and preserve the Illinois River and its tributaries has not changed.
With the merger, that OSRC mission is now the GRDA mission.
And of course, efforts at protecting, enhancing and preserving waters are at the core of GRDA’s mission.
Today, the Authority’s ecosystems management efforts extend all across the Grand River watershed in the form of fisheries enhancement, water quality monitoring, wetlands development, public outreach and ongoing collaboration with other agencies.
As it absorbs the expertise, resources and experiences of the OSRC, the goal is that all the waters – the wide open expanses of Grand and Hudson lakes and the pristine scenery of the Illinois River – will benefit from this new, common mission in the future.
Meanwhile, efforts at promoting safe outings, patrolling the water and assisting visitors will also be enhanced, as the merger means GRDA will be committing more officers to the Illinois River.
The Authority has also been working to upgrade facilities (picnic tables, etc.) at public access areas.
For the thousands who already enjoy the Illinois River each year, GRDA is hoping to make the experience even better, while maintaining the same beautiful, scenic waters that are so valuable to Oklahoma.
Whether it’s the Grand or the Illinois River system, GRDA will continue its efforts to protect, enhance and preserve these waters for the next generation.
Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.