By Rusty Fleming
South Grand lake Area Chamber of Commerce
The Grand River Dam Authority is preparing to file an exemption with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to forgo the lowering of Grand Lake in August for the benefit of migrating waterfowl.
The practice, much to disbelief of the human element that also enjoys the lake’s assets, has been in place 22 years with little benefit to the migrating waterfowl having been documented.
What has been documented are numerous boat groundings, some with injuries, lifts which aren’t functional during times of low water, damages caused to docks, the destruction of fish habitat for the current years hatch and much more.
The GRDA is scheduled to submit this initial filing on May 28, 2015.
In short, the exemption calls for dropping the lake level from an elevation of 744.0’, which is maintained from mid-may through mid-August, to an elevation of 743’until well after the Labor Day holiday weekend.
It would then be dropped an additional foot to an elevation of 742’until the following spring.
Though most will be planning fun-filled activities on the Saturday morning of the Memorial weekend holiday, a public meeting will be hosted at Cherokee Yacht Club, getting underway at 10:00 am, to inform Lakers, and other interested parties, how they can support this filing during the mandated thirty-day comment period.
The holiday weekend will attract a high concentration of lake visitors and offer an opportunity to reach a high percentage of lake users.
The purpose of the meeting will be to distribute sample letters, addresses and suggested topic points for letters containing specifics to be submitted to the FERC in support of the GRDA rule curve exemption filing.
GRDA Chief Executive Officer / Director of Investments Dan Sullivan will be on hand to update Grand Lakers about their plans for the filing of the exemption and the subsequent filing of a permanent rule curve amendment.
If Grand Lake really wants this lake level corrected after 22 years, it’s time to become involved in a serious way.
The South Grand Chamber has been joined by other lake organizations in the water level crusade thus far, including the Monkey Island Business Association, the Grand Lake Association, the Grove Chamber, Grand Lakers United Enterprise, the Northeast Board of Realtors, the Tulsa Regional Realtors Association, the Oklahoma Association of Realtors, the Grove Rotary Club and others.
In addition, Tourism Commissioner and local realtor Chuck Perry has made a presentation to the National Association of Realtors in Washington seeking their support of this filing.
Grand Lake’s time has come to be a force in the future and being a voice of reason with respect to this issue.
The South Grand Lake Chamber is the host organization for the Saturday morning meeting and their executive director, Rusty Fleming, will act as the meetings moderator.
Fleming said, “This is the chance we’ve all been clamoring about for 22 years and if we don’t take full advantage of this opportunity for change, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Our plan is to provide the information and directions to truly make a difference in changing our lake’s future for the better.”
He added, “While we all understand the importance of time on a holiday weekend, this one hour time investment is well worth the while.”
For additional information, contact the South Grand Lake Chamber via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (918) 782-3214.