GRDA has released a brand new publication: “Ecosystems Explorations – a review of 10-years of watershed research, conservation and protection”, an informative and eye-opening publication that details much of the GRDA stewardship efforts over the course of 10 years, through 2019.

Established in 1935 to be a “conservation and reclamation district for the waters of the Grand River” the Grand River Dam Authority has made stewardship of natural resources a priority from its earliest days.

Today, GRDA manages over 70,000 surface acres of lake waters, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir, and is second only to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) in jurisdiction over Oklahoma waters.

When it absorbed the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission (OSRC) in July of 2016, GRDA’s stewardship mission expanded to also include 161 miles of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers, including the Illinois River. All of these waters continue to valuable resources for all who live, work and play in the region.

The GRDA natural resource stewardship mission is spearheaded by its Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department. Established in 2004 to bring a greater focus to lake management issues, the duties and footprint of the department has grown ever since.

“Our water quality research laboratory has been in operation since GRDA opened the Ecosystems and Education Center in 2010,” said Vice President of Ecosystems and Watershed Management Dr. Darrell Townsend, “and for nearly a decade, our work in the lab has helped to guide our water quality efforts across the watershed.”

In 2008, in order to address watershed issues, promote recreational opportunities and support GRDA’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licenses, the department formed partnerships with Oklahoma’s flagship universities, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

Soon, these early partnerships paved the way for relationships with other universities including Rogers State University (Claremore), Pitt State University (Pittsburg, Kansas), and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (Miami).

In the summer of 2017, the value of those partnerships was on display as GRDA and NSU expanded water quality research in the Illinois River watershed and throughout the scenic rivers under GRDA’s jurisdiction.

The entities worked together to establish a research laboratory on the NSU campus in Tahlequah.

Today, the GRDA-NSU Scenic Rivers and Watershed Research lab is staffed by GRDA employees and is available for use by NSU students and faculty while also providing fellowship and scholarship opportunities for students.

The results of all these partnerships and collaborative efforts are detailed in GRDA’s Ecosystems Explorations, a new publication that details much of GRDA’s stewardship management efforts over the last 10 years.

GRDA Ecosystems Explorations

“The work showcased in this publication demonstrates our commitment to stewardship of our natural resources,” said GRDA Biologist Dustin Browning. “It gives the reader greater insight into our watershed programs and projects, as well as the university research projects.”

Copies of Ecosystems Explorations are available to the public at no charge at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley or at the GRDA Scenic Rivers Operations office in Tahlequah.

The document is also available for digital viewing on GRDA’s website HERE. [Available for pdf download]

Questions? Visit the Environmental Stewardship section of the website or contact the GRDA Ecosystems and Watershed Department at (918) 256-0723.

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 5E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.

%d bloggers like this: