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Power for Progress: Preserving a grand view

Power for Progress: Preserving a grand view

On the shores of Grand Lake
The sunrise over Grand Lake and the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center (lower right). The building is home to the GRDA Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department’s water quality research laboratory.

Power for Progress…

A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority


Preserving a grand view


The windows lining one side of the Grand River Dam Authority’s water research laboratory look out onto the waters of Grand Lake. That view is fitting, considering the purpose of the lab.

Created in 1935 to be a “conservation and reclamation district” for the waters of the Grand River, stewardship of the natural resources (Grand River watershed) under its control, has always been a top GRDA priority. With the creation of the Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department in 2004 and the establishment of the water lab in 2010, GRDA has continued to bring an even greater focus to stewardship and water quality research on Grand and Hudson lakes, as well as the scenic Illinois River.

The GRDA Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department is always exploring new research-related programs and opportunities. Today, GRDA also operates a research laboratory (devoted to the Illinois River) on the campus of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. Whether its bacteria management, nutrients research, metals, zebra mussel monitoring, fisheries enhancement or a number of other studies, the lab – and GRDA personnel – are 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 not only in Oklahoma but also all across the watershed area. That collaboration with these partners, as well as with Oklahoma colleges and universities, is intended to benefit not only the watershed, but also those who live, work, and play near its banks.

Protecting and preserving these valuable natural resources means protecting, preserving, and promoting economic development and quality of life. Those are also top GRDA priorities. Meanwhile, the department’s outreach and education programs like Guard the Grand and the nationally recognized Rush for Brush, continue to engage the public while supporting the stewardship mission.

So, as the windows of the lab look out across Grand Lake, it is a daily reminder to GRDA’s team of the real and valuable impact of water research, data collection and public outreach programs all intended to benefit not only fish and waterfowl, but also the thousands of Oklahomans who utilize these resources.


GRDA is Oklahoma’s largest public power 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.


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