The ongoing mission … caring for the waters

Mar 24, 2020

A member of the GRDA Ecosystems Management Department collects a water sample from Grand Lake. Caring for the waters under its control has been a primary part of the GRDA mission since its 1935 creation.

Power for Progress… a weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority.

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 in 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 more about those efforts in the Ecosystems Explorations 10 Year Review.

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

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.