GREC visitors and feathered friends

Mar 24, 2021

Canada Geese make their way across the grounds at GRDA’s Grand River Energy Center (GREC).

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

Since it began operations in the early 1980s, the landscape around the Grand River Dam Authority’s Grand River Energy Center (GREC, formerly Coal Fired Complex) has changed a little bit. Some structures and roads have been altered for various reasons in that time and other portions of the operation look a bit different than they did at the beginning. The biggest change to the landscape – the construction of the Unit 3 combined cycle gas plant – was completed about four years ago.

Of course, in all that time thousands of employees, visitors and contractors have also passed through the facility’s doors. After all, the large 24/7/365 operation — which has been producing power for GRDA customers for nearly 40 years — has required a lot of attention since its beginnings.

Yet, in the middle of all the construction, changes and operations, there is a constant group of visitors who have very little interest in electric generation. Instead, these feathered friends are much more interested in the site’s ponds and waterfowl-friendly acreage. Like those who operate, maintain and visit the facility, wildlife has been a constant presence around the GREC grounds all along.

Canada Geese would be considered the most frequent visitors, with some living and even nesting on site. However, plenty of others are around from time to time to keep the geese company.

The list of birds that have been documented on-site is a long one. While some are well known; like bald eagles and Great Blue Herons, others, like the Common Gallinule or Great Egret, are lesser-known but also present. Snowy Egrets and Green Herons have also been spotted along with a long list of ducks, geese and duck-like birds including Mallards, Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Coots, Buffleheads, Red Heads, Blue-winged Teals, Green-winged Teals, Lesser Scaups, Gadwalls and Widgeons. The list also includes Ring Necks, Canvasbacks, Shovelers, Golden-eyes, Snow Geese and Pintails.

With a commitment to environmental stewardship at the core of its overall mission, GRDA is proud to be a sanctuary for so many species of wildlife, next door to its round-the-clock, reliable electricity production.

GRDA is Oklahoma’s largest public power 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.