Preserving a Grand view…

Jun 28, 2021

Preserving a Grand view … The Grand River Dam Authority Ecosystems and Education Center, located on the shores of Grand Lake. The building is home to GRDA’s water quality monitoring laboratory.

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

The windows lining one side of the Grand River Dam Authority’s water research laboratory actually look out onto the waters of Grand Lake. That 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 & 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. That responsibility also expanded to include the Illinois River watershed in 2016. Today, GRDA also has a water research lab in Tahlequah committed to monitoring those scenic river waters.

Of course, new research-related programs are always being explored. Whether its bacteria management, nutrients research, metals, zebra mussel monitoring, fisheries enhancement or several other studies, members of the GRDA Ecosystems & Watershed Management team 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 across the four-state watershed area. That collaboration with these partners, as well as with Oklahoma colleges and universities, benefits not only the watershed, but also those who live, work, and play near its banks. Protecting and preserving these valuable natural resources also means protecting, preserving, and promoting economic development and quality of life. All of this is core to GRDA’s overall mission.

So, as the windows of the lab look out across Grand Lake, it is a daily reminder to GRDA of the valuable impact of water research. All that data collection, water monitoring, public outreach programs and other stewardship efforts 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.