GRDA linemen will help restore power in Florida

This group of GRDA employees is headed to the Lakeland, Florida, area on Saturday morning, to provide power restoration assistance following the damage that Hurricane Irma is expected to leave behind. GRDA crews are going as part of a mutual aid agreement among the nation’s publicly-owned electric utilities.

Pryor — With Hurricane Irma expected to cause major damage across the state of Florida over the weekend, electric crews from all across the country stand ready to provide restoration assistance in the days and weeks ahead.

The Grand River Dam Authority is among the utilities that will send aid. On Saturday morning (September 9) a contingent of 30 GRDA linemen and support personnel are headed to the Lakeland, Florida area in a convoy of 20 vehicles. Their trip is in response to a nationwide mutual aid agreement among publicly-owned electric utilities, coordinated by the American Public Power Association (APPA).

At an “all hands” briefing Friday morning, at the GRDA Transmission Headquarters in Pryor,

While images of Hurricane Irma appear on the television screen overhead on Friday morning (September 8), GRDA Superintendent of Powerline Maintenance Chester Rothhammer briefs the powerline maintenance department employees who will make the trip to the Lakeland, Florida area, to help restore power following the damage the hurricane is expected to leave behind. GRDA crews are headed to Florida as part of a mutual aid agreement among the nation’s publicly-owned electric utilities.

GRDA Superintendent of Powerline Maintenance Chester Rothhammer told the group to make preparations for the challenges that lay ahead.

“We all need to take three days of food for ourselves. We need to take a bed roll or a sleeping bag and possibly a cot,” said Rothhammer, who was a member of the GRDA team that provided power restoration assistance in the Jacksonville, Florida area following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

The crew’s goal is to stay clear of the storm but travel close to the area, so it can begin restoration efforts, as needed, by Monday, September 11. Once there, GRDA efforts will be coordinated through Lakeland Electric. Lakeland is located approximately midway between Tampa and Orlando, in central Florida. GRDA crews could be there for up to three weeks.

This mutual aid response to Florida comes on the heels of another GRDA hurricane response. Last week, five GRDA Police officers returned from Houston, Texas, where they assisted with water evacuations following Hurricane Harvey. As stated earlier, line crews also provided aid after Hurricane Matthew last year and, in 2005, GRDA also sent linemen to Louisiana to help with power restoration following Hurricane Rita.

“Our employees are well-trained, they put safety first and they will provide as much assistance as they can for as long as they are needed,” said GRDA Vice President of Corporate Communications Justin Alberty. “We’re proud to be a part of a nationwide public power organization that can assist each other in times of need. We know if we needed similar help here, our public power neighbors would provide it.”

Headquartered in Vinita, 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. 

GRDA, Mayes County FDs continue Texas response efforts

GRDA Police Officer Billy Blackwell navigates a water rescue boat down a flooded roadway in the Houston area. The boat in the background also contains GRDA officers. They have been in Texas since Monday evening, to help with water rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

A Mayes County contingent of rescue workers, including officers from the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department, along with firemen from Locust Grove, Pryor and Adair and personnel with Mayes County Emergency Management, were continuing their water evacuation efforts in the Houston area on Thursday.

According to reports from GRDA Police, they have made at least 30 rescues in the Memorial City area, including animals (a bird, a rabbit, 6 dogs and 4 cats), since they first began their work on Tuesday.

Their area of rescue operations has some navigational challenges, due to many underwater hazards, however they will continue operations for as long as they are needed.

This team left from Pryor on Monday morning, following a request for assistance from the state of Texas to Oklahoma, which was then relayed through the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Several Oklahoma counties have sent rescue teams to the Houston area, following the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.

GRDA Police share water safety tips as Labor Day weekend approaches

The Illinois River: An inviting view of the scenic Illinois River. If your Labor Day weekend plans include floating on these waters, the GRDA Police Department wants to remind you to float safe, smart and sober while you enjoy the holiday.

Langley – Heading to the lake or the river for the long Labor Day weekend? If so, the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department wants to remind you of some important information that can help promote a safe time on the water.

Whether you are visiting GRDA’s Grand Lake, Lake Hudson or the scenic Illinois River, it is important to remember that enjoyable outings always start with boating (and floating) safe, smart and sober. GRDA officers will be out in full force over the holiday to help reinforce this safety message and assist visitors as they take advantage of the many recreational opportunities on GRDA waters.

“Labor Day weekend is always an active time on the lakes and river and we encourage the public to come out and have a great time,” said GRDA Vice President of Corporate Communications Justin Alberty. “However, that great time always starts with wearing your life jacket and using common sense on the water.”

GRDA has shared the following “Dos and DON’Ts” often, but as you head to the water this

weekend, please keep these in mind:

  • DO wear a life jacket. They float, you don’t. However, they only work if you wear them.  Remember, if you are floating the river, children 13 years of age and under are required to wear a life jacket at all times. On the lake, children 12 years of age and younger are required to wear a life jacket on vessels under 26 feet long. However, we encourage everyone to wear a life jacket at all times.
  • DON’T DRINK AND BOAT. Alcohol use continues to be the single leading factor contributing to boating accidents. Don’t become a statistic.
  • DO know the water and environment you will be boating or floating on.
  • DO keep a good lookout while underway.
  • DO shut your engines off when people are in the water near your boat.
  • DO observe the nautical “rules of the road.”
  • DO check the weather forecast before getting underway.
  • DO keep a balanced load and trim boat.
  • DON’T overload your boat.
  • DON’T ride on the gunwale, bow, seat backs or any place that is not designated for sitting.
  • DON’T swim or boat alone. Stay within sight of companions.
  • Floating the river? DO let the commercial float operator know if you are anyone in your party are a first-time or novice floater(s). They may be able to pair you with an experienced paddler/floater or float you in a raft where there is a lesser chance for capsizing;
  • DON’T dive into the river from bridges, bluffs, stream banks and trees.
  • DO respect the weather and the water. If you are tired while floating, take a break on the bank or on a gravel bar to rest.

For those planning on hitting the water on a personal watercraft (PWC), the GRDA Police also

Grand Lake Holiday: Boaters fill up the waters of Grand Lake during the July 4, 2017 holiday. Scenes like this will likely be repeated over the upcoming Labor Day weekend, so the GRDA Police Department is sharing some important water safety information that can help make your time on the water more enjoyable.

offers these important safety tips:

  • Don’t ride tired: PWC operation requires a real sense of balance. Tired operators do not have as much balance, which means less controlled operation.
  • Watch the weight: Don’t carry more passengers or weight than is recommended in your PWC’s owner manual. The heavier the load, the harder it is to handle and turn your PWC.
  • Watch out for others: Because lake traffic changes constantly, riders have to be very aware of their surroundings at all times.
  • Know what the craft is capable of: Just because you have ridden a PWC before, don’t assume they are all the same. For the most part, they are very similar, but riders must be educated about the specifics of the craft they are operating.
  • Know where you are: It is very important to know your location on the water. Are you near hazards such as rocks, buoys or sandbars? Are you in a place that is popular with skiers? Even though PWCs are designed to operate in shallow waters, it is important to remember that shallow water can become no water in a hurry. Avoid such areas.
  • Never drink and ride: PWC operation requires clear thinking, quick decisions, the ability to focus, depth perception, ability to judge speed and distance and ability to track moving objects. Alcohol impairs all these abilities while also affecting balance. Oftentimes, PWC injuries occur when people fall into the water and are too inebriated to climb back on board.
  • Watch your speed: Many PWC accidents are a result of excessive speed. PWC operators must match their speed to their skills. Don’t be overmatched by traveling too fast.

Want more information? DO check out additional boating laws at:

Also, please be aware of the signs, buoys, sirens, fencing and flashing lights you may see around Pensacola Dam, Robert S. Kerr Dam, the Salina Pumped Storage Project and the Low Water Dam. These are all intended to notify you of areas where water may rise swiftly, no trespassing or no diving is allowed or footing is unstable.

For more information about the GRDA Police Department or how an officer can assist you, contact the department at (918) 256-0911. Finally, if you need assistance from your boat, the GRDA Police Department encourages you to call 911. If you do not have a cell phone available, you can radio the GRDA Police on Marine Band 16.

Finally, GRDA reminds you that Labor Day Weekend is a great chance to take advantage of the free tours of historic Pensacola Dam before the tour season ends. Tours originate from the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center, located just west of the dam, in Langley. If you are planning on taking the tour, remember to wear comfortable shoes (there is a fair amount of walking involved) and dress for the weather. Also, all persons over 18 are required to present some form of ID. Please be prepared to show that before taking the free tour of an Oklahoma structure that has captured the interest of the public since 1940.

Whether you are coming to the lake, to the river, to the dam or maybe to all three, GRDA encourages you to keep these tips in mind as you enjoy the Labor Day weekend.

GRDA opens Ottawa County property to controlled hunts

A buck, captured on this trail camera image, makes its way across a portion of GRDA’s property, adjacent to the Neosho River in Ottawa County. GRDA is opening up this area to controlled hunts this fall, for both deer and waterfowl.

Langley – As it opens up some of its Ottawa County property for controlled hunts this coming fall, the Grand River Dam Authority is announcing that the public can now register for those hunts online.

Prospective hunters can access the online registration at This webpage allows users to sign up for controlled hunts, beginning in the fall, on GRDA property along the Neosho River. Combined, GRDA is opening up approximately 1,800 acres for these hunts.

To complete an online registration, prospective

Ducks taking flight on GRDA property adjacent to the Neosho River in Ottawa County. GRDA is opening up this area to controlled hunts this fall, for both deer and waterfowl.

hunters are required to upload a copy of their driver’s license and hunting license. While the hunts are open to the public, GRDA also asks that residents of its municipal customer, public power communities upload a copy of a utility bill as proof of residence for consideration for special opening day hunts. The controlled hunts for deer and waterfowl will begin this fall. In the spring, there will also be a controlled hunt for turkey. Prospective hunters can apply for all of these hunts online now.

Headquartered in Vinita, 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. 

Floodwater Release Bulletin

At 11:30AM on Friday, August 18:

  • Grand Lake elevation was 744.29 feet. Daily target elevation for August 18 is 743 feet.
  • At the direction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, two (2) east spillway gates were open at Pensacola Dam, discharging 2,232 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water.
  • Six (6) units were online at the Pensacola Dam powerhouse, releasing 12,050 cfs of water through generation.
  • Releases through floodgates and generation totaled 14,282 cfs.
  • Inflows into Grand Lake totaled 37,738 cfs.
  • Lake Hudson elevation was 620.27 feet. Normal elevation is 619 feet.
  • No units were online at the Robert S. Kerr Dam powerhouse.
  • Inflows into Lake Hudson totaled 14,603 cfs.


The United States Army Corps of Engineers does not anticipate any further gate operations for the weekend at this time.

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