GRDA receives “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition”

Tulsa – The Grand River Dam Authority’s innovative “Rush For Brush” program, which has focused on fisheries enhancement of GRDA lake waters for over a decade, was recently recognized by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2).

Debbie Dooley (right), Field Representative for Congressman Markwayne Mullin, presents a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” to GRDA President/CEO Dan Sullivan (center) and GRDA Vice President of Ecosystems and Lake Management Dr. Darrell Townsend. The certificates was in recognition of GRDA’s “Rush For Brush” fisheries habitat enhancement program.

In early June, Mullin’s Office presented the GRDA program with a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” to honor its years of success in constructing and deploying thousands of artificial fish habitats in the waters of Grand and Hudson lakes. Those habitats – built by volunteer labor with materials supplied by GRDA – provide cover for small fish and, in turn, create a fish attractant which is popular with area fishermen.

“Rush For Brush” has grown in popularity and participation every year since its 2007 beginning. Earlier this year, it also received the National Hydropower Association (NHA) “Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters” award.

“We appreciate this recognition from Congressman Mullin as we work to fulfill our stewardship mission for Oklahoma,” said GRDA President/CEO Dan Sullivan. “Much of the credit also goes to the many volunteers over the years who have helped to make the program a success.”

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 Police share boating tips for holiday weekend, summer outings

Enjoying the waters of the Scenic Illinois River… If your Memorial Day Weekend, or any summer plans, involve a float trip to the river, be sure to make safety a priority. The GRDA Police Department is passing along some tips that can help you prepare for your next outing.

Langley – Heading to the lake or the river for the long Memorial Day weekend and kickoff to summer activities? 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 promote safety and assist visitors as they take advantage of the many recreational opportunities on GRDA waters.

While GRDA has shared the following “Dos and DON’Ts” before, please keep them in mind as you head to the water this weekend and all summer long:

  • DO wear a life jacket. They float, you don’t. However, they only work if you wear them. 

    Staying safe in the summertime … Boaters take to the waters of Grand Lake in this photo from Memorial Day Weekend 2017. If your upcoming summer plans including lake outings on Grand or Hudson lakes, the GRDA Police Department wants to remind you to always “boat safe, boat smart and boat sober.”

  • 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.

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. For more information on the GRDA Police Department or how an officer can assist you, you can also contact the department at (918) 256 0911.

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 opens Ottawa County property to controlled hunts

Langley – The Grand River Dam Authority is announcing that it will once again hold controlled hunts, for the upcoming deer and waterfowl seasons, on its Ottawa County properties along the Neosho River. Those interested in applying for these special draw hunts, can register online at www.grda.com/grda-hunting-drawing. The registration period begins June 1 and runs through July 31.

Prospective hunters can apply as individuals or with a group of up to four individuals. This year’s schedule will include a “youth-only” hunt during the youth deer gun season. 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.

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’s “Rush For Brush” receives national hydropower award

GRDA Vice President of Ecosystems and Lake Management Dr. Darrell Townsend (left) accepts the National Hydropower Association (NHA) “Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters” award from NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci (center) and NHA Executive Committee President Herbie Johnson. GRDA received the award for its “Rush For Brush” program, during NHA’s “Water Power Week” activities in Washington, D.C. on May 1 (photo courtesy NHA).

Washington, D.C. – The Grand River Dam Authority’s innovative “Rush For Brush” program, which has been a key factor in enhancing the fisheries of GRDA lake waters for over a decade, is a 2018 recipient of the National Hydropower Association (NHA) “Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters” award. GRDA Vice President of Ecosystems and Lake Management Dr. Darrell Townsend, accepted the award on behalf of GRDA during the NHA’s “Water Power Week” activities in Washington, D.C. on May 1.

According to the NHA, the award is given annually to “recognize projects that have provided extraordinary recreational, historical, environmental or educational value.” GRDA’s program was one of two recipients in the public education category. “Rush For Brush” was recognized for its value in effectively communicating and promoting the benefits of hydropower.

“The key to our success is the ability to recruit and maintain volunteers year-after-year,” said Townsend. “This practice not only benefits the fish by reducing fishing pressure as their locations remain relatively unknown to other fisherman, but is also a win for the volunteer angler who receives many years of quality fishing over these structures.”

First established in 2007, “Rush For Brush” has grown to become one of the GRDA Ecosystem Management Department’s most successful enhancement and outreach efforts. At annual program workshops (typically held twice a year), GRDA supplies the materials and volunteers supply the labor to help construct artificial fish habitats from concrete blocks and PVC pipe. Designed to protect fry and fingerlings in the water, the artificial habitats will stay in place longer than a natural brush pile in the lake. After construction, volunteers take the finished habitats and put them at a location of their choosing in the lake.

Artificial fish habitats, constructed during a previous GRDA “Rush for Brush” workshop, sit near Grand Lake, ready for to be placed in the water. On May 1, GRDA received a National Hydropower Association “Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters” award for this innovative public outreach program that has served to enhance the fisheries of GRDA lake waters for over a decade.

To date, 5,780 habitats have been constructed by 1,100 volunteers. The habitats now cover nearly 11 acres of lake bed in GRDA-managed lakes. While improving the fisheries, the program has also helped to improve fishing opportunities. In turn, that draws more anglers to the lakes and helps to boost the area economy. Both GRDA’s Grand and Hudson lakes hosts multiple fishing tournaments each year. Grand also played host to the prestigious Bassmaster Classic in both 2013 and 2016.

“This program is a good example of GRDA’s efforts to balance the interest of all lake users, while continuing to meet our steward and economic development missions,” said GRDA President/Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “We are very appreciative of the NHA for recognizing the program and also all the volunteers who have participated in the workshops over the years. They have contributed greatly to the program’s success.”

This is not the first time the GRDA program has been recognized. In November 2017, “Rush For Brush” received the “State Government Program” award from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB).

According to hydro.org, the National Hydropower Association is a nonprofit association dedicated exclusively to promoting the growth of clean, renewable hydropower and marine energy.

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 transports hay to Oklahomans in need

Helping our Western Oklahoma neighbors … GRDA Linemen Jason Hensley (left) and Derek Hays inspect a load of hay, loaded on a GRDA truck and set for delivery to Western Oklahoma. Vinita-area farmers and ranchers donated the hay and GRDA delivered it to customers of CKenergy Electric Cooperative, near Vici, Oklahoma. GRDA worked with its customer, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, to help make the deliveries possible.

Vici – Through direct or indirect sales, the Grand River Dam Authority’s electricity touches 75 of 77 counties in Oklahoma. Last week, however, GRDA’s efforts to support neighbors in those other parts of the state, went beyond the commitment in providing reliable power.

Hay, donated by Vinita-area farmers and ranchers and delivered by GRDA, is unloaded near Vici, Oklahoma on Thursday afternoon (April 26). Customers of CKenergy Electric Cooperative were the recipients of the hay, in a part of the state that has been adversely affected by drought and wildfires. GRDA worked with its customer, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, to help make the deliveries possible.

On Thursday (April 26), a convoy of three GRDA trucks delivered 59 round bales of hay to a drop-off location near Vici, Oklahoma. The hay had been donated by farmers and ranchers in the Vinita area then loaded and delivered by GRDA. Those receiving hay were customers of CKenergy Electric Cooperative (Binger). CKenergy is a distribution cooperative member of  Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC), a generation and transmission cooperative that serves the electric needs of 21 member cooperatives. WFEC, headquartered in Anadarko, is a wholesale customer of GRDA.

“This was about Oklahomans helping Oklahomans,” said GRDA President/Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “GRDA is committed in helping others in a time of need. We were proud to partner with WFEC, as it helped its customers. We may all be spread out across the state, but the rural cooperative community in Oklahoma is a tight-knit group.”

This is not the first time GRDA has worked with WFEC to help bring relief to neighbors across the state. The two electric utilities coordinated on a similar delivery effort in the spring of 2017.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility, funded by revenues from electric and water sales. GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.