Since construction was completed in the early 1980s, the Grand River Dam Authority’s Coal Fired Complex has seen a lot of people pass through its doors. After all, it takes a large team to operate this facility, which generates low-cost, reliable GRDA electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. On any given day at the facility you will find mechanics, plant operators, instrument technicians, laboratory personnel, heavy equipment operators, office staff and dozens of other employees. And, many times, you will also find visitors touring the plant, vendors making deliveries or even outside contractors helping on plant projects.
Outside of the facility doors though, there are plenty of other visitors who have very little interest in how a coal fired plant works, yet they still spend a lot of time on the plant site. In fact, for 30 years now, feathered friends have flown in from all over the region to take advantage of the Coal Fired Complex’s ponds and waterfowl-friendly acreage.
Canada Geese would be considered the most frequent visitors, with some even living and nesting on site. However, plenty of others are around from time to time to keep the geese company.
GRDA Environmental Superintendent Perry Friedrich, whose office was located at the Coal Fired Complex for several years, has compiled a long list of those who have flown in for a visit. Some are well known; like bald eagles and Great Blue Herons, while 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. Meanwhile, the wooded areas of the Coal Fired Complex property also attract deer and other wildlife.
This all takes place practically in the shadow round-the-clock electricity production. With no hunting allowed on the GRDA property, the site has truly been a sanctuary for wildlife over the last three decades.
Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable; electricity serves nearly 500,000 homes in Oklahoma and stretches into 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.
– Justin Alberty
GRDA Corporate Communications Director
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