As a conservation and reclamation district for the waters of Grand River, GRDA realizes it has a responsibility to all those who use and enjoy the waters, including the wildlife.
Throughout the region, the waters of GRDA’s Grand and Hudson Lakes are known for their excellent sport fish populations, drawing thousands of anglers annually, while consistently ranking among the top bass fishing lakes in the state. While most of the credit for the fish populations is given to nature, GRDA and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation have played an active role. In the past, ODWC has used a settling pond at GRDA’s Coal-Fired Complex as a nursery for Florida largemouth bass or strained smallmouth bass. Once the fish are large enough, they are transplanted into GRDA lakes. Over the years, this process has greatly enhanced the fish population of Grand and Hudson.
In the mid 1990s, GRDA began an innovative seeding project along the shores of Grand Lake, to benefit both the fish and migratory waterfowl populations. During the fall, the elevation of the lake is dropped to expose thousand of acres of mud flat areas. GRDA then seeds these areas with Japanese millet. Once the millet begins to germinate and grow, the elevation of the lake is raised and the new vegetation serves as a food source for the waterfowl in the winter. Meanwhile, below the surface, the rich vegetation serves as a protective cover for young fish hatched out each spring.
The list of waterfowl spotted around the shores of GRDA lakes is lengthy: Canada Gees, Mallards, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Gadwalls, Widgeons, Pintails, Redheads, Wood Ducks, Cormorants, Pelicans and Loons, just to name a few. Meanwhile, GRDA’s Coal-Fired Complex is also good for the goose…and the gander. Several resident Canada Geese make their homes around the facility’s cooling ponds, hatching out a new generation each spring.
An endangered species on both the federal and state lists, the Gray Bat (Myotis Griescens), is a medium-sized bat with grayish-brown fur. Colonies of the bat inhabit limestone caves and forage for food in wooded areas and along streams. In the summer, the bats migrate to many caves in Northeast Oklahoma, including some around the shores of Grand Lake.
To inform the public about the need for protection of the Gray Bat, GRDA created an informational program in the early 1990s. The program included a GRDA-produced informational video, as well as informational packets distributed to area schools and public libraries.
Along with other agencies that have a direct interest in the protection of the species, GRDA continues to play a vital role in keeping the Grand Lake area a safe destination for the Gray Bat. The GRDA Lake Patrol routinely patrols the Gray Bat caves, and barriers and signs help to limit human disturbance. Click here for more information on the Gray Bat.
Another endangered species making its home in the GRDA Lakes region is the Ozark Cavefish (Amblyopsis Rosae). A small fish, with a maximum length of only two inches, the cavefish has no eyes and no skin pigment. Found in a total of 20 caves across Northeast Oklahoma, Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas, the species survives on a diet of small verterbrae. Its ecosystem is also very dependent on the existence of another endangered species, the Gray Bat. Human disturbance and water pollution have the Ozark Cavefish population on the decline