Gathering data, sharing data with other resource agencies, and utilizing that data to address water quality issues in the Grand River system …
Since its inception in 2004, those have all been top priorities of the Grand River Dam Authority Ecosystems Management Department. The department’s efforts took a major step forward in early 2010 when GRDA opened the doors on its state-of-the-art water quality laboratory at the Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley. Recently, with the addition of some high-tech electronic monitoring equipment, located above and below Pensacola and Robert S. Kerr Dams, GRDA is again moving forward with its commitment to water quality issues in the Grand River system.
Mounted on small pontoons and operated by solar power, these floating water quality “profilers” have the ability to gather information at three-foot intervals, from the top to the bottom of the water column.
“These profilers will help us to begin a long-term data set,” said GRDA Ecosystems Management Director Darrell Townsend. “Its information we need in order to address water quality issues in the future.”
Its also data that GRDA wants to make available to the general public. Plans are to link the floating profiler at Pensacola Dam to the GRDA website in the future. Those interested in dissolved oxygen levels, pH, water temperature, blue green algae conditions (as needed), and other water quality parameters will eventually be able to find what they need at grda.com.
“We feel this is something the public would be interested in as well, so we do hope to make it available on our website,” said Townsend. “We also plan to have it displayed on a monitor outside of our water laboratory here in the Eco Center.”
Eventually that display monitor – located just outside the entrance to the water laboratory – will also be able to display real-time images from laboratory microscopes, added Townsend.
“GRDA was established to be a conservation and reclamation district for the waters of Grand River,” said Townsend, “and these tools and these data collection efforts will help GRDA to enhance its stewardship role.”
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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This article is part of the GRDA Power For Progress series.