Rush for Brush returning in April

Power for Progress… a weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority.

One of the most successful and popular Grand River Dam Authority programs is making its return to the shores of Grand Lake on April 1.

Habitat helpers… In this file photo from a 2010 Rush For Brush workshop, volunteers listen in as GRDA Ecosystems Management Director Dr. Darrell Townsend discusses the program and thanks them for their efforts. Volunteers have helped to build and place close to 14,000 artificial fish habitats since GRDA’s first workshop over a decade ago. The first 2017 Rush For Brush workshop is scheduled for Saturday, April 1.

Habitat helpers… In this file photo from a 2010 Rush For Brush workshop, volunteers listen in as GRDA Ecosystems Management Director Dr. Darrell Townsend discusses the program and thanks them for their efforts. Volunteers have helped to build and place close to 14,000 artificial fish habitats since GRDA’s first workshop over a decade ago. The first 2017 Rush For Brush workshop is scheduled for Saturday, April 1.

That is the date for the first “Rush For Brush” workshop of 2017. That event will be held at the Wolf Creek Park in Grove and, like popular workshops of the past, it will be an opportunity for volunteers to build artificial fish habitats for placement in the lakes, at the location of their choice. An additional workshop is also planned for Saturday, May 20 in the lower parking lot, adjacent to the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley.

GRDA initiated the “Rush For Brush” program over a decade ago and it has only grown in popularity and participation each year. The Authority provides the materials (mostly PVC pipe) for the “spider block” habitats and volunteers provide much of the manpower. The habitats protect fry and fingerlings and will stay in place longer than a natural brush pile, because they are weighted with concrete blocks or bricks. Since the spring of 2007, GRDA estimates that volunteers have helped to construct close to 14,000 artificial habitats.

As always, GRDA anticipates a large turnout for the workshops and is asking participants to register to insure the enough materials are available. You can do that online by clicking on the “Lake Information” dropdown menu on grda.com, then following the “2017 Lake Events” link to “Rush For Brush Registration.” You can also contact the GRDA Ecosystems Management Department at (918) 256 0895.

For over a decade, this program has helped enhance the fisheries of Grand and Hudson lakes, two of the most popular fishing destinations in the region. GRDA’s goal is to continue that effort, with volunteer help, in 2017.

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.