GRDA Improves Water Safety Initiatives with Funding

Langley — The Grand River Dam Authority’s ongoing commitment to promoting water safety on its lakes and rivers is always a priority. Recently, that commitment was reinforced when GRDA donated funds to continue a long-standing partnership with the Grand Lake Sail and Power Squadron (GLSPS).

GRDA Community Relations Officer Ed Ferguson (left) presents a check to Ken Moore, GLSPS Commander and Barbara Zinn, coordinator for the life jacket distribution programs.

For many years, GLSPS has been an active advocacy group in the Grand Lake region, promoting boater and water safety through a number of programs. Due to the recent $6,125.00 donation from GRDA, the GLSPS will continue a very important outreach program in 2018; one focused on providing lake users with life jackets. 

“Safety is the core mission of the GRDA Police, and the programs that the GLSPS conducts to distribute life jackets have a positive impact on our ability to reduce casualties on Oklahoma lakes and rivers,” said GRDA Community Relations Officer Ed Ferguson.

Life jackets purchased with those funds will be distributed to lake users through various GLSPS programs and events, added Ferguson.

In fact, the first of these give-away programs took place at the recent Grand Lake Boat and Sport Show in Grove, where the GLSPS handed out free life jackets to children. As part of that effort, GLSPS members also ensured the jackets were properly fitted to each recipient. Most importantly, parents were able to leave the show knowing their children had received the most important piece of equipment they would need for any water-related outing.  

Pat Janiga (left) with the GLSPS made another child and parent happy at the Grand Lake Boat and Sport show in early March by providing the youngster with a new life jacket.

The GLSPS will be conducting a similar life jacket distribution program at the South Grand Lake Camp Bandage event on Saturday, June 9th. This free safety fair for families will be held at the Grand Lake RV Resort in Duck Creek (at 31527 S. 4510 Rd., Afton). The public is encourage to attend the event and bring their children, so that GLSPS can continue to provide properly-fitted life jackets, at no charge.

Of course, the GLSPS also maintains a number of static life jacket loaner stations

GLSPS stocks a variety of life jackets that can be used by the public at the loaner stations on Grand Lake, such as the one shown at the Wolf Creek Park boat ramp in Grove.

around the north Grand Lake area. These stations are equipped with various sizes of life jackets for children and adults and allow users to “borrow” a life jacket before they venture out onto the water. Currently, five life jacket stations are located around the lake for public use, these include the Wolf Creek Park boat ramp, Honey Creek State Park boat ramp, Grand Lake State Park boat ramp in Bernice, Twin Bridges State Park boat ramp and the Elk River boat ramp.

The GLSPS expects to distribute over 500 life jackets this year as a result of the funds provided by the GRDA.

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.

Grand Lake’s “Adopt the Shoreline” program set to begin

The GRDA Shoreline Cleanup Crew, at work on the waters of Grand Lake. Thanks to a new lake-wide initiative, organized by GRDA, other partners and many volunteers, there is an even greater focus coming to shoreline cleanup efforts around the lake.

Langley –  Last year, several entities, including the Grand River Dam Authority, Grand Lake Sail & Power Squadron and various grand lake stakeholders came together to develop the “Adopt the Shoreline” Program for Grand Lake. Today, their coordinated effort is set to begin and will bring a new commitment to shoreline preservation and protection along miles and miles of the lake’s scenic shoreline.

“Lake of the Ozarks, in Missouri, has had a successful program like this in place for quite some time,” said GRDA Superintendent of Shoreline Enforcement Scott Horton. “We reviewed their program and are expecting similar results around Grand. We have a great organization in place.”

According to Horton, GRDA realized the real need for an ongoing shoreline cleanup initiative after routine aerial surveys of Grand Lake. While the “Lend A Hand For Lady Grand” program has been successful for many years, this new effort is expected to expand both the reach and volunteer base for cleanup efforts. Horton said the “Lend a Hand for Lady Grand” program will continue to take place annually in addition to the “Adopt the Shoreline” Program.

The program works like this: the shoreline is divided into 10 “zones”, with a coordinator for each zone. That coordinator organizes volunteers who work together at set times to clean up their specific zone. GRDA will support the effort by supplying trash bags and will also be paying the disposal costs for all approved program cleanup events. At the same time, GRDA has also staffed its own full-time shoreline cleanup crew, complete with a barge and the necessary equipment to remove large debris form the lake shore.

The program will be highlighted by large cleanup events in April and August of each year, although each zone will be able to do their own cleanup efforts at other times as well.

“The goal is to not only to preserve the beauty of this scenic shoreline but also to keep it safe for all visitors,” said Horton. “We appreciate our coordinating committee and all our volunteers for their commitment to this effort.”

Of course, there is always room for more help. If you would like to volunteer or learn more about the effort, you can visit the program’s website at www.grda.com/adopt-the-shoreline, and select the “how to join” tab.  You can also contact Horton at (918) 256-0894 for more information.

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 to host workshop on fish handling techniques

Anglers and spectators on the waters of Grand Lake during the 2016 Bassmaster Classic. Fishing is a popular sport on the lake and the Grand River Dam Authority wants to help educate anglers on proper fish handling techniques. It will do that during a special workshop at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley on February 24.

Langley – As the calendar moves towards the busiest part of tournament fishing season, the Grand River Dam Authority wants to remind anglers about proper fish handling techniques.

To help accomplish that, GRDA is inviting all area anglers and fishing tournament directors to a special free workshop on Saturday, February 24, at 10AM, at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley.

Bass Angler Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) National Conservation Director Gene Gilliland will be on hand to present information on three important tournament-related fish handling topics:

1.     Fish handling in boats

2.     Fish handling at tournament weigh-ins

3.     Proper ways to fizz a fish

Gilliland, who retired from his position as Assistant Chief of Fisheries with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) in 2013, is considered an expert in the field of tournament fish handling. After presenting on these topics, he will also be available to answer questions from participants.

“Tournament fishing continues to be one of the most popular activities on GRDA’s Grand and Hudson lakes, so protecting the fishery is a top priority to insure that these tournaments can continue to be successful,” said GRDA Vice President Ecosystems and Watershed Management Dr. Darrell Townsend.

Also during the workshops, ODWC Northeast Region Fisheries Supervisor Josh Johnston will be giving a presentation on largemouth bass population dynamics in Oklahoma reservoirs. Johnston will discuss the conditions of these populations using spring electrofishing data collected by ODWC from 2000-2015. This presentation will also include possible ways to improve those populations and feedback on this subject, from workshop participants, is encouraged.

“We’re excited to join with ODWC to hold this workshop and discuss the fisheries of our lakes,” said Townsend. “We encourage area anglers to take part.”

For more information on the workshop, contact Janet Dellisanti of the GRDA Ecosystems Management Department at (918) 256-0852 or Officer Jason Littlefield of the GRDA Police Department at (918) 530-6138.

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 recognized for “excellence in financial reporting”

Vinita – For the 17th straight year, the Grand River Dam Authority has been recognized for its financial reporting efforts.

In January, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded GRDA’s 2016 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) with a “Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.”

The cover of GRDA’s award-winning 2016 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). For the 17th consecutive year, the GRDA CAFR has been recognized for “excellence in financial reporting” by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

According to GFOA, the GRDA CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the highest standards of the GFOA program. Further, GFOA determined the GRDA CAFR demonstrated a “spirit of full disclosure” while clearly communicating the Authority’s financial story.

“Excellence in financial reporting continues to be a priority at GRDA,” said GRDA President/Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “This recognition, for the 17th straight year, represents a tremendous achievement for us and speaks to our longstanding and ongoing commitment to producing the highest quality CAFR possible to keep the public informed of our financial strength.”

Entitled Grand Resilience, the 2016 GRDA CAFR can be viewed online at grda.com.

Headquartered in Chicago, the GFOA is a major professional association servicing the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state and provincial-level government officials and finance practitioners.

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.

Wagoner’s Elam joins GRDA Board of Directors

Passing the leadership baton … Outgoing Grand River Dam Authority board member Steve Spear (right) shakes hands with Wagoner City Superintendent/Public Works Director Dwayne Elam, following the board’s January 10 meeting in Vinita. Elam is replacing Spears as the board’s municipal customer representative.

Vinita – Dwayne Elam, city superintendent and public works director in the Grand River Dam Authority municipal customer community of Wagoner, is the newest member of the GRDA Board of Directors. Elam replaces outgoing board member and Cushing City Manager Steve Spears, who retired at the end of 2017. Elam will represent GRDA’s municipal customers as the designee of the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO). His tenure began at the board’s January 10 meeting, in Vinita.

An Oklahoma native, Elam earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Northeastern State University (Tahlequah) and holds four Class A licenses from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. He is a member of the National Registry of Professionals, a member of the MESO Board of Directors and a member of the City Manager Association of Oklahoma. As Wagoner Utilities Director in 2010, he guided the city’s efforts in being awarded the “EPA Region 6 Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Award.” Wagoner was the only Oklahoma community to receive this honor.

“We’re excited to have Dwayne Elam join the GRDA Board of Directors,” said GRDA Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “His knowledge of Oklahoma public power and GRDA is already well-established and we’re confident he will be a great asset for the entire board and a great representative for our municipal customers.”

GRDA is governed by a seven-member board of directors, comprised of representatives from each GRDA customer class (municipals, electric cooperatives and industrials), as well as the GRDA lakes area. Two at-large representatives also sit on the board. Five-year appointments are made by the Oklahoma Governor (3), Speaker of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives and President Pro-Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate. Two other board positions are ex-officio positions, filled by the general manager of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) and executive director of MESO or by their designees.

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 providing mutual aid to Virgin Islands

Pryor – The Grand River Dam Authority is increasing its participation to help restore power in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).

Scenes like this are common across the United States Virgin Islands now as many electric utility crews from the mainland are there, working to make repairs following the damage left by hurricanes last September. This week GRDA is sending 10 employees and eight vehicles to the area to aid in those repairs. Two other GRDA employees have been on site, helping to supervise repair work, since early December. GRDA’s response is part of a nationwide mutual aid effort, coordinated by the American Public Power Association (APPA).

Earlier this week, 10 GRDA employees, including electric linemen, mechanics and vegetation management personnel, began the staging process in preparation to travel to the USVI to assist with the ongoing effort to repair the damage left behind by two category 5 hurricanes in September. These employees will join two other GRDA linemen, who have been helping with the effort in the region since the first week of December.

GRDA crews are assisting in the USVI as part of a nationwide mutual aid agreement, coordinated by the American Public Power Association (APPA) and the USVI Water and Power Authority. Costs associated with the deployment will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“GRDA has an historic commitment to helping others in their time of need. We are honored to be able to provide this assistance at a time when there is such devastation in the Virgin Islands,” said GRDA Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan.  “Our team of trained power professionals will make a positive difference in rebuilding the Virgin Islands’ energy infrastructure and contribute to the important recovery process.”

This latest deployment is not the first time GRDA powerline crews have provided mutual aid following hurricane damage and according to Sullivan, GRDA employees are always willing to volunteer for restoration work when the need arises. GRDA sent men and machinery to Florida after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and again after Hurricane Irma, earlier this year. In 2005, GRDA personnel also helped restore power in Louisiana following Hurricane Rita. In the USVI, they will join crews from several other mainland utilities in the restoration effort.

“Through this nationwide mutual aid agreement, public power utilities from all across the country continue to play a critical role in power restoration following natural disasters,” said Sullivan. “We’re fortunate that GRDA has the manpower and the expertise to do its part in the effort. At that same time, we are confident that the utilities now suffering from damage would also be here for us if the need arises. That is what public power is all about.”

It is anticipated that GRDA’s crew will be in the USVI a minimum of 30 days.

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.

 

Grand River Dam Authority to supply even more renewable energy to Google with new Oklahoma wind farm

VINITA, OKLA. – November 30, 2017 — The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) announced today that it has signed a contract with Google for 140 megawatts (MW) of The Red Dirt Wind Farm. The Red Dirt Wind Farm is a 300-megawatt facility located in Oklahoma’s Kingfisher and Logan counties. Constructed by the project owner and eventual operator, Enel Green Power North America, Inc., the wind farm will be operational by the end of 2017 and will bring GRDA’s total wind generation capacity (combined across several wind farms in Oklahoma) to approximately 385 MW.

“This is another important milestone in GRDA’s continued pursuit of more renewable energy in our generation portfolio,” said GRDA Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “The commitment that our partner Google has made to utilizing renewables has always been an important factor in that pursuit.”

Once the wind farm comes online, by the end of 2017 the additional capacity will help Google reach its goal of purchasing enough renewable energy to match its energy consumption for global operations.

“Renewables from projects like Red Dirt bring value to our business as we scale and accelerate investment in the communities where we operate,” said Gary Demasi, Google’s director of global infrastructure. “With solar and wind declining dramatically in cost and propelling significant employment growth, the transition to clean energy is driving unprecedented economic opportunity and doing so faster than we ever anticipated.”

In addition to its power purchase agreement with Red Dirt, GRDA also has a power purchase agreement with the Canadian Hills Wind Farm, near El Reno, Oklahoma. GRDA has been supplying Google’s electricity needs in MAIP since the data center began operations in 2011.

ABOUT GRDA

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electricity 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 “Rush For Brush” program receives Keep Oklahoma Beautiful award

GRDA’s “Rush For Brush” program was the recipient of the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) “State Government Program” at the recent KOB Environmental Excellence Celebration. Representing GRDA at the banquet were (from left) Vice President of Scenic Rivers Operations (and new KOB Board Member) Ed Fite; Superintendent of Shoreline Enforcement Scott Horton; Ecosystems Management Administrative Coordinator Jacklyn Jaggars; Vice President of Ecosystems and Lake Management Dr. Darrell Townsend; and Biologist Dustin Browning. (photo courtesy Keep Oklahoma Beautiful).

The Grand River Dam Authority’s popular “Rush For Brush” program – established a decade ago to help enhance the fisheries habitat on GRDA lake waters – is the recipient of the 2017 “State Government Program” award, presented by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB). GRDA received the award at the KOB Environmental Excellence Celebration on Saturday, November 17, in Norman.

The GRDA Ecosystems Management Department created the program as a way to enhance the fisheries habitat in the waters of Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. At annual workshops, GRDA supplies the materials and volunteers supply the labor to help construct these 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. Since the first workshop in 2007, the program’s popularity and participation has continued to rise. At the same time, the fisheries of GRDA lake waters (as well as the fishing reputation among anglers) has also continued to grow.

GRDA Vice President of Ecosystems and Lake Management Dr. Darrell Townsend  and GRDA Ecosystems Management Administrative Coordinator Jacklyn Jaggars were on hand to accept the award on behalf of the organization. Also representing GRDA at the event were Vice President of Scenic Rivers Operations Ed Fite (who was named to the KOB Board of Directors earlier this month); GRDA Superintendent of Shoreline Enforcement Scott Horton and GRDA Biologist Dustin Browning.

According to www.keepoklahomabeautiful.com, KOB is a statewide nonprofit organization founded in 1965 and is a state affiliate of “Keep America Beautiful” which is a nonprofit organization with a national network of nearly 1,000 participating organizations working together to improve communities through litter prevention, waste reduction and beautification.  Its mission is to empower Oklahoma citizens to preserve and enhance the state’s natural beauty and ensure a healthy, sustainable environment.”

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, lake-area partners launch “Adopt the Shoreline” Program

Langley – Thanks to the efforts of lake-area volunteers and business partners, the Grand River Dam Authority is set to launch its new “Adopt the Shoreline” program. The program’s new webpagegrda.com/adopt-the-shoreline — went live earlier this week.

The Grand River Dam Authority, with the help of other lake area organizations, businesses and volunteers, has launched a new “Adopt the Shoreline” program. The program’s new webpage went live earlier this week.

GRDA worked with an advisory board consisting of various stakeholders on Grand Lake to establish the program which is focused on removing trash and debris from the shoreline. Participants will be involved in that effort by “adopting” sections of the shoreline and conducting cleanup efforts on routine basis. GRDA will assist by providing resources necessary to those efforts.

“We’re very excited to be able to roll it out to the lake communities now,” said GRDA Superintendent of Shoreline Enforcement Scott Horton. “We’re looking forward to working with our volunteer groups and hope the public will visit the new webpage.”

The webpage will be a place for the public to learn more about the program and also sign up to participate. A list of the program’s supporting partners and information on the program’s advisory board can also be found on the page.

Patterned after a similar program on Lake of the Ozarks, GRDA’s program will actually divide Grand Lake’s shoreline into 10 zones (the zone map can also be found on the webpage). Each zone will have a coordinator that will be in charge of establishing the volunteer team and organizing cleanup efforts.

GRDA will supply trash bags for the effort and will also be paying the disposal costs for all approved cleanups. Horton added that GRDA is also staffing its own full-time shoreline cleanup crew, complete with a barge and the equipment necessary to remove large debris from the shore.

“GRDA wants to continue to safeguard the ecosystem and enhance the quality of life for all those who use Grand Lake,” said Horton. “We’re going to do our part and look forward to working with all the program volunteers as well.”

Horton added that the “Lend A Hand For Lady Grand’ program has already been successful for many years due to lake-area volunteers and this new program will continue on with that effort, while working to expand both the reach and volunteer base for cleanup efforts.  

For more information on the program, prospective volunteers can email GRDA at adopt@grda.com.

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 hosting 2017 MESO Lineworkers’ Rodeo

Lineworker Rodeo 2016:Lineworkers place the United States flag and the Oklahoma flag atop a pole during the opening ceremonies for the 2016 MESO Lineworkers Rodeo in Edmond. On October 26, GRDA will host the 2017 rodeo event, Expo Center, just south of the GRDA municipal customer community of Pryor.

Pryor – Electric linemen from public power utilities all across Oklahoma will convene on October 25-26 (Wednesday and Thursday) for the annual Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) Lineworkers’ Rodeo and Safety Training event. The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) is hosting this year’s event at the MidAmerica Expo Center, south of Pryor.

According to GRDA Vice President of Corporate Communications Justin Alberty, lineworker rodeos are a tradition at publicly-owned electric utilities across the country. GRDA sells wholesale electricity to 15 municipal utilities in Oklahoma (including Pryor, a GRDA municipal customer community since 1951) and many of those communities, along with other Oklahoma towns, will send competitors to this event. A total of 55 participants are expected to compete. GRDA personnel will also participate and help facilitate the activities.

“We’re looking forward to the rodeo and to hosting the Oklahoma public power team,” said Alberty. “Not only is this a great chance for friendly competition but also a great opportunity for these participants to work together and learn from each other. We’re excited to have it in Pryor.”

The activities actually begin on Wednesday, October 25 with a day of training and safety presentations. Subjects such as the newest addition of the American Public Power Association Safety Manual and storm readiness efforts will be on the agenda. A vendor exhibition will also be part of the day’s activities.

The rodeo competition will then take place on Thursday (October 26), following an 8AM opening ceremony. After that, apprentices and

Lineworker Rodeo 2016:Lineworkers (on poles) participate in the 2016 MESO Lineworkers Rodeo in Edmond. GRDA will play host to the 2017 competition, at the MidAmerica Expo Center, south of Pryor, on October 26.

journeymen from public power utilities across Oklahoma will participate in several events designed to test their ability in a safe, competitive environment. Speed climb, hurtman rescue, insulator and switch change competitions are all on the agenda, as well as a unique MESO Rodeo competition, the mutual aid event. This last event is designed to simulate circumstances when lineworkers from different utilities work together after incidents such as ice storms or tornados.

“Mutual aid is such an important part of public power in Oklahoma,” said Alberty, “and this event gives participants a chance to strengthen their ties across utilities. That may come in handy following a natural disaster that requires a large rebuild effort involving several utilities working together.”

Alberty added that the public is welcome to grab a lawn chair and come watch these Oklahoma lineworkers put their skills to the test. Again, the actual competition will begin after the 8AM opening ceremony on Thursday, October 26.

MESO is an association of municipally-owned electric utilities that provide electric service to over 400,000 residents. Currently, 63 cities (including GRDA’s 15 customer communities) offer retail electric utility services in Oklahoma. These communities own and operate their own electric distribution systems and revenues generated from their electric sales are used to maintain the system and also to help fund other city services like streets and parks, police and fire. Along with GRDA, the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA) is also sponsoring this year’s MESO Lineworkers Rodeo.

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.