Mission Statement: Guard the Grand is an educational program with the goal of fostering an ethic of environmental stewardship in Oklahomans residing in watersheds that flow into Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.

Water is a precious resource that we need to protect for ourselves and future generations. GRDA, with the assistance of an Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Education grant and partnership with the Oklahoma Water Survey, developed the Guard the Grand program to improve Grand Lake’s water quality through science education and outreach. We are taking a multifaceted approach by providing workshops that target educators, residents, and businesses within the Grand Lake Watershed, providing them with the information and resources to make changes around their homes, businesses, and communities to improve the quality of our streams and lakes. Join Our Email List

Septic System Repair/Replace Program Information

This new program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. The program is designed to help improve water quality in the Grand Lake and Lake Hudson watersheds. To be eligible for the program your septic system must be within ODEQ defined Zone 2 of either Grand Lake, Lake Hudson or one of the smaller streams that feed the lakes. For a map of the coverage area click here.  Additionally, your system must be on GRDA-owned land or not properly functioning and may be discharging raw sewage to a stream or lake. Routine pumping or maintenance is not a qualifying issue for repair; however, if pumping is required to repair a problem, it could be allowable.

Applications will be funded based on available monies and prioritized based on the following criteria:

  1.  Septic located on GRDA property
  2.  Septic discharging raw sewage to a waterbody
  3.  Proximity to waterbody
  4.  Order in which it was received
  5.  Full-time residence status (vacation homes will receive lower priority)

Submission of an application does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

To download the application click here.


Educator Workshops: We will be hosting two professional development workshops in 2021 for science teachers within the Grand Lake Watershed (see map to the right). These workshops will cover topics such as: watershed science, water quality issues, and community-based solutions to improving local water quality. If you are a 4th grade teacher that teaches science in a Grand Lake Watershed school district (see map) and you attend one of our workshops, you may qualify for a subgrant to install a best management practice at your school or host a school-wide water education event! If you are not a 4th grade science teacher in the Grand Lake Watershed, we still want you to join us! Our goal is to reach as many educators and prospective educators (i.e. education majors) as possible! 

Residential Workshops: During the summer of 2020 we hosted a series of workshops providing education, guidance and incentives for implementing best management practices. If you were unable to attend, you can watch recordings of all of the workshops on the GRDA YouTube channel here. We will be hosting additional workshops in 2021. To stay informed please join our email list.

Residential Workshop Topics

 Understanding Your Watershed: Did you know the Grand Lake Watershed is spread across four states? Grand Lake receives storm water runoff from nearly 660,000 acres of land. Come learn about the importance of understanding the watershed you live in, how land use influences water quality, and what you can do to help improve the health of our watershed. 

Landscaping For Water Quality and Conservation: Learn about practices you can implement around your property to reduce storm-water runoff, prevent soil erosion, and conserve water for your lawn and garden. The first 25 attendees will walk away with a FREE 60-gallon rain barrel and a soil testing kit!

Septic System Management: Did you know that septic systems rely on bacteria to break down waste? Come learn about how septic systems work, how to properly care for the bacteria in your septic system, what happens when septic systems fail, and who to contact to help you with your septic tank issues. The first 25 attendees will walk away with a FREE Septic Treatment Kit!

Boat and Dock Maintenance: Properly maintaining your dock and/or boat is one way to help protect Grand Lake. Join us to learn what cleaners are safe, Grand Lake dock regulations and what to do if gas or oil are spilled in or near water.

Business Workshops: Guard the Grand isn’t just for educators and residents. Local businesses are an important component of both economic and environmental health in a watershed. We have developed workshops to provide education, guidance and incentives for implementing best management practices for a variety of business types. Businesses that participate in the workshops and implement a best management practice can become a Guardian of the Grand. Each Guardian of the Grand business will receive decals and signs and will be listed on our website. Click here to view the Resources.

Business Workshop Topics

 Landscaping and Lawn Care: Geared towards lawn care professionals and landscapers, this workshop will discuss soil health, fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide use near the lake and the use and benefits of rain gardens and rain barrels.

Developers and Construction Contractors:The OKR-10 and OKR-140000 permits require construction companies that disturb one or more acres of land to have a permit to discharge stormwater off their construction site. This workshop will discuss both permits and erosion and sediment control best management practices. 

Septic System Installers and Maintenance Providers:This workshop will discuss rules and best management practices on installation and maintenance of septic systems.

Marinas and Boat Repair Shops: Painting, staining, gas pumps and paint stripping can affect water quality. This workshop will discuss how marinas and boat repair shops can help reduce oil, greases and other chemicals from inadvertently contaminating the water bodies they are on.

Community Events/Presentations: The Grand Lake Watershed is very large, extending into Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas, so we want to reach as many people as possible to help improve the water quality of our beautiful lake. Let us know if you would like for us to host a booth or give a presentation on ways to improve water quality from storm water runoff and other environmental contaminants at an event in your community! Please check our calendar for upcoming events.


Working with students from the Oklahoma Water Survey at the University of Oklahoma, we have developed a series of pamphlets to provide information on a variety of topics to help area residents and businesses better understand how to protect their watershed.

“This webpage was developed under Assistance Agreement No. NE-01F627-01 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has not been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of Grand River Dam Authority and EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned on this webpage.”