The information compiled here is some of what may interest you most regarding the Grand River Dam Authority and is pulled from their web site. For complete information visit www.GRDA.com.
2 - GRDA’s Lake Guide, 2010-2011
GRDA’s Lake Guide, 2010-2011 - 3
Lake Guide 2010-2011
Welcome to Our Lakes
GRDA CEO Kevin Easley
Welcome to the Grand River Dam Authority’s lakes area!
In the pages of this 2010 GRDA Lake Guide, I hope you will find much information that will prove to be helpful, whether you live on the lakeshore year-round, visit on the weekends or are seeing the lakes for the first time.
In 2010, GRDA celebrates its 75th anniversary. Over the course of that long history, this agency has achieved many milestones that help reinforce its role as good steward of natural resources, low-cost, reliable electric supplier, and economic development engine for Oklahoma.
Just look across the waters of Grand and Hudson lakes and you will see just what GRDA’s founding fathers envisioned when our organization was created in April 1935. There are over 70,000 surface acres of lake waters that serve as a solid foundation for the tourism and recreation industries. Of course, those industries are also bolstered by the low-cost, abundant and reliable electricity produced by GRDA at facilities like Pensacola Dam (Grand Lake) and Robert S. Kerr Dam (Lake Hudson).
GRDA begins its next 75 years of success with an even greater emphasis on lake management and stewardship. The new GRDA Ecosystems & Education Center, located adjacent to the historic Pensacola Dam in Langley, is proof of that. With its state-of-the-art water research laboratory, centralized lake permitting functions, and education and exhibit space, we feel the new center is something that GRDA’s founders would be proud of. While it serves to further the GRDA mission of stewardship it also represents a tremendous asset for the lakes area.
Again, I do hope you find this publication useful. Have a safe and enjoyable summer on our lakes.
Kevin A. Easley, Grand River Dam Authority Chief Executive Officer
Cover photo: GRDA’s new Ecosystem & Education Center, located by Pensacola Dam in Langley, OK. This publication printed by Press Group, is issued as authorized by 82 O.S. Sec. 861 et seq. 41,000 copies have been printed/mailed at a cost of $12,632.00. Copies have been deposited with the Publications Clearinghouse of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.
The Grand River Dam Authority Ecosystems Management Department was established to aid in the development of goals and objectives designed to maintain the integrity of the Grand River ecosystem.
To accomplish these goals the department works to simultaneously accommodate a wide variety of public interests (i.e., fishermen, hunters, boaters, lakeside homeowners and commercial developers) as well as the GRDA business interests, so it can continue to provide low-cost, reliable electrical power while protecting our natural resources for future generations.
Programs like Rush For Brush, zebra mussel awareness campaigns, fishery programs and water monitoring are just a few of the priorities of the department, as it works to maintain GRDA’s reputation as a good steward of the resources under its control.
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement
The GRDA Lake Police Headquarters (located inside the Ecosystems & Education Center) is the central point of dispatch for the policemen who help to ensure safe and enjoyable outings on Grand Lake and Lake Hudson. Enforcing lake rules and regulations, conducting boat inspections, promoting water safety and aiding boaters on the 70,000 surface acres of waters managed by GRDA are top priorities for policemen.
As you plan a lake outing GRDA reminds you to boat safe, boat smart, boat sober, and wear your life jackets. While more information on lake safety and lake rules can be found in this guide, our policemen also encourage you to visit www.grda.com for more information that can help make your visit to Grand Lake or Lake Hudson a safe one.
Lake Programs and Projects
GRDA Properties, Programs and Lake Relations support and assist activities, organizations and causes which advance both governmental public purposes and the corporate purpose of GRDA by promoting community/economic development, tourism/recreational activities, and conservation/development of natural resources in the communities and industrial areas it serves.
On the scenic shores of Grand Lake—just an angler’s cast from the historic Pensacola Dam—a new building, devoted to greater ecosystems management and education in the lake region, is now open for business.
For GRDA, the new Ecosystems & Education Center is the latest tool in six years worth of efforts to bring a greater focus to lake management issues. With nearly 70,000 surface acres of water under its control along the Grand River (including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir), GRDA has a responsibility to be a good steward of natural resources.
Ecosystems & Education Center includes a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, which is the foundation for GRDA’s stewardship efforts, as well as its new “face” on the lake.
Beyond the lab, there is much more to the facility that is beneficial to the lake area residents and visitors. For those preparing to build a dock, anglers hoping to schedule a tournament, or others seeking lake-related permits for Grand or Hudson lakes, the new building also offers “one-stop permit shopping.”
As the new next door neighbor to historic Pensacola Dam, the Center is the new starting point for the popular free tours of the dam, offered during the summer months. Each year thousands of visitors get an up-close and personal look at Oklahoma’s first hydroelectric facility and member of the National Register of Historic Places.
Another aspect of the building that cannot be overlooked is the large Grand Hall meeting room. While future public meetings can still be taken on the road, the new auditorium provides more of a permanent home for the larger gatherings, as well as space for other presentations, events, etc. In conjunction with the building’s exhibit space, and the next-door tours of historic Pensacola Dam, the auditorium serves as one large classroom for presentations on ecosystems management, hydroelectric power, water and/or electric safety, and the history of the Grand River region.
Ultimately, there are many goals for the new GRDA Ecosystems & Education Center, but they all come together under one primary goal: To provide the GRDA lakes region with a new tool to manage natural resources.
GRDA Ecosystems & Education Center 420 Hwy 82, Langley OK 918-782-4726
GRDA Rules for Four-Wheel,
Off-Road, All-Terrain Vehicles
In the interest of public safety, there shall be no four-wheel vehicles, off-road vehicles or ATVs on GRDA lands except in designated areas.
NO PASSENGERS are allowed on three-wheelers, four-wheelers or motorcycles.
LOW GEAR is required except on trails posted at speed limits in excess of five (5) MPH.
NO RACING on GRDA property is allowed except as otherwise permitted by a sanctioned event permit.
ALL VEHICLES, including motorcycles, must be equipped with working front and rear lights.
DUNE BUGGIES and 4X4 vehicles must have a roll bar sufficient to support the weight of the vehicle and must have a seat belt for each person.
GRDA SHALL not be liable and hereby disclaims any responsibility for any and all injuries and accidents, up to and including death, which may occur as a result of participating in off-road activities. Each driver and passenger rides at his/her own risk and assumes the risk of the activity.
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, including low-point beer, are prohibited from areas in which off-road activities occur.
DRIVERS SHALL obey all signs posted on GRDA land, including areas that are off limits and speed designations.
PENALTIES: GRDA law enforcement personnel may verbally order any person that is violating these rules to immediately exit the lands of GRDA.
Additionally, anyperson, after notice, and opportunity to be heard in accordance with Subchapter 21 (in the official GRDA Lake Rules and Regulations), may be banned from the lands of GRDA for a period of time up to, and including, ninety (90) days.
Title 47. Motor Vehicles, Chapter 11 Rules of the Road, Section 11-1117 - All-Terrain Vehicles - Helmets - Passenger - Fines
A. It shall be unlawful for a person less than eighteen (18) years of age to operate or to be carried as a passenger upon an all-terrain vehicle unless the person wears a crash helmet of a type which complies with standards established by 49 C.F.R., Section 571.218.
B. It shall be unlawful for the operator of an all-terrain vehicle to carry a passenger unless that all-terrain vehicle has been specifically designed by the manufacturer to carry passengers in addition to the operator.
C. Fine and court costs for violating the provisions of this section shall not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00). Any peace officer of this state including, but not limited to park rangers, is authorized to enforce the provisions of this section. All monies collected pursuant to a citation for a violation of this section shall be deposited in the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department Revolving Fund for credit to the cost center of the state park or public recreation area where such citation was issued.
D. Any parent, legal guardian or person having actual responsibility for a person under eighteen (18) years of age, or who is the owner of the all-terrain vehicle operated by a person under eighteen (18) years of age, who knows, or should have known, that the person operating the all-terrain vehicle is not in compliance with the provisions of this section, shall be punishable according to the provisions of subsection C of this section.
E. As used in this section, “all-terrain vehicle” means a motorized vehicle manufactured and used exclusively for off-highway use which is forty-eight (48) inches or less in width, with an unladen dry weight of eight hundred (800) pounds or less, traveling on two or more low-pressure tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator, and which is steered by the use of handlebars.
F. The provisions of this section shall apply only to persons operating all-terrain vehicles on public lands.
G. The provisions of this section shall not apply to persons operating an all-terrain vehicle on privately owned property.
Tips to help hinder the spread of Zebra Mussels:
•Boats should not be left in the water for extended periods of time. With regular use, engine heat should keep mussels from colonizing inside most engine parts.
• Always drain the bilge water, live wells and bait buckets.
• Inspect the boat and trailer immediately upon leaving the water.
• Scrape off any mussel found. DO NOT return them to the water.
•If possible, dry the boat and trailer for at least a week before entering another waterway. (If conditions are right, mussels can live up to seven days on a boat hull outside the water.)
•Wash boat parts and accessories that contact the water using hot water (at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit), a ten percent solution of household chlorine bleach, or hot saltwater solution. Do not wash the boat at the ramp where these solutions could pollute the water. Always finish with a clean water rinse.
Grand’s Feathered Friends
Since its creation in 1935, GRDA has served as a conservation and reclamation district for the waters of the Grand River. Though it is a designation that encompasses broad responsibilities, wildlife protection has always been a priority.
The Grand River system’s shorelines and lakes are home to a wide variety of wildlife, and GRDA understands that good stewardship helps to make this possible.
Whether it’s working with other agencies to protect the endangered Gray Bat species in their caves around Grand Lake, promoting its “Eagle Pass” viewing area below Pensacola Dam or educating the public about fisheries enhancement, GRDA is committed to protecting the waterfowl and wildlife along the Grand River system.
The American Bald Eagle is the only eagle unique to North America. It ranges over most of the continent, from the northern areas of Alaska and Canada, to the northern parts of Mexico, but it is also a part-time resident of Grand Lake. Every year, these magnificent birds, along with the Golden Eagle, can be seen on Grand Lake where they come to spend the winter months from mid-December to March. GRDA’s “Eagle Pass” viewing area, located below the Pensacola Dam, is a wonderful place to view them during those months.
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. GRDA Ecosystems Management routinely patrols the Gray Bat caves, and barriers and signs help to limit human disturbance and to ensure that this segment of wildlife can maintain its Grand Lake home.
A Grand Home
Whether they have fins, fur or feathers, the wildlife and waterfowl which make their home along the Grand River shorelines and lakes are not only an important part of the ecosystem, but also a welcomed sight for thousands of human lake area visitors each year. According to the National Audubon Society, wildlife related recreation has become one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States in recent years. Certainly, it is a popular activity in the GRDA lakes area.
NOTE: This is only a guide to answer frequently asked questions concerning lake rules. The complete set of rules and regulations are available on the internet at www.grda.com.
Vessel Operation - Boats must not operate within 200 feet of any GRDA dam or no closer than 500 feet during generation. No person shall operate on the waters of this state, except privately owned waters, any vessel including personal watercraft, within fifty (50) feet in proximity to another vessel when running at speeds of over ten (10) miles per hour; provided, this prohibition shall not apply to vessels operating in sanctioned events. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any vessel upon the waters of this state which are under GRDA jurisdiction, between the hours of one-half hours after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise (night time) at any speed in excess of twenty-five (25) miles per hour.
Speed Limit - Any person who operates or gives permission to operate a vessel on any waters of this state shall operate at a careful and prudent speed not greater than or less than is reasonable, having due regard to other vessels, water skiers, swimmers, restrictive and informational markers or buoys, existing wind conditions, waves or other weather conditions then existing.
Wake Jumping - Wake jumping is prohibited in any cove, creek or hollow.
Water Skiing - Water skiing, jet skiing and similar activities are permitted only during daylight hours and is prohibited upstream from above Twin Bridges, in Elm Creek, east of Grove. A boat towing a skier must have a person (at least 8 years old) in position to observe that skier, unless a rear view mirror has been installed for boat operator observation of skier.
Safety Inspection - Boats kept or operated on GRDA lakes may be inspected by GRDA Police. A safety inspection sticker will be placed on the port front portion of boat. This is a free inspection.
Duck Creek Rules
Life Jackets Save Lives!
To make sure you have the proper life jacket, the GRDA Lake Police offer safety these tips:
BUY YOUR own personal life jacket, and use it. One size does not fit all.
LOOK AT the label. It will provide weight, size and use information.
TRY IT on to check the fit. Once the straps and buckles are secured, it should not slip over your head.
NEVER USE water toys in place of an approved life jacket.
CHECK YOUR life jacket yearly for flotation and fit.
FINALLY, WEAR A LIFE JACKET to set an example for younger children and to increase your chances of survival in an accident.
The following lake rules apply for the Duck Creek area on Grand Lake:
•All watercraft 8.5 feet in width or less or watercraft 30 feet or less in length shall operate at a planing speed not to exceed 30 MPH. Boats must be up on a plane or go slowly, producing minimum wake.
•All other watercraft shall operate at slow speed, producing minimum wake.
•All watercraft must stay to the right of the buoys and at least 150 feet away from docks and shore.
•May 1 through October 1, a no-wake zone shall be in effect each night between sunset and sunrise.
•On the 4th of July, all watercraft in Duck Creek must operate at slow speed, minimum wake, round the clock (all day, all night).
The Beginning of GRDA
The Grand River Dam Authority is an agency of the state of Oklahoma, created by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1935 to be a “conservation and reclamation district for the waters of the Grand River.” The legislation which created GRDA outlined its primary responsibilities this way:
(a) To control, store and preserve, within the boundaries of the District, the water of the Grand River and its tributaries for any useful purpose and to use, distribute and sell the same within the boundaries of the District.
(b) To develop and generate water power and electric energy within the boundaries of the District;
GRDA fulfills its responsibilities by operating three hydroelectric facilities and managing two lakes along the Grand River system. These facilities, along with the GRDA Coal-Fired Complex (thermal generation), combine for a total generation capability of 1,480 megawatts (MW). GRDA transmits and delivers this wholesale electricity across its 24-county service area in Northeast Oklahoma via a sophisticated energy delivery system. GRDA sells electricity to three customer classes: municipals, electric cooperatives and industries.
The Lakes of GRDA
GRDA lakes helped transform the rugged and rural landscapes in Northeast Oklahoma into a thriving recreational destination, anchored by Grand Lake, Oklahoma’s premiere water playground.
Serving as a powerful economic engine, the lakes area contributes to a broad tax base for Oklahoma. Meanwhile, GRDA dams provide Oklahoma with an annual hydropower benefit of $13 to $25 million (money that otherwise would be spent on fossil fuels for electric generation).
Those lakes also provide storage and water supply for over 50 Oklahoma water districts and municipal water systems, including Tulsa. All services associated with administering that water supply (legal, security, etc.) are provided by GRDA at no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers.
The Service District of GRDA
Across its 24-county service district, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable electricity has helped spark economic development since Pensacola Dam first generated electricity in the early 1940s.
Four of the state’s ten fastest growing counties (2000 census) were in the GRDA service district (1-Delaware, 2-Rogers, 3-Cherokee, 7-Wagoner). GRDA serves the county seat in three of those counties, and the vast majority of Grand Lake is located in Delaware County.
Availability of GRDA power and water also aided in the establishment of Oklahoma’s largest industrial park—MidAmerica Industrial Park (MAIP)—near Pryor.
Coal-Fired Complex, Chouteau, OK
Redbud Plant, Luther, OK
GRDA AT A GLANCE
• Is fully funded by the revenues from electricity and water sales, not tax dollars.
• Is the nation’s 20th largest public power utility (based on generation capability, according to the American Public Power Association).
• Is second only to Oklahoma Water Resources Board in amount of jurisdiction over state water resources.
• Provides three lakes (70,000+ surface acres) for the use of lake area visitors.
• Does not charge daily use or ramp access fees (other lakes may charge $2 to $6 daily).
12 - GRDA’s Lake Guide, 2010-2011
Transmission and Engineering Headquarters, Pryor, OK
Pensacola Dam, Langley, OK
Robert S. Kerr Dam and Energy Control Center, Locust Grove, OK
Salina Pumped Storage Project, Salina, OK
GRDA’s Lake Guide, 2010-2011 - 13
The Grand River
Grand River Overview
“Grand River is formed by the junction of the Neosho and Spring River[s] ten miles southeast of Miami, OK, and flows in a southerly and southwesterly direction about 125 miles to empty into the Arkansas River five miles northeast of Muskogee, OK. The river is entirely within the boundaries of the state of Oklahoma and receives the drainage of the tributaries on the western slopes of the Ozark Mountains.”
— from “A History of the Grand River Dam Authority” by W.R. Holway, longtime GRDA consulting engineer.
The Grand River Watershed
The Grand River watershed consists of approximately 12,000 square miles of runoff in parts of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Of that total, over half—7,000 square miles—is uncontrolled runoff, meaning there is no reservoir to control it above the Pensacola Dam. However, the remaining 5,000 square miles of runoff passes through the John Redmond Dam, located near Burlington, Kansas, prior to reaching the Grand River system in Oklahoma.
Flood Control along the Grand River
When rains of significant magnitude affect Northeast Oklahoma, the Grand River Dam Authority works closely with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to control the heavy flows of water along the Grand River system.
In the Flood Control Act of 1944, the United States Congress mandated that the United States Army Corps of Engineers direct the operations of the Grand River Dam Authority’s Pensacola Dam (Langley, OK) and Robert S. Kerr Dam (Locust Grove, OK) for flood control.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers orders floodwater release rates that are consistent with downstream conditions and projected river crests. All the lakes along Grand River, in the Arkansas River system, are operated to minimize downstream flooding, including Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, Lake Hudson and Fort Gibson Lake.
If you would like to receive
Flood Release Bulletins,
Grand Lake Target Elevations
Safety First Around Our Dams
Safety around its hydroelectric facilities is a top priority for the Grand River Dam Authority. Signs, buoys, sirens, fencing and flashing lights are all intended to notify those in the area when floodgates are open, generators are operating or water is rising swiftly.
SIGNS:Posted at GRDA hydroelectric facility (Pensacola Dam, Robert S. Kerr Dam, and the Salina Pumped Storage Project) to warn of extreme danger in floodgate areas. Please be aware of other signs near GRDA facilities that notify you of no trespassing areas, no diving areas, or unstable footing.
Red buoys and cabling above and below spillway gates and hydroelectric powerhouse restrict access to dangerous areas associated with power generation or floodgate releases.
At hydroelectric facilities, the flashing lights are initiated when floodgates are opened or generation is initiated.
In place to identify borders and to restrict access to certain areas near the hydroelectric facilities.
These are located at various locations on the hydroelectric facilities and are utilized prior to the operation of hydroelectric generators and/or floodgates.
Grand Lake Lighthouses
As navigational aids, several lighthouses are located on Grand Lake, around the shoreline and in areas of shallow water.
The Grand River Dam Authority has an ongoing maintenance program in place to ensure the lighthouses are functioning properly.
If you have concerns regarding the lighthouses on Grand Lake, please contact GRDA at 918-256-0644, or e-mail
Lake Revenues Compared to Lake Expenses
Lake Revenues* $1,280,180
Direct Lake Expenses $(2,614,464)
Other Expenses $ (1,220,179)
Excess of Lake Management
Costs over Revenues $(2,554,463)
* Lake Revenues are comprised mainly of commercial and private dock fees.
**Lake Expenses are comprised mainly of costs associated with Lake Patrol,
Compliance, Permitting and Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) fees.
For more information about GRDA lakes, such as:
•Other Lake Permits
•Lake Rules & Lake Safety
•Grand Lake & Lake Hudson
visit us at www.grda.com.
226 W Dwain Willis Ave
PO Box 409, Vinita OK 74301-0409
PO Box 409, 226 W. Dwain Willis Ave., Vinita, OK 74301-0409
Properties & Programs
PO Box 409, 226 W. Dwain Willis Ave., Vinita, OK 74301-0409
PO Box 70, Langley, OK 74350
GRDA Police, 918-782-4726
PO Box 70, Langley, OK 74350
If you need assistance from your boat,
radio the Lake Patrol on:
Marine Band 16.
PO Box 409, 226 W. Dwain Willis Ave., Vinita, OK 74301-0409
If you have any questions about GRDA’s lakes or would like to receive
information about Grand Lake or Lake Hudson issues, send your email address to