First created in 1935 to be a “conservation and reclamation district” for the Grand River, the Grand River Dam Authority has been involved in the protection and preservation of Oklahoma’s natural resources ever since. With the establishment of its Ecosystems Management Department in the early 2000s and the completion of a state-of-the-art water quality monitoring laboratory in 2010, GRDA brought an even greater focus to water protection and preservation. With the responsibility to preserve and protect the waters of the Grand River Watershed – including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson, W.R. Whether its bacteria management, nutrients research, metals, zebra mussel monitoring, fisheries enhancement or a number of other studies, GRDA’s lab is equipped and involved in the research. Since its beginnings, the department has worked with other resource and research agencies in Oklahoma and across state lines (the watershed reaches across four states). Through initiatives such as the Four State Watershed Conference (established and hosted by GRDA) and collaboration with Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and other institutions that resulted in both equipment and research assistance, much progress has been made on Oklahoma water quality management in recent years. Through that collaboration, the department produced a bacteria management plan that may be adopted as a guidance document for the state. Also approved in 2015 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was an updated dredging management plan that further protects wildlife.
Another example of collaborations with other agencies and GRDA is the department’s work with the Resource Conservation Partnership Program, directed by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, to implement best management practices in the watershed to stabilize stream banks, enhance riparian forest buffers and reduce runoff into the Neosho River and its watershed. These updates are possible due to the comprehensive water quality monitoring program that encompasses all three project lakes. In short, the original mission from 1935 has not been altered, but rather strengthened and expanded. The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s Blue Thumb program are partnering this summer to help educate kids about how to protect these aquatic dwellers, and the water we drink and recreate in.
The purpose of the camp is to help educate kids about water quality and what can be found just below the surface.
Campers will get a tour of the dam, learn the difference in monitoring a lake and a stream, check water clarity, better understand how stormwater runoff affects streams and rivers, seine for fish and build and launch their own miniature raft to study water flows. This is the first water quality camp GRDA has offered, but partnering with the Blue Thumb Program, whose staff has experience working with youth and conducting summer camps, seemed like a perfect fit.
This year they are offering one two-day camp, but hope to expand it to two sessions next year. If your camper wants a preview  of what camp will be like, stop by the GRDA Ecosystems building on Sat. The cost to attend the camp is $25 and each child will receive a life-jacket, small net, t-shirt, lunch and snacks.
Blue Thumb is a statewide Water Quality Education Program of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s Water Quality Division. Grand Lake Living is a business directory for Grand Lake Oklahoma and the Communities of Grove, Monkey Island, Langley, Ketchum, Disney, Cleora, Afton, Duck Creek, The Coves, Bernice, Horse Creek, Fairland, Miami, Honey Creek, Zena, Jay, Eucha and Tia Juana. The Grove Area Merchants Association is dedicated to the promotion of downtown Grove and the small businesses throughout the area. Grove is much more than a pretty little city along the shores of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokee. By promoting Grove as an economic and entertainment center for all of Northeast Oklahoma, the Grove Area Merchants Association is able to help all of the small businesses in the Grove area with increased awareness of the retail and the arts that Grove has to offer. The great thing about our association is the we try to make all of our events fun for everyone, which just adds to the promotion of the Grove area as word spreads about the great times had at our events. From our monthly events like the Cash Mob and Coffee Before Business to our annual events such as the Great Grand Bobber Drop or Christmas Open House, we are always working to help small businesses in the Grove community. Continual diving bare at clipper cairns tours cultural and whitsunday your aluminum fishing boat prices aluminum fishing boat prices boat.
According to the United States Coast Guard, drowning was the reported cause of death in 75 percent of all recreational boating fatalities in 2013 (latest statistics). To help promote their use, the Grand River Dam Authority is joining with the National Safe Boating Council to recognize the week of May 16-22 as National Safe Boating Week. While safe boating is a priority all year long, this week – which precedes Memorial Day weekend and the traditional start of boating season – is a great time revisit life jacket tips and also learn about the new models designed for different water-related activities.
The bulky jackets of yesteryear have been replaced with innovative new options like inflatable jackets that allow for much more mobility and flexibility while also keeping you cool in the hot Oklahoma sun. It really does not matter what activity you are involved in – fishing, riding a personal watercraft, skiing, paddle boarding or even boating in cold weather – there is a life jacket designed just for that. However, the most comfortable life jacket in the world does you no good if you are not wearing it.

That is why “Wear It!” is the simple reminder used to promote life jackets during National Safe Boating Week. Before you hit the water this boating season (or anytime) keep these tips in mind, from the National Safe Boating Council and GRDA.
For cruising in an open motorboat: Comfort is key – choose a life jacket you’ll want to wear. For fishing: Vest-style life jackets come with features such as pockets and clips to replace the fishing vest and keep the angler safe. For personal watercraft and water sports: Inherently buoyant lighter-weight life jackets are rugged, with multiple buckles and clasps to keep them secure after impact with the water. For hunting and cold weather: Full coats and suits are available in camouflage colors for waterfowl hunting and for those who boat when air and water temperatures are cool. For paddling: Special life jackets are designed with large openings for arms to allow ease of movement. For children: Virtually all styles available are sized especially for children – some with cartoon characters, straps for pulling children from the water and high-visibility schemes.
As you choose a life jacket to fit your needs, it’s also very important to make sure it fits you properly. A jacket that is too big will cause the flotation device to push up around your face, which could be dangerous. Also, please remember that life jackets meant for adult sized people do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets based on their weight. Raise your arms straight up over your head while wearing your life jacket and ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings, gently pulling up. If there is excess room above the openings and the life jacket rides up over your chin or face, it does NOT fit properly. Above – GRDA Officer Derrick Bidleman throws a t-shirt to a young swimmer as a reward for getting “caught” wearing his life jacket on Grand Lake during Summer 2014. Of course their are festivals and fundraisers and galas and raft-outs and parties on the lake and parties off the lake all summer long. Anyway, here are 5 things (plus a couple more) you really need to check out at Grand Lake this summer.
The 3rd Annual Thunder on Wolf Creek – Hydroplane and Runabout Short Course Nationals – returns to Wolf Creek Park in Grove on June 19, 20 & 21. Known as the ‘Greatest Show on the Water’ with 20 heats of hydroplane and runabout boat racing, the 3 days of racing excitement on Grand Lake in Grove is something you don’t want to miss. Admission is free, but get there early as last year’s attendance was over 3,500 folks and more are expected this year.
Thunder On Wolf Creek is conducted by the Oklahoma Boat Racing Association and sanctioned by the National Boat Racing Association. And while the amateurs really get after it the whole time…we do look forward to the pros! Friday night, July 3rd, will be fireworks all over the lake – from the Grand Lake Fireworks in Disney at the south end to the Monkey Island Fireworks to the annual Grove July 3rd celebration at Wolf Creek Park.
Boats up to 50 foot in length and capable of speeds approaching 150 to 200 mph from across the US will be visiting Grand Lake to compete in the radar run Challenge. The Shootout itself will take place on Saturday, July 11th, beginning at 10:30 am on the South side of Sailboat Bridge in Grove.
Friday will be a day to get up close and personal with the boats and owners of these awesome boats as they will be parked and on display at the Grove Civic Center, leading up to the VIP Family Fun Night and Street Party at the Civic Center at 5 pm.
The Big Bass Bash returns to Grand Lake on July 18th & 19th this year after a hugely successful debut in 2014.
Last year there were approximately 800 boats on the lake for this event and that number is expected to grow to 1,200 boats this year.
The bash is set up to give all of us – who just like to fish – a chance to win big money like the pros! As you may or may not know, 2015 marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the Pensacola Dam.
Details are not easy to come by at this point, but this will be a GRAND event at Pensacola Dam with a day of bands in the State Park with a huge raft out and all sorts of other surprises…stay tuned!
2015 Aquapalooza on Saturday, July 18th – This on the water raft-up and party happens on lakes and in bays and rivers throughout the country and world.

Make plans now to check out these great events happening throughout the summer of 2015 at Grand Lake! Are you wondering what you can do at Grand Lake this Labor Day weekend, besides the ol’ boating, fishing, chilling, eating, drinking, etc. Each evening, Wednesday through Saturday, things get under way with the Grand Entry at 7:30 pm and rodeo competition beginning at 8 pm. Each night includes Girl’s Barrel Racing, Bare Back Bronc Riding, Steer Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Calf Roping, Team Roping and yes, Bull Riding! Daytime events will take place at the Grove Civic Center on Saturday & Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm and include workshops, master demonstrations and group sessions, with special appearances by fiddle groups, master fiddlers and top contest fiddlers. Then the big fun takes place each night, Friday through Sunday, at Snider’s Camp on Honey Creek.
Friday evening, starting at 6 pm, enjoy a BBQ dinner and kick-off party with Bluegrass Friends and Jamming all evening long. Saturday evening at 6 pm is the Fish Fry Dinner, amateur fiddle contest, open stage and jam sessions. And then, the event wraps up Sunday evening with an informal pickin’ party and open jam session that lasts as long as you want.
This is a great annual event that a lot of people that come to Grand Lake don’t even know about. Last year’s event, the first ever, brought an estimated 1,000 people to the Duck Creek tailwaters, and this year’s party will be even bigger!
The fun is all day Saturday and features two awesome contests…The Best Redneck Yacht decorating contest and the Redneck Bikini Contest! First, second and third place prizes will be handed out in each contest, with the judging done by the whole the crowd…whoever gets the loudest cheers – wins!
And, it wouldn’t be the RedNeck Yacht Club Party without the music of Grand Lake favorite Lickitty Split, who will be performing their great brand of Grand Lake music throughout the day. This is a great party for Grand Lake locals and visitors with all sorts of great prizes and giveaways from local sponsors throughout the day.
Now Kelly’s has been open since the spring, but this is their big Grand Opening celebration from 3 pm to 2 am with DJ Karaoke through the afternoon and Fishbone Gypsy performing live from 9 pm to 1 am and a free pulled pork buffet from 5 pm to 7 pm and then, at midnight, breakfast is served! But, don’t forget all the other great things you can do all weekend long, like take in Har-Ber Village Museum or take a tour of Pensacola Dam. Holway Reservoir and many tributaries – new research-related programs are always being explored. Lake and Stream Youth Day Camp for kids aged 9 – 13, July 30 – 31, 2015 at the Grand Lake Ecosystems and Education Center located at the Pensacola Dam in Langley.
We will give them the tools they need to explore the world under the water and to protect one of Oklahoma’s most precious natural resources, water,” said Cheryl Cheadle, Blue Thumb State Coordinator. June 27th from 10 – 3 to visit with the Blue Thumb staff, make a fish print, learn how erosion affects water quality and register your camper. The Program was established in 1993 in conjunction with the Tulsa County Conservation District and Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.
It’s helpful to purchase one with a handle on top to easily pull your pet out of the water, if needed.
No doubt that all your favorite restaurants, bars, marinas and raft-ups will be hopping all weekend long with great times, but there are other great things happening that help make the Grand Lake area the best place in Oklahoma.
But if you love good string music, then you definitely want to check out the Jana Jae Fiddle Camp & Music Festival this weekend in Grove.
Blue Thumb works with volunteers across Oklahoma who conduct water quality monitoring, and outreach and education.
National Safe Boating Week (May 16 -22) is also a great time to pass along several tips about life jacket styles and proper fitting. If you have not taken in the flyover and Duck Creek Fireworks…you really owe it to yourself to check it out.
The very first time you go to that page you will have to register, but then that’s it.

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