Save the Illinois River, Inc.
24369 E 757 Rd.
Tahlequah, OK 74464-1949
(918) 284-9440

GRDA and NSU Working on Water Quality

| Environment | July 09, 2017

NSU partners with GRDA for research

June 7, 2017

Northeastern State University has partnered with the Grand River Dam Authority to provide opportunities for faculty and students to do research related to the Illinois River.

Dean of NSU's Gregg Wadley College of Science & Health Professions Dr. Pamela Hathorn said the partnership will help fund student scholarships as well as a variety of research opportunities, including in-class projects and independent research. Possible research topics include water quality, animal movement and bacteria comparisons.

A research laboratory on the NSU campus will be designated for projects supported by the partnership. The lab will be used by NSU students and faculty and by GRDA technicians.

Second only to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board in jurisdiction over state waters, GRDA was created in 1935 to be a conservation and reclamation for the waters of the Grand River. Its merger with the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission in July 2016, also gives the agency responsibility for the Illinois River watershed. Caring for these water resources in Northeast Oklahoma is a key objective of GRDA's overall mission as a state agency.

"GRDA is very excited about the partnership and the unique opportunity it brings to NSU students," said GRDA Vice President Dr. Darrell Townsend. "Locating the GRDA-NSU Scenic Rivers and Watershed Research Laboratory on campus will facilitate interaction among students, scientists and water resource professionals that will provide students a unique opportunity to utilize what they have learned in their classes and apply that knowledge to address real world challenges and watershed issues."

Hathorn said NSU is excited about the opportunities this partnership will provide students and faculty.

"We're excited about the partnership with GRDA," Hathorn said. "The funds and resources provided by GRDA will ensure that students and faculty are successful in their research endeavors, generating invaluable data."

Townsend echoed those comments.

"Any time we have the opportunity to gather more data and expand research opportunities for these valuable water resources, we want to pursue that," he said. "At the same time, we realize this also provides valuable experience for those students who will help care for these waters in the future."

While the partnership is a wonderful opportunity for NSU faculty and students, Hathorn said the community will also benefit. The long-term data collected from research projects will offer water quality predictability.

"We're not making any more water, so we've got to take care of what we have," she said.