Residents urged to be 'Guardian of the Grand'

Guard the Grand program participants have used rain barrels and soil test kits.

Protecting and improving water quality in Grand Lake is the focus of the Guard the Grand watershed conservation program implemented by the Grand River Dam Authority.

The program, funded in part through an Environmental Protection Agency environmental education grant, is designed to help watershed residents, teachers, students, businesses and lake users better understand the impact they have on the water quality of Grand Lake.

The program kicked off in the spring of 2020 when GRDA hosted several virtual workshops for residents on topics ranging from septic system maintenance to lawn care to protect water quality. Residents that attended the workshops, installed a rain barrel or did a soil test are considered "Guardians of the Grand" and now GRDA wants to expand that program to area businesses.

The benefits of becoming a Guardian of the Grand include having the business listed as a Guardian on the Guard the Grand web page, receiving a Guardian of the Grand window decal or yard sign, being mentioned in newsletters and the knowledge that owners are doing something proactive to help Grand Lake.

To become a Guardian, businesses can install a best management practice, help promote Guard the Grand events, provide Guard the Grand educational materials at their business, or host a workshop. To become a Guardian, contact project coordinator, Jeri Fleming at guardthegrand@grda.com or at 405-334-6343.

The residential portion of the program will continue this year with additional workshops planned for the summer though the format, virtual versus in person, has yet to be determined. All previous workshops were recorded and can be seen on the GRDA YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/39DJLUv.

The program works with area teachers by providing a specially developed fourth-grade science curriculum with specific information about the Grand Lake watershed. Teachers will again be able to participate in a free workshop this summer where they will receive the curriculum and other tools they can take back to their classrooms. Teachers that participate in a workshop and teach within the Grand Lake watershed can apply for a small grant for their school to either purchase some equipment or host a water education day.

For more information about the Guard the Grand program visit www.grda.com/guard-the-grand/.

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