FOLBR - Friends Of the Lower Blue River

Whats Happening

The 2022 FOLBR Founders Award

Congratulations to Myra and Frank Isenhart, this year's recipients of the 2022 FOLBR Founders Award.

In the early 2000’s, Lower Blue Valley residents were fighting commercial development proposals that would increase density, including a proposed golf course. Residents worked to ensure the Lower Blue Master Plan reflected our interests: to maintain the extraordinary natural open-space and agricultural character of our valley.

Frank and Myra Isenhart understood that it was time for valley residents to organize to protect these values unique to the Lower Blue and to be ready for future threats. Together with the George and Pam Beardsley (2021 FOLBR Founders Award Recipients), they formed Friends of the Lower Blue River—our FOLBR.

The organization grew into what it is today. We owe a great debt of thanks to the Isenharts.

The 2022 FOLBR Annual Gathering Auction

Help Support FOLBR through our Online Auction. It benefits FOLBR's land stewardship, sustainability, and philanthropy efforts in the Lower Blue River Valley. Your participation will support our programs that include:

The Safe Soils/Climate Resiliency Initiative - A research and climate action project, underway now, that provides ranchers in the valley with tailored plans to help them maximize the climate resiliency of their lands. FOLBR is helping landowners in the valley improve soil health, carbon sequestration, and capability to improve the environment, support livestock and wildlife in a balanced way.

The Livestock Emergency Evacuation Plan - A comprehensive guide to livestock emergency preparedness. We provide landowners and stakeholders in the valley with a network of safe zones for livestock evacuation and emergency resources in the case of wildfire.

Our partnership with the Blue River Watershed Group and other environmentally and community-focused non-profits. These partners strengthen our community and protect the natural beauty of the Blue River Valley and its surrounding areas.

Our collaboration with Middle Park Conservation District, Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust, Lake Dillon Fire District, and more.

To access the Auction, click the link below, create an account and you're good to go. The auction closes on 8-9-2022 at 2:00pm.

2022 FOLBR Annual Gathering

Mark Your Calendars for our Annual Gathering

It's been a long time coming, but after a two year hiatus, the FOLBR Annual Gathering will be Sunday, August 7th between 11:00am and 3:00pm at Slate Creek Hall. It will be a great time to catch up with everyone and hear what FOLBR has been up too.

We will have a buffet lunch and music from the blue grass group Blue Valley Grass. We decided to make this a bring your own beverage event (BYOB) to reduce our carbon footprint in the environment.

We will also be presenting the 2022 FOLBR Founder's Award, to the recipient who has made a real impact to who we are and what we do.

You can buy tickets to the event using the Eventbrite link below. Tickets are $20/person in advance on Eventbrite and $30 at the door. We also encourage new members to join and existing members to renew. We will have that capability on site.

Eventbrite Link:

FOLBR Climate Resiliency Initiative Update

The FOLBR Climate Resiliency/Safe Soils Initiative will be ramping up significantly in the month of June. Scientists from our Eco Consulting firm Geosyntec will be gathering taking several soil samples at each of our four partner ranch, targeting the varied landscapes. If the weather cooperates, we will be in the field the week of June 13th. Once soil samples are taken, they will be analyzed. We will then be a step closer to meeting with all our partner ranchers to share information on soil health and the ability to capture greenhouse gases.

Our goal is to share a series of prescriptions to help landowners improve their properties in the Blue River Valley. Initially, we're focusing on private lands. But what we learn will also serve to benefit County, State and Federal lands. We will be completely transparent offering our data to anyone who wants it.

We continue to thank our ranch partners: Pass Creek, Blue Tree, Otter Creek and Blue Valley for their tremendous cooperation in this important initiative. We will continue to keep you posted as we progress.

Another Climate Action Tool in our Toolbox

Could mushrooms be another tool in our toolbox to reverse the effects of climate change? According to Sherry McGann, Founder of Mystic Mountain Mushrooms in Grand County, the answer is yes! Mushrooms (many of which are edible) are full of nutrients, promote healthy soil that retains moisture while simultaneously cleaning up our environment. Mystic Mountain Mushrooms, located in Grand Lake, is a woman-owned, organic commercial mushroom producer that began in 2019. It produces USDA certified organic gourmet exotic mushrooms from spore to fruit, consciously cultivating each species.

The company is working closely with the Colorado Mycology Watershed Institute. The CMWI is on a mission to educate and organize programs with local agencies, conservation districts and state agencies to implement a range of projects throughout Colorado. They are creating a model that can be replicated worldwide to re-balance soils and watersheds. CMWI is simply stepping in to direct what has been going on for billions of years. Fungi can remove toxic compounds and harmful pollutants found in the environment. Numerous studies have shown fungi are a natural, effective, and economical way to decontaminate and restore watersheds and soils. Mushroom byproducts can also be introduced to a burnt forest to help bring it back to life by stimulating new growth.

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In Kawuneeche Valley, Beavers Are on the Return

By Meg Soyars: Sky Hi News

The hundreds of thousands of visitors who visit the Kawuneeche Valley of Rocky Mountain National Park each year enjoy the valley’s picturesque meadows and forests beside the winding Colorado River, with elk and moose abundant. What many may not know is that the valley was once home to a thriving beaver population, whose efficiently built dams kept the area covered by water.

Beavers are more than furry animals that love to swim, said Koren Nydic, Chief of Resource Stewardship at RMNP. “Beavers are ecosystem engineers. They raise the water table and connect the river with the floodplain.”

Nydick is responsible for overseeing work on natural and cultural resources, fire management, and more. She is also a member of the Kawuneeche Valley Ecosystem Restoration Collaborative (KVERC), whose mission is to restore the valley to its natural, wetland state. One facet of this mission is bringing back beaver

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FOLBR's New Director of Climate Action

Tom Koehler: Director of Climate Action

Friends of the Lower Blue River is pleased to announce Tom Koehler is now part of the FOLBR administrative staff, as Director of Climate Action. Friends of the Lower Blue River considers climate action a top priority and Tom has proven to be a tremendous asset in that effort.

FOLBR is currently in its first phase of a Safe Soils/Climate Resiliency Initiative in Summit and Grand Counties. The program is assessing the health of the soil in the Lower Blue River Valley. The research will establish baseline data and recommend improvements to increase our valley’s health and the ability to capture carbon in the environment.

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Can We Leave it to the Beavers? From The Journal Science:

When it comes to transforming their environment, beavers have a lot in common with humans. They clear-cut trees and build dams to block streams, in the process radically altering the world around them. Now, it appears that beavers play a complex role in climate change, too. A new study suggests that beaver dams and the sediments corralled behind them sequester carbon, temporarily keeping greenhouse gases containing the element out of the atmosphere. But when the animals abandon these sites, the carbon leaks back out, contributing to global warming.

Before Europeans settled North America, as many as 400 million beavers inhabited an area covering just over nine-million square miles (about 60% of the continent). The wetlands that form behind their dams, as well as the floodplains that they groom nearby, provide habitat for many creatures. And although many ecologists are familiar with the biodiversity-boosting aspects of beaver activity, fewer are aware of beavers' role in carbon sequestration, says Ellen Wohl, a geoscientist at Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

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CPW Warns Be Safe Fishing on Frozen Lakes

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there probably is no such thing as “safe” ice, but there are some guidelines anglers should consider. In Colorado, ice conditions can vary from lake to lake. Along the Front Range, it is especially important that anglers check ice conditions before heading out because of the region’s notoriously variable weather conditions. Many of the most popular lakes are within Colorado State Parks and anglers should check with the specific park staff about ice thickness before going out.

Before going onto a frozen lake, pond or river, it's important to take safety precautions to reduce the risk of falling through the ice. Remember you take a risk any time you go onto the ice. Anglers should always decide for themselves if it is safe to go out and walk on or drive a snowmobile on ice

Knowing how to judge ice conditions will help you make more informed decisions while enjoying your outing. Ice thickness depends on several factors with the first and most obvious factor being location. The type of lake also affects ice thickness; a shallow lake will freeze faster than a deep lake. Look for clear blue ice. New ice is stronger than old ice. Ice thickness is not consistent. Beware of ice around partially submerged objects such as trees, brush, embankments or structures. Ice will not form as quickly where water is shallow or where objects may absorb sunlight.

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FOLBR's Climate Resiliency Initiative is Underway

Photo by: Richard Strauss

Friends of the Lower Blue River has hired the eco-consulting firm Geosyntec to assist us in our Safe Soils/Climate Resiliency Initiative. Beginning right after the first of the year, Geosyntec will start gathering extensive data, targeting four private ranches in the valley, Pass Creek, Blue Tree, Otter Creek and Blue Valley.

The initial scope will involve identifying the key ecological characteristics of each of these private properties. Later in the first quarter of the year, research scientists will collect samples from these diverse properties. The goal is to assess the health of the soil throughout the forested lands, riparian zones and open pastures.

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Consider Conservation Easements for your Property

Have you ever considered designating your land, large or small, for a conservation easement? Here is some important information worth considering from our partners at Colorado Open Lands. FOLBR is always here to help if you need it. 

What are Conservation Easements?
Colorado Open Lands serves our community and future generations by helping private landowners place a voluntary legal agreement called conservation easements on their property. Under the terms of these agreements, their ranch stays their ranch, their farm stays their farm. The process is driven by the wishes of the landowner, but with the goal of protecting open space, water, and wildlife habitat – forever.

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FOLBR Safe Soils/Climate Action Initiative is Moving Forward

We are making significant progress in our Safe Soils/Climate Action Initiative. In our first phase, we will utilize the experience and geo-engineering services of the consulting firm Geosyntec. The initial scope of the project is to assess the soil, obtain baseline results, then determine recommendations to improve the varying land profiles.

We are fortunate to have four ranchers who have agreed to partner with us in this initial phase. Collectively they have diverse land profiles and offer us a great opportunity to gather solid data. We want to thank Jim Donlon (Pass Creek Ranch); Charlie Kurtz and Ann Stailey (Blue Tree Ranch); Johnny LeCoq (Otter Creek Ranch); and Brien Rose (Blue Valley Ranch) for their support in our initiative. Ultimately, we hope to expand our focus throughout the Lower Blue River Valley. We want to work with ranchers and land stakeholders to offer good information and data for the future health of our wonderful valley.

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The First Annual FOLBR Founders Award

071308 George and Pam Beardsley Horseing Around

Friends of the Lower Blue River is proud to announce the establishment of The Founders Award. This award will be given annually. It recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the quality of the Lower Blue River Valley. In its first award, FOLBR recognizes Pam Beardsley and her husband George, posthumously.

Pam and George Beardsley were not only instrumental in establishing a conservation easement on their own ranch property, they also shared the value of conservation with others in the Lower Blue River Valley. Thanks to their leadership, other ranch owners followed suit establishing easements. The Lower Blue has large land parcels protected from further development in the future.

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The FOLBR Livestock Emergency Preparedness Program

By: Sawyer D'Argonne

Summit Daily News

LEEP Emily Jacobs

Trainer Emily Jacobs works to familiarize Beau the horse with getting into a trailer at the Pebble Creek Ranch on Monday, June 7.

Wildfire season continues to creep closer, evidenced by the hazy skies that emerged over Summit County on Tuesday, June 8, as smoke from fires burning around Colorado and the Southwest drifted overhead.

By now, Summit County residents should be well prepared, hopefully having taken the past few months to create defensible space around homes and ready evacuation kits in order to leave the area at a moment’s notice. But for those responsible for pets and livestock, there’s more to think about than just getting themselves out of the house safely.

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Join FOLBR for an Evening Celebrating Nature's Wonder

Come share an evening with Friends of the Lower Blue River on Wednesday, February 12th at the Silverthorne Pavilion between 5:30 and 8:00pm, for an inspiring evening showcasing the beauty of the Lower Blue River Valley. Renowned Colorado Photographer John Fielder will share his work and ideas for preserving our natural world. John's latest book will be available as well. We will present a short Water and Wildlife film festival on the unique character of our area along with a global perspective. We'll have a cash bar, silent auction and heavy hors d’oeuvres provided by Food Hedz Catering.

Tickets are $15/person in advance and $20/person at the door. You can purchase your advance tickets by going to the Eventbrite link below.


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Our Sponsors

  • Alpine Bank
  • Arapahoe Basin
  • Zeal Optics
  • California Wine Club
  • Down River Equipment
  • Fish Pond
  • Buffalo Mountain Animal Hospital
  • E-J LLC
  • Mountain Angler
  • Alpine Earth Gardens