FOLBR - Friends Of the Lower Blue River

Whats Happening

Fungi Could Change The World: From an article by Mitchell P. Jones

Fungi — a scientific goldmine? Well, that’s what a review published in the journal Trends in Biotechnology indicates. You may think mushrooms are a long chalk from the caped crusaders of sustainability. But think again.

Many of us have heard of fungi’s role in creating more sustainable leather substitutes. Amadou vegan leather, crafted from fungal-fruiting bodies, has been around for some 5,000 years.

More recently, mycelium leather substitutes have taken the stage. These are produced from the root-like structure mycelium, which snakes through dead wood or soil beneath mushrooms.

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Wanted: FOLBR Board Treasurer

The FOLBR Board of Directors is seeking someone to be our next Treasurer. Our current Treasurer, Laura Fox, is leaving the Board, effective January 1, 2023. Laura has done a terrific job maintaining the financials of our organization. Laura has set up a great framework to help the next person succeed in this position. We are looking for someone who can continue her good work.

FOLBR Board members are all volunteers. The Board meets monthly to discuss FOLBR's progress to protect the integrity of the Blue River Valley. Our current focus is the Safe Soils/Climate Resiliency Initiative to address Climate Change.

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FOLBR's Safe Soils/Climate Resiliency Update


In November, we met with the ranchers who participated in Phase 1 of our Safe Soils/Climate Resiliency Initiative. Four key landscapes were analyzed by the lab at Cornell University, facilitated by Eco-Consulting firm Geosyntec. Soil samples were taken from forested woodland, shrubland, riparian/wetland and agricultural areas. We presented our ranchers the findings, which included analysis of the soil's physical, chemical and biological characteristics.

Our four partner landowners examined the results, soil types and composition to help inform future management practices. We are taking this insight to formulate prescriptive project recommendations for climate resilience and improved soil health. We will continue to work with our ranch partners to help them begin to implement projects in the summer and autumn of 2023.

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Safe Soils/Climate Resiliency Update

Detailed reports from our eco-consulting firm Geosyntec finally arrived! We will meet with our four partner ranchers this month. Tom Koehler, our director of climate action, is carefully reviewing hundreds of pages of data to determine our best path forward.

We will identify specific prescriptions to benefit each ranch. All of our recommendations will be aimed at improving soil health, and the ability of these private lands to capture more greenhouse gases and positively effect climate change. We plan to target several projects in 2023.

After we meet with each rancher, we will share the findings and our recommendations with key stakeholders and the community at large.

From these pilot projects we hope to develop further programs to improve soil resiliency on public and private lands in the Lower Blue River Valley.

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The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument


After years of hard work by US Senator Michael Bennett and US Representative Joe Neguse, President Joe Biden has designated thousands of acres of federal land in Colorado as a national monument. Here’s everything you need to know about the President’s first National Monument designation.

As a national monument, Camp Hale can be set aside for conservation due to its historic or scientific significance. The President used the Antiquities Act of 1906 for the designation, which is something 18 other presidents have done

Camp Hale is just 15 miles from Leadville. Local residents know the area for its stunning hikes and rugged snowsport terrain. In addition to outdoor activity, elk, deer, bear, lynx and other animals rely on Camp Hale for habitat.

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Congratulations to Frank and Myra Isenhart

At this year's FOLBR Annual Gathering, Frank and Myra Isenhart received the 2022 FOLBR Founders Award.

Frank and Myra understood more than 20 years ago, that it was time for valley residents to organize to protect the 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 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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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