Chapter Activities - Eagle’s Nest - Open Space
Rocky Mountain Flycasters
Eagle’s Nest Open Space officially opened to the public on Saturday June 11, 2005. We are all welcome to visit and enjoy the work done by the county and Rocky Mountain Flycasters.
The Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter of Trout Unlimited has developed a long-term project to assist with the restoration of the section of the North Fork Cache la Poudre River that runs through the Larimer County Eagle's Nest Open Space. The Eagle's Nest Open Space is located just south of The Forks in the Livermore area. In 2005, RMF members and volunteers harvested willow cuttings which were planted along stream banks after they sprouted. This year, major streambank restoration work was done along with more planting with the help of a grant from Larimer County Open Lands Program.
Work Day Arpil 20, 2008
Another Glorious Day up at Eagle’s Nest Open Space and along the North Fork, Cache la Poudre River!! And yes, the golden eagles did not disappoint us as they watched over our trail crew and shrub care groups.
Twenty-one Eagle’s Nest Project Crew members joined in for five hours of work (or was it play?). That is a total of 106 volunteer hours working alongside Larimer County Rangers Charlie and Matt. A big THANK YOU to RMF members Scott Bailey. Dave Coulson. Jim DeMartini, Nick Haws, Doug Jackman, Phil Keller, Steve Mason and daughter Madeline, Randy Mergler, Randy Owens, Dave Piske, Bob Streeter, Guy Turenne, and Phil and Logan Wright; and Greeley Cub Scout families Tim, Sarah, Jacob and Seth Grey, and Kristen and Nathan Martin.
One crew of 6 worked with Matt to clean up and repair the trail from the parking lot down to the river. Winter had its affect on the trail and now the water bars are all repaired, rocks removed from the trail, and other repairs completed—hard work but well done and a good feeling of accomplishment for our RMF crew.
The rest of the crew dug collar dams around several hundred of the shrubs we planted in prior years and gave the shrubs a needed drink to help them break dormancy and greet the new growing season. The various riverside shrub plots had a survival of from about 25% to 50-60%, pretty good considering the dry conditions the past two years and the elk assault on a willow planting a year ago. Native grass seeding of the restoration areas also showed some success.
The stream-bank stabilization and restoration work is just out first step in this project. We have hopes of seeing improved water flows in the not too distant future and then more instream habitat development. The North Fork has great potential for becoming an outstanding coldwater fishery by the time our scout partners are in high school.
Thank you again to all our volunteers. So far they all have been willing to work for a simple doughnut and soda, but maybe a more substantial fare will be in the offering later this summer—Stay tuned! We will be scheduling another day in the Eagle’s Nest after Memorial Day, depending on natural precipitation that occurs between now and then. Cheers to all!
Update July 1, 2007
They just keep coming, these fine days up at Eagles Nest Open Space and the North Fork! Our crew of 12 joined Matt (Open Lands Ranger) for a morning of watching for snakes (only saw a couple of bull snakes that got caught in the erosion matting), viewing a golden eagle soaring overhead, and giving the riparian area shrubs we have planted over the past couple of years a needed drink. We hope this will carry them through this hot period until we can make it up there again. Some fish were spotted by the ever-vigilant Dave Coulson, including a nice 15" (by his accurate and experienced eye!) brown.
Our RMF crew consisted of Steve Clark, Alice Gordon, Chris Sheafor, David Peske, David Coulson, Bob Holmes, Ray Andress, Phil Wright, Steve Mason and family, and Bob Streeter. Together, we provided another 54 hours of volunteer time to the project. Matt joined in also as a hard-working partner.
We did have a contest! We found some “prairie frisbees,” deposited by cattle and dried by the sun, and had a distance throwing competition. The winner hands-down, and judged by the impartial Ranger Matt, was young Madeleine!
A big THANK YOU to the crew. Stay tuned for another such adventure in late July-early August. Cheers, Bob
Update April 14, 2007
What a glorious day to be playing around on the North Fork! OK, if we had been fishing, it could have been even nicer!
In addition to 2 LCOL staff, we had 16 folks scurrying around (Doug Jackman, Randy Owens, Logan Wright, Scott Bailey, Steve Clark and Alice Gordon, Steve Mason and family, Laura and Cedrick Nixon and Tim, Sarah, Jason and Seth Gray, and Bob Streeter). The young ones were of great help and they sure enjoyed rolling rocks and getting wet carrying water! Two cub scouts got their conservation tickets punched, also.
We spent 5 hours, that’s another 80 hours of volunteer time. What did we accomplish? Well, Charlie Gindler had us line about 200+ feet of shoreline with 18 tons of rock, lay out an 8’ wide erosion control mat along the entire length, and then we planted nearly 150 willow on the erosion barrier and another nearly 125 American plum and chokecherry along the top part of the bank. It was a great crew, hard-working, compatible, efficient, and dedicated to the tasks. A big THANK YOU to all of you who were there.
The weather was a bluebird kind of day, and oh yeah, we saw some mountain bluebirds along with a nesting pair of golden eagles and about 20 mule deer! Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.
And this from Charlie Gindler
That turned out to be a great work day! What a great group. I am so glad to have that last piece finished. Everyone worked really hard and did such a good job. Thank you all very much. I did take some photos. . .
Update July, 2006
Due to some welcome moisture in the Eagle's Nest area, July watering was postponed. We may need to go up in early August to water the trees we planted. Stay tuned. To see what we have been doing, check the updates below.
Update: June 3, 2006
Saturday got warm as the day progressed, but for the eight stalwart water-carriers out at Eagle's Nest, it was a beautiful morning. The eight RMF-TU volunteers, Ray Andress, Sarah Babbitt, Alma Chidester, Phillip Keller, David Piske, Bob Streeter, and Logan and Phil Wright, met Charlie Gindler at the Eagle's Nest parking lot to coordinate the work and then headed down to check on the shrub plantings we had completed on April 23. We found that out of the 1,200 shrubs planted, only 16 had failed to start growing. All the others were in full leaf and had added several inches of growth already. We carried water from the North Fork to all of the plantings, giving them the first “good drink” since they were planted.
We were greatly encouraged with the success of the plantings and by seeing three nice browns as we started our work—one in the 14" class! Believe it or not, not even Phil Wright broke for his rod! A golden eagle was observed again, also. We chalked up another 24 hours total of volunteer time toward our Larimer County Small Grant obligation (8 X 3hrs).
Pencil in early Sunday morning, July 9, as our next watering day. The work goes much more quickly when we have many helping hands! I am so proud of the work crews that have volunteered. All have been industrious, hard-working and most enjoyable as a group. Working together just reinforces our connections as men and women who love the land and waters of Northern Colorado and our commitment to better them. Thanks again to our Eagle's Nest Partners!!!
Riverbank Restoration - April 22, 2006
Our Eagle's Nest Partners Crew swelled to 31 strong on Earth Day 2006!!! We met at 8:00 a.m. at CLP school and enjoyed coffee/juice and doughnuts to fortify us for the day, thanks to Greg Evans, RMF President, and helpers Grace and Lewis. A total of 31 Rocky Mt. Flycasters, friends and family joined in on the shrub-planting effort, and we logged another 217 hours of volunteer work! The Coloradoan sent a reporter and photographer to feature our work at Eagle's Nest—we even got each of them to plant a willow so they are vested partners, too. Deon Hampton's Coloradoan article.
With Open Lands Ranger Charlie Gindler's direction, we proceeded to plant and water 600 willow, 150 American Plum, 150 chokecherry, 150 golden currant, and 150 sumac. We also laid down and stapled about 2,000 sq. ft. of erosion-control matting. Charlie is great to work with and he sure does more than his share of the hard labor.
Many thanks go out to the great crew—they worked diligently and steadily with only a brief lunch break. Perhaps the hardest job was keeping Alan Jones from diving into the North Fork after some of the large suckers he spotted! Grace, Lewis and Dean did catch some crayfish and snails for serious study. The immature bald eagle gave us a fly-by and we spotted the nesting golden eagle and soaring mate, too. The day was again beautiful, warm but not hot, with occasional clouds and a light wind at times. Eagle's Nest Open Space always seems to treat RMF folks right when we appear for our restoration work.
Bob Streeter Receives Grant
Bob Streeter wrote an application for a grant to help fund RMF Eagle's Nest restoration projects in the winter of 2005-06. On April 7 he received our grant award from the Larimer County Open Lands Program.
Riverbank Restoration - April 8, 2006
Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m., 12 RMF Chapter members and guests gathered with shirtsleeves rolled up to reshape the banks on the North Fork up at Eagle's Nest Open Space. This work is in preparation for planting 1,200 shrubs on April 22.
Charlie Gindler, Open Lands Ranger, had gotten the Open Lands machinery crew up there to do some rough reshaping of about 500 linear feet of the worst bank erosion areas on the southwest side of the river. Interestingly, we could not work on another side where the bank is also in need of some serious reshaping because an old bison skull and some charcoal layers had been discovered exposed on the bank face this spring. An archeological examination is scheduled to determine if this might be a significant native American camp or just an isolated skull.
Our RMF crew and Charlie grabbed picks, shovels and rakes and completed the bank reshaping. We then seeded the area with a 10-species mix of native grasses provided by Larimer County. The sowing was followed by tamping and packing the seed into the soil. We completed all 500 feet of the bank reshaping and seeding and were back in LaPorte by 3:00 p.m. A total of 78 person-hours were contributed today by the RMF crew, not including a 30-minute sunny, streamside lunch-break. The weather and river gods were with us again as the day was simply gorgeous. We did stop to observe a immature bald eagle wheeling close overhead and scoped a pair of golden eagles, one on its nest and the other flying and then settling in a ridge-top tree near its partner. The river was running clear and not too full. Although tempted, no one split from the work duties to indulge in sampling the angling opportunity!
RMF crew members were: Lee Evans, Mike Frey, Nick Haws, Ralph Olinger, Chris & Mandy Parton, David Piske, Bob Streeter, Martin Vitullo, Paul Wehr, and Phil and Logan Wright.
Willow Planting - Apr. 16, 2005
What a day! With a pair of golden eagles soaring overhead, a coyote leading us in to the property, and mule deer greeting us at the North Fork, 16 RMF members and family joined the Larimer County Open Lands staff and about 25 or so other volunteers to plant nearly 1,000 willows, sumac, plum, and currant shrubs along and adjacent to the North Fork. The weather couldn't have been better! The RMF folks worked as a team planting about 200 willows and alder that we had collected six weeks ago and rooted in preparation for planing. Larimer County provided additional bare root seedlings. I kind of lost count, but at the very least the RMF folks planted the 200 or so willows we rooted and at least 225 more willows from the county. We also helped with some of the sumac, plum and currant. A fisherman never exaggerates so conservatively, I estimate that our RMF team planted more than 1/2 of the roughly 1,000 total shrubs planted!!
It was a great crew, made up of Ray & Judy Andrus; Ruth, Jim & Dean DeMartini; Lee Evans; Doug Jackman; Nick Haws; Phil Keller; Randy, Allie & Jackson Mergler; Phil & Logan Wright; Paul Wehr; and Bob Streeter. Special thanks to Jim DeMartini, Lee Evans, Phil Keller, & Randy Mergler for tending to the pails of rooting cuttings. Special recognition to Allie Mergler for wading the river and raiding the other group's bucket of willows so we could finish out our area! Thanks to RMF for some refreshments.
We all enjoyed the outing, being near the river and feeling its pull, and good camaraderie! Lee Evans taught several grasshoppers how to swim but did not bring any rises—he says that's the way he usually fishes, too!?!
Thanks again to all who participated this spring in the two days at Eagles’ Nest. We will continue to work with Larimer County Open Lands and the Colorado Division of Wildlife to design further stream improvements and develop our long-term project there more fully. Stay tuned!
Willow Cutting - Feb. 26, 2005
Rocky Mountain Flycasters Chapter-Colorado Trout Unlimited members journeyed to the Larimer County Eagle’s Nest Open Space near Livermore on Saturday, February 26, 2005 to collect willow cuttings for restoration work on the North Fork Poudre River. Charlie Gindler, Larimer County Open Lands Department and new manager of the Eagle’s Nest area, met RMF volunteers Ray and Judy Andress, Jim DeMartini, Lee and Greg Evans, Phil Keller, Randy, Allie and Jackson Mergler, Chris Sheafor, Bob Streeter, Martin Vitullo, Paul Wehr, and Phil and Logan Wright, and briefed the group on the background of the Eagle’s Nest area, plans for management and opening the site, and status of the project. Charlie pointed out that the first steps were to improve the access road, lay out and construct a trail system, relocate cattle corrals, protect a spring and pipe water to the corrals, rebuild a bridge across the North Fork, and fence off the riparian zone along the North Fork to manage cattle grazing. The Open Lands Department wants to observe the natural reaction to removing the grazing pressure from the North Fork riparian zone prior to doing anything more than plant some native shrubs in some of the most degraded areas.
RMF volunteers followed Charlie across the river to some existing willow areas. The volunteers selected viable willow shoots and harvested approximately 150+ cuttings. Jim DeMartini, Lee Evans, Phil Keller and Randy Mergler volunteered to take the cuttings to their homes to place them in water for rooting. Josh Wykoff of Larimer County Open Lands Department has ordered other native shrubs from the Colorado State Forest Service and has set Saturday, April 16 2005 as the planting day. RMF volunteers will join in aid in the planting of all the shrubs to accelerate the restoration of riparian vegetation along the most degraded sections of the North Fork.
The RMF volunteers were impressed with the Eagle’s Nest Open Space and expressed a strong desire to assist County staff in all elements of their work, including trail work, restoration of erosion areas (roads, cattle feeding areas, riparian areas draining into the North Fork, etc.), and future stream bank and bed enhancement work. RMF volunteers donated a total of 45 hours of effort to harvest the willows and to learn more about the area.