City of Bayfield

City of Bayfield

Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring

A. Comply with Wisconsin's "Smart Growth" law for land use planning and resource management. This criterion is an option only for applications submitted before July 1, 2017.

We adopted a smart growth comprehensive plan for 2001 – 2021 and is in compliance with the Wisconsin Smart Growth laws.

B. Describe organized bird monitoring or data obtained from researchers or volunteers in the local park system. (Exclusions: Programs that receive credit under 4C: Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, Swift Night Out)

The Apostle Islands National Headquarters park staff conduct breeding bird surveys for herring gulls and cormorants on Gull Island. Breeding birds surveys take place every year (1990-present), in partnership with Great Lakes Inventory & Monitoring Network. They also monitor the sandspits on Michigan and Long Islands as they provide successful nesting habitat for piping plovers. Since 2007, there have been plover monitors stationed on Long Island to monitor plover nesting, provide information to visitors and make observations.


C. Provide evidence (e.g., official designation of natural areas, easements, etc.) that existing bird habitat within community limits has legal protection. (Exclusions: Leash laws; prohibitions against disturbing nests and wildlife; areas consisting primarily of mowed grass)

The local park system includes Dalrymple Park and campground, East Dock Park, and Big Ravine Park with the Gil Larsen Nature Trail, all owned by the city. The Bayfield Regional conservancy manages trails on a 35-acre parcel on the edge of the Big Ravine and the Brownstone Trail that follows the old railroad right-of-way leading into Bayfield. The Bayfield Heritage Association manages the Fountain Garden Park at the south entrance to the city. The Bayfield Memorial Park along the city’s lakefront is managed by the Bayfield Civic League.

City ordinances also mandate the protection of park property:

No person shall kill, injure or disturb or attempt to injure or disturb waterfowl, birds or animals, wild or domestic, within any park…No person shall climb any tree or remove flowers or fruit, wild or cultivated, or break, cut down, trample upon, remove or in any manner injure, deface, write upon or ill use any tree, shrub, flower, flower bed, turf, soil, sand, fountain, ornament, building, structure, apparatus, bench, table, official notice, sign or other property within any park.

G. Document that there is a segment of the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail or a designated Important Bird Area within or adjacent to your community.

The City of Bayfield contains the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Headquarters. This is site #11 on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is also listed as one of Wisconsin’s Important Bird Areas.

H. Show that the local Chamber of Commerce or a similar group (e.g., an Audubon chapter, Wild Ones, etc.) takes an active role in the planning process for protecting and enlarging favorable bird habitat.

We pride ourselves on being an eco-municipality and one of the greenest communities in Wisconsin. The City and Town of Bayfield have more Travel Green certified businesses than any other community in Wisconsin. The City’s website has a link to an article called “It’s Easy Being Green” that endorses green landscaping for historic properties:

Using native plants in your historic landscape design has benefits that go beyond complementing your building’s historic character, however. Local and regional plantings have evolved and adapted to local climate and conditions. They often perform much better with less water than plantings that have been transported from other locales. There is a term for this approach to landscape design, and it is called xeriscaping. It is the landscape equivalent of the philosophy of sustainable design for buildings. The idea is that in typical conditions the only water these plants should require, after propagation, is that which is supplied by rainfall, and that they are adapted well enough to their environment not to require chemical inputs. Using native plantings has the benefit of helping to maintain the genetic diversity against invasive species, and it also helps to maintain appropriate levels of birds and insects that have evolved in conjunction with the plants.

The website also features a link to an Earth Care publication that encourages city residents to install rain gardens, “These gardens, which are filled with native plants, also become attractive areas of landscaping in home yards, inviting birds, butterflies and other wild species.”

N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.

The City of Bayfield Tree Board conducted over 166 hours of volunteer work this year--most of which was removing buckthorn in the city parks and right of ways. In addition, the City also hired Bay Area Environmental to remove buckthorn off of the Brownstone Trail and plant native plants in its place. WIth the removal of buckthorn and planting of native species, it allows birds more nutrious food than buckthorn and decreases the chances of birds becoming weak and spreading seeds. 

P. Demonstrate the implementation of a program to preserve Chimney Swift nesting and roosting sites (preferred) and/or to construct Chimney Swift towers.

The City of Bayfield Carnigie Library underwent construction in 2021 on their chimneys. The original plan was to have the chimneys capped since they are not in use and retain moisture; however, around 10 chimney swifts have been seen above the library for 2 years now and this would eliminate their habitat. In order to help preserve roosting sites for swifts, the library board contacted the WI Chimney Swift Working Group to see what they would recommend. If the chimneys needed to be capped, a 12" clearance on the cap was recommened for enough access. It may discourage some of the birds, but it is better than covering them completely. 

This resulted in a $2,500 order change for the renovation and the libary board agreed to and encourage the libary director to ask for donations. The Chequamegon Audubon Society donated $750 and around the small Bayfield communty, more than $1,500 was raised! Posters were put up and donation jars were avaliable and it got a lot of people in town talking about the swifts! 

The caps were installed in July of 2021 and there have still been sightings of the swifts above the libarry since then. We're very hopeful that they come back in the spring! 

T. Document that your community maintains a birding trail or hot spot location with educational signage and/or literature. (Note: A birding hotspot alone is not sufficient - your community must actively promote birding and public education at the site itself.)

Since 2020, we have been upgrading their trail systems. We were awarded a grant from Bird City and we used that to incorporate educational signage in the Big Ravine Area. The sign notes that it was funded by Bird City and shows some of the birds that people may see on the trail. 

Community Forest Management

A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Bayfield continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2000.

Limiting or Removing Threats to Birds

A. Describe your community’s educational program to control free-roaming cats and/or the manner in which you actively publicize the Cats Indoors! initiative.

We have an ordinance (126-6 C.) that restricts animals (dogs and cats) from running at large. Brochures to publicize the “Cats Indoors” program that helps educate the public about the problems associated with free roaming cats are available at the public library and city hall. A link to the American Bird Conservancy “Cats Indoors” program has been established on the City's Bird City page.

B. Demonstrate that your community provides property owners with information on how to protect birds from window strikes (e.g., online links, brochures).

We provide a variety of web links to the following important websites relating to birds and window collisions on its Bird City page.

Public Education

B. Provide web links or a community newsletter demonstrating that your community educates property owners on methods to create and enhance backyard habitat for birds.

We provides links on birds and backyard habitat on its Bird City page.

C. Demonstrate that your community is represented in at least one citizen science bird monitoring program (e.g., the Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, Swift Night Out).

Bayfield has been represented in the Christmas Bird Count for 56 years. A snowy day did not derail the annual Christmas Bird Count in Bayfield. 26 species were seen on December 21 in and around the city including: bald eagles, goldfinches, pine siskins, northern cardinals, white and red breasted nuthatches, dark eyed juncos, pileated woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, a yellow bellied sapsucker, ruffed grouse, common mergansers, a sharp-shinned hawk, and 160 herring gulls.

Energy & Sustainability

D. Document that your community has been recognized as a Green Tier Legacy Community.

We have been recognized as a Green Tier Legacy Community since the pilot in 2010. The City of Bayfield, along with four other communities, was listed as one of the first Legacy Communities! There is a link on our Eco Municipality page at 

E. Show that your community has implemented a sustainability plan that improves your community’s energy efficiency and/or increases the use of renewable energy. (Exclusions: Smart Growth comprehensive plans)

We adopted a Sustainability plan in July of 2012 which can be found on our Sustainability Page 

F. Demonstrate that your community participates in a community solar program or that a municipal building receives a significant percentage of its electricity from renewable energy.

We have been working with SolSmart which is a national designation program designed to recognize communities that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of mature local solar markets. In December 2017 the City of Bayfield was awarded a Bronze status designation and is striving to work towards Silver and eventually Gold. A map of the communities can be found on the SolSmart website 

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required World Migratory Bird Day resolution.

B. Document and describe your event that incorporates the annual IMBD theme in some fashion. If the event has not yet occurred, please share your detailed plans. For information on the current year’s theme and event materials, please visit the World Migratory Bird Day website. To see what other Bird City communities have done in the past, please view some other profiles on our website.

Typically, we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day in May with two bird walks within the City of Bayfield limits where partcipants watch and listen for birds. However, the City of Bayfield cancelled the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic to limit groups of people congregating. A selection of self-guided birding and nature walks in the region was posted on-line to replace the annual Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival.  We're hopful in 2022 that we'll be able to have a full event again 

Joined Bird City: 2012

Population: 530

Incorporated: 1913

Area: 0.87 mi2

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Community Bird City Page

Community Map