Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Village of Brown Deer

Community Achievements

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.

The Village of Brown Deer has completed and published a comprehensive plan, entitled “Village of Brown Deer Comprehensive Plan 2030.” This document serves as a guide for future Village land use decisions and contains the nine required elements of the state of Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law.

D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.

The second chapter of the Village of Brown Deer’s Comprehensive Plan specifically addresses the need to identify, protect, and enhance the Village’s natural resources and habitats. It describes the relative scarcity of habitats due to decades of development, and the need to protect those that remain. The chapter also includes a listing of natural resource goals and specific objectives to satisfy those goals. Objective 1.5 identifies the need to promote an increase in the urban tree canopy and Village street tree population. Later in the chapter, the Village delineates recommendations for natural resources and specifically identifies the need to promote natural area restoration. This includes measures to connect isolated natural areas wherever possible and to work with private landowners to control or eradicate invasive species encroaching upon those natural habitats.

The Village also developed a Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (CORP) that includes specific recommendations protecting avian habitats. The Department of Natural Resources approved this plan in January 2016, qualifying the Village to apply for state and federal aids to improve green spaces and open space programming. Chapter 7 of this document is dedicated to the goals and objectives identified by the community to improve natural areas and public recreation resources. Goal #9 calls on the Village to “protect, enhance, and restore natural environments and historic and cultural resources associated with Village parks, playfields, trails, and open spaces.” Each goal is accompanied by “supporting objectives.” Goal #9’s “Supporting Objectives” are listed as follows:

  • Restore, protect, and enhance Natural Areas (this includes wetlands, woodlands, and grasslands).
  • Protect riparian lands along waterways.
  • Manage invasive species.
  • Identify, protect, and enhance natural habitats for native plant and animal species identified in the Comprehensive Plan (Table 2.1) as endangered or rare in Milwaukee County.

E. Describe your community’s ordinance demonstrating that your community does not restrict natural/native landscaping that emphasizes native plants and non-turf lawns.

Section 38-3 (d)(4)(e) of the Village’s Code of Ordinances specifies that regulation of lawns and uncut grass will not apply to any natural lawn or land managed to preserve or restore native Wisconsin grasses, forbs, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, or aquatic plants.

F. Show that your community offers the public information on how they can control and remove invasive species in order to improve or maintain bird habitat.

The Village of Brown Deer maintains a public kiosk containing literature, brochures, pamphlets, and flyers to promote public health and education. The Village currently provides the public with brochures concerning the management and monitoring of West Nile Virus and also brochures detailing efforts to contain the Emerald Ash Borer. The Village of Brown Deer is also updating the Village website to include links to information on ways to improve backyard habitat for birds, reduce bird/window collisions, and to prevent or reduce invasive species. The Village website also provides information on invasive plant species like Dutch Elm Disease, Oak Wilt, Garlic Mustard, and Emerald Ash Borer.

I. Document a recent project that created or restored bird habitat in your community. (Exclusions: Bird feeders and small-scale artificial nesting structures)

The Village recently acquired 2 acres of excess right of way from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT)for the creation of a new public park adjacent to the Milwauke River. Badger Meter River Park, preserved the river bank and associated native vegitation while making it publicly accessible . The park also has been landscaped with indigeneous wildflowers and tree species that provide habitat for birds, whereas before the land was dirt and gravel covered often used a staging ground for DOT construction projects.

L. Show that your community has restored at least two acres of woodlands, wetlands, or prairie.

The Village recently acquired 2 acres of excess right of way from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT)for the creation of a new public park adjacent to the Milwauke River. Badger Meter River Park, preserved the river bank and associated native vegitation while making it publicly accessible . The park also has been landscaped with indigeneous wildflowers and tree species that provide habitat for birds, whereas before the land was dirt and gravel covered often used a staging ground for DOT construction projects.

U. Show that your community maximizes the value of right-of-way space (e.g., power lines, pipelines, etc.) by planting them with native grasses, shrubs, herbs, and other prairie/grassland plants.

The Village has naturalized two sections (to date) of Beaver Creek a tributary of the Milaukee River, with a third section scheduled for 2018. These sections were previosuly concrete lined and heavily eroded with some intrusion of invasive species. The Village restored the natural flow and meander of the waterway while removing concrete and invasives and replacing with native vegitation. Similar efforts were conducted along two drainage easments that led to Beaver Creek and Southbranch Creek respectively. Finally, the Village recently reconstructed W. Bradley Road and created a new green bioswale median that captures stormwater runoff before going into the storm sewer system. The bioswales are planted with native vegetation to help absorb pollutants and excess water and replace one concrete travel lane.

V. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The Village of Brown Deer hosts an annual event called “Greening Brown Deer Day.”  It is organized and facilitated by the Beautification Committee and is held in conjunction with the Arbor Day celebration events throughout the Village. The event is held to celebrate Arbor Day, Earth Week, and to conduct a village-wide cleanup. Tree planting ceremonies are usually held as well.

Community Forest Management

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

The Village of Brown Deer continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1997 and looks forward to continuing their dedication to forest management.

Limiting or Removing Threats to Birds

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

The Village continues to provide free copies of the American Bird Conservancy brochure, “You Can Save Birds from Flying into Windows!” to the public. Copies are distributed to a kiosk at the Village Hall, and more are distributed to the public library.

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.

The Village of Brown Deer website provides online visitors with links to several organizations and information regarding invasive species, the creation/improvement of backyard habitats for birds, and ways to reduce or prevent bird/building collisions. Information on brush piles, creating a wild backyard, bird feeders and native plant species lists for Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin can all be found on the previously listed web address.

Energy & Sustainability

A. Document an energy audit for a municipal building and show that your community is working to implement its recommendations.

The Village undertook a complete mechanical systems analysis with Bray Architects in 2016.  This analysis included all municipal buildings including the Library, Public Works Facility and Village Hall.  A final report was prepared that included recommendations for improved mechanical efficiencies and energy savings.  A major recommendation was for the building of a new Public Works facility that would utilize all new mechanicals and energy efficient devices. Plans for the new facility are now underway and are being coordinated with the Focus on Energy program. An additional plan recommendation to update Village Hall lighting is also underway following the advice of the Focus on Energy program. 

B. Show that your community goes above and beyond in its support for, and implementation of, green transportation (e.g., bike trails, rideshare programs, bike trails/lanes, etc.). Be sure to utilize the narrative to illustrate why your community is exceptional because standard practice will not receive credit.

The Village has systimatically increased its percentage of sidewalks, bike trails, bus stops and bike lanes in the last 5 years through municpal projects, private developments and coordinated multi jurisdictional efforts. Recent roadway reconstruction projects have included road diets (on more than 1 mile of rodway) where bike lanes have replaced travel lanes on W. Dean Road and W. Bradley Road.  New sidewalks have been added adjacent to redevelopments on W. Schroeder Drive and Teutonia Avenue, along with Dean Road as part of a Safe Routes to School project with our School District. Working with Milwaukee County Transit a new cross town bus route and accessible stops have been added in the community. Finally, all recent commercial developments have included at least 1 bike rack and sidewalk connections to building entrances.

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required International 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 International Migratory Bird Day website. To see what other Bird City communities have done in the past, please view some other profiles on our website.

In 2017 Village Staff along with community volunteers held a joint Arbor/Bird and Cleanup Day on the second Saturday in May. The event took place at our new park along the Milwaukee River.  Bird City events included the reading of the proclamation announcing the Village’s commitment to International Migratory Bird Day and invited residents to peruse relevant literature, bird decals, and tree seedlings the Village was distributing for public use. Booths contained information about the connection between cats and avian population decline along with literature about invasive species and pesticide protocols that affect both trees and avian populations that are either permanently in the Village, or simply passing through (migrating).

Photo Gallery

Community Details

Joined Bird City: 2014

Population: 12,067

Incorporated: 1955

Area: 4.4 mi2

Community Website

Community Map