City of Racine

City of Racine

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 City of Racine has endorsed the Racine County multi-jurisdictional comprehensive plan developed with assistance by SEWRPC and UW-Extension in 2009 and adopted a city comprehensive plan in November 2009 based upon the multi-jurisdictional plan. The City of Racine is in compliance with Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law for land use planning and resource management. 


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)

Sec. 70-103 of Racine’s Municipal Code designates Colonial Park as a bird sanctuary and provides for legal protection of birds and habitat. Bird Sanctuary


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

The City of Racine has worked with Friends of Lockwood Park, Racine Urban Garden Network and Root River Council, all organizations of Racine to arrange for rain gardens and community gardens established on city property. 

The gardens provide excellent bird habitat with native plants and other naturally landscaped areas, including restored prairies. The native plants housed within the gardens provide food and shelter. Currently, the City of Racine 12 rain gardens and 11 community gardens. Majority of the gardens are located on city property; however, some are also located on private property. 

The City of Racine PRCS plans to coordinate and possibly partner with additional organizations within Racine to add more garden sites. 


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.

Weed-Out Racine is a volunteer driven initiative that continuously aims to maintain biodiversity of native spaces and public places by stopping the spread of invasive plants. The organization works actively to inform the community with park path signage and school group initiatives in order to improve or maintain bird habitat. 


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.

Per the Wisconsin's DNR website, the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail is your invitation to observe the fascinating and diverse world of wildlife that exists in every corner of the state. A series of five highway-based viewing guides, each highlights a unique ecosystem of the state. Each guide links a set of waypoints, refuges and wild places that offer the best birding and wildlife watching opportunities. The Racine Harbor Park & Lakefront is listed in the Lake Michigan Region and under the Lake Michigan Viewing Guide. Racine is also designated as an "Important Bird Area" in the Audubon Milwaukee-Racine Lakeshore Migration Corridor


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.)

Located in Colonial Park - Bird Sanctuary 2300 West High St a kiosk promoting information on the different birds you may find in the sanctuary. 


Community Forest Management

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

The City of Racine continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2007. As of 2021, the City of Racine is also a recipient of the Growth Award for going above and beyond the normal tree city requirements. Reference the Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA Directory and Growth Award Winners at www.arborday.orgCurrent Tree City USA Wisconsin List.  The City of Racine continues to be a Tree City USA and the information can still be found at the website referenced.  

C. Document an ongoing community program to incorporate a significant number of native trees, native shrubs, native herbaceous plants, and/or cultivars of native species in public or large-scale private landscaping.

The City of Racine Forestry Department plants 1,500 trees per year, a mixture of native and non-native trees.  The exact species planted vary year-to-year.  The City of Racine Forestry Department planted appoximately 1,415 trees in 2022.  Attached is a spreadsheet of the 2022 purchases/planting which includes a list of species.

E. Show that your forester, a member of your tree board, or another person currently responsible for managing your community’s trees has completed the Wisconsin DNR’s Wisconsin Tree Management Institute.

CTMI is for smaller communities that don’t have a professional forester. The purpose of the program is to provide basic tree management training to staff that have primary work responsibilities in non-forestry areas. For example, in smaller communities tree maintenance is often the responsibility of public works.  The City of Racine has a head Forester who's been scheduled to be a CTMI instructor the past two years, but due to Covid-19 the class was cancelled.  The City Forester has nearly 25 years of experience working in the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry.  He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Urban Forestry from UW-Steven's Point and holds International Society of Arboriculture certifications as a CertifiedArborist and Certified Municicplal Specialist.  The City Forester is the Vice Chair of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council, which is an advisory board for the DNR Urban Forestry Program.

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.

The American Bird Conservancy pamphlets and website “Cats Indoors” have been delivered and proposed to veterinarians, pet groomers and residents in the City and the Humane Society. They are encouraged to share the pamphlets with others to help them become aware of hazards cats pose to birds. 


D. Document that a municipal or major public building has been awarded LEED certification as a bird-friendly building (LEED SSpc 55).

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), creators of the LEED green building rating system, have announced 15 cities and counties, including Racine. Currently, there are several major public buildings which earned credit as a bird-friendly building by satisfying the LEED Bird Collision Deterrence pilot credit SSPC 55. Documentation and additional information may be found at Bird-Friendly Buildings

F. Demonstrate that your community enforces an ordinance that requires domestic cats to be kept indoors, on a leash, or in an enclosure to prevent them from preying on birds and other wildlife and spreading disease.

The City of Racine Sec. 10-36 states, “Any person who owns a dog, cat or ferret with is or will become five months of age or older during any license year shall obtain a license for each such dog, cat or ferret every license year by making application to the city health department or other designated agency under the terms and conditions contained in this section.” 

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.

Hoy Audubon Society regularly educates property owners on backyard habitat through outreach programming and newsletters.

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).

The City of Racine has been active in multiple bird counts throughout the 2022 calendar year: The Great Backyard Bird Count (February 18-21, 2022), and  The Big Sit (September 17, 2022).  On December 17, 2022, Hoy Audubon will host the 123rd Annual Christmas Bird Count.  

Hoy Audubon Society requests all birders and those interested in helping look for and count birds to join.

This nationwide program, coordinated by the National Audubon Society, is free and open to the public. It involves gathering information in designated count areas and from home feeder watchers to help scientists monitor the early winter range and numbers of bird populations throughout the decades. More information on Christmas Bird Counts can be found at

 These are held in various locations including: Carre-Hogle Park, Colonial Park and Samuel Myers Park located in the City of Racine.

I. Show that your municipality promotes and supports a bird club or other environmentally/ecologically-minded club. (Exclusions: Garden clubs, unless you demonstrate a strong focus on native plants)

City of Racine sponsors an Adopt-A-Park program that supports area environmental individuals, clubs, organizations and companies in park clean-up efforts.  Several Adopt-A-Park cleanup events are sponsored each year in collaboration with Earth Day, Arbor Day and Make-A-Difference Day.

L. Show that your community works with traditionally underserved communities to increase their access to natural areas, environmental education, birding resources, and local environmental experts.

Riverbend Nature Center  and the Root River Environmental Education Community Center work with under-served populations within the City of Racine to promote access to natural areas and environmental education.

Energy & Sustainability

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.

The City of Racine is currently active in the Southwest Solar Group Buy, and Greening Greater Racine.  Both organizations are promoting and enabling access to solar energy.  In addition, the city is working with SolSmart to assit with developing solar-friendly ordinances.  The City of Racine filled the position of Sustainability and Conservation Coordinator. 

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.

Legislation establishing International Migratory Bird Day in the City of Racine as the second Saturday in May will be introduced to the Board of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services in March 2022 with final resolution by the City of Racine Common Council adopted in March 2022. The legislation urges all citizens to observe and support the efforts to protect and conserve migratory birds and their habitats.

Hoy Audubon hosts the “Big Sit” bird count at a publicized location each year in September. The “Big Sit” is an event where an effort is made to count all birds seen in one day while staying within a 17-foot diameter circle. During the day forum discussions about both migratory and urban birds were conducted. The “Big Sit” is also a worldwide event. Those interested in further information about the local “Big Sit” can contact (262) 637-4359.

Joined Bird City: 2011

Population: 78,199

Incorporated: 1848

Area: 18.68 mi2

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