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)
While the Village of Fontana is small in terms of area, it boasts quite a few natural areas that support local wildlife and especially birds. Fontana Fen, the Duck Pond Recreation Area and the close proximity to Geneva Lake provide an excellent habitat for waterfowl and also for rare wetland plant species. Hildebrand Nature Conservancy has walking trails available and the Fontana Park Commission enhanced the area by erecting new birdhouses and planting vegetation in municipal parks that attracts birds that feed on ticks.
Also, the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, located in nearby Williams Bay, offers a bevy of educational programs and opportunities for visitors to enjoy and discover nature.
E. Describe your community’s ordinance demonstrating that your community does not restrict natural/native landscaping that emphasizes native plants and non-turf lawns.
Ordinance No. 10-03-11-02 prohibits “all noxious weeds and rank growth of vegetation” that exceed one foot in height but specifically exempts native plants from this ordinance: “Areas of native ground cover approved by the Village are exempt from this requirement.”
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.
Available on Fontana’s website is an extensive amount of invasive plant species information. Color identification photos are provided and so is information for removal, disposal, and also for reporting.
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 replaced the bird feeders located on the perimeter of the Nature Conservancy in the Village.
L. Show that your community has restored at least two acres of woodlands, wetlands, or prairie.
The Village of Fontana is home to the Fontana Fen which is continually being restored to mimic an actual fen. The Village has contracted with TallGrass through 2021 at the Fontana Fen and Oak Savanna to remove invasice species and reintroduce native species to restore the area to its natural state.
N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.
Every year, the Garden Club and/or Geneva Lake Conservancy holds volunteer day(s) to pull invasive species from the Hildebrand Nature Conservancy. This year, the Geneva Lake Conservancy held a work day in late fall to pull buck thorn and weeds. A second work day was held in the "Village Triangle," a natural area within the Village. Any invasive species allowed to run rampant has the ability to throw off the natural food chain since native insects are less common.
O. Document a program to support the establishment of natural lawns and native landscaping, possibly including public presentations of Audubon’s Plants for Birds Initiative (contact them for a presentation kit).
The Fontana Public Library held a Landscaping for Birds presentation by Lisa Maier of the McHenry County Audobon Society on July 13, 2021. 23 people attended the prsentation which informed the group how to landscape their yard to turn it into a birding hotspot that provides for the needs of birds year-round. Part of the program was about planting trees and allowing dead trees to stay in your garden/yard.
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 area that's known as the "Village Triangle" exists between two roads with utilities underneath. The Garden Club conducts a seed sowing each fall to keep the area natural. They also hold a volunteer day to pull invasive species from the area.
Community Forest Management
A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
The Village of Fontana continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1988.
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 most notable part of the Village of Fontana's documentation was the creation of a special section on the village website devoted to bird conservation.
B. Demonstrate that your community provides property owners with information on how to protect birds from window strikes (e.g., online links, brochures).
The most notable part of the Village of Fontana's documentation was the creation of a special section on the village web site devoted to bird conservation.
C. Show that your municipality practices Integrated Pest Management, using natural pest control and the best available science to minimize pesticide and herbicide use.
Due to increased tick concerns, the Village of Fontana Park Commission has recommended planting tick repelling plants in lieu of spraying the ball fields at Duck Pond Pavilion and Reid Park. The suggested plants include lavender, garlic, pennyroyal, pyrethrum, sage, American beautyberry and eucalyptus. In order to attract birds, the Park Commission recommended planting dill, white Dutch clover, and New England aster.
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.
E. Illustrate a program that involves schools, garden clubs, or other organizations in bird conservation activities.
The Fontana Park Commission (Tree Board) has partnered with the Fontana Garden Club to rehabilitate the Oak Savanna and grassy triangle area. This includes pulling invasive species, seed sowing, and planting natural vegetation. One of our Park Commission members is the liason between the Commission and the Club so they can support the effort together. In 2022 the Village put out an RFP for maintaining the natural areas and we are bringing a new contractor in for 2023. The contractor will work with the Park Commission to plan and maintain four natural areas in the Village.
G. Provide a link to your community’s Bird City Wisconsin webpage, which must be visible from the main page of your municipal website (it may be located at the first level of a drop down menu on the main page but cannot be any less visible) OR demonstrate that your Bird City effort has a significant social media presence.
The Village of Fontana partners with the Fontana Elementary School to celebrate Earth Day and International Migratory Bird Day. The program was held on April 29, 2022 and is anticipated to be held this year on April 28, 2023. The students put on a play regarding conservation, trees, birds, etc., and the Village landscape company donates trees for each of the students to take home and plant.