Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

City of Janesville

City of Janesville

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.

In March 2009, the Janesville City Council approved the city’s comprehensive plan after more than two years of work by city staff, the plan commission, a consulting firm as well as discussion among residents and council members. The Plan provides recommendations in the areas of land use, transportation, economic development, parks and open space, historical and cultural resources, housing, community facilities, agricultural and natural resources, utilities, and intergovernmental cooperation.

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)

Monitoring is conducted at the Cook Memorial Arboretum. Focus species are the Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher, all of which are considered to be rare to the area. Tom Klubertanz and Quentin Yoerger are the project coordinators.

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)

Janesville has at least five larger parks with considerable bird habitat.

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

The City of Janesville, through the efforts of the Parks Department, provides bird habitat within “natural areas” locally known as the “Green Belt.”  These natural areas stretch 15 miles and essentially circle the city. Many are in the process of being restored to a natural prairie state. There are also 28+ miles of hiking trails and paths within the City, many of which run through or near Green Belt areas. Green Belts provide open space, encourage active and passive recreational opportunities, and preserve some of the native vegetation that once covered these important prairie areas. Green Belts support wildlife, natural prairie growth, trail use, enhance adjacent property values, and overall aesthetics. Future plans include planting additional prairie, prescribed burns, and trail improvements. Brochures are available.

As a part of the reconstruction of a half-mile section of River Street in the central city, the city has added a diverse group of 70 trees and a rain garden in the area along the street and the river. All plantings provide nesting habitat and nearly half of the trees are a source of bird food.

Green-Rock Audubon Society is working with the City of Janesville to restore an area on Main Street called "The Pond".

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 Cook Memorial Arboretum is located in the city of Janesville and is recognized in the Great Wisconsin Nature and Birding Trail guide as an important area. The arboretum is a city park, managed by the local school district and is considered an important area for breeding and migration of forest bird species. Among the 125 species of birds sighted on the property are the Tufted Titmouse, White-eyed Vireo and Blue-winged Warbler.

The Acadian Flycatcher is a species of interest at the Cook Memorial Arboretum.

Community Forest Management

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

The City of Janesville continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2004. It is supported by a resident committee – Janesville Urban Forest Alliance (JUFA). The mission of the Janesville Urban Forest Alliance shall be to promote and enhance the beauty and general welfare of Janesville's urban forest. The current focus is to increase the diversity of trees, moving away from the dominating “maple” culture currently found in the city.

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 Fourth Ward Neighborhood Action Team worked with the City of Janesville to plant oaks and hickories in the Fourth Ward of Janesville to replace some of the ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer.

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.

Ethan Lee, Janesville's forester, has a bachelor's degree from UW.  He is a member of International Society of Arboriculture certification number - WI-1082A

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.

 “Cat Indoors” brochures were purchased from the American Bird Conservancy. Over 450 have been distributed throughout the community: 100 – Humane Society, 185 at eight vet clinics, 150 at five pet stores, plus the city library and Ned Hollister Bird club. Sites will be restocked as needed. The City of Janesville has a cat “leash law” that requires any cat to be on a leash when off of the owner’s property. Enforcement of this ordinance is spotty at best.

Public Education

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).

In this area of Rock County, the Ned Hollister Bird Club coordinates the Christmas Bird Count and a May count. Typically 10 Janesville residents participate. Janesville residents also participate in the annual Crane Count. As previously described, the Cook Arboretum monitoring is an on-going project that utilizes local residents for the large group counts.

Bird City Janesville volunteers and community members conducted a Swift Night Out on August 27 & 30 in downtown Janesville and at a local church. There were approximately 50 people in attendance and a few dozen Chimney Swifts. Later, Bird City volunteers monitored the local school and counted over 1000 swifts.

E. Illustrate a program that involves schools, garden clubs, or other organizations in bird conservation activities.

Community Programs:

  1. The Ned Hollister Bird Club draws interested birders from Rock County and beyond for monthly informational meetings and regular field trips. Program calendars are available.
  1. Green Rock Audubon Society (GRAS) hosts information meetings in Janesville. In addition, a major effort by the group is restoring about 80 acres of native habitat southwest of Janesville. The habitat includes oak woods, wetlands, and open prairie near and along the east branch of Raccoon Creek.
  1. Friends of Rockport Park have hosted an annual owl hike in June for at least nine years. Dave Bendlin, retired science teacher, leads the walk beginning at 9 p.m., calling Barred Owls. At times, the owls come to the trail by the participants. Over 75 adults and children have enjoyed each of these night adventures in recent years.

N. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Green-Rock Audubon Society hosted Ivy Otto for a program about bird habitat in local yards.  It was posted on Youtube and also played on Janesville's local access TV channel.

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)

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.

Bird City Janesville held a bird walk in conjunction with the Rock County Conservationists spring ephemeral walk at Riverside Park at the time of IMBD.

Joined Bird City: 2013

Population: 63,575

Incorporated: 1853

Area: 34.5 mi2

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