Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

City of Manitowoc

City of Manitowoc


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 Manitowoc has supplied evidence that they are in compliance with Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law for land use planning and resource management.

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)

Birds, especially at the Manitowoc Lakefront, are monitored perhaps more extensively than anywhere in Wisconsin.  Charles Sontag records birds observed twice each day since 1967 and submits checklists to eBird.  More than 300 species have been recorded at that location, and Charles has the largest number of species observations in the state.  With a birding hotspot along the lakefront, Manitowoc is a popular place for birders to visit.  More and more bird sightings are being recorded on ebird.  A Christmas Bird Count also takes place in Manitowoc, and locations within the City are being monitored as part of the second Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas.

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

As part of Manitowoc's Downtown Master Plan, adopted in December 2018, improvements were made in 2019 to the riverside event space, which included planting 150 trees, which are expected to grow to be 20 to 30 feet tall, mostly along the coal pile on the City's lakefront.  In 2010, the Community Development Department continued to work on a plan to find sponsors to fund the cost of planting 30 to 40 new trees in grates with tree guards along the sidewalks in Manitowoc's downtown area near the river.  While the main intent is to improve the streetscape, the trees will also provide additional bird habitat in the area of an important migratory corridor.  Many of the items for this project were purchased in 2020.

As mentioned in 1L, the City of Manitowoc is working with various organizations to provide additional bird habitat in the Little Manitowoc River area.  Although work has been completed in some areas, there are long-range plans in place to continue the work upriver.

The City of Manitowoc is currently in the planning stage to develop trails by wetlands and over the Little Manitowoc River area by the new Bayshore Drive.  This area will be a great opportunity for birdwatchers and for the placement of educational signs related to birds.

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 City of Manitowoc's website has a page for citizens to obtain information about the Emerald Ash Borer, which was detected in the city limits for the first time on July 26, 2017, and they offer a link on their Bird City and Tree City USA pages to the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area and the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve websites.

Woodland Dunes serves as a resource for information about invasive species, both aquatic and terrestrial.  The Nature Center also coordinates aquatic invasive species monitoring for lakes in Manitowoc County, and a mapping project for terrestrial invasive plants. Woodland Dunes periodically publicizes information about identification and control of invasive species and is available for citizen referrals from the City.  Furthermore, Woodland Dunes has information on free-roaming cats and natural landscaping/habitat improvement on their website and Facebook page.

Snapshot Day, where participants were trained to search for aquatic invasive species, took place in Manitowoc on Saturday, August 15, 20120  The local event was part of the annual statewide program coordinated by the River Alliance of Wisconsin.  Minimizing or eliminating aquatic invasive species is important as birds need clean water for drinking and keeping their feathers working properly.

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.

An expansive state natural area, Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve, is listed in the Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail guide as one of the premier birding areas in Manitowoc County. "Located between Manitowoc and Two Rivers, this 1,200-acre [now 1,500-acre] reserve offers boardwalks, observation areas and six miles of hiking trails to explore its woodlands, meadows and marshes. Common avian residents include ten species of sparrows, Ruffed Grouse, Acadian Flycatcher, and White-eyed Vireo. The State Natural Area highlights the ancient ridges and swales that are found near the lakeshore. Many ridges are timbered with aspen, white birch, beech and hemlock trees. The tremendous variety of plant species found here attract many species of birds, especially warblers and thrushes. 

Signature species: Songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and shorebirds. 

Rare species: Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Mourning Warbler."

Woodland Dunes has also been designated as an Important Bird Area by the Wisconsin Bird Conservation initiative.

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.

The City of Manitowoc has worked with members of the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve to enhance bird habitat through the use of native and fruit bearing trees and other vegetation at the Lakeside Boulevard bluff, the Maritime Drive bluff, the containment disposal facility (CDF) along the City's lakefront, and along the Little Manitowoc River.  

Over the past few years, the group Citizens for a Scenic Lakeshore assisted with the removal of invasive species and the planting of native trees and other vegetation along Lakeside Boulevard bluff and Red Arrow Park.  

In 2019, new concrete trails were placed in Red Arrow Park by the Friends of Red Arrow Park, and since then 27 new trees have been planted along the trails.  Memorial trees are being sold in memory of veterans or to show support for veterans and the memorial for the Red Arrow 32nd Infantry Division that is currently being planned for the south side of the park.  This park adjoins Lake Michigan and is part of an important migratory bird flyway.

A Project Red (Riverine Early Detectors) program, coordinated by the River Alliance of Wisconsin, was held in June 2019 at the City of Manitowoc's lower Henry Schuette Park where participants, along with the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed, paddled and cleaned the Manitowoc River, as well as learned how to monitor waterways for aquatic invasive species.  Clean water is beneficial to birds and other animals who use it as a source for drinking, bathing, and finding food.

In 2019, the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership and the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed hired a consultant to develop a restoration plan for the City of Manitowoc's lower Henry Schuette Park.  The primary objective of the project is to restore ecological function and value by establishing native plant communities.  In 2020, work continued on invasive species and hazardous tree removal.  In 2021, native plants will be revegetated, and management programs will be developed to provide ongoing environmental monitoring, invasive species control, site stewardship, and vegetation enhancement.  All of these processes will improve the habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership scheduled a public presentation on coal-tar pavement sealants was held at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc in March of 2019 to educate the public about the human and environmental harms of these sealants as well as the actions that people can take to protect their health and water resources.  Toxic products, such as these, can affect the health of birds and alter their habitat.

The Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed held two workshops in 2019 promoting healthy forests and coastal wetlands (Coastal Wetlands, the Rainforests of the Great Lakes and Healthy Watersheds:  A Healthy Watershed is a Forested Watershed).  Forests are important for birds as they provide a habitat and food as well as help to regulate climate and water quality.

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

In the summer of 2019, the U.S. Forestry Service planted 270 willow mats for erosion control on the hillside at the City of Manitowoc's gravel pit.  The mats could produce up to 50 sprouts per mat or a possible 13,500 new willow trees which would offer shelter and nesting sites for many types of birds.

The restoration plan at lower Henry Schuette Park (mentioned in 1H) will help to restore bird habitat by removing invasive species and planting native ones.

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

The City of Manitowoc, along with the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve and the Citizens for a Scenic Lakeshore volunteer group, have been involved in an ongoing management plan to “Restore the Shore” on Lakeside Boulevard and at Red Arrow Park in Manitowoc. The goal is to improve the site in terms of quality of habitat for birds and other animals, stabilize the soils on the bluff area, and improve the aesthetic value of this property overlooking Lake Michigan.  To date, work has been performed to some extent in every management work section. Over 500 cubic yards of invasives, dead wood, unwanted trees, and pruned limbs have been cut and removed from the area. The groups worked to plant over 50 pounds of native and wild grass seeds, over 120 native and fruit bearing trees, and a wide variety of flowers and plants from the native plants list approved for bluff planning in the management plan.  Work continued in 2019 and 2020 to clear and remove invasives at Red Arrow Park and to remove invasive trees, such as boxelder and cottonwood along Lakeside Boulevard bluff.

Work continues on the Little Manitowoc River Shorebird Habitat Project to restore, enhance, and provide education within the Little Manitowoc River Conservancy.  The Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve is serving as the lead for the 11 acre project, which includes establishing a songbird and pollinator habitat. The following habitat features have been added to the site:  cross log habitat structure, tree stump habitat structure, Osprey nest frame and platform, Purple Martin house, Swallow and Bluebird house, Johnson bat house, and a Wood Duck house. Eight ash trees were removed during re-construction of the nearby Waldo Boulevard and placed in the riverbank area for the cross log habitat structure.  Plans are underway to continue this type of work upriver.  Funds for this project have been received from various sources, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Great Lakes Coastal Program and the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. This project not only makes the area more bird-friendly but is also a top destination for visiting bird watchers as the site is a very important migratory stopover location for many species of birds and potentially monarch butterflies.

In 2020, the City of Manitowoc acquired approximately four acres of land adjoining Camp Vits Park.  This land was converted from private farmland to parkland.  The wetland acres on this property will be protected and will be a natural bird habitat for years to come.

In May of 2018, initial restoration began on the City of Manitowoc's Maritime Drive Bluff Restoration and Management Project.  Trees which were or may contribute to erosion or roadway problems were removed along with invasive vegetation and trees.  Approximately 40 native fruit or seed-bearing trees and shrubs that were physically appropriate for the site, desirable aesthetically, and/or valuable to migratory birds or other wildlife were planted under the direction of the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve along with approximately 150 pounds of grass seed.  Additional trees were planted in spring of 2019. This area is in close proximity to the shore of Lake Michigan, which is an important migratory flyway. 

M. Demonstrate that your community offers a program for private property owners who are interested in dealing with invasive plants that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.

Through the Restore the Shore project, property owners can receive technical assistance as well as help in the removal of invasive species and planting of native species at no charge for the restoration of habitat.

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

The City of Manitowoc has a history of working to control invasive species on public lands.  In 2018, silver poplar and garlic mustard were among the invasives removed at the Maritime Drive Bluff Restoration & Management site.  Invasive species were also treated at several of Manitowoc's stormwater ponds:  phragmites at the Dufek Drive and South 41st Street ponds, Japenese knotweed at the Clay Pit Road pond, parsnips at the North Rapids Road pond, and autumn olive at the South10th Street and Dufek Drive ponds.  With the help of the Citizens for a Scenic Lakeshore volunteer group, work continued in 2019 to remove invasives by the stormwater outfall at Red Arrow Park and to remove invasive trees, such as boxelder and cottonwood along Lakeside Boulevard Bluff. Plans are in place to continue monitoring and controling these invasive species.

Woodland Dunes also works with both the City of Manitowoc and private landowners, giving information and advice, and assistance in managing invasive, non-native plants, sometimes in conjunction with the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area housed within the center.

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

Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve has a chimney swift tower on its barn and offers information about swift conservation.  A family-friendly Swift Night Out is typically held to track the number of swifts that entered a chimney to roost for the night.  Tracking the numbers helps to see trends and show where to concentrate research and conservation efforts.

R. Show how your community aids a local youth group (e.g., Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of USA, 4-H Club, etc.) or conservation group in bird conservation projects (e.g., bluebird trail, habitat restoration, Wood Duck nest boxes, etc.).

Woodland Dunes works with student groups from UW-Manitowoc, Silver Lake College, Roncalli, Manitowoc Lincoln, Two Rivers, Mishicot, and Denmark High Schools on habitat restoration projects within its preserves and along the shore of Lake Michigan.

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.)

In 2016, a birding "hot spot" was identified at the Manitowoc Containment Disposal Facility (CDF) / Lakeview Park.  This harbor area has been outstanding for birds, including sightings of the White-winged Tern.  Many individuals from the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology have visited the area,  A sign was designated for this area and states "Welcome to One of Wisconsin's Best Birdwatching Hotspots:  The Manitowoc Containment Facility or CDF is a man-made structure designed to hold material excavated during harbor dredging activities.  Because it is essentially an island and lies along the Lake Michigan shore, an important migratory route for many species of birds, it is an important stopover area for many of them.  More than 300 species of birds have been recorded here, some nesting, others feeding and resting during migration.  A cooperative project to improve the quality of habitat for songbirds, and people who use the CDF for recreation is being done by the City of Manitowoc, and Woodland Dunes Nature Center, with support from the US Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership.  Invasive plant species will be managed, and the area planted with native vegetation which benefits songbirds."  A photo of Ruddy Turnstones is featured on the sign.  

 As part of the 2017 Bird Migration Celebration, Woodland Dunes sponsored a trip to the Manitowoc harbor area where a birding hotspot was named the Manitowoc Lakefront Birding Area and was "designated in honor of Dr. Charles Sontag, Emeritus Professor of Biology at the UW Manitowoc whose 50 years of daily observations revealed that more than 300 species of birds have been found at that single location."

Community Forest Management

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

The City of Manitowoc continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA city by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1983.

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 Manitowoc has a history of incorporating native species in public landscaping.  Work is continuing on the Little Manitowoc River Shorebird Habitat Project to restore, enhance, and provide education within the Little Manitowoc River Conservancy. This project included planting native trees & shrubs, etc. to facilitate a songbird and pollinator habitat.  The group plans to continue this work upriver in the future.

Work is also continuing on habitat restoration at lower Henry Schuette Park where invasive species (which are killing native trees and plants) and emerald ash borer infected trees are being removed in order to make way for native hardwoods and other species to be planted in this important pollinator area.

In May of 2018, initial restoration began on the City of Manitowoc's Maritime Drive Bluff Restoration and Managment Project.  Trees which were or may contribute to erosion or roadway problemswere removed along with invasive vegetation and trees.  Approximately 40 native fruit or seed-bearing trees and shrubs that were physically appropriate for the site, desirable aesthetically, and/or valuable to migratory birds or other wildlife were planted in 2018 under the direction of the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve along with approximately 150# of grass seed.  Work continued in 2019 with the planting of additional trees. This area is in close proximity to the shore of Lake Michigan, which is an important migratory flyway. 

Included as part of the Restore the Shore project, Woodland Dunes continues to promote the planting of native hardwood trees and shrubs in home landscapes.

As part of a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grant, the City of Manitowoc held its first Tree for a Tree Program in December of 2018 as an effort to help Manitowoc residents regain some of the urban canopy which will be lost due to the Emerald Ash Borer's devastating effects on the city's ash tree population.  After Christmas, City residents were given the opportunity to exchange their fresh-cut Christmas tree for a voucher for a native, deciduous whip to be planted in spring.  Due to the popularity of this program, it was funded again in 2019 and 2020 by the City of Manitowoc.

The City of Manitowoc encourages the planting of native trees in their Street Tree Planting Policy by highlighting the native trees on the list of suggested street trees and indicates that these native trees are best adapted to Wisconsin's climate and soils and are also the best trees for native birds and other animals.

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.

Al Rehme, the City of Manitowoc Forester, completed the Wisconsin Community Tree Management Institute in 2018 and passed the Wisconsin Arborist Association exam in February of 2019.

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 City of Manitowoc Bird City page includes a link to the Cats Indoors initiative by the American Bird Conservancy and to the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve which offers information about free roaming cats.  The City of Manitowoc also makes the municipal code 14.020 (Regulation of Dogs, Cats, and Other Animals)  available online for the public to view at any time.

The Lakeshore Humane Society in Manitowoc offers a Farm Felines Program where they take outdoor felines to a veterinarian to be spayed/neutered, rabies vaccinated and ear-tipped.  Felines are then given to a caregiver who will be responsible for providing food, water, shelter, and care.  The Lakeshore Humane Society also offers a SNAP program where the public can apply for financial assistance to spay/neuter their cats.

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

Woodland Dunes routinely distributes materials and information as requested about protecting birds from window strikes, such as the Safe Windows publication from Cornell. Links to both organizations are on the City of Manitowoc's Bird City page.  Frosted, adhesive tape that reflects ultraviolet light that birds can see is available for sale in the Woodland Dunes gift shop.

C. Show that your municipality practices Integrated Pest Management, using natural pest control and the best available science to minimize pesticide and herbicide use.

In September 2020, a wasp release was done by Aphis under the direction of the Department of Natural Resources at lower Henry Schuette Park in order to help with the emerald ash borer problem, which is killing the City's ash trees.

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 Manitowoc has had an ordinance in place for many years that states that cats are not to run at large.  Furthermore, cats are not permitted in any school ground, public playground, cemetery or public park.  Cats must be leashed or contained if on the streets or in public places.  Animals in heat must be confined on the owner's property at all times.

The City of Manitowoc Police Department does not break down their animal complaint statistics by species of animals, but overall, the department received 187 reports of incidents in 2019; of those, 88 field warnings were issued, and 20 citations were issued regarding animal ordinances.

Public Education

A. Demonstrate that schools in your community participate in a nationally-recognized environmental education program (e.g., Flying WILD, Audubon Adventures) or that your community organizes its own substantial education and outreach program for young people. 

Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve provides environmental education programs in which about 3,000 school children participate each year.  Many of these programs have avian education components, including curricula about bird migration and owls in particular.

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 City of Manitowoc’s Bird City webpage includes links to Bird City Wisconsin, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve. A link to the Audubon Society can be found in the sidebar of the Lincoln Park Zoo conservation webpage.

Backyard habitat enhancement is a frequent topic of adult education programming offered each year at the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve, plus information is available through the links provided on the Woodland Dunes birding page.  For example, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, National Wildlife Federation, and others address backyard bird habitat creation.  The Woodland Dunes has also posted information on its Facebook page showing how people can improve habitats for birds in their own yard.

The Restore the Shore Project is also a conduit for information about bird habitat enhancement through signage and other public engagement.

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).

Woodland Dunes coordinates the Christmas Bird Count for Manitowoc County, promotes the Great Backyard Bird Count, and conducts annual summer bird surveys within its preserve adjacent to the City. At the Christmas Bird Count for kids aged 8 years and older, 16 different species and 188 total birds were identified over the first two years. Woodland Dunes has also participated in the Midwest Crane Count for numerous years. In 2019, a family-friendly Swift Night Out was held to track the number of swifts that entered a chimney to roost for the night.  Tracking the numbers helps to see trends and show where to concentrate research and conservation efforts. In addition, sites in Manitowoc are monitored as part of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II.

D. Describe your community-sponsored annual bird festival. This must be a multi-day event or a truly exceptional one-day event.

Each year Woodland Dunes hosts its annual Bird Breakfast and Migration Celebration on the second Saturday in May. The Bird Breakfast was inaugurated in 1942 by a local librarian and has been continued by the nature center since the late 1970's. This event generally coincides with World Migratory Bird Day, and includes guided bird walks at different area locations, talks, children’s activities, and bird banding demonstrations.  

In fall, Woodland Dunes has Owlfest, a widely-known event celebrating the migration of Northern Saw-whet Owls which attracts visitors from across the state.  

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

Woodland Dunes provides a number of programs to children, both through its environmental education curriculum for schools, and for drop-in family visitors. Part of the Cottonwood Trail Program offered to several hundred first graders each September engages them in the dynamics of bird migration - the reasons for it, adaptations of birds which do and don't migrate, and a demonstration of bird banding and the release of banded birds. The second grade program is Owling 101, where students spend several hours learning about owls and their special adaptations, dissecting owl pellets, learning owl calls, and more each October. Children attending the Bird Breakfast, Owlfest, and Enchanted Forest events learn about birds by participating in many activities, and bird education for adults is included in the Wonder of It All monthly program series.

Woodland Dunes was founded to protect bird habitat, and avian education is a primary focus of many educational activities for people of all ages.  Examples of the conservation activities held include programs held at Woodland Dunes where bird feeders were made and when several classes of elementary school children and their teachers helped plant trees and shrubs at the Manitowoc Containment Disposal Facility, which were beneficial for use as bird habitats.

In July 2020, Stantec installed an Osprey nest platform in the Little Manitowoc River project area.  The materials and labor were donated by the A.T.C. and M.J. Utility Contractors.

F. Demonstrate that your community understands the critical ecological role of pollinators by documenting your Bee City USA status or by describing another substantial effort to promote pollinator health (for ideas visit the Xerxes Society and the Pollinator Partnership).

The City and Woodland Dunes recognize that the shore of Lake Michigan is a significant migratory corridor for butterflies and other pollinators, and encourage volunteers who maintain gardens along the lakeshore Mariners Trail to include native plants which benefit them.  Woodland Dunes has enhanced and is maintaining more than 200 acres of pollinator habitat within its 1,500 acre preserves for the benefit of both native insects and grassland bird species. 

The City of Manitowoc's Lincoln Park Zoo contains a honey bee hive exhibit, maintained in part by the Brown County Beekeepers Association, that is designed so that visitors can see the inner workings of a honey bee colony and to educate visitors about the important role bees play in our ecosystem.  In June 2020, the Lincoln Park Zoological Society Facebook page featured several posts about pollinators during National Pollinator Week in order to remind people of their importance.

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)

The City of Manitowoc has working relationships with local environmental and/or ecologically-minded organizations.  For example, the Manitowoc chapter of the Izaak Walton League annually donates trees for the City of Manitowoc Arbor Day Celebration.  In turn, the City of Manitowoc recognizes their donations with plaques by the trees and through various advertisements, as well as by providing a facility for their annual fish fry fundraiser free of charge.  The City of Manitowoc also provides the Manitowoc Fish & Game group a monthly meeting facility at a discounted rate.  These groups have often donated items and/or monies for various park and zoo projects.  In addition, the Northeast Wisconsin Great Lakes Sports Fisherman operate a fish rearing pond within the boundaries of the City of Manitowoc's Lincoln Park Zoo.

K. Demonstrate that your community actively raises awareness of its bird assets. Examples include placing a remote web camera on a nest platform, offering bird watching field trips, or creating a significant educational resource on your community's bird life.

The Manitowoc area has been featured in a number of media publications, including features in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, local television news features, Wisconsin Public Television, Discover Wisconsin, and the Visitor Guide for the Manitowoc Area Visitor and Convention Bureau - all highlighting the diversity of birds found in the area. 

There are some webcams in the local area where citizens can view birds. Briess Malt & Ingredients Company has a link on their website to a live Falcon cam atop their grain elevator, and the Woodland Dunes website has both a Bird Feeder Cam and an Osprey Cam, so that people can enjoy birds from the comfort of their own house.  The Osprey nest cam has generated a lot of interest including visits from Green Bay television and local radio and newspaper stories. The City of Manitowoc also has a harbor cam, which can be used to pan the harbor and view gulls and waterfowl which is helpful for planning birding trips to the harbor.

Awareness of birds in the Manitowoc area was also raised through the advertising on the website, in newspapers, newsletters, Facebook, etc. of various activities at the Woodland Dunes Nature Center, such as:

  • The Breeding Bird Atlas, which is an important citizen-science study to document what species of birds are nesting across the state,
  • A Sandhill Crane Count for Manitowoc County, which was open to new volunteers and experienced counters,
  • Birding with Bernie programs to identify and observe the birds as they come to the feeders at the Chickadee Landing inside the Nature Center,
  • The Bird Breakfast & Migration Celebration, which celebrates the return of many migratory songbirds and includes a guided bird hike and children’s activities,
  • The Birds, Bees & Butterflies Summer Camp for children ages 4-7, which teaches children how to make a bird nest,
  • Friday Morning Bird Walks that help document the birds in the Woodland Dunes preserve,
  • Birding the Marsh, which offers a guided tour of the marsh to look for birds,
  • Owl Fest, where participants can meet and learn about Wisconsin owls and raptors through Wildlife of Wisconsin, enjoy nature walks, and an owl hooting contest,
  • Kids’ Eye View of Wildlife Rehabilitation with Wildlife of Wisconsin, where kids can practice wing wrapping and learn what it is like to be a wildlife rehabilitator,
  • Hawk Watch along Lakeside Boulevard where people look for migrating hawks and other birds on Lake Michigan, and the
  • Kids’ Nature Club Hike & Activity, where families can enjoy a guided nature hike and learn about owls.
  • The Christmas Bird Count for Kids, which originated in 2012 and helps children learn birding basics and gives them an opportunity to document bird species and tabulate results.

At the preserve, a Bird Sanctuary with bird feeders is offered for kids to observe and watch various species and Adventure Backpacks have activities that help children learn about things such as bird nests. Geocaching is also available on site to bring more visitors to the area to view the natural plants and wildlife, such as birds.

Finally, the City of Manitowoc offers a page on its website for Bird City information and links.

N. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Woodland Dunes also provides a weekly newspaper column which frequently has birds as the topic, and staff are featured seasonally on local radio, much of the time answering bird-related questions from listeners.

 The City's Lincoln Park Zoo offers native songbird exhibits, as well as a Birds of Prey exhibit, which they have always been enthusiastic about showcasing.  Information about the birds in their exhibits is available on the City's website.  In 2019, this exhibit underwent landscaping renovations and received new windscreen and perches for the birds.

Energy & Sustainability

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 City of Manitowoc encourages bike riding through its support of the Mariners Trail, a hard-surfaced 7-mile trail running along Lake Michigan which connects the cities of Manitowoc and Two Rivers, and a mountain bike trail at Camp Vits Park.  The City works with volunteer groups who help support and maintain these trails. in the fall of 2019, the City of Manitowoc implemented a Volunteer Snow Grooming Policy in the hope of creating and maintaining a network of well-maintained, user-friendly, snow-based trails primarily for the use and promotion of winter bike riding.  In 2019, money was budgeted to update the City of Manitowoc's Bike and Pedestrian Plan in 2020.  The City is working on plans to begin installing trails along Bayshore Drive and from Revere Drive to Manitou Park in 2021.  Once the Bike and Pedestrian Plan is approved, additional bike racks will be purchased (from monies originally budgeted for 2019) and installed to encourage bike riding.

In recent years, the City of Manitowoc began using sharrows on its downtown streets for the first time ever for cyclists to ride from the Lake Michigan Carferry dock through downtown Manitowoc to connect with the Mariners Trail.  (Bike riding is prohibited on downtown sidewalks, so the sharrows are very helpful for cyclists). 

 In addition, municipal buses are all equipped with bike racks for people who may opt to ride their bike to a stop and board the bus.  There is no additional charge for this service.

In 2020, the City of Manitowoc began planning for the installation of an electric power station for vehicles in the city's downtown area.

The City's Manitowoc Public Utilities offers a Renewable Choice Program where participants can direct MPU to purchase the extra power they need from renewable sources only.  They also offer links online regarding conserving energy and water and regarding the Focus on Energy Renewable Energy Program.

H. Describe your community’s efforts to educate residents about climate change.

Over the years, there have been several opportunities for Manitowoc residents to learn about climate change.    In February of 2018, a workshop was held at the Wisconsin Maritime Mueseum in Manitowoc by the Climate Change Coalition of Door County entitled "Effective Communication in the Face of Skepticism:  Climate Change."  Participants learned ways to communicate about climate change in a "positive, assertive, and effective manner." The goal was to give participants the "tools needed to make a difference" in the local community.  Also, the Herald Times Reporter published an article written by the Environment Committee Chairman of the League of Women Voters of Manitowoc County on Earth Day 2018, which gave information about global warming, a push for cleaner energy, and information on how to find information on how state leaders are voting on environmental issues.  A day-long Climate Change Communication Workshop held at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc by the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in October of 2019 was sold out.  One of the things participants learned was how local Wisconsin communities are working together to reduce our production of rampant CO2 which disrupts the climate.  In 2020, the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership promoted a "High-Performance Homes as a Tool to Combat Climate Change" program in Bailey's Harbor.  Buildings are key to combating climate change as they contribute 35 to 40 percent of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is increasingly tied to superstorms, flooding, drought, fires, food scarcity, dangerous health effects and mass migration.

I. Document that your community is part of the Energy Independent Community program.

The City of Manitowoc is listed as an Energy Independent Community on the Focus on Energy website.

J. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The City of Manitowoc is moving toward using more energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) lighting.  For example, the City is using LED lighting in traffic signals and new parking lot lighting.  In 2019, new LED lighting was installed along a pedestrian walkway by the Manitowoc River in downtown Manitowoc and on Rapids Road and Waldo Boulevard after recent street re-construction projects. Christmas displays were also converted over to LED lighting.  In the fall of 2019, the Manitowoc Public Utilities (MPU) Commission approved a plan to convert every street light in the City of Manitowoc from high pressure sodium to LED over the next five years.  Currently, there are 4,858 lights throughout the city, so this conversion will go a long way toward making Manitowoc more energy efficient.

In recent years, Manitowoc Public Utilities has offered a LED lightbulb rebate program of up to $20 for residential customers as well as a Christmas Light Exchange where customers can bring in their old incandescent bulbs in exchange for up to three strings of LED bulbs.  They also exchange screw in bulbs at this exchange event as well.  In addition, MPU had a holiday lighting display at their office in 2019 which showed the benefits of LED lights.  Furthermore, information about LED lighting can be found on the MPU 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.

In May 2019 an annual Bird Breakfast & Migration Celebration was held at the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve, one of the oldest birding events in Wisconsin. Woodland Dunes provides various bird related education activities and guided bird hikes on the day of the event within the preserve.

Typically, the City of Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo holds an annual Bird Day event in May where children learn about birds and bird conservation through fun activities and games; however, due to the COVID-19 virus, the event was held in October in 2020.

Joined Bird City: 2011

Population: 33,736

Incorporated: 1870

Area: 17.99 mi2

Community Website

Community Bird City Page

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