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 (www.ebird.org). More than 300 species have been recorded at that location, and Charles has the largest number of species observations in the State. 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.
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.
Woodland Dunes serves as a resource for information about invasive species, both aquatic and terrestrial. Woodland Dunes has raised Galerucella beetles for purple loosestrife control and released them at a number of sites in the area including at the Manitowoc Small Boat Harbor area and Henry Schuette Park in Manitowoc. 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.
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 Trailguide as one of the premier birding areas in Manitowoc County. "Located between Manitowoc and Two Rivers, this 1,200-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."
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 and at the containment disposal facility (CDF) along the City's lakefront. 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 2018, the City partnered with Woodland Dunes to remove poplars and other shallow rooted trees on the Maritime Drive bluff and then re-plant with native trees which will be beneficial for the bird population at the nearby CDF.
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 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 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 are proposed for 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. 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 will not only make the area more bird-friendly but 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 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. 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 native plant materials at no charge for 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. For example, in 2015, the City continued its partnership with Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP) to control phragmites along the Little Manitowoc River through Indian Creek Park and on lakefront property along the shoreline. In 2016, through a grant from the LNRP, follow-up treatment and removal was conducted on Japanese knotweed at the Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo, Lakeside Boulevard Bluff/Red Arrow Park, and at the Manitowoc Yacht Club by the City of Manitowoc and Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve. Garlic mustard, honeysuckle, and phragmities were also removed at Lakeside Boulevard Bluff/Red Arrow Park. In September of 2017, Japanese knotweed was removed from the Lincoln Park Zoo area and wild parsnip and barberry were removed from the Woodland Dunes preserve in fall. 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. Plans are in place to continue monitoring and controling these invasive species.
Woodland Dunes also works with not only the City of Manitowoc but 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.
Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve has erected a chimney swift tower on its barn and offers information about swift conservation.
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.
In 2017, several classes of students and teachers from Madison Elementary School helped plant 100 dogwood, viburnums, chokeberries, and birch trees at the Manitowoc CDF. A Purple Martin birdhouse was later placed just outside these trees and shrubs.
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.
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. For example, in 2016, City of Manitowoc, along with Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve and the Citizens for a Scenic Lakeshore volunteer group, worked to plant over 120 native and fruit bearing trees by the Lakeside Boulevard Bluff. They also agreed upon a native plant list for this area.
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 includes planting native trees & shrubs, etc. to facilitate a songbird and pollinator habitat.
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 under the direction of the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve along with approximately 150# of grass seed. 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 native, deciduous whip.
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 is scheduled to take a 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.
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.
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 642 reports of incidents in 2017; of those, 360 field warnings were issued, and 87 citations were issued regarding animal ordinances.
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.
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.
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 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. The 2017 celebration included a special trip to the Manitowoc harbor, where a birding area was dedicated "in honor of Dr. Charles Sontag, Emeritus Professor of Biology whose 50 years of daily observations revealed that more than 300 species of birds have been found at that single location."
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. The 2017 celebration included representatives from Wildlife of Wisconsin, and Channel 5 visited Woodland Dunes to help promote the event.
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 CDF, which were beneficial for use as bird habitats.
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 1,400 acre preserves for the benefit of both native insects and grassland bird species.
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'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 ().
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 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.
The City of Manitowoc recently 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). Monies were also budgeted for 2019 to place bike racks at each city park to encourage bike riding.
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. A march in support of the environment was held in Manitowoc in November 2015 in support of fighting climate change. The march was organized by the Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Environment Committee, and information was available at the march for anyone interested in learning more. In 2016, a Woodland Dunes summer education intern held an event regarding "The UNFCCC Climate Conference: A Local Perspective on an International Agreement." The purpose of the event was to discuss the agreement and what it means for the future of this area. In November of 2017, the League of Women Voters of Manitowoc County showed the National Geographic Film "Before the Flood" at Manitowoc's City Hall. The film offered information on global warming and 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.
In May of 2018, 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 provided various bird related education activities and guided bird hikes on the day of the event within the preserve.
The City of Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo also held an annual Bird Day event in May of 2018 where children could learn about birds and bird conservation through fun activities and games.