City of Manitowoc

City of Manitowoc

HIGH FLYER

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.

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)

Several hundred acres of Woodland Dunes has been designated a State Natural Area.

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

As part of Manitowoc's long range Downtown Master Plan, adopted in December 2018, the Community Development Department purchased 30 new trees which were planted in grates with tree guards along the sidewalks in Manitowoc's downtown area near the river in 2021.  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.  

In January 2021, the City of Manitowoc was awarded a Knowles-Nelson grant to develop a public trail system in the new Bayshore Development.  The goal is to connect the Mariners Trail along the lakefront to Lincoln Park.  The City also allocated dollars to this trail system and a future pedestrian bridge over the Little Manitowoc River to connect to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  There will also be a kayak launch and fishing stations.  The developers of the property donated almost 11 acres of property to remain in conservancy/parkland.  There are plans to plant pollinators along the river in areas disturbed by construction as this is a coastal wetland migratory flyway.  This area will be a great opportunity for birdwatchers and for the placement of educational signs related to birds.  The signs are now completed and ready for installation.  Also in 2021, trees were planted along the newly constructed Bayshore Drive, which will provide additional bird habitat as well. 

The Forestry Division applied for and received a Wisconsin Urban Forestry Grant from the Department of Natural Resources which paid for the removal of 23 dead and/or dying trees and replaced them with 46 trees (two new trees for every one removed) in 2022.  In addition, several dozen trees were planted in various parks in 2022 with funds from the Parks Division.

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 invasive 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 at lower Henry Schuette Park on August 20, 2022.  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 continues to work 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.  

Along with the City of Manitowoc, the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, the Fund for Lake Michigan, and Stantec Consulting Services have been instrumental in developing a restoration plan for Silver Creek Stream which flows through Manitowoc's Silver Creek Park.  Some of the goals of the project include stabilizing stream banks, improving stormwater infiltration and reducing direct discharge to the waterway, invasive species control, planting native trees and shrubs increasing the availability of high-quality grassland and forested habitats for migratory songbirds and upland game birds, creating a nectar-rich herbaceous habitat to support pollinators and enhancing the structural complexity of riparian and coastal habitats.

From 2019 to 2021, the Friends of Red Arrow Park, sold approximately memorial tree packages in memory of veterans or to show support for veterans and the memorial for the Red Arrow 32nd Infantry Division that was installed at the park.  This park adjoins Lake Michigan and is part of an important migratory bird flyway.

The Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed and the Lakeshore Natural Resources Partnership hold annual Lake Michigan beach cleanups each year at seven beaches, which helps to keep the beaches and water cleaner for people and birds.  The Coolest Coast posted a YouTube video showing beach cleanup along the lakeshore in September of 2021. 

In addition, the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed held a Storm Drain Stenciling Blitz in 2021 to spray an anti-pollution message on the concrete.  In 2022, volunteers spent several months installing metal drain markers on storm drains to remind citizens not to drop pollutants down the drains, since they lead directly to the river or lake.  This helps to keep the water safe for both humans and animals, such as birds.

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

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 began on removal of invasive species and hazardous trees.  Since 2021, native plants were revegetated, and management programs were developed to provide ongoing environmental monitoring, invasive species control, site stewardship, and vegetation enhancement.  The highlights from 2022 include the removal of dense invasive species in 52 acres along with hand removal in more ecologically sensitive areas and multiple rounds of spot treatment during the growing season, the planting of 168 trees, and the installation of a half acre of native wet meadow seed.  In order to help accomplish this, two volunteer events were held - one to pull garlic mustard in June and one to help with tree planting.  All of these processes will improve the habitat for birds and other wildlife. 

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

The Little Manitowoc River Shorebird Habitat Project was developed to restore, enhance, and provide education within the Little Manitowoc River Conservancy.  The Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve served as the lead for the 11 acre project, which included establishing a songbird and pollinator habitat. The following habitat features were 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.  In 2021, several educational signs were added.  Funds for this project were 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 and is known as Vetter Trailhead.  The wetland acres on this property will be protected and will be a natural bird habitat for years to come.  In 2021, an easement was acquired from Woodland Dunes, which will connect Camp Park to the Vetter Trailhead where a parking lot was constructed.  This easement will improve access to trails at Camp Vits Park and passive recreational opportunities.  There is a deed restriction on the easement prohibiting bicycle usage, which will help to keep the impact of usage to a minimum.

The restoration project at lower Henry Schuette (mentioned in 1I) is also helping to restore dozens of acres of habitat within the City of Manitowoc.

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.  Invasive species are 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.  

The Lakeshore Natural Resources Partnership began sponsoring a project in 2022 to control approximately 2.8 acres of invasive Japanese knotweed at three City of Manitowoc properties (Silver Creek Park, Lincoln Park, and by the Manitowoc River access).

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.

The Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed hosted an Aquatic Invasive Species Snapshot Day at lower Henry Schuette Park in August 2022. 

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. They also record data regarding the chimney swifts' activity during the nesting season.

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.

Q. Document the establishment of a program to promote the conservation of Purple Martins through research, state of the art management techniques, or public education.

Woodland Dunes conducts education programs about purple martins and their conservation.  In February 2021, a new purple martin house was installed at Woodland Dunes and a YouTube video was posted online giving some general information about purple martins.

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 Green Bay - Manitowoc Campus, Roncalli High School, and Lincoln High School on habitat restoration projects within its preserves and along the shore of Lake Michigan.  Woodland Dunes sponsors units of both Scouting USA and Girl Scouts who participate in bird conservation activities.

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.)

Woodland Dunes has established and maintains seven miles of trails equipped with educational signage about birds and other natural features.  All trails are open daily from dawn until dusk and are free of charge.

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."

The City of Manitowoc's Lincoln Park Zoo has a boardwalk and birding deck next to the river with educational signage.  In 2022, the Lincoln Park Zoological Society received $25,000 grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program to develop a design plan and construction documents to rehabilitate and restore currently unused exhibit space into an aviary to house coastal and wetland birds.

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.

In 2022, the City of Manitowoc Community Development Department collaborated with the Manitowoc County Soil and Water Conservation Department to introduce native pollinator gardens in several City right-of-ways and in a new parking lot in downtown Manitowoc.  Manitowoc County provided additional funding through a West Foundation Grant, and assisted in native plant selection and establishing a planting plan.  The plantings make the downtown more beautiful but also provide important feeding and nesting areas while also enhancing water quality.

V. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Weekly grooming of the City's beaches along Lake Michigan during the warm weather months helps to keep the water clean and safe to drink.

To help combat oversalting in winter months, the City of Manitowoc has started using salt brine, calibrating the salt trucks, and beet juice.  They also give away Salt Wise Cups, which hold the right amount of salt that should be used to treat about 10 squares of sidewalk or 20' of driveway during the winter months.  This helps to keep harmful levels of salt out of the waterways.

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 habitat restoration plan 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.

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.  Woodland Dunes also received funding in 2021 to extend tree and shrub planting in the State Nature Area for another two years (5,000 large trees and shrubs), and an additional coastal stopover area of 15 acres is now being restored at the south end of Woodland Dunes, which is only a few yards from Lake Michigan.

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 has been funded annually 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.

In 2022, the City of Manitowoc installed a pollinator garden at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

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 has incorporated bird-safe glass in it's new building addition and has developed other bird-safe measure of educational purposes on other windows.  A display in the nature center educates people about window strikes and what can be done to prevent them.  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.  

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

Annually since 2020, a wasp release has been 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 ash trees in the City of Manitowoc.

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.  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.

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.  More than 100 people typically attend the event.

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

In 2022, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology's annual convention was hosted by Woodland Dunes.  Various birding field trips were offered over several days.  Beginning birder workshops took place at Woodland Dunes Nature Center and a Big Sit took place at the Manitowoc Containment area on Lake Michigan where birders had the opportunity to learn shorebird and gull identification.  "Green birding" trips were also offered by kayak or bicycle.

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

Woodland Dunes, which was founded to protect bird habitat and avian education, is a primary focus of many educational activities for people of all ages.  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 Owling 101 program is offered to Kindergarten through 3rd grade students, where they 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.  

The Little Manitowoc River area is a popular area for birds.  The Mayor's Youth Action Council adopted this park area and performs cleanups and monthly inspections.  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. Woodland Dunes is part of the Bumblebee Brigade project and submits data on bumblebee sightings in the preserve.  In 2021, eight federally endangered rusty-patched bumblebees were found in the preserve, and grant funding was obtained to restore and maintain habitat for that 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.

In 2022, the City's Park Division designated several areas, typically where milkweed was growing, as "no-mow."

In the Silver Creek Stream Restoration Plan, which was drafted in 2022, several acres will be set aside for pollinator-friendly plants.

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.   In 2022, the group donated an additional nine trees for Lincoln Park where numerous ash trees were removed.

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.  The fish are eventually released in the river at Manitou Park.

J. Document that a municipal building has significant bird-friendly landscaping that features native plants AND signage that explains the importance of native plants and providing diverse habitat for birds (e.g., brush piles, water features).

The Woodland Dunes Nature Center, while not a municipal building, is open to the public and has signage describing several methods employed to make windows safe for birds and has a demonstration area landscaped with native plants specifically for the benefit of birds.

The Manitowoc Senior Center has two bioswales with native pollinator plants and educational signage, and there is one bioswale at Lighthouse Park with native plants and signage.

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 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 and other wildlife in the area was also raised through many Woodland Dunes Nature Center activities which are advertised on its website, in newspapers, newsletters, Facebook, etc.  Woodland Dunes personnel also provide a weekly column to Seehafer News about wildlife, which are oftentimes bird-related, and four or five times per year, the staff are guests on local radio shows on WOMT to answer questions about local wildlife, including birds.

The Lincoln Park Zoo promotes awareness of birds, such as through their Birds of Prey exhibits.  Information about the birds can be found on the website.  There is also a boardwalk and birding observation deck by the river.

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

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.

Woodland Dunes Nature Preserve intentionally provides access to its facilities and preserve at no charge, so that no one is excluded due to cost.  For organized programs, fees are intentionally kept low and are subsidized by Woodland Dunes membership and grants, when available.  Manitowoc has an excellent park system, including access to the Lake Michigan shore, which is freely available to all.  

When feasible, the City of Manitowoc attempts to make park areas handicap accessible.  For example, there are paved trails along the Little Manitowoc River Walkway and a wooden boardwalk and Mobi-Mat on the beach at Red Arrow Park,  The first portion of new trails at Vetter Trailhead are also handicap accessible, until prohibited by the terrain.  These areas are good for bird watching.

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 2021, City of Manitowoc updated its Bike and Pedestrian Plan and additional bike racks were purchased (from monies originally budgeted for 2019) to encourage bike riding.  In 2021, bike lanes were added on Custer Street as part of the street's reconstruction project.

City of Manitowoc personell are working on plans to begin installing trails along Bayshore Drive and from Revere Drive to Manitou Park.  Plans for multi-use paths are underway for the 2023 Reed Avenue reconstruction project and for the new River Point development.

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 2021, the City of Manitowoc installed its first 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.

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 Woodland Dunes Nature Center, while not a municipal building, is open to the public and has a solar array which offsets about 1/3 of the center's electric demand.  In 2022, the center is expected to greatly expand its capacity.

The City of Manitowoc is working with Manitowoc Public Utilities on plans for a new solar energy sustainable program at the City's gravel pit.

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

Woodland Dunes personnel frequently discuss climate change and its impact on local ecosystems, Lake Michigan, and birdlife.  In 2022, a program on climate change, led by an Emeritus Professor of Geography from UW-Oshkosh, was  held virtually and was available to the public.

In 2022, the Lakeshore Unitarian Fellowship held a program called "Cultivating a Water Ethic" and the Manitowoc Public Library held a virtual, grassroutes education program entitled "Climate Change with Elizabeth Wheat."  "Climate Adaptation in Place: The Story of Lower Schuette Park" was held at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. 

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 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.  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 2022, Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve held its 80th annual Bird Breakfast & Migration Celebration, one of the oldest birding events in Wisconsin which celebrates spring and the return of the migratory songbirds.  Guided bird hikes were offered, and self-guided activities for families were set up outside on the grounds.  Funds were raised to support education and land management programs at Woodland Dunes.

In May 2022, the City of Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo held its annual World Migratory Bird Day event, where children learn about birds and bird conservation through fun activities and games.

Joined Bird City: 2011

Population: 33,736

Incorporated: 1870

Area: 17.99 mi2

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