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.
Muskego is in compliance with Wisconsin’s Smart Growth law. Resolution #007-2009 approves the 2020 comprehensive plan and declares it to be in compliance with Smart Growth Laws.
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)
Bob Tamm and Mary Borchardt maintain and monitor several bluebird boxes in Muskego. Bill Stout annually monitors Osprey production on Big Muskego Lake and bands young ospreys.
D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.
Through the Parks & Conservation Plan, the City takes an active role in the planning process of protecting and enlarging bird habitat. The City has been acquiring new conservation lands, creating favorable habitat and actively managing its 500+ acres of conservation land. Over the past two decades Muskego has established over 110 acres of prairie habitat, restored/enhanced over 100 acres of wetlands, and has managed over 90 acres of woodlands. Community volunteers have furthered the mission of creating bird habitat. The City also has continued to manage oak savanna habitat at Badertscher Preserve and Blattner Preserve. Oak savanna, a plant community that is imperiled both globally and at the state level, is important to many birds including the Red-headed Woodpecker. This management included removal/treatment of invasive plant species, prescribed burning, and seeding/planting native grasses, forbs, and shrubs.
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.
Muskego is active in the removal of invasive plant species and provides information and links to that topic on the City’s website. City Forester provides technical advice to citizens who inquire about invasive species management.
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.
Big Muskego Lake has been officially recognized as an Important Bird Area. The area provides habitat for the endangered Foster’s Tern and Black Tern. A plethera of waterfowl and shorebirds use Big Muskego marsh as a migratory stopover. Also, the area has furnished nesting habitat for Bald Eagles and Ospreys.
L. Show that your community has restored at least two acres of woodlands, wetlands, or prairie.
The City of Muskego sustains restoration efforts on much of its 500 acres of City-owned conservation land. Muskego owns over 100 acres (114.3) of reconstructed prairie habitat which are managed with invasive species removal and precribed fire. Muskego also conducts ecological management efforts on many of its 120 acres of woodlands and 134 acres of wetlands.
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.
The City of Muskego’s website contains links to Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin (IPAW). The City’s conservation coordinator provides technical advice to residents on dealing with invasive plant species.
N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.
Removal of invasive plants (buckthorn, honeysuckle, multiflora rose, wild parsnip, sweetclover, Canada thistle...) is an ongoing work task. Staff visits various woodland, prairie and wetland sites throughout the year and efforts are made to “weed out” problem invasive species that are observed. In 2020, intensified efforts were made at Denoon Park, Badertscher Preserve, Blattner Preserve, and Engel Conservation Area.
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.).
Eagle scouts projects have helped establish wood duck nesting boxes in various ponds throughout the community. The Prairie Enthusiasts have been a conservation partner group providing volunteer assistance on habitat projects. Several individual volunteers assist efforts as well.
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.)
Birding Hotspot: Engel Conservation Area is a 153-acre site owned and managed by the City of Muskego for open space preservation, wildlife habitat and outdoor education. There are approximately four miles of hiking trails running through diverse woodlands, wetlands and prairie habitats. These trails along with interpretive and directional signage make Engel an ideal site for birding.
Birding Hotspot: Badertscher Preserve also has about 4 miles of hiking trails that traverse varied bird habitat including prairie, oak savanna, forest, and wetland.
Birding Hotspot: Big Muskego Lake is a Wisconsin IBA. Information on its endangered bird resources is presented at boat ramp kiosks.
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 2020 the City of Muskego planted three acres of power line right-of-way to prairie vegetation trougha grant received from American Transmission Company's "Pollinator Program." While this program focuses on pollinating insects, healthy insect habitat is also healthy bird habitat!
Community Forest Management
A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
The City of Muskego continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1999.
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 Muskego has demonstrated a preference of utilizing native species in tree and shrub plantings – particularly in parks. Native woody plants are managed in forested areas through removal of nonnative shrubs. The City Forester reviews landscape plans for commercial developments - in doing so, developers are often directed to change species composition to more native selections.
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.
A digital copy of the “Cats, Birds, and You” brochure is available through the City of Muskego’s website.
B. Demonstrate that your community provides property owners with information on how to protect birds from window strikes (e.g., online links, brochures).
A “Preventing Bird Window Strikes” brochure was created and is on display and available to residents who visit City Hall as well as being posted on Muskego’s website.
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 provides a variety of information on creating and enhancing backyard bird habitat on the City of Muskego’s website.
G. Provide a link to your community’s Bird City Wisconsin webpage, which must be visible from the main page of your municipal website (it may be located at the first level of a drop down menu on the main page but cannot be any less visible) OR demonstrate that your Bird City effort has a significant social media presence.
Link to the City's Bird City webpage: as visible from the city's main page drop down menu under Departments -- Lakes, Forestry, and Conservation.
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.
In 2018, Muskego recreation program hosted kayak trips on Big Muskego Lake. During these trips, we showcase the diverse bird life including the Endangered Forster’s terns, Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. (Muskego typically maintains an “Osprey Cam” on a nesting platform on Big Muskego Lake, however, in 2018 eagles nested on this platform before the camera could be deployed.)
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.
Muskego has an extensive recreation trail network when compared to other southeastern Wisconsin suburban communities - there are over 45 miles of trails dedicated to non-motorized transportation that link residential neighborhoods to commercial areas and parks within Muskego. (See page Chapter 3, Map #7 in 2017-2021 Parks & Conservation Plan.) Map 45 in Chapter 5 of the same document shows trails planned in the future.
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)
A. This community's municipal body passed the required International Migratory Bird Day resolution.
Muskego’s celebration of World Migratory Bird Day on May 11, 2019 included a bird watching hike at Badertscher Preserve. Approximately 35 people observed birds for two hours led by a proficient birders John Winze and Pat Horn. We toured various habitats throughout this conservation site. Please note that for the above criterion, Muskego passes the resolution in the weeks just before IMBD. Accordingly, a resolution will be passed in April recognizing May 9 as WMBD in 2020.