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 New Berlin has a comprehensive plan that is in compliance with Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law regarding land use planning and resource management. The plan, entitled New Berlin 2020 Comprehensive Plan, touches on multiple aspects of creating and protecting habitat.
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)
Within the comprehensive plan there exist specific ordinances that deal with conservancy zoning and environmental corridors, providing existing bird habitat legal protection for migratory and resident birds alike.
D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.
The City of New Berlin applied for a National Fish and Wildlife Federation (NFWF) Five Star Urban Waters Grant in 2017. The proposed project will cover 9.59 acres and encompass the length of Deer Creek and the wetlands to the south and east of the City Center Business District. Common to this area are several species of resident birds, migratory songbirds, owls and waterfowl. Recent history has revealed an abundance of whitetail deer and smaller animals such as muskrats, raccoon, opossum, skunks, various mice/voles and even evidence of a beaver. The habitat for these species is that of an urban to rural interface and wetland transition ecology. The current state of the defined proposal areas vary between ‘poor’ with construction debris, litter and heavily infested invasive species to ‘fair’ with few invasive species and nearly undisturbed lowland habitat, native trees and wetlands plants.
The project will connect two areas of current focused conservation activities. First, the Deer Creek Sanctuary is a parcel of 47 acres of upland mature oak and maple climax growth forest that has been involved in community conservation efforts from Scout projects, the Gering Trail and a native salamander study due to the vernal ponds. The other end of the project is the Preserve at Deer Creek and Eisenhower High (EHS) and Middle School. The Ecology Club at EHS most recently has created an ecological trail through the woods at the School and would like to expand their efforts north through the Golf Course and into the wetlands following Deer Creek to City Center. At City Center, there are efforts underway to benefit the environment with the Friends of the Library engaging with the Waukesha Green Team and several local civic groups to promote water conservation with a “Project Rainway” rain barrel auction, ABC Garden and bird habitat enhancement behind the new Library. This project would give a tangible point of consolidation for those conservation efforts and a community gathering point to begin and end the Wetland Ecology Trail. When complete, the project will remain sustainable with the committed involvement from the Scouts annual activities in Scout Park, coordinated monitoring by the New Berlin Land and Ecology Club and annual activities by the EHS Ecology Club. The City of New Berlin Parks, Buildings and Grounds Department is the ultimate authority over this project and will maintain oversight of this area as identified in the Parks and Open Space Plan 2016.
In conclusion, this project will restore and make accessible to our public the Deer Creek corridor that flows through the most heavily urbanized area of the City of New Berlin. This proposal will establish a sustainable ecological trail with the use of variety of community volunteer groups and lay the foundation for additional community engagement and with the development and improvement of future park space and a means for the promotion of our local wetland ecology
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.
Appendix G of the New Berlin 2020 Comprehensive Plan outlines design rules and maintenance techniques for natural plantings and also addresses invasive species control. In addition, New Berlin’s website provides residents with information on the Emerald Ash Borer and assorted tree diseases. The front desk at the Recreation Department has several informational pamphlets on Garlic Mustard, EAB and most recently, Jumping Worm (Amynthas spp.).
V. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
Each year, The City of New Berlin receives requests from Scouts for projects and activities that will give them the Eagle Scout rank. For 2016, we worked with two Scouts on projects that enhance the bird habitat at Gatewood Park in New Berlin. Josh Kohel, Eagle Scout candidate, installed (3) donated Wood Duck houses at the park pond and built benches in adjacent areas for wildlife viewing. A second Eagle Scout candidate, Aaron Schmidt, installed (4) bluebird houses in the periphery of the park open areas and planted (5) trees in areas that once had ash trees to maintain the overall canopy coverage and character of the park. These scouts worked together with their Troop members to complete this habitat enhancement along with the installation of (3) bat houses.
Community Forest Management
A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
New Berlin will be recognized as a Tree City USA for the 15th time by the National Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2002. 2016 marked its fourth year as a recipient of the Growth Award for advancing forestry activities.
Limiting or Removing Threats to Birds
B. Demonstrate that your community provides property owners with information on how to protect birds from window strikes (e.g., online links, brochures).
The New Berlin Public Library, with the permission and support of Director Barbara Draeger, has placed bird window-strike information at the kiosk near the front entrance. It already has anti-strike bird silhouettes on the windows and is in the second year of planting perennials by the ABC Garden for additional bird habitat. The City of New Berlin has advertised at a kiosk that IMBD was May 15th, 2016 and informational flyers for this program and additional bird strike pamphlets.
This year, the members of the New Berlin Garden Club and the New Berlin Land Conservancy and Ecology Association were asked to participate in the Christmas Bird Count as part of the Ben Goss Bird Club of Waukesha. The proposed date of December 19th was hit with a major snow event and the CBC was moved to the next day. Due to my snow removal duties for the City of New Berlin, I was unable to be out for the Count this year but, I am sure the members were active participants as they have been in years past.
The International Migratory Bird Day event in New Berlin was May 3rd, 2016 and celebrated with our annual Arborday Celebration at Malone Park. The third and fourth grade students of Star of Bethlehem School spent a late morning planting a tree and talking about ecology and the importance of trees and birds. At the May 9th Common Council meeting, we received the Tree City USA credential and at the presentation of the Growth Award, it was explained how the goals of the Bird City Wisconsin and Tree City USA helped our community achieve this distinction. All of these efforts have been helping improve the quality of life and make New Berlin a healthy place for people and birds.