Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Ozaukee County

HIGH FLYER

Community Achievements

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.

Ozaukee County and 14 cities, villages, and towns began working together in 2002, and prepared a multijurisdictional County comprehensive plan. They also prepared comprehensive plans for each participating city, village, and town. All cities, villages, and towns in the County, except the City of Cedarburg, participated in the joint planning process. As part of the planning process, the County and local governments identified existing desirable land uses and important natural resources that should be preserved to maintain the high quality of life in Ozaukee County. A desired land use pattern for the year 2035 was also identified. The County and local comprehensive plans were prepared, in part, to comply with the requirements of Wisconsin’s comprehensive planning law, which took effect in 1999. The law, set forth in Section 66.1001 of the Wisconsin Statutes, requires County and local governments that enforce general zoning, shoreland zoning, subdivision, or official mapping ordinances to have an adopted comprehensive plan by January 1, 2010. The Wisconsin Department of Administration awarded a comprehensive planning grant to Ozaukee County in 2004 to help fund preparation of the County and local plans, the first such grant award in southeastern Wisconsin.

An amendment to the County plan was adopted in 2009 to incorporate the land use plan maps adopted by each city, village, and town as part of their local comprehensive plan. The amendment was approved by the CPB on April 3, 2009. A public hearing was held on May 4, and the amendment was adopted by the County Board on May 6, 2009.

The Multi-Jurisdictional Comprehensive Plan for Ozaukee County: 2035 inventories natural communities identified as ecological priorities and critical species habitat sites, such as Harrington Beach State Park Old Fields which is home to the upland sandpiper. The plan discusses Wisconsin’s Important Bird Areas and maps the locations of those are as in Ozaukee County. The plan also has native habitat preservation and enhancement as one of the major goals. Ozaukee County also has a rich history of park and open space planning, dating back to the 1970's. Periodic updates of the County Park and Open Space Plans have been made approximately every five years.

Farmland preservation is another issue of concern in Ozaukee County. Agriculture has, and will continue to be a major factor in both Wisconsin and Ozaukee County's economy. The Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department is currently in the process of updating the farmland preservation plan originally adopted in 1983 to meet new requirements set forth in the new Working Lands Initiative created by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The update to the plan started in 2010 and will include an inventory and analysis of existing agricultural resources, the identification of key trends and projections, the delineation of farmland preservation areas (FPAs), visioning, issue identification, recommendations, as well as implementation measures. The Farmland Preservation Citizen Advisory Committee (FPP CAC), comprised of 16 local government representatives and 16 at-large citizen appointments, was formed to help guide the plan throughout the planning process. The LPB and CPB also provide oversight and the CPB will recommend the plan to the County Board for adoption.

The Farmland Preservation Plan was adopted by resolution of the Ozaukee County Board of Supervisors as a stand-alone plan on July 3, 2013. The Park and Open Space Plan, along with the Farmland Preservation Plan for Ozaukee County became amendments to the County's Comprehensive Plan on May 1, 2013, and December 4, 2013.

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)

Bird monitoring data collected since 2008 by local volunteers with the support of Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department staff at Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course and Hawthorne Hills County Park and Golf Course continued in 2017. This past year, 21 boxes (of 28 boxes total) fledged 106 Eastern Bluebirds and 66 Tree Swallows at Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course. Since 2008, 1,120 bluebirds have fledged in the 28 boxes. Note: The number of boxes has ranged from 26-30 with unproductive boxes removed and moved as needed. Hawthorne Hills County Golf Course also continues to be prime bluebird habitat producing 75 Eastern Bluebird fledglings from 25 boxes in 2017. 

The Department installed two purple martin houses in Harborview Park, one in 2012 and one in 2014. The houses are maintained and checked annually for presence of Purple Martins, but only one scout martin has been seen to date. An alternative site closer to the harbor is being investigated for relocation of one of the houses to increase the likelihood of nesting martins.

Department staff continued breeding bird point count surveys at the Department-managed habitat restoration project at Ulao Creek and began point count monitoring surveys at the Mole Creek Habitat Restoration site (see 1. C for project details) in 2017. Staff completed one survey at five points within each of the project areas during the month of June. In addition, several visual and audio surveys were completed from March to October to detect species from multiple taxonomic groups, birds included and recorded. Since 2013, 71 bird species have been observed at the project site. Data input and analysis is ongoing and surveys will be continued in 2018 as time allows.

In 2015, the Department received grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) County Conservations Aids (CCA) Program that supported the installation of 10 bluebird boxes and five wood duck boxes throughout the Ulao Creek Habitat Restoration project site to increase nesting habitat for both species. The boxes were monitored multiple times throughout the breeding season. No bluebirds were detected during the first season, but many of the boxes had successful house wren and tree swallow nests. One Wood Duck box had an unsuccessful nest due to failure of the box, which was repaired for 2017. The 2017 monitoring season showed an improvement in the use of the boxes. Of the 10 bluebird boxes, seven had three successful tree swallow nests with approximately 31 tree swallow fledglings and two successful bluebird nests with approximately eight fledlings. Three of the five wood duck boxes produced successful nests with approximately 16 fledgling wood ducks. 

On June 9th, Milwaukee Audubon Society (MAS) and the Department hosted its second annual "Birding, Boats and Breweries" birding trip by kayak/canoe on the Milwaukee River through the Natural Resources Foundation. 8 people participated in the event, paddling from Waubedonia County Park in Fredonia to Ehlers County Park in Saukville, and learned about what the Department and MAS are doing for fish, avian and wildlife conversation in Ozaukee County. The group recorded seeing and hearing 43 bird species during the paddle. MAS and the Department intend to keep this event going and have scheduled to host the event for a third year on June 8th, 2018.

 The Department restored a 12 acre warm-season prairie at Tendick Nature Park in 2016 to create diverse and high-quality habitat for birds and pollinators. In addition to the native prairie seeding, the Department installed 10 bluebird boxes around the perimeter of the restoration area. 2017 monitoring observed two successful bluebird nests with approximately 10 bluebird fledglings and three successful tree swallow nests with approximately 13 tree swallow fledglings. Monitoring will continue in 2018.

As part of a WDNR Citizen-Based Monitoring grant, the Department received funding to purchase, install and monitor 10 kestrel nest boxes throughout Ozaukee County with the help of volunteers. No kestrels were observed nesting during the 2017 breeding season but the Department plans to continue monitoring in 2018.

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)

The Department continues to manage two major habitat restoration projects on Ulao Creek in the Village and Town of Grafton and Mole Creek in the Village and Town of Saukville. Project activities include (1) channel remeandering, (2) improvement of lateral connectivity by connecting aquatic habitat to floodplain wetland with suitable hydroperiod (whenever possible), (3) wetland creation and/or enhancement, (4) invasive plant control, (5) native plant restoration, and (6) installation of fish and bird habitat structures.   In 2014 the initial phases of each project were completed, restoring portions of the creeks to a natural and dynamic state which included installing multiple habitat structures for fish, avian and wildlife species. Hundreds of native trees, shrubs and wetland plants were planted within both project areas providing additional habitat for birds and wildlife and competing with invasive species growth.  In 2015 and 2016 subsequent phases were completed on both Ulao and Mole Creeks undergoing the same restoration activities with additional native tree and shrub plantings and invasive species management activities. In late 2016, a tributary to Ulao Creek, Kaul Creek, underwent the same habitat restoration activities as Ulao and Mole Creek, expanding the restored creek channel and adjacent floodplain/wetland areas.  The Ulao Creek and Kaul Creek restoration sites are located on private properties and each owner has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to preserve the project enhancements and restoration for a minimum of 20-years. In collaboration with the Milwaukee Audubon Society and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Department is working on acquiring permanent conservation easements and/or fee simple acquisition of portions of the restoration area at Ulao and Kaul Creek in order to permanently protect the investment.  Mole Creek restoration sites are located on multiple permanent public easements owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 

In 2015, the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department added a new 2 acre park to the park system, officially named River Oaks Park in 2016.  The new park is located on the Milwaukee River in the town of Grafton. The property was acquired by the County through state and federal flood control mitigation grants which requires the property to be kept in open space or park.  In 2016, the Department received grant funds to purchase an adjacent property, adding another 0.5 acres to the park.

Ozaukee County, the City of Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) are in the process of acquiring 105 acres along the coast of Lake Michigan, currently known as the Clay Bluffs/Cedar Gorge acquisition area.  The land is located immediately north of Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve and will provide long-term protection of a unique statewide important clay seepage bluff natural community, a locally significant natural area and critical species habitat, maintain the natural integrity of 1.25 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, preserve the scenic vistas of the Lake Michigan bluffs, a locally significant natural area (9 acres) and critical species habitat (35 acres), protect high groundwater recharge areas and wetlands, preserve primary environmental corridor, and offer outstanding public access to Lake Michigan and recreational opportunities, including the Lake Michigan Water Trail and potential designation by NOAA of the mid-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary. Following acquisition, the Department will continue working with OWLT on a permanent conservation easement for the property and finally addition the Ozaukee County Parks System.   The acquisition area will be open year-round to the public for nature-based outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, bird watching, wildlife observation, nature study, snowshoeing, limited hunting, and cross-country skiing. The acquisition area will protect approximately 105 acres of undeveloped land along the Lake Michigan shoreline including 6 acres of wetlands, 37 acres of woodlands, 26 acres of Lake Michigan clay bluffs, 29 acres of marginal cropland and 4 acres of old field which will be restored to native natural communities. The locally significant natural area and critical species habitat site present on this tract lie within 93 acres of primary environmental corridors. The property will be important as a migratory stopover and breeding habitat for birds using the Lake Michigan flyway and Ozaukee Bight and Harrington Important Bird Areas. This property contributes significantly to the overall value of this larger complex of bird stopover and breeding habitat in combination with Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve and Ulao Swamp. The Semi-wooded upland clay banks included in this property provide critical bird species habitat for the short-eared owl (Asio flammmeus), a State-designated special concern species.

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

The Department received a USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to continue work on County owned lands, in the County Park System and in two habitat restoration project sites on Ulao/Kaul and Mole Creek in 2016 to control and manage invasive species, treat/remove ash trees for emerald ash borer (EAB), and replant native trees and shrubs to assist in competing with new invasive seedlings and provide habitat consistent with the native local ecology that will benefit many bird species. In addition in 2016, the Department received US Forest Service grant funding to reforest parts of Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course and the adjacent Spirit Lake Property owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and MAS with over 5,000 trees. In 2016, over 65 acres of land were managed for invasive species and 390 trees were planted under these projects.  In 2017, invasive species management continued within the Ozaukee County Park System, continuing efforts in some of the same areas as well as new areas working on a cumulative 199 acres of land. In addition, 5,170 native tree seedlings and 254 medium-large native trees were planted throughout the Project Areas under these grants. 

As mentioned in 1.C, the Department is continuing to manage two major habitat restoration projects on Ulao Creek in the Village and Town of Grafton and Mole Creek in the Village and Town of Saukville. Project activities include (1) channel remeandering, (2) improvement of lateral connectivity by connecting aquatic habitat to floodplain wetland with suitable hydroperiod (whenever possible), (3) wetland creation and/or enhancement, (4) invasive plant control, (5) native plant restoration (e.g. tree and shrub plantings), and (6) installation of fish habitat structures. In 2014 the initial phases of each project were completed, restoring portions of the creeks to a natural and dynamic state, which included installing multiple habitat structures for fish and wildlife. Hundreds of native trees, shrubs and wetland plants were planted within the Ulao Creek project area providing additional habitat for birds and wildlife and combating invasive species growth. In 2015 subsequent phases were completed on Ulao and Mole Creeks, undergoing the same restoration activities with additional native tree and shrub plantings and invasive vegetation management. 500 trees, 100 tree seedlings and 252 shrubs were planted at the Ulao Creek restoration site and 38 trees, 25 tree seedlings and 25 shrubs were planted at the Mole Creek restoration site. In 2016, Kaul Creek, a tributary to Ulao Creek, was also restored as part of the habitat restoration project complex, adding another 7,500 feet of remeandered stream. In 2017, 70 large native trees and 125 native potted shrubs and 300 live native shrub stakes were planted to provide additional habitat for birds and wildlife and finalize the Kaul phase of the project. In addition to the contracted construction and restoration activities, the Department continued its tradition of education and outreach through organized volunteer tree planting and invasive species removal workdays at the restoration sites. In 2016, 13 volunteers assisted Department staff in planting 80 trees at the Ulao Creek habitat restoration site. In 2017, 8 volunteers assisted Department staff in planting 125 tree seedlings at the Ulao Creek habitat restoration site. 

As mentioned in 1.B, the Department received grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) County Conservations Aids (CCA) Program in 2015 to purchase and install 10 bluebird and 5 wood duck boxes for additional bird habitat at the Ulao Creek restoration site. The boxes were installed and monitored in 2016 with maintenance and monitoring to continue in 2017.

In addition, the Department received an a WDNR Citizen Based Monitoring (CBM) grant in 2016 to develop a kestrel box monitoring program in partnership with the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory (WGLBBO) and the help of local volunteers. As part of the project, the Department, along with Bill Mueller of the WGLBBO, coordinated a well attended educational kestrel workshop to educate and recruit volunteers to help install and monitor 10 kestrel boxes throughout Ozaukee County. Department staff with the assistance of volunteers, purchased, installed and monitored the 10 kestrel boxes throughout Ozaukee County.  No kestrels were observed nesting during the 2017 breeding season but the Department plans to continue monitoring in 2018.

Beginning in October 2014, the Department began treating invasive species in a 12 acre open old field with scattered invasive shrubs and trees at Tendick Nature Park as part of an effort to restore the area to a warm-season prairie/savannah habitat. The area was mowed and two treatments of glyphosphate were applied in 2015 and the third in May 2016. Larger shrubs and trees (e.g. buckthorn, black locust, and boxelder) were also removed this spring and treated with glyphosphate to prevent regrowth with a group of volunteers from Pheasants Forever. On 6/14/16, Department staff seeded the 12 acres with a warm-season native prairie mix. The Department received two small grants from the WDNR CCA and American Transmission Company (ATC) for 2017 to purchase and plant a large oak tree and install 10 bluebird boxes to transform the project area into a grassland-savannah habitat for a variety of bird species. The Department is currently working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to expand the prairie by adding another 5.0 acres into prairie/savannah and a wetland scrape. In 2017, the current 12 acres and additional 5 acres were intensely managed for invasive species (ongoing maintenance as well as the removal of invasive trees and shrubs) by Department staff, and a WisCorps and AmeriCorps GLCCC team. The wetland scrape construction began in late 2017 and will be completed in early 2018. The additional 5.0 acres of prairie will be seeded in spring 2018.

The Department completed a Coastal Resources Ecological Prioritization Master Plan in 2016 with the assistance of the following partners: Beth Foy and Associates, Bureau of Land Management, City of Mequon, City of Port Washington, Concordia University, Friends of the Cedarburg Bog, Great Lakes Ecological Services, HNTB Corporation, Mequon Preservation Partners, Milwaukee Audubon Society , Milwaukee County Parks, Milwaukee Estuary Fish and Wildlife Technical Advisory Team, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Milwaukee Public Museum, Ozaukee Treasures Network, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, River Alliance of Wisconsin, River Revitalization Foundation, Riveredge Nature Center, Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Tetra Tech, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, TRC Companies, Inc., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ulao Creek Partnership, University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology / Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Urban Ecology Center, Wisconsin Audubon Council, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and Wisconsin Wetlands Association. The Master Plan is a parcel-level prioritization planning effort for preservation and restoration of critical coastal land and water resources in Ozaukee County. The Department created a Geographic Information System (GIS) Decision Support Tool while developing the Master Plan to provide a GIS-based, systematic prioritization of parcels according to a suite of land use, environmental, and ecological analysis factors. An accompanying technical report serves as a supplemental document to the Master Plan and is intended to provide additional information about the planning process, a more detailed explanation of the data and methods utilized, and a discussion of the limitations and considerations of both the inputs and outputs of the analysis. The Master Plan was funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. Both documents are available for download on the County website at http://wi-ozaukeecounty.civicplus.com/551/Planning-Division.

The Department is currently working with Mequon Preservation Partners, a  partnership which includes the City of Mequon, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, and the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, to refine and utilize the Ecological Prioritization Tool. The results of the tool will be used to guide landowner outreach and implementation of preservation and restoration activities within the City of Mequon, specifically on the Little Menomonee River.

The Department will be working on an update to the existing Park and Open Space Plan (POSP) for Ozaukee County during 2017. The planning process will review a wide variety of data related to demographic and economic characteristics, existing land uses, and natural resources, provide information on existing park sites and facilities and open space lands, and collect public input to determine the need for additional park and open space sites and facilities. The POPS will outline objectives, principles, and supporting standards for park and open space preservation, acquisition, and development, analyze park and open space needs, and set forth recommended actions.

Ozaukee County, the City of Port Washington and The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) are in the process of acquiring 105 acres along the coast of Lake Michigan, currently known as the Clay Bluffs/Cedar Gorge acquisition area. The land is located immediately north of Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve and a. Acquisition will provide long-term protection of a unique statewide important clay seepage bluff natural community, a locally significant natural area and critical species habitat, maintain the natural integrity of 1.25 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, preserve the scenic vistas of the Lake Michigan bluffs, a locally significant natural area (9 acres) and critical species habitat (35 acres), protect high groundwater recharge areas and wetlands, preserve primary environmental corridor, and offer outstanding public access to Lake Michigan and recreational opportunities, including the Lake Michigan Water Trail and potential designation by NOAA of the mid-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary.

The acquisition area will be open year-round to the public for nature-based outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, bird watching, wildlife observation, nature study, snowshoeing, limited hunting, and cross-country skiing. The acquisition area will protect approximately 105 acres of undeveloped land along the Lake Michigan shoreline including 6 acres of wetlands, 37 acres of woodlands, 26 acres of Lake Michigan clay bluffs, 29 acres of marginal cropland and 4 acres of old field which will be restored to native natural communities. The locally significant natural area and critical species habitat site present on this tract lie within 93 acres of primary environmental corridors. The property will be important as a migratory stopover and breeding habitat for birds using the Lake Michigan flyway and Ozaukee Bight and Harrington Important Bird Areas. This property contributes significantly to the overall value of this larger complex of bird stopover and breeding habitat in combination with Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve and Ulao Swamp. The Semi-wooded upland clay banks included in this property provide critical bird species habitat for the short-eared owl (Asio flammmeus), a State-designated special concern species.

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 Department continues to look for education and outreach opportunities that allow for dissemination of information related to the improvement of the native local ecology and management and removal of invasive species in Ozaukee County. In 2016, Department staff provided education to visitors of Virmond County Park during the annual Treasures of Oz event where Ozaukee County’s natural areas are showcased. 192 people visited the park on June 11 and learned about the ecology in the park and specifically invasive species management being conducted. Department staff gave guided tours of the park and identified some of the worst invaders in Ozaukee County, discussing options for management. A display offering a variety of educational brochures and handouts was made available to visitors as well. The Department also participated in the week-long Ozaukee County Fair, reaching over 300 people, and the local International Migratory Bird Day event by staffing display tables again, offering educational literature on invasive species identification and management.

The Department has been coordinating and hosting at least one volunteer weed-out every year to help bring awareness to the public on invasive species and the conservation work being conducted by the Department. In 2016, the Department and long term partner, the Ulao Creek Partnership held a garlic mustard/teasel weed-out at the Ulao Creek Habitat Restoration Site that drew 12 volunteers.  In 2017, the Department and the Ulao Creek Partnership hosted a Dame's Rocket/Garlic Mustard weed-out and tree planting event where 8 volunteers helped remove five large garbage bags of herbaceous invasive plants and planted 125 native tree seedlings.  As usual, these events included an invasive species and ecology educational component and invasive species literature for volunteers to take home.  The Department is already working on organizing several events for 2018 to continue this effort. 

The Department continued utilizing conservation corps teams to help with invasive species management in the Ozaukee County Park System and natural areas. During each team’s service period, they learn about local ecology, invasive species identification and management. The teams learned about the problems associated with invasive species, ash tree removal as management for the invasive EAB, and how to properly plant a tree. Each team receives a formalized training as it relates to the ecology of the area and invasive species management and removal techniques. Following the trainings, the teams use their knowledge to remove invasive species, EAB infected ash trees and plant trees to replace the lost trees and assist in competing with removed invasive species.

The Department uses multiple outlets to promote educational events and information such as sending out press releases, posting and mailing out fliers, Facebook and Department website announcements/updates and through email blasts. In addition to the partner activities listed above, the Town of Grafton, the Ozaukee Treasures Network, the City of Mequon, Ulao Creek Partnership, Treasures of Oz, SEWISC and the Milwaukee Audubon Society are all active in recruiting volunteers and promoting Department educational opportunities through the web and in print.

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.

Ozaukee County has five sites on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail. These sites include Harrington Beach State Park, Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve, Ulao Waterfowl Production Area, the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, Riveredge Nature Center, and Schwengel Waterfowl Production Area. In fact, the Ozaukee Interurban Trail was the second multiuse trail in the State of Wisconsin to receive designation as a Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail.

Ozaukee County also has three designated Important Bird Areas. These areas include the Cedarburg Bog, Harrington Beach Lakeshore Migration Corridor, and Ozaukee Bight Lakeshore Migration Corridor. The Ozaukee Bight Lakeshore Migration Corridor is primarily encompassed by Virmond County Park, part of the Ozaukee County Park System The Planning and Parks Department is actively managing invasive species and replanting with native tree species at Virmond County Park as well as allowing over 18 acres of previously mowed areas to be reverted back to grasslands in order to provide for bird habitat in this Important Bird Area along the Lake Michigan Flyway. These areas within Virmond County Park contain important habitats for breeding and migratory stopovers.

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 Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Port Washington Tourism Council financially sponsored the Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide. The Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide lists birding hotspots throughout the County near the trail and conservation tips to help birds through backyard habitats and community involvement. Birding ethics are also listed in the Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide, along with information on local, state, national, and international programs. The Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide was an effort to promote the Ozaukee Interurban Trail as an ecotourism site and encourage bird habitat preservation and protection as well as the enjoyment of birds and other wildlife.

The Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, Port Washington Tourism Council and the Ozaukee County Tourism Council, Inc. assist the County with promoting birding opportunities within the County. The Chamber and Tourism Councils have published several advertisements about the Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide and birding opportunities along the Ozaukee Interurban Trail. In addition, Andrew Struck, Director – Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department, was interviewed by Discover Wisconsin in 2012 for a radio segment on birding in Ozaukee County and along the Ozaukee Interurban Trail.

Ozaukee County, the city of Port Washington and The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) continue the process towards acquisition of 105 acres along the coast of Lake Michigan, currently known as the Clay Bluffs/Cedar Gorge acquisition area. The land is located immediately north of Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve. Acquisition will provide long-term protection of a unique statewide important clay seepage bluff natural community, a locally significant natural area and critical species habitat, maintain the natural integrity of 1.25 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, preserve the scenic vistas of the Lake Michigan bluffs, and offer outstanding public access to Lake Michigan and recreational opportunities, including the Lake Michigan Water Trail. The Ozaukee County Tourism Council and Port Washington Tourism Council supported the acquisition of the Clay Bluffs/Cedar Gorge property at several County Board Meetings.

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

The Department has been actively creating and restoring fish, bird and wildlife habitat over the last several years (2017 included) as described throughout Ozaukee County's profile.  Another recent example of restored and created bird habitat is located at Virmond County Park, considered to be an Important Bird Area. The Department has been managing invasive species at Virmond County Park since 2014 and continued intensive mangement in 2017 to improve native habitat there. The Department recently converted 13 acres of traditionally mowed lawn into naturalized grassland more for more suitable bird and wildlife habitat. The Department has also been removing hazardous EAB infected ash trees and replacing them with native tree species. In 2017, 21 large trees were planted including American Hornbeam, American Tamarack, Bur Oak, Swamp White Oak, and White Pine. At the site of a recently removed set of out-dated playground equipment, the Department decided to construct a wetland scrape rather than plant turf grass.

The Department worked with the Ozaukee County Highway Department to construct the 0.30-acre ephemeral wetland scrape that is hydrologically connected to the existing wetland area suitable for herptiles (e.g., blue spotted salamanders and frogs), birds (e.g. wood ducks, mallard ducks) and other wildlife. The new wetland area was hand seeded with native wetland/prairie seed mix by Department staff and a GLCCC team. Native trees and shrubs have been planted around the new wetland area.  Educational signage will be displayed in this area to explain the importance of ephemeral wetlands and discuss the wildlife species known to be in the park using these ephemeral wetlands. A chimney swift tower and kestrel nesting box have also been built/installed at Virmond County Park to provide additional habitat for the cavity nesting bird species.  

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

As mentioned in Category 1.D of the Basic Requirements, the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department continued to take an active role in restoring native habit throughout the County in 2017. A variety of projects in multiple County Parks and within two large scale restoration project sites have restored wetland, woodland and prairie habitats. The Department controlled invasive species, seeded a native prairie and planted hundreds of native tree and shrubs and wetland plants throughout the County park system as well as the Ulao/Kaul and Mole Creek habitat restoration sites.

As mentioned above, the Department is managing two major habitat restoration projects on Ulao/Kaul Creeks in the Village and Town of Grafton and Mole Creek in the Village and Town of Saukville. Project activities include (1) channel remeandering, (2) improvement of lateral connectivity by connecting aquatic habitat to floodplain wetland with suitable hydroperiod (whenever possible), (3) wetland creation and/or enhancement, (4) invasive plant control, (5) native plant restoration (e.g. tree and shrub plantings), and (6) installation of fish, herptile, wildlife and avian habitat structures. In 2014 the initial phases of each project were completed, restoring portions of the creeks to a natural and dynamic state, which included installing multiple habitat structures for fish and wildlife. Hundreds of native trees, shrubs and wetland plants were planted within the Ulao and Mole Creek project areas, restoring 8.66 and 18.29 acres respectively, of habitat for birds and wildlife as well as combating invasive species growth.  In 2015-2016 subsequent phases were completed at both restoration project sites and the newly added Kaul Creek site with the same restoration activities and additional native tree and shrub plantings. The Kaul Creek project is part of the larger large-scale habitat enhancement project being completed on Ulao Creek. To date, the Kaul Creek project activities have remeandered approximately 1,300 feet of stream channel directly accessible to migratory and resident fish and wildlife species, improving and enhancing the ecological value of 9.5 acres of wetlands, 7 acres of 2-year floodplain, 7.9 acres of 5-year floodplain, and 11 acres of 100-year floodplain through lateral reconnection of stream channel aquatic habitat to floodplain and wetland with suitable hydroperiod, whenever possible. 14 strategically placed ash trees (large woody debris) were installed within the channel to provide habitat for several fish, avian, wildlife and herptile species. Tree, shrub and native seeding will continue in 2017.

The Department received a USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to continue work within the County Park System and in two habitat restoration project sites on Ulao/Kaul and Mole Creek in 2016-2017 to control and manage invasive species, treat/remove ash trees for emerald ash borer (EAB), and replant native trees and shrubs to compete with invasive species, stabilize eroded bluff areas, and provide habitat consistent with the native local ecology that can benefit many bird species. In addition, the Department received US Forest Service funding to plant over 5,000 trees to reforest 50 acres of Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course and the adjacent Spirit Lake Property owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and MAS. In 2016, over 65 acres of land were managed for invasive species and 390 trees were planted under these projects with major work to continue in 2017 and 2018. Some of the locally native species being planted include northern white cedar, yellow birch, American tamarack, quaking aspen, serviceberry, red maple, silver maple, American hornbeam, hackberry, bur oak, swamp white oak, white oak, American elderberry, and cranberry viburnum.

The Department, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Pheasants Forever, is in the process of restoring a 17 acre cool-season grassland at Tendick Nature Park to a warm-season prairie/savannah that will benefit our pollinators/insects and grassland birds. 12 acres was seeded in spring 2016 and managed by mowing and hand pulling/cutting throughout 2016-2017. A scattering of oaks will be planted in the project area in 2018 through funding received from ATC and WNDR CCA grant funding. Department staff in partnership with Pheasants Forever and the US have been planning restoration of an additional 5.0 acres adjacent to the original 12 acre project site. The Department, with assitance from WisCorps and GLCCC teams prepped the 5.0 acre site for seeding by cutting invasive shrubs and dead/dying ash trees in the area. Seeding will take place in spring 2018. Construction of a 0.5 acre wetland scrape in the prarie began in late 2017 with completion in early 2018. A wood duck box will be installed at the site of the wetland srape for additonal bird habitat. 

In 2017, Ozaukee County, the City of Port Washington and The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) continued the process of acquiring 105 acres along the coast of Lake Michigan, currently known as the Clay Bluffs/Cedar Gorge acquisition area. The land is located immediately north of Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve and will provide long-term protection of a unique statewide important clay seepage bluff natural community, a locally significant natural area (9 acres) and critical species habitat (35 acres), maintain the natural integrity of 1.25 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, preserve the scenic vistas of the Lake Michigan bluffs, protect high groundwater recharge areas and wetlands, preserve primary environmental corridor, and offer outstanding public access to Lake Michigan and recreational opportunities, including the Lake Michigan Water Trail and potential designation by NOAA of the mid-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary. The acquisition area will become a County Park in the Ozaukee County Park System and be open year-round to the public for nature-based outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, bird watching, wildlife observation, nature study, snowshoeing, limited hunting, and cross-country skiing. The acquisition area will protect approximately 105 acres of undeveloped land along the Lake Michigan shoreline including 6 acres of wetlands, 37 acres of woodlands, 26 acres of Lake Michigan clay bluffs, 29 acres of marginal cropland and 4 acres of old field which will be restored to native natural communities. The locally significant natural area and critical species habitat site present on this property lie within 93 acres of primary environmental corridors. The property will be important as a migratory stopover and breeding habitat for birds using the Lake Michigan flyway and Ozaukee Bight and Harrington Important Bird Areas. This property contributes significantly to the overall value of this larger complex of bird stopover and breeding habitat in combination with Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve and Ulao Swamp. The Semi-wooded upland clay banks included on this property provide critical bird species habitat for the short-eared owl (Asio flammmeus), a State-designated special concern species.

As mentioned, the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department added a new 2 acre park to the park system, officially named River Oaks Park in 2016. The new park is located on the Milwaukee River in the town of Grafton. The property was acquired by the County through state and federal flood control mitigation grants which requires the property to be kept in open space or park. In 2016, the Department received grant funds to purchase an adjacent property, adding another 0.5 acres to the park. The Department has been planting native trees suitable for floodplain conditions and managing the property for invasive species to improve the ecology in the new park, planting 6 new trees in 2017.

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 Planning and Parks Department, through collaboration with the Ulao Creek Partnership, Inc. (UCP) and MAS, sponsored another program/event to remove invasive species (e.g. invasive shrubs from riparian woodlands such as buckthorn and honeysuckle) on private property within the Ulao Creek Watershed. In addition, the Department, through its participation and collaboration with the UCP and in conjunction with the Ulao Creek Habitat Restoration project, offered a program to plant native trees on UCP member’s private properties to enhance the watershed and provide for native habitat. As mentioned, the Department is managing two large scale habitat restoration projects on Ulao/Kaul and Mole Creeks. All project work is being implemented on private property. Throughout the duration of the projects, the Department has been assisting landowners in the removal of invasive species on their properties.

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

The Department, through its Fish Passage Program continued to control aquatic invasive plant species such as reed canary grass and cattail. The Department provides financial and technical assistance to private landowners along key tributary streams to the Milwaukee River, working with youth conservation corps and volunteers to remove invasive aquatic plant species in an effort to open these key tributary streams to fish passage and also improve the ecologic productivity of the Milwaukee River Watershed to benefit all fish, avian and wildlife species. Specifically in 2014, through a partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department staff and AmeriCorps NCCC team members have been clearing over-grown invasive cattails within the USFWS Blue-Wing Waterfowl Production Area to reopen the creek running through it and widen ponding areas to benefit fish and waterfowl and marsh birds. A four-foot wide, 3,960 foot channel was re-created within the wetland in 2014. In 2015, through a partnership with Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT), OWLT and Department staff treated and cleared over-grown invasive cattails and phragmites within the Ulao creek restoration project.

The Department received a USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to continue work on County owned lands, in the County Park System and in two habitat restoration project sites on Ulao/Kaul and Mole Creek in 2016 to control and manage invasive species, treat/remove ash trees for emerald ash borer (EAB), and replant native trees and shrubs to assist in competing with new invasive seedlings and provide habitat consistent with the native local ecology that will benefit many bird species. In addition in 2016, the Department received US Forest Service grant funding to reforest parts of Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course and the adjacent Spirit Lake Property owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and MAS with over 5,000 trees. In 2016, over 65 acres of land were managed for invasive species and 390 trees were planted under these projects.  In 2017, invasive species management continued within the Ozaukee County Park System, continuing efforts in some of the same areas as well as new areas working on a cumulative 199 acres of land. In addition, 5,170 native tree seedlings and 254 medium-large native trees were planted throughout the Project Areas under these grants. 

 

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

In 2015, Brookby Foundation grant funding allowed the Department to design, engineer, and build a functional chimney swift nesting tower in Virmond County Park, a designated Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and the State of Wisconsin. The nesting tower was built by the County’s Highway Department and installed in November and December 2015.  The Department solicited proposals for a local artist to creatively add art to the tower in 2017. A committee voted on the received proposals and chose the artistic services of Sally Duback who is working with local schools to create clay tiles that will be used in a mosaic design that will be displayed on the tower in 2018. Permanent signage will also be added next to the tower in 2018 to increase awareness about the chimney swifts and the importance of bird conversation. In 2016, the Department continued to look for education and outreach opportunities that allow for dissemination of information related to bird conservation in Ozaukee County. Department staff provided education to visitors of Virmond County Park during the annual Treasures of Oz event where Ozaukee County’s natural areas were showcased. 192 people visited the park on June 11 and learned about the ecology in the park, bird conservation, and specifically chimney swifts and construction of the tower. The Department used the chimney swift tower as an opportunity to educate event participants on chimney swifts and the purpose of the tower in the park.  Individuals found the tower very interesting and the Department will use this and other ecological improvements at Virmond County Park as an outdoor classroom as future opportunities arise.

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.).

In 2015, the Department hired a WisCorps conservation corps team (young adults ages 18-25) to install 10 bluebird boxes and five wood duck boxes throughout the Ulao Creek Habitat Restoration project site to increase nesting habitat for both species. Through partnerships with local conservation organizations, the Department recruits volunteers to assist with a variety of bird and wildlife monitoring projects including checking and maintaining the bird boxes. As mentioned in the Basic Requirements section, in collaboration with the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, bluebird monitoring data has been collected since 2008 by local volunteers with the support of Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department staff at Mee-Kwon County Park.

As mentioned, The Department received a USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to continue work within the County Park System and in two habitat restoration project sites on Ulao/Kaul and Mole Creek in 2016-2017 to control and manage invasive species, treat/remove ash trees for emerald ash borer (EAB), and replant native trees and shrubs to compete with invasive species, stabilize eroded bluff areas, and provide habitat consistent with the native local ecology that can benefit many bird species.  This grant also included a component to work with local nature centers on creating curriuclum and teaching area schools about the issues of invasive species on how it effects ecology and the importance of native vegetation for birds and otherwildlife. The Department, Riveredge Nature Center, Mequon Nature Preserve and Schlitz Audubon Nature Center collectively educated 955 students from private, public and home schools in Milwaukee and Ozaukee Counties.  Students had classroom curriculum mixed with outdoor hands-on educational opportunities such as weed-outs and tours of Virmond County Park which highlighted improved bird habitat through native plantings, invasive species management and structural habitat.

S. Demonstrate how a public golf course is managed to benefit birds.

As mentioned in the Basic Requirements section, bird monitoring data collected since 2008 by local volunteers with the support of Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department staff at Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course and Hawthorne Hills County Park and Golf Course continued in 2017. This past year, 21 boxes (of 28 boxes total) fledged 106 Eastern Bluebirds and 66 Tree Swallows at Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course. Since 2008, 1,120 bluebirds have fledged in the 28 boxes. Note: The number of boxes has ranged from 26-30 with unproductive boxes removed and moved as needed. Hawthorne Hills County Golf Course also continues to be prime bluebird habitat producing 75 Eastern Bluebird fledglings from 25 boxes in 2017. 

The Department received a USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to continue work within the County owned lands including the two County golf courses, Hawthorne Hill and Mee-Kwon, to control and manage invasive species, treat/remove ash trees for emerald ash borer (EAB), and replant native trees and shrubs to compete with invasive species and provide habitat consistent with the native local ecology that can benefit many bird species. In 2017, 18 large trees were planted at Hawthorne Hills County Park and Golf Course. In addition, the Department received US Forest Service funding to plant over 5,000 trees to reforest parts of Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course and the adjacent Spirit Lake Property owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and MAS. The Department chooses locally grown native species of trees when planting including northern white cedar, yellow birch, American tamarack, quaking aspen, shagbark hickory, serviceberry, red maple, silver maple, American hornbeam, hackberry, bur oak, swamp white oak, white oak, American elderberry and cranberry viburnum. As part of the the USFS funded project, the Department has planted 4,690 native tree seedlings and 140 medium-large trees in mostly naturalized areas of Mee-Kwon County Golf Course. 

The Department, through the Golf Course Division, also continues to manage approximately 1.5 acres of native prairie at Mee-Kwon County Golf Course that was planted in 2008.

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.)

Ozaukee County is home to 22 birding "hot spots," including 11 along the Ozaukee Interurban Trail.

"Hot spots" located along the trail are marked with a "Trailside Birding Hot Spot" sign as shown in the attachments. Additional educational signage can be found at seven kiosks along the Trail and in three County Parks identifying and detailing the various birding "hot spots," important bird habitat types including wetland, open grassland, riverine, woodland, and Lake Michigan, as well as the typical species of birds one may find in each habitat type.

V. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Ozaukee County strives to provide bird habitat, conservation and education through the Planning and Parks Department. For example, the Ozaukee County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution creating a Land Preservation Board. The Land Preservation Board is charged with developing a Land Preservation Plan for Ozaukee County, which includes the protection and preservation of natural areas within the County as well as the preservation of Working Lands. The Land Preservation Board goes beyond statutory requirements for Ozaukee County and enhances efforts of the Park and Open Space Plan and Farmland Preservation Plan for Ozaukee County. In addition, on June 3, 2009, the Ozaukee County Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution Number 10-8, establishing the Ozaukee County Land Preservation Fund. Money placed in this fund is limited to the purchase of land, easements, development rights or other activities designed for land preservation.

Ozaukee County is also a member of the North Branch Milwaukee River Wildlife and Farming Heritage Area Advisory Committee. This representation is indicative of Ozaukee County’s long-term efforts to promote the Natural Areas and Critical Species Habitat Management Plan for Southeastern Wisconsin. Ozaukee County has also incorporated the December, 2010 amendment to the Regional Natural Areas and Critical Species Habitat Management Plan recommendations into its Park and Open Space Plan (POSP) for implementation. Ozaukee County implemented one of the recommendations of the POSP through the acquisition of the Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve. The acquisition of the Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve, a natural area of local significance (NA-3), was made possible by a unique coalition of partners including the Riveredge Bird Club, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Whitetails Unlimited, Town of Grafton, and Ozaukee County. Ozaukee County contributed $300,000 toward the acquisition of the Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve. Additionally, the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust contributed $25,000, the Town of Grafton contributed $100,000, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources contributed $450,000, the Riveredge Bird Club contributed $1,000 and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program Contributed $404,000.

 

Community Forest Management

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.

As mentioned in the Basic Requirements, the Department continues to implement a variety of projects to enhance, restore and expand habitat for birds, fish and wildlife. Many of these projects promote effective community forest management through invasive species management and native tree/shrub planting in a variety of ecosystems as well as reforestation. The Department received a USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to continue work on County owned lands, the County Park System and in two habitat restoration project sites on Ulao/Kaul and Mole Creek in 2016-2017 to control and manage invasive species, treat/remove ash trees for emerald ash borer (EAB), and replant native trees and shrubs to compete with invasive species, stabilize eroded bluff areas, and provide habitat consistent with the native local ecology that can benefit many bird species. In addition, the Department received US Forest Service (USFS) grant funding to plant over 5,000 trees to reforest parts of Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course and the adjacent Spirit Lake Property owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and MAS. In 2016, over 65 acres of land were managed for invasive species and 390 trees were planted under these projects with major work to continue in 2017 and 2018. Some of the locally native species being planted include northern white cedar, yellow birch, American tamarack, quaking aspen, serviceberry, red maple, silver maple, American hornbeam, hackberry, bur oak, swamp white oak, white oak, American elderberry and cranberry viburnum.

As mentioned in 1.C, the Department is continuing to manage two major habitat restoration projects on Ulao Creek in the Village and Town of Grafton and Mole Creek in the Village and Town of Saukville. Project activities include (1) channel remeandering, (2) improvement of lateral connectivity by connecting aquatic habitat to floodplain wetland with suitable hydroperiod (whenever possible), (3) wetland creation and/or enhancement, (4) invasive plant control, (5) native plant restoration (e.g. tree and shrub planting), and (6) installation of fish, wildlife, herptile and avian habitat structures. In 2014 the initial phases of each project were completed, restoring portions of the creeks to a natural and dynamic stable state which included installing multiple habitat structures for fish and wildlife. Hundreds of native trees, shrubs and wetland plants were planted within the Ulao Creek project area providing additional habitat for birds and wildlife and competing with invasive species growth. In 2015 subsequent phases were completed on Ulao and Mole Creeks, undergoing the same restoration activities with additional native tree and shrub plantings and invasive vegetation management. 869 large trees, 342 tree seedlings and 411 shrubs have been planted at the Ulao Creek restoration site and 38 trees, 25 tree seedlings and 25 shrubs were planted at the Mole Creek restoration site. In 2016, Kaul Creek, a tributary to Ulao Creek, was also restored as part of the habitat restoration project complex, adding another 7,500 feet of remeandered stream. In 2017, 70 large native trees and 200 live native shrub stakes will be planted to provide additional habitat for birds and wildlife and finalize the Kaul phase of the project under a three year maintenance contract. In addition to the contracted construction and restoration activities, the Department continued its tradition of education and outreach through organized volunteer tree planting and invasive species removal workdays at the restoration sites. In 2016, 13 volunteers assisted Department staff in planting 80 trees at the Ulao Creek Habitat Site. Tree seedlings were also given away at the tree planting event so that volunteers and neighbors could take them home and plant them on their own property.

The Department created a new tree nursery in 2015 at the County’s Shady Lane property in the Town of Fredonia. The Department has been planting native trees grown in the nursery on County owned and managed property, enhancing and expanding bird habitat. Seedlings are also given away to Ozaukee County residents who volunteer or attend our educational events and invasives species removal/tree planting workdays. To reduce mortality of the seedlings before they are ready to plant, the Department added several upgrades to the nursery including an irrigation system, deer-proof fencing, and mesh screen to protect from the sun. 150 bur oak and 150 swamp white oak 3-foot tree seedlings were donated to Ozaukee County through the Living Lands and Water and Argosy Foundation partnership and added to the nursery in 2016. In addition, we ordered bundles (25 seedlings in each bundle) of tree seedlings from the annual Ozaukee County Land and Water Management Department tree sale: two black cherry, two bur oak, one northern red oak, one shagbark hickory, one hazelnut, one service berry, five highbush cranberry, and two gray dogwood.

F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

As mentioned in Category 1, the Department continues to implement a variety of projects to enhance, restore and expand habitat for birds, fish and wildlife. Many of these projects promote effective community forest management through invasive species management and native tree/shrub planting in a variety of ecosystems as well as reforestation. The Department received a USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to continue work within the County owned lands, the County Park System and in two habitat restoration project sites on Ulao/Kaul and Mole Creek in 2016-2017 to control and manage invasive species, treat/remove ash trees for emerald ash borer (EAB), and replant native trees and shrubs to compete with invasive species, stabilize eroded bluff areas, and provide habitat consistent with the native local ecology that can benefit many bird species.

In addition, the Department received US Forest Service (USFS) grant funding to plant over 5,000 trees to reforest parts of Mee-Kwon County Park and Golf Course and the adjacent Spirit Lake Property owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and MAS. In 2016, over 65 acres of land were managed for invasive species and 390 trees were planted under these projects with major work to continue in 2017 and 2018. Some of the locally native species being planted include northern white cedar, yellow birch, American tamarack, quaking aspen, serviceberry, red maple, silver maple, American hornbeam, hackberry, bur oak, swamp white oak, white oak, American elderberry and cranberry viburnum.

As mentioned in 1.C, the Department is continuing to manage two major habitat restoration projects on Ulao Creek in the Village and Town of Grafton and Mole Creek in the Village and Town of Saukville. Project activities include (1) channel remeandering, (2) improvement of lateral connectivity by connecting aquatic habitat to floodplain wetland with suitable hydroperiod (whenever possible), (3) wetland creation and/or enhancement, (4) invasive plant control, (5) native plant restoration (e.g. tree planting and forest management), and (6) installation of fish habitat structures. In 2014 the initial phases of each project were completed, restoring portions of the creeks to a natural and dynamic state, which included installing multiple habitat structures for fish and wildlife. Hundreds of native trees, shrubs and wetland plants were planted within the Ulao Creek project area providing additional habitat for birds and wildlife and competing invasive species growth. In 2015 subsequent phases were completed on Ulao and Mole Creeks, undergoing the same restoration activities with additional native tree and shrub plantings and invasive vegetation management. 869 large trees, 342 tree seedlings and 411 shrubs have been planted at the Ulao Creek restoration site and 38 trees, 25 tree seedlings and 25 shrubs were planted at the Mole Creek restoration site. In 2016, Kaul Creek, a tributary to Ulao Creek, was also restored as part of the habitat restoration project complex, adding another 7,500 feet of remeandered stream. In 2017, 70 large native trees and 200 live native shrub stakes will be planted to provide additional habitat for birds and wildlife and finalize the Kaul phase of the project. In addition to the contracted construction and restoration activities, the Department continued its tradition of education and outreach through organized volunteer tree planting and invasive species removal workdays at the restoration sites. In 2016, 13 volunteers assisted Department staff in planting 80 trees at the Ulao Creek habitat restoration site. Tree seedlings were also given away at the tree planting event so that volunteers and neighbors could take them home and plant them on their own property.

The Department created a new tree nursery in 2015 at the County’s Shady Lane property in the Town of Fredonia. The Department has been planting native trees grown in the nursery on County owned and managed property, enhancing and expanding bird habitat. Seedlings are also given away to Ozaukee County residents who volunteer or attend our educational events and invasives species removal/tree planting workdays. To reduce mortality of the seedlings before they are ready to plant, the Department added several upgrades to the nursery including an irrigation system, deer-proof fencing, and mesh screen to protect from the sun. 150 bur oak and 150 swamp white oak 3-foot tree seedlings were donated to Ozaukee County through the Living Lands and Water and Argosy Foundation partnership and added to the nursery in 2016. In addition, we ordered bundles (25 seedlings in each bundle) of tree seedlings from the annual Ozaukee County Land and Water Management Department tree sale: two black cherry, two bur oak, one northern red oak, one shagbark hickory, one hazelnut, one service berry, five highbush cranberry, and two gray dogwood.

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 Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department website provides web links to information on controlling free-roaming cats and also actively publicizes the “Cats Indoors!” program. The Planning and Parks Department is beginning to work with its partners including the Ozaukee Humane Society, Inc., Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Wild Birds Unlimited (Mequon), and several veterinarians in the County (e.g. Little Animal Hospital in Port Washington) to publicize the “Cats Indoors!” program through the placement of brochures and posters at their places of business. The Planning and Parks Department is actively working to expand this effort and provide the “Cats Indoors!” brochure free of charge to local businesses.

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

The Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department website provides web links to information on how to protect birds from window strikes. The Planning and Parks Department also has copies of the “You can save birds from flying into windows!” brochure at its main office in the County Administration Center.

I. Demonstrate that your community has enacted a bird collision monitoring program and has treated problem windows to reduce collisions with municipal and commercial buildings.

The Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department’s website provides web links to information on how to protect birds from window strikes. The Planning and Parks Department also has copies of the “You can save birds from flying into windows!” brochure at its main office in the County Administration Center.

The Planning and Parks Department has also begun an effort to identify potential window strike areas amongst its County Parks’ buildings and Golf Course clubhouses and install “shadow hawk” window clings to minimize bird window strikes. While this program is in its infancy and is primarily focused on the buildings under the purview of the Planning and Parks Department, it is desired to expand this program to all the other County buildings including the Administration Center and Justice Center. It is also anticipated that in the future, Ozaukee County would adopt a formal policy to endorse this program countywide for its facilities. The Planning and Parks Department is currently working to raise funds to purchase the window clings that deter bird window strikes. This effort will be one step towards minimizing the impact of County buildings on bird window strikes.

L. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The Planning and Parks Department has also begun an effort to identify potential window strike areas amongst its County Parks’ buildings and Golf Course clubhouses and install “shadow hawk” window clings to minimize bird window strikes. While this program is in its infancy and is primarily focused on the buildings under the purview of the Planning and Parks Department; expansion of this program to all County buildings including the Administration Center and Justice Center is desired. In the near future, Ozaukee County is anticipated to adopt a formal policy to endorse this program. The Planning and Parks Department purchases the window clings that deter bird window strikes through the Wisconsin Humane Society. This effort will be one step towards minimizing the impact of County buildings on bird window strikes.

Public Education

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 Department continues to use multiple outlets to promote creating and enhancing backyard habitat for bird through educational information and events such as staffing informational booths at public events, sending out press releases, posting and mailing out fliers, Facebook and website posts and through email blasts. In addition to the partner activities listed above, the Town of Grafton, the Ozaukee Treasures Network, the City of Mequon, Ulao Creek Partnership, Treasures of Oz, SEWISC and the Milwaukee Audubon Society have all been active in promoting the creation and enhancement of backyard habitat for birds through the web, print and hosting meetings/conferences.

The Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department’s website provides web links to information on backyard habitat programs such as: the National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat Program, the National Audubon Society’s Backyard Habitat program, Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, American Bird Conservancy and Bird City Wisconsin.

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).

The Department continues to look for opportunities to take the lead in developing or becoming a partner in bird monitoring programs throughout Ozaukee County including Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count and Swift Night Out. In addition to its continued monitoring involvement, the Department began two new monitoring efforts in 2016 that it will continue in 2017.

The Department received a WDNR Citizen Based Monitoring grant in 2016 to develop a kestrel box monitoring program in partnership with the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory (WGLBBO) and the help of local volunteers. The Department is planning an educational kestrel workshop to recruit volunteers to help install and monitor 10 kestrel boxes throughout Ozaukee County for 2017.

On May 20th 2016, MAS and the Department staff and hosted a birding trip by kayak/canoe on the Milwaukee River from Waubedonia County Park to Veteran’s Park in Grafton through the Natural Resources Foundation. 16 people participated in the event and learned about what MAS and the Department are doing for fish, avian and wildlife conversation in Ozaukee County. The group recorded seeing and hearing over 50 bird species during the paddle. After the first event’s success, MAS and the Department have made plans to host the event on June 9th, 2017, for a second year as a way to facilitate public participation in bird monitoring programs.

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

Ozaukee County, in conjunction with the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, the City of Port Washington, the Town of Grafton, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology, and other partners held their annual International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve on May 14, 2016. The Planning and Parks Department, MAS and Ozaukee Interurban Trail Advisory Council also staffed booths and distributed copies of the Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide. Approximately 135 people attended the event. Along with the traditional program, MAS and the Department staff lead an early morning bird hike at Lion’s Den Gorge followed by a bench dedication to Noel Cutright at Coal Dock Park in which nine people attended. This year's IMBD event will be held on May 20, 2016 at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve. Thus far, plans include a morning bird walk at Lion’s Den Gorge, a kestrel box installation demonstration and the traditional family-friendly educational event at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.

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

Through the USEPA-GLRI funded “Invasive Species Control and Native Tree Planting in Ozaukee County” project, the Department is working with and contracted three area nature centers, Riveredge Nature Center, Mequon Nature Preserve, and Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, to develop and implement “experiential learning” programs with students throughout Ozaukee and Milwaukee Counties. The focus of this educational component is to teach students in middle school and high school about invasive species, the importance of native species for habitat, and local bird and wildlife ecology through indoor and outdoor classroom experiences. By 2018, the goal is to have conducted up to 28 events, reaching up to 900 students.

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.

Ozaukee County is host to a myriad of bird related activities focused on raising awareness of its bird assets. The Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department has staffed educational booths at a variety of public events including: the Milwaukee Audubon Society's Natural Landscapes Conference, the International Migratory Bird Day celebration hosted by the County and its partners at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, the Grosbeaks Galore Conferences and the Ozaukee County Fair. The community’s efforts also extend to several significant non-profit organizations located and/or active in Ozaukee County including: the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve in Ozaukee County, Riveredge Nature Center and the Riveredge Bird Club in Ozaukee County, the Mequon Nature Preserve in Ozaukee County, Friends of the Cedarburg Bog in Ozaukee County, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and also the Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Ozaukee County. Each of these non-profit organizations is active in Ozaukee County in raising awareness of its bird assets in very unique ways including research, education and outreach, on-going speaker series and education and implementation of bird rehabilitation. The Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department also continues to support local bird advocacy and educational organizations like Riveredge Birding Club, the Milwaukee Audubon Society and the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. The Planning and Parks Department also conducted a “brown bag lunch” seminar on Purple Martins with a local expert speaker. In addition, Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department staff are trained to “dance with the birds” as part of their employment and daily field tasks. Finally, the Department has assisted with the posting of educational signage along the Ozaukee Interurban Trail and in the County Parks and publishing the Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide.

N. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The Ozaukee County – Planning and Parks Department and the Ozaukee Interurban Trail Advisory Council have created and installed seven bird educational signs as well as 11 hotspot location signs along the Ozaukee Interurban Trail and in the County Parks at the County’s birding hotspots, which are all identified in the Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide and are also on the website. In addition, the Milwaukee Audubon Society, as previously mentioned, continues to host its annual Natural Landscapes Conference educating county residents on issues pertaining to birds and other prominent natural resource topics.

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)

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 International Migratory Bird Day website. To see what other Bird City communities have done in the past, please view some other profiles on our website.

The 2016 event was held on Saturday, May 14th. The event started at 6:00 a.m. with a bird walk led by Andrew Struck and Tina Kroening at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve. At 7 a.m. Dan Panetti (Wild Birds Unlimited, Milwaukee Audubon Society) led birding hikes all morning at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve. At 9:00 a.m. there was a bench dedication for Noel J. Cutright by Andrew Struck and Tina Kroening of MAS/Ozaukee County and Shawn Graff of OWLT at Coal Dock Park in Port Washington. Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and through the afternoon, presenters gave presentation and updates on local birding projects. The morning ended with a live raptor exhibit led by Jeannie Lord, the Executive Director of the Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center. The day concluded with a celebration, luncheon and silent auction hosted by the OWLT at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve. The event was attended by an estimated 135 guests throughout the day.

On Saturday, May 20, 2017, the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department intends to again celebrate IMBD with partners at the Forest beach Migratory Preserve by providing educational materials and staffing. The agenda is currently under development and will include educational information on bird box installation, native landscaping to benefit birds and interactive bird walks and talks.

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Joined Bird City: 2010

Population: 86,395

Incorporated: 1853

Area: 1116 mi2

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