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.
An Ordinance to Adopt the Comprehensive Plan of the Village of Plover, Portage County, Wisconsin, was adopted by the Village Board on April 6, 2005, and is currently under revision.
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)
For the past 18 years, the Aldo Leopold Audubon Society (ALAS) has developed and monitored an Eastern Bluebird nest box trail (ABT = Audubon Bluebird Trail). In that time the trail has grown from 89 to 1,200 boxes and from 1 to 72 monitors. For the last nine years it has been the largest and most productive trail in Wisconsin and for the last seven years is thought to be the largest and most productive in the U.S. For the 2019 nesting season, this trail produced 6,000 songbirds, 4,000 of which were Eastern Bluebirds. In the 18 years of its activity, the ABT has produced about 95,000 songbirds, 70,600 of which were bluebirds (74%).
For the 2019 season in the Village of Plover, a total of 59 boxes were checked by four monitors (Konrad & Nancy Chojnacki, and Bill & Jill Ziehr). Four Village parks were included in this monitoring. A total of 250 bluebirds and another 150 songbirds (wrens, chickadees & Tree Swallows) were produced from these boxes.
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 Village of Plover owns 16 acres of property at their Water Department. In the summer of 2017, Kent Hall did a bird survey on the property and found 29 species of birds. In three visits, he judged 14 of these as breeding birds and 10 as probable breeders--used WI Breeding Bird Atlas II criteria to make these judgments.
In addition, the Village of Plover owns a 40 acre piece of property in their flood protection zone west of Boston School Forest. They have permitted BSF to make multiple use of this property for educational purposes. No survey has been conducted on this property, but "walk throughs" have given evidence of several breeding birds.
D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.
The Village of Plover is taking the following critical steps to preserve avian habitat within the Village limits or in nearby areas. These developments are centered around the Little Plover River Watershed Enhancement Project. It should be noted that this Project is a collaboration of the Village of Plover, the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Portage County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Emmons and Oliver Resources.
These steps include the following:
1. Wisconsin Habitat Partnership Fund Project
2. Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust Grant (Soik Wetland Restoration Project)
3. Little Plover River Conservancy Area Wetland and Prairie Restoration Project and
4. Natural Resource Conservation Service Project.
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 Little Plover River (LPR) has been a conservation nightmare for the past 10+ years. Certain segments of the stream have dried up in the past and the stream is listed as one of the 10 most endangered streams in the U.S.--it is a Class I trout stream. A major reason segments of the stream dry up is due to high capacity wells which dot the watershed.
The Village of Plover has organized a conservation effort to address the problems of the LPR watershed. Note that this watershed is partially outside the village, but the LPR runs through the Village. To address its long-term health, problems in the watershed must be addressed. The Plover Village Administration led by Dan Mahoney, has wisely solicited the help from other organizations to help this project realize success (see above). If this project is successful, it will rank among the most important conservation projects in Portage Co. history and could set an example for similar watersheds in other areas of the state.
The short range goal is to increase the LPR stream flow by 1.0 cfs. Current efforts are estimated to achieve 0.43 cfs of this goal.
I. Document a recent project that created or restored bird habitat in your community. (Exclusions: Bird feeders and small-scale artificial nesting structures)
The Little Plover River Watershed Enhancement Project has several collaborators, as mentioned above. Dan Mahoney, Village of Plover Administrator, prepared an Executive Summary of this Project. The overarching goal of the Project is to improve the ecological health of the watershed of the LPR. To that end, 310 irrigated acres have been purchased and taken out of production (including removal of high capacity wells). Other management techniques are documented in the summary.
N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.
The Little Plover River Park (50 acres) has 17.5 acres (35%) being managed for black locust, tartarian honeysuckle and buckthorn.
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.)
Plover is part of the Green Circle Trail--4.5 miles of the GCT are found in Plover (Hoover Rd. Trail). This trail connects to 22 miles of additional GCT (plus another 13 miles of spurs). Long-range plans include building 12 educational kiosks (10 of which are built and all list birds which are found along the GCT). In addition, the Hoover Rd. Trail is part of the GCT Birding Trail featured on the GCT website. Over 200 species of birds are listed on the GCT and many of them are found along the Hoover Rd. Trail.
Also, the Tomorrow River Trail connecting Plover with Manawa (29 miles of trail) has its Trail Head in Plover. This area is well-maintained, with prairie and the start of a wooded area. The Trail is now graveled and allows bikes and horses on it in summer and snowmobiles in winter. The sides of the trail are left in a natural state and harbor dozens of breeding birds (trail is an old railroad bed).
V. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
Faculty and students in the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point have been heavily involved in restoration work in the conservation habitat along the LPR. The overall monitoring plan is first displayed and the specific work follows. This includes work in the pine barrens, wetland scrapes, oak woodlands, and riparian areas. Photos of students and faculty at their work sites are extensively displayed.
In addition to classroom students, a Master's student from the CNR, David Dale Parme, worked extensively on the LPR. His Master's Thesis was entitled, "Restoration of a headwater stream in Central Wisconsin: A comparison of three techniques to enhance channel morphology in the Little Plover River. It will take several more months before the efficacy of these techniques can be determined.
Community Forest Management
A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
The Village of Plover continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1993. Each spring, the Village holds a ceremony combining Tree City USA and Bird City Wisconsin. This ceremony usually involves school children in the community and receives advertising in the local papers. This year, this ceremony was held in fall because of road construction in the area of the Plover Municipal Building. Kent Hall usually brings a brood of bluebirds or Tree Swallows for students to handle but all birds had already fledged.
E. Show that your forester, a member of your tree board, or another person currently responsible for managing your community’s trees has completed the Wisconsin DNR’s Wisconsin Tree Management Institute.
Roy Hopfensperger, Village of Plover's Asst. Public Works Mgr., has completed the WDNR's Community Management Institute.
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 Village of Plover’s website has links to the American Bird Conservancy’s “Cat’s Indoors!” campaign. In addition, the ABC brochure “Cats, Birds & You” is being distributed for free by the Village to the Portage County Humane Society, Oakview Medical Center, Inc., and Woodhaven Animal Health Veterinary Clinic. These three sites use 100-200 of these brochures each year. It is important to note that cats are the leading killer of birds and kill an estimated 1,000 times more birds than wind turbines.
B. Demonstrate that your community provides property owners with information on how to protect birds from window strikes (e.g., online links, brochures).
The Village of Plover website shows a link to “Window Alert”. The Window Alert site demonstrates what to use and how to use window decals to prevent window collisions. On October 17, Bryan Lenz talked to 67 people on the topic of "Birds, Windows and You". Bryan is Collision Coordinator for the American Bird Conservancy, a leading bird organization. He shared his knowledge of both commercial and home collisions. His information was important for preventing collisions with typical home windows and benefited those attending from the Village of Plover.
A. Demonstrate that schools in your community participate in a nationally-recognized environmental education program (e.g., Flying WILD, Audubon Adventures) or that your community organizes its own substantial education and outreach program for young people.
For 10 years Audubon has worked with Roosevelt Elementary School in Plover on a nest box trail of eight boxes around the school. Each week 30-50 3rd and 4th graders visit these boxes and record the kinds of nests, eggs and chicks that are in the boxes. Teachers include the data in the science and math classes taught to the students. Most years unusual species numbers are recorded (bluebirds, wrens, chickadees and swallows) because of placement of boxes in ideal habitat for these species. This approach instills a distinct appreciation for bird life in the minds of these young students.
For 60 years the Village of Plover has participated in the Stevens Point Christmas Bird Count. There are eight Sectors in the Stevens Point-Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Sector #5, included in the Village of Plover, has been monitored for 22 consecutive years by Kent D. Hall and other birding volunteers and careful records kept of the species and species numbers seen. During that time, 64 species have been seen or heard. In 2019, no new species were added. In Sector #5, we observed 26 species and 891 individuals (18.6% of individuals counted). Sector #5 was the only Sector to record the following species: Black Duck, Belted Kingfisher and Nor. Flicker. Sector #5 had “high counts” for the following 10 species: Black Duck, Mallard, Belted Kingfisher, Hairy Woodpecker, Nor. Flicker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Nor. Cardinal, Dark-eyed Junco & House Finch. 10 people counted birds in Sector #5. For the entire Stevens Point CBC a total of 4,803 individuals representing 43 species were observed by 30 volunteers.
E. Illustrate a program that involves schools, garden clubs, or other organizations in bird conservation activities.
The Village of Plover provides support for the environmental school in the Stevens Point School System, the Boston School Forest (BSF). The BSF area totals 120 acres, the northern 40 of which is owned by the Village of Plover for flood control. The Village allows the BSF students to use its property for educational purposes. In the 2018-19 school year, a total of 9,041 students (mainly) and adults attended the facility. In addition to monies allocated from taxpayers, a total of $30,232.95 was received in donations. The Aldo Leopold Audubon Society contributed $300 for the ropes course plus donated display boxes with nests and eggs for bluebirds, wrens, chickadees, swallows and sparrows. Finally, Audubon had an interactive educational booth display at BSF on E-Day, 2019.
H. Document a substantial regular program that educates young people on any of the following topics: climate change, energy efficiency, green/bird-safe buildings, or environmental sustainability.
Aldo Leopold Audubon Society has eight different programs per year which address environmental concerns of children. We also have 14 field trips, some of which (World Migratory Bird Day) deal with many children. In addition, the Citizens' Climate Lobby, Stevens Point Chapter, presents a puppet show to children. Usually, several presentations are made each year. In 2019, special shows were made at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair and on E-Day at Boston School Forest. Several hundred children and parents attend these shows over the course of a year.
Energy & Sustainability
E. Show that your community has implemented a sustainability plan that improves your community’s energy efficiency and/or increases the use of renewable energy. (Exclusions: Smart Growth comprehensive plans)
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UW-SP) provides numerous opportunities for Village residents to learn more about climate change and how individuals and organizations can take initiatives to address this important topic. For example, UW-SP offers lectures and presentations and panel discussions that are open to the public. UW-SP has presented climate change information and adopted policies that affect transportation, sustainable energy, and land use within the university and also provide information that is geared to local, state, national and international interests. UW-SP also offers courses on climate change and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education provides workshops on sustainability and energy education.
The Village of Plover continually looks for ways to minimize its carbon footprint, in an effort to minimize its impact on the environment. For example, the Village recently replaced lighting in its municipal buildings with LED lighting to reduce energy consumption. In addition, the Village is working with Wisconsin Public Service to convert street lighting to LED lighting. This conversion is anticipated to take several years before all street lighting is converted. Public Works Department staff also reviews and recommends other energy saving measures for all Village facilities on an annual basis. The Village is pleased to offer a free composting and brush site for Village and Town of Plover residents from April through October each year and provides spring and fall pickups for Village residents on an annual basis.
In 2019 the Village of Plover renewed its recycling contract for a 10 year period. Each resident will be provided a 95 gallon container free of charge for recycling materials when the service begins in January, 2020. In addition, recycling will occur weekly instead of every other week as in the past.
F. Demonstrate that your community participates in a community solar program or that a municipal building receives a significant percentage of its electricity from renewable energy.
For the first time, the Village of Plover qualified for the SolSmart program in 2019. The Village qualified at the "Silver" level. This achievement means that the Village constituents can place solar panels on their properties with a minimum of Village ordinance restrictions.
H. Describe your community’s efforts to educate residents about climate change.
Citizens' Climate Lobby is a Stevens Point/Plover group of 550+ members that are working to prevent greenhouse gas production. Several dozen members are from Plover. In 2017 we held four major talks/panels. We averaged about 75 persons per talk. In addition, Audubon presents talks about climate change (Matt Dahlman, "Climate Change and Wisconsin Forests").
J. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
The Village has approved a new $3.5 million development for Lake Pacawa Park. This development will include the addition of 9.5 acres of land. The lake already attracts unusual birds such as Snow Geese, Trumpeter Swans, Greater White-fronted Geese, assorted waterfowl and a variety of shorebirds. This lake is a regular stop for local birders and these developments will increase the attraction of local birders to the area.
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)
A. This community's municipal body passed the required International Migratory Bird Day resolution.
Plover’s 2019 WMBD was held on May 12. The field trip started with a discussion of the worldwide nature of the program and of the huge number of birds migrating from over-wintering to breeding habitats. Four field guides led the trip and were assigned 3-4 different persons (a total of 14 attended). We first toured Iverson Park (on the WI State Birding and Nature Trail) and then went to the 350 acre Lost Creek Wetlands (species list of 223). Trip participants recorded 51 species of birds.
The Village Board approved the May 9 WMBD on the evening of January 22, 2020.