Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Town of Rome

Town of Rome

Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring

A. Comply with Wisconsin's "Smart Growth" law for land use planning and resource management. This criterion is an option only for applications submitted before July 1, 2017.

The Town of Rome has been compliant with the State of Wisconsin’s Smart Growth Plan since the adoption of a Town wide Comprehensive Plan in February of 2004. The Town’s Plan has been updated several times since the original adoption date and is currently in the final stages of a ten year review and update process.

Sand Valley Restoration Fund,LLC (SVRF) is a close geographic neighbor to the town of Rome, Wisconsin and is affiliated with Sand Valley Golf Resort. SVRF consists of roughly 7000 acres of Red Pine timberland which was acquired in Fall 2016. SVRF's plan is, to the best of our ability, restore the land to its original ecological condition. The restoration process is intended to be done in a methodical, professional, quality manner. Ultimately the SVRF land will be a refuge for wildlife as well as a venue for outdoor recreation.In the process of investigating and learning its land, SVRF found several endangered species including Kirtland Warblers, Karner Blue butterflies, and slender glass lizards. Working closely with Federal and State Department of Natural Resources, SVRF has been careful to not only preserve the endangered species habitat that currently exists but also create additional habitat that might entice proliferation of both the endangered species and other wildlife as well. During the summer of 2016, SVRF in conjunction with the DNR welcomed and participated in organized bird watching outings on its property. Participants were generally enthused about their outings and its outcome.

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)

Wisconsin’s Kirtland Warbler 2018 Season Report demonstrates monitoring results of the Kirtland Warbler in Adams County. They were able to monitor the number of males and females in Adams County. The report also shows data obtained by volunteers in Adams County. The results show how the population of the Kirtland Warbler has increased since 2008.

The Wisconsin Kirtland’s Warbler Conspecific Playback Experiment (2014) Report illustrates the excellent data being collected on the Kirtland Warbler in the Town of Rome.

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

As part of the review and update process to the Town of Rome Comprehensive Plan the people of the Town have added the following Objective and Policies to the Natural, Agricultural and Cultural Resources chapter of the Plan to express their desire to protect and enhance local bird habitats:

Objective 10: Strive to protect and enhance habitats for birds throughout the Town.

Policy 1: Work with private landowners to implement sound conservation practices.

Policy 2: Educate residents about birds and bird habitat.

Policy 3: Encourage the Town Board to pass an annual resolution to observe and celebrate International Migratory Bird Day.

Policy 4: Seek designation as a “Bird City” under the Wisconsin Bird City program.

E. Describe your community’s ordinance demonstrating that your community does not restrict natural/native landscaping that emphasizes native plants and non-turf lawns.

Although there is no ordinance language in the Town of Rome Town Code that specifically allows “wild” or natural lawns or landscaping, there is also no ordinance language that restricts or specifies how a property must be maintained or landscaped. There is ordinance language as part of the Town Code prohibiting “noxious weeds” but “wild” lawns and landscaping are allowed and accepted in our community.

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 Petenwell and Castle Rock Stewards are a local organization within the Town of Rome that has a main focus of cleaning up both Lake Petenwell and Castle Rock Lake. Their website demonstrates ways to properly remove invasive species in our area.

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.

A walking trail named the Songbird Trail (open the public) is a monitored trail of bluebird nesting boxes located on the Sand Valley Golf Resort.  Kent Hall was our expert in placing the boxes and in monitoring instruction.  In 2018 the trail was monitored weekly and produced a total 100 new songbirds (43 tree swallows, 34 Eastern Bluebirds, 11 House Wrens, & 12 Black-capped Chikadees). 

The spring of 2018 an additional 20 Bluebird nesting boxes were added. Thirteen of the boxes are located along a walking trail named the Ridge Trail and seven boxes on some of Sand Valley Restoration Fund’s newly cleared stands. The 40 Bluebird boxes were monitored weekly and produced a total of 189 songbirds (98 Tree Swallows, 75 Eastern Bluebirds, 11 House Wrens, & 5 Black-capped Chikadees). 

June 17, 2018:  Join Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Naturalist for a hike along the Rome bike trail.  Identify birds and beneficial additions for your yard or property.  Learn how to create year-round backyard habitat as we walk and talk about birds and other pollinators of our area

Rome Tourism Bureau with assistance and cooperation from the DRAFT Bike Trail Committee has taken an initiative to add nesting boxes along a songbird trail which will coincide with the new trail system for the 2017 year. This initiative will enlarge our area for favorable bird habitat.

December 28, 2018: Sand Valley Restoration Fund with the help of the Audubon Society hosted Rome, Wisconsin’s first Christmas Bird Count. The groups successfully identified 30 different species of birds with a total of 775 bird counted. This included: 179 Canada Goose, 9 Mallards, 2 Common Merganser, 1 Ruffed Grouse, 29 Wild Turkey, 59 Mourning Doves, 3 Rough-Legged Hawks, 1 Red-headed Woodpecker, 3 Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, 9 Downy Woodpeckers, 5 Hairy Woodpeckers, 1 Pileated Woodpecker, 42 Blue Jays, 98 American Crow, 4 Common Raven, 98 Black-capped Chickadees, 14 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 20 White-breasted Nuthatch, 27 European Starling, 58 American Tree Sparrows, 22 Dark-eyed Junco, 7 Northern Cardinals, 5 Bald Eagles, 9 Tufted Titmouse, 17 Rock Pigeons, 17 Bufflehead, 20 Greater Scaup, 11 Common Goldeneye, 1 Gull SPP, and 4 Cedar Waxwings.

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

J & J Cranberries Inc. is a cranberry company with 240 acres located in the Town of Rome. They are known to have the largest colony of Purple Martins in the state of Wisconsin. Currently the company has 175 gourds on their property for the Purple Martins.

Address: 698 County Road D, Nekoosa, WI 54457

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

The Sand Valley Golf Resort has restored approximately 1,200 acres of property to a glacial sand barren as part of the golf course development.

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

The Sand Valley Golf Resort has two hiking trails; the Songbird Trail and the Ridge Trail.  The Songbird Trail has 20 monitored nesting boxes and the Ridge Trail has 13 monitored nesting boxes.  The golf course has also removed red pine plantation allow the Jack Pines to flourish in an effort to attract the Kirkland Warbler to the property.

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.)

The Songbird Trail (20 nesting boxes) at Sand Valley has signage with information about the nesting boxes on the trail.

Community Forest Management

F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The Sand Valley Golf Resort  in the Town of Rome (open to the public) is committed to conserving the land around them. They are focused on returning the 1,700 acres of land back to its original status of “Sand Barrens”. The land will be restored to its original landscape.

Approximately one third of property located in the Town of Rome is currently enrolled in the State of Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law (MFL). The MFL is a landowner incentive program that encourages sustainable forestry on private woodlands. The law incorporates timber harvesting, wildlife management, water quality and recreation to maintain a healthy and productive forest. To participate in the MFL program a property owner must commit to a 25 or 50 year sustainable forest management plan.

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 Town of Rome has provided information on its website about the “Cats Indoors” program.

The Town has printed information on protecting birds from window strikes available at the Town Hall. 

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

The Town of Rome has information on window strikes from the American Bird Conservancy featured on both the Town’s website as well as its tourism Pinterest page. www.visitrome.wi.com

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 Town of Rome’s Pinterest page contains a bird watching board. This board features unique DIY projects for the enhancement of local backyards for bird habitats (https://www.pinterest.com/visitromewi/bird-watching/

On our tourism website, www.visitromewi.com, the Town of Rome has created a section dedicated to birding. This provides residents and visitors with information on where to go to bird (https://www.visitromewi.com/bird-watching). In addition, Visit Rome, WI, Inc. has included the Bird City logo along with a summary stating: "The Town of Rome boasts one of the most distinctive habitats in the country. Once the bed of a glacial lake, Rome’s landscape is comprised of spectacular sand barrens and rolling pines. Home to the endangered Kirkland Warble, Whooping Crane, Clay Colored Sparrow, and Karner Blue butterfly, Town of Rome is a bucket list destination for nature-enthusiast and birders. Walk, hike, bike and enjoy the rare beauty that surrounds you."

The Town’s website  provides residents with information on how to help protect the local birds in our area.

In September 2018, Visit Rome, WI (The Town of Rome Tourism entity) sponsored two REGI raptor education program presentations followed by an "Eagle Hike" along Lake Petenwell.  Members of our local community, as well as many out of town guests participated in this very informative program.  

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 Town joined Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin (B.R.A.W.) this year.  As part of our Sand Valley Songbird Trail nesting box monitoring, we reported our results to B.R.A.W.   The Town of Rome with the aid of the Audobon Society participted in its first Christmas Bird Count of December 28.  

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

This upcoming summer the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge will be coming to our Rome Farmer's Market to provide our residents with educational & fun programs on birding.

The Necedah National Wildlife Refuge will also hold a birding education program on June 25th.

The REGI group held two raptor presentations in 2018.  We intend to offer similar presentations in 2019 in conjunction with IMBD.

G. Provide a link to your community’s Bird City Wisconsin webpage, which must be visible from the main page of your municipal website (it may be located at the first level of a drop down menu on the main page but cannot be any less visible) OR demonstrate that your Bird City effort has a significant social media presence.

The Town of Rome has "Bird Information" under the "Community Services" Tab on the homepage of their website (https://townofrome.com/). 

K. Demonstrate that your community actively raises awareness of its bird assets. Examples include placing a remote web camera on a nest platform, offering bird watching field trips, or creating a significant educational resource on your community's bird life.

The Town of Rome hosted a Raptor Presentation & Eagle Hike this past Fall on September 15, 2018. REGI’s (Raptor Education Group, Inc.) one-hour Raptor Presentation provided an opportunity for the community to learn more about raptors and how we can help the population survive and thrive. Then, a two-mile hike, following the program, took place along the shore of Lake Petenwell in an area that has Bald Eagle nesting and are commonly viewed hunting on the lake. The event took place at The Lure Bar & Marina (1735 Archer Lane, Nekoosa, WI).

Energy & Sustainability

B. Show that your community goes above and beyond in its support for, and implementation of, green transportation (e.g., bike trails, rideshare programs, bike trails/lanes, etc.). Be sure to utilize the narrative to illustrate why your community is exceptional because standard practice will not receive credit.

The Town of Rome has a local group D.R.A.F.T (Discover Rome Area Family Trailsj).  This group is committed to creating and improving our existing biking trails to connect them safety throughout the committee.  They will be marking safe routes on the roadways and are researching travel patterns to link our local residents throughout the Town, while avoiding high traffic areas.  Cooporation between  local land owners has resulted in a series of trails which allows our residents to safely walk or bike throughout the Town.  

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required International Migratory Bird Day resolution.

B. Document and describe your event that incorporates the annual IMBD theme in some fashion. If the event has not yet occurred, please share your detailed plans. For information on the current year’s theme and event materials, please visit the 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 Town of Rome passed a resolution recognizing International Migratory Bird Day. Our 2019 event included partnering with the local library, Lester Public Library of Rome, to bring a fun and engaging exhibit to our local community. We plan on continuing this educational event for the 2020 year and will be partnering with the local Necedah Wildlife Refuge, the Rome Farmer’s Market, Visit Rome Tourism Bureau, and local schools to have an exhibit and bird walk for the community!  We are also in discussions with REGI to offer a raptor presentation to the community in conjunction with IMBD.