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 Trust (SVRT) is a close geographic neighbor to the town of Rome, Wisconsin and is affiliated with Sand Valley Golf Resort. SVRT consists of roughly 7000 acres of Red Pine timberland which was acquired in Fall 2016. SVRT'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 SVRT land will be a refuge for wildlife as well as a venue for outdoor recreation.In the process of investigating and learning its land, SVRT found several endangered species including Kirtland Warblers, Karner butterflies, and slender glass lizards. Working closely with Federal and State Department of Natural Resources, SVRT 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, SVRT 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 2016 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 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.  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). 

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.

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.


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 1200 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.  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 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.

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.

On our tourism website, the Town of Rome has created a section dedicated to birding. This provides residents and visitors with information on where to go to bird.

On June 2, 2017, two local Master Gardeners demonstrated how to make container gardens specifically to attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies at the Rome Farmers Market.

The Master Gardeners provided hand-outs listing plants/flowers to attract birds and butterflies to community residents attending the Farmers Market program. 

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

June 17, 2017, at an event called "Weekend in Rome" the Town partnered with the Necedah Wildlife Center and held a bird walk, focusing on bird habitat and identification.  Children were able to create take-home projects on bird identification. 

Highlights of the program: 

Novices to experts will enjoy learning about bird and bat houses.  A display of the different types of houses will be on hand, as well as plans to replicate them on your own.

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

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. 

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 be having a birding education program on June 25th.

M. Show that your community participates in the Natural Resources Foundation’s Great Wisconsin Birdathon to raise money for your community and for statewide conservation.

The Town of Rome had a team, participate in the 2017 Great Wisconsin Birdathon on May 13.  The team counted birds and raised funds for future birding initiatives in 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 2017 event included partnering with the local library, Lester Public Library of Rome, to bring a fun and engaging exhibit to our local community that also included a presentation by local bird experts. We plan on continuing this educational event for the 2017 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!