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 7,200 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.
2021 - "In mid-December, Archer North, LLC, led by owners/developers Michael and Chris Keiser, signed the North Central Conservancy Trust’s latest conservation easement, forever protecting nearly 300 acres of privately-owned land located at the Lido Conservancy in the Town of Rome in Adams County. The now-protected property has been undergoing significant ecological restoration and management work to restore the native habitats once found on the property and throughout the sand plains of Central Wisconsin... NCCT’s Board President, Kay Meyer, added “Being a part of this easement and restoration project has brought so much energy to NCCT. We could not be more pleased. It embodies so much of what we work toward in conserving our lands for the future.”" The full article is listed below.
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.
Read / Listen to this August 2019 NPR Article featuring Sand Valley's Field & Operations Manager, Chelsea Sorbo : "Kirtland's Warbler Success Story Might Help The Future Of The Endangered Species Act"
The Lido Conservancy conservation easement project was initiated in early 2021 North Central Conservancy Signs Easement in Rome, WI
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 Lido Conservancy conservation easement project North Central Conservancy Signs Easement in Rome, WI
Sand Valley Restoration Fund - 7,200 acres under a Forest Legacy EAsement and Conservation Easement - OUR MISSION IS TO IMPLEMENT AND PROMOTE CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION OF HISTORIC AND NATURAL HABITATS IN THE CENTRAL SANDS OF WISCONSIN. We have FIVE PRIORITIES: RESTORATION | CONSERVATION | EDUCATION | RESEARCH | RECREATION
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.
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.
In addition, on the Town of Rome's Bird Information Page, the community is welcomed to regularly visit this Landing Page for information on how they can maintain our bird habitat here in the Town of Rome.
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.
Archer North, LCC signed a conservation easement in 2021 protecting 300 acres of land.
S. Demonstrate how a public golf course is managed to benefit birds.
The Sand Valley Golf Resort has four hiking trails; the Songbird Trail, the Karner Connection Trail, and the Ridge Trail. The Songbird Trail has 20 monitored nesting boxes and the Ridge Trail has 13 monitored nesting boxes, The Karner Connection has 8 monitored nesting boxes. The golf course has also removed red pine plantation allowing the Jack Pines to flourish in an effort to attract the Kirtland 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.
F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
Sand Valley 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.
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.
In 2021, the Town of Rome updated their Birding Page to now provide current information on its website about the “Cats Indoors” Program.
On our Bird Watching Pinterest Page, we created an informational post from the American Bird Conversancy and pinned "Cats Indoors Initiative" onto our Bird Watching Page.
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 WorldBirds.Org featured on the the Town’s website.
The Town of Rome has printed information on protecting birds from window strikes available at the Town Hall.
In 2021 on our Bird Watching Pinterest Page, we created an informational post from WorldBirds.Org "12 Tips on How to STOP Birds From Flying Into Windows" and pinned on our Bird Watching Page.
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.
Visit Rome, WI's Pinterest page contains a bird watching board. This board features unique DIY projects for the enhancement of local backyards for bird habitats and is updated on a regular basis.
On our Visit Rome, WI, Inc. website, the Town of Rome has created a section dedicated to birding. This provides residents and visitors with information on where to go to birding. 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 Kirtland Warbler, 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.
The Town renewed membership with Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin (B.R.A.W.) for the second year in 2020. As part of our Sand Valley Songbird Trail, Ridge Trail, & Restoration Land nesting box monitoring, we reported our results to B.R.A.W. The Town of Rome with the aid of the Audubon Society participated in our third annual Christmas Bird Count on December 16, 2020.
January 4, 2020: Sand Valley Restoration Fund with the help of the Audubon Society and Visit Rome, WI, Inc. hosted our second annual Christmas Bird Count. A group of 23 volunteers spent the day successfully identified 37 different species of birds with a total of 1,002 bird counted. This included: 99 American Crows, 27 American Goldfinch, 1 American Robin, 37 American Tree Sparrow, 9 Bald Eagles, 105 Black-capped Chickadee, 158 Blue Jays, 6 Brown Creeper, 96 Canada Goose, 2 Chipping Sparrows, 97 Common Goldeneye, 9 Common Raven, 63 Dark-eyed Junco, 17 Downy Woodpeckers, 2 Eastern Screech-Owl, 9 European Starling, 1 Great Horned Owl, 13 Hairy Woodpecker, 5 Herring Gull, 3 Hooded Merganser, 1 House Sparrow, 4 Mallards, 41 Mourning Doves, 9 Northern Cardinal, 2 Northern Harrier, 5 Northern Shrike, 8 Pileated Woodpeckers, 11 Red-bellied Woodpecker, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 13 Red-headed Woodpecker, 13 Red-tailed Hawk, 5 Rough-legged Hawk, 61 Snow Buntings, 5 Trumpeter Swan, 3 Tufted Titmouse, 24 White-breasted Nuthatch, and 36 Wild Turkey.
January 4, 2022: Sand Valley Restoration Fund with the help of the Audubon Society and Visit Rome, WI, Inc. hosted our fourth annual Christmas Bird Count. A group of 23 volunteers spent the day successfully identified 37 different species of birds with a total of 1,002 bird counted. This included: 99 American Crows, 27 American Goldfinch, 1 American Robin, 37 American Tree Sparrow, 9 Bald Eagles, 105 Black-capped Chickadee, 158 Blue Jays, 6 Brown Creeper, 96 Canada Goose, 2 Chipping Sparrows, 97 Common Goldeneye, 9 Common Raven, 63 Dark-eyed Junco, 17 Downy Woodpeckers, 2 Eastern Screech-Owl, 9 European Starling, 1 Great Horned Owl, 13 Hairy Woodpecker, 5 Herring Gull, 3 Hooded Merganser, 1 House Sparrow, 4 Mallards, 41 Mourning Doves, 9 Northern Cardinal, 2 Northern Harrier, 5 Northern Shrike, 8 Pileated Woodpeckers, 11 Red-bellied Woodpecker, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 13 Red-headed Woodpecker, 13 Red-tailed Hawk, 5 Rough-legged Hawk, 61 Snow Buntings, 5 Trumpeter Swan, 3 Tufted Titmouse, 24 White-breasted Nuthatch, and 36 Wild Turkey.
January 4, 2023: Sand Valley Restoration Fund with the help of the Audubon Society and Visit Rome, WI, Inc. hosted our 5th annual Christmas Bird Count. A group of 11 volunteers spent the day successfully identified 40 different species of birds with a total of 1,670 bird counted. This included: 243 American Crows, 57 American Goldfinch, 3 American Robin, 57 American Tree Sparrow, 10 Bald Eagles, 4 Belted Kingfisher, 271 Black-capped Chickadee, 152 Blue Jays, 1 Bohemiam Waxwing, 1 Brown Creeper, 208 Cedar Waxwing, 1 Common Goldeneye, 15 Common Raven, 139 Dark-eyed Junco, 31 Downy Woodpeckers, 1 Eastern Screech-Owl, 2 Evening Grisbeak, 28 European Starling, 1 Great Horned Owl, 24 Hairy Woodpecker, 6 House Finch, 12 House Sparrow, 18 Mallards, 1 Merlin, 34 Mourning Doves, 40 Northern Cardinal, 2 Northern Flicker, 1 Northern Harrier, 2 Northern Shrike, 10 Pileated Woodpeckers, 15 Red-bellied Woodpecker, 11 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 4 Red-headed Woodpecker, 2 Red-tailed Hawk, 12 Rough-legged Hawk, 1 Sandhill Crane, 1 Short-Eared Owl, 1 Tufted Titmouse, 53 White-breasted Nuthatch, and 193 Wild Turkey.
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.
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 Trails). 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. Cooperation between local land owners has resulted in a series of trails which allows our residents to safely walk or bike throughout the Town. To learn more about this local organization, click here or visit BLOG on the Visit Rome, WI, Inc. website.
Not only does D.R.A.F.T. promote trail usage, the organization hosts guided hikes on our Town of Rome trails, family-friendly bike rides, adult bike events, and shares information weekly at the Rome Farmers Market (from Memorial Day - Labor Day).
A group of local Community members started a weekly biking program - "Two Tire Tuesdays." This group did not meet during the 2020 season due to COVID; however, plans to resume rides during the 2021 season.
Visit Rome, WI is actively working with D.R.A.F.T. (our local hiking and biking group) to establish a trail system safely connecting our three lakes with a safe, off-road biking path. This initiative is called "Linking the Lakes" and is currently in the beginning planning phases. Our Town is in need of a tunnel passing underneath Highway 13 - which is in the planning/engineering phase currently. In 2021, Badgerland Survey constructed a topographical cross section sketch of the tunnel. We are now working with a local Rome Resident to contact engineers to receive a quote for the tunnel. This project will be a considerable asset to our Town following construction. This is one of our largest development plans we are currently working on in collaboration with our local community organizations, Town Government, the Department of Transportation, and other state agencies.
A. This community's municipal body passed the required World 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 World 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 Board of Directors has on their February 2021 Agenda an item to pass a Resolution recognizing International Migratory Bird Day as Saturday, May 8, 2021 in the Town of Rome. We plan on continuing educational events for the 2021 year and plan to partner with the local Necedah Wildlife Refuge, the Rome Farmer’s Market, Visit Rome, WI, Inc,, 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 (or when the current health climate allows).
The Town of Rome Board of Directors has on their February 2021 Agenda an item to pass a Resolution recognizing International Migratory Bird Day as May 8, 2021 in the Town of Rome. We will upload the approved resolution once the Town of Rome Board of Directors approves this item.
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