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 City of Two Rivers has adopted a plan that is in compliance with Wisconsin’s Smart Growth law.
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 is a common practice in Two Rivers. Two Rivers is a popular place for birders to visit, and with the development of eBird, more and more lists are being recorded. Part of the Woodland Dunes preserve lies within the City of Two Rivers, and checklists are submitted weekly to eBird. In addition, Woodland Dunes has banded more than 30,000 birds in and adjacent to Two Rivers, half of them Northern Saw-whet Owls. More than 260 species have been recorded at Woodland Dunes.
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 City refers the public to Woodland Dunes Nature Center for information on control of invasive species and has assisted Woodland Dunes in its efforts to remove invasive species on City property adjacent to the preserve. Woodland Dunes regularly provides programs and opportunities for hands-on management of invasive species and assists neighboring landowners with invasive species issues. The link from Woodland Dunes takes visitors to the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin website. The City and Woodland Dunes also work in partnership with the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area to assist landowners in management of invasive species.
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.
Two Rivers has three stops on the Lake Michigan segment of the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail: Woodland Dunes, Point Beach State Forest, and Two Rivers Harbor and Neshotah Park.
L. Show that your community has restored at least two acres of woodlands, wetlands, or prairie.
In the last two years, Woodland Dunes initiated the Restore the Shore project in cooperation with the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership and the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area. Woodland Dunes worked with adjacent landowners including the City of Two Rivers to restore and improve habitat for migratory songbirds, including 10 acres in Zander Park on Columbus St., and 10 acres in the Woodland Dunes SNA, and several acres of unmanaged beachfront property on STH 42 owned by the City and Manitowoc County. In that area invasive phragmites was treated and native shrubs and forbs planted.
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.
Through the Restore the Shore project, property owners can receive technical assistance as well as help in the removal of invasive species and native plant materials at no charge for restoration of habitat.
N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.
The City of Two Rivers and Woodland Dunes Nature Center continue their strong partnership, and recognize that the Lakeshore area near the City is a vital migratory stopover area for birds. As such, the City continues to support Woodland Dunes' Restore the Shore Project to restore and improve the quality of habitat, especially that within a mile of the Lake Michigan shoreline. In 2016 habitat was improved in Zander Park, the Woodland Dunes State Natural Area, the shoreline of the East and West Twin Rivers (control of phragmites prior to planting native vegetation), in 20 wooded acres owned by Aurora Medical Center, the Lake Michigan shoreline along Mariner's Trail.
Management of a restored 16 acre wetland site at Woodland Dunes yielded its first recorded nesting of spotted sandpiper there. At least two osprey and one bald eagle nest are found within or adjacent to the City, and the Two Rivers Stopover project recorded more than 120 species of birds during migration periods in 2016 by volunteer monitors. All of this information, and more, was passed along continuously to the public through Woodland Dunes, and there is an overwhelmingly positive interest in improving bird habitat in the community. These efforts will continue in 2017 plus there will be additional outdoor enhancements in the community including development of a water trail with multiple stops on the two rivers highlighting historical and natural aspects of the rivers and greater opportunities for informed birdwatching. Woodland Dunes also works with not only the City but private landowners, giving information and advice, and assistance in managing invasive, non-native plants, sometimes in conjunction with the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area housed within the center.
Woodland Dunes has erected a chimney swift tower at its headquarters and offers information about swift conservation.
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.)
Woodland Dunes has established a birding trail along Columbus St. highlighting restored habitat areas, and is developing signage and benches for birders. The trail runs from Woodland Dunes headquarters south to the Lakeshore, and features three small birding parks and two side trails.
Community Forest Management
A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Two Rivers continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1991.
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.
Included as part of the Restore the Shore project (see High Flyer 1C). Woodland Dunes continues to promote the planting of native hardwood trees and shrubs in home landscapes.
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.
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.
Backyard habitat enhancement is a frequent topic of the adult programming mentioned above, plus information is available through the links provided on the Woodland Dunes birding page. This page will be reorganized to more prominently feature links to specific habitat pages. The Restore the Shore Project also is a conduit for information about bird habitat enhancement through signage and public engagement at meetings etc.
Two Rivers lies within a Christmas Bird Count circle, and areas within (including Woodland Dunes) and around Two Rivers are counted. Woodland Dunes also presents a Christmas Bird Count for Kids program on the day of the Two Rivers count, and children help count birds which are included in the count results. Woodland Dunes also coordinates migration season point counts in Two Rivers through the Two Rivers Stopover Project, monitors birds year round in the preserve, and conducts annual breeding season surveys.
E. Illustrate a program that involves schools, garden clubs, or other organizations in bird conservation activities.
Woodland Dunes provides a number of programs to children, both through its environmental education curriculum for schools, and for drop-in family visitors. Part of our Cottonwood Trail program offered to several hundred first graders each September engages them in the dynamics of bird migration- the reasons for it, adaptations of birds which do and don't migrate, and a demonstration of bird banding and release of banded birds. Our second grade program is Owling 101, where students spend several hours learning about owls and their special adaptations, dissect owl pellets, learn owl calls, and more each October. Children attending our Bird Breakfast, Owlfest, and Enchanted Forest events learn about birds by participating in many activities, and bird education for adults is included in our Wonder of It All monthly program series.
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 Woodland Dunes Nature Center does a number of things to raise awareness of the avifauna of Two Rivers. One of the most significant actions is the Osprey nest cam that they have on a nest platform at their headquarters. This has generated a lot of interest including visits from Green Bay television and local radio and newspaper stories. Woodland Dunes also has a camera directed at our bird feeders. The City of Two Rivers also has a harbor cam, which can be controlled to pan the harbor area and can be used to look at gulls and waterfowl, a tool that is very helpful in planning birding trips to the harbor. Woodland Dunes also provides additional information online on its website.
N. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
Woodland Dunes also provides a weekly newspaper column which frequently has birds as the topic, and staff are featured seasonally on local radio, much of the time answering bird-related questions from listeners.
In 2016, Two Rivers held its annual Bird Breakfast at Woodland Dunes Nature Center in May, one of the oldest birding events in Wisconsin (75 years). Woodland Dunes provided various bird related education activities and guided bird hikes on the day of the event within the preserve and along the Lakeshore. About 100 people attended the event on a cool and blustery day.