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)
There continue to be several organized efforts within the City of Wauwatosa to collect and monitor information on birds:
1. The Forest Exploration Center (FEC) is a Wauwatosa based non-profit that seeks to help visitors explore, explain and experience Wisconsin forests and forestry. The FEC compiles a checklist of birds observed in the FEC Woodland and surrounding area, located in Wauwatosa. Over 158 species of birds have been documented. See attached file: Category 1B - FEC Bird Checklist
2. Local researchers and volunteers have summarized their bird monitoring results taken from Hart Park, Webster Park, Hartung Park, County Grounds, Menomonee River Parkway, and Jacobus Park, all located within Wauwatosa. See attached file: Category 1B - Local Volunteer Bird Monitoring
Please also review 2019 - 2021 photos of birds and wildlife located in the area surrounding County Grounds Park northeast quandrant https://tosahistory13.wixsite.com/tosa/wildlife-gallery
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)
In December of 2018, the Wauwatosa Common Council approved the Life Sciences District (LSD) Master Plan. The Plan covers 1,200 acres, including 500 acres of environmental green space. This area is located east of I-41 and north of Wisconsin Avenue and includes existing developments such as Innovation Campus, the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, and the Milwaukee County Research Park. Historically, this area has been referred to as the County Grounds. The City of Wauwatosa has zoning authority over this land.
Along with goals to improve traffic flow, provide housing and guide development, the LSD Plan has an additional goal to protect and enhance existing green and environmental spaces and create shared public spaces, including minimizing the impact on wildlife and bird and butterfly migration. This latter goal particularly refers to 55 acres of land commonly referred to as the Sanctuary Woods. Prior to the approval of the Plan, the Sanctuary Woods was not zoned as a Conservancy. These woods have become cherished for its habitat that attracts rare species of wildlife, including long-eared owls and flying squirrels. See attached file Category 1C - Sanctuary Woods.
The relevant sections of the LSD Plan that deal with environmental issues can be found in the attached file Category 1C - Life Sciences District Environment Goals. With considerable input from key public stakeholders, the following amendments were added to the Plan:
In accordance with the final amendment above, in December 2019, the Wauwatosa Common Council unanimously approved Resolution R-19-196 and Ordinance O-19-30 to reflect a zoning modification to the Sanctuary Woods, making it now zoned Special Purpose Conservancy (SP-CON). This 55-acre property will now complement (and be annexed to) the 55-acre County Grounds Park, the 90-acre MMSD detention basin property and the 65-acre State Forestry Demonstration Area, creating an overall contiguous area of 500 acres of environmental green space that will provide and protect into perpetuity important wildlife habitat at the confluence of Underwood Creek and the Menomonee River.
E. Describe your community’s ordinance demonstrating that your community does not restrict natural/native landscaping that emphasizes native plants and non-turf lawns.
City of Wauwatosa Ordinance 24.12.050 provides the requirements for landscape material and design. Included among its requirements: the use of biodegradable mulch, native plants and non-invasive trees and shrubs. The complete ordinance can be found in the attached file Category 1E - Ordinance 24.12.050 Landscape Material and Design.
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 Watertown is an existing apartment building developed by Samapa with 5 stories and 147 units on the former Milwaukee County Food Services site (9150 Watertown Plank Road). The building was designed with sensitivity to its location adjacent to the Sanctuary Woods (see Category 1C) by incorporating native landscaping, dark sky lighting strategies, and bird friendly details.
Areas in urban settings can be negatively impacted by nearby structures and other development, thereby limiting their habitat value. To address those issues, Wauwatosa’s Plan Commission required that developers of the Watertown meet with two representatives from local environmental groups to discuss the potential impacts on the habitat in the vicinity of the parcel.
The County Grounds Coalition, an environmental advocacy group, has taken an active role to meet with the developers to advocate for design elements to help protect wildlife. One proposal is a 20-foot buffer of evergreen trees between the development and the woods. In addition, the developers have reduced the site from 3.36 acres to 2.25 acres to respect the sanctuary Woods conservation district boundaries.
The County Grounds Coalition is also worried about light pollution, the height and density of the building, stormwater drainage and nearby birds colliding into the glass of the building and held on-going meetings with the developers.
The developers of the Watertown have recognized that birds navigate the built environment and the two critical areas of challenge are the glass surfaces and the light pollution. As designers they can decrease bird collision hazards by incorporating bird friendly strategies. Glazing included patterns that break down large expanses of glass. Lighting systems were designed and managed with “dark skies” in mind so that levels of light spill at night are controlled
Additional detail on plans for the Watertown, including requirements for collaborating with environmental groups, can be found here.
Final Plans for this development were approved by the Wauwatosa Common Council in March 2021. In 2022, the Watertown welcomed its first tenants.
In 2022, the Watertown Apartments teamed up with Ronald McDonald House Charities-Eastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and 75 volunteers to give back to the beautiful land. They planted 140 trees across 2 acres of the Sanctuary Woods! See attached photo Category 1H - Watertown Tree Planting.
J. Show that a significant number of properties have been recognized as having bird-friendly yards (e.g., Yardmap/Habitat Network, National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Certification Program).
Wauwatosa's Lincoln Elementary School, a certified Green & Healthy School, created an outdoor classroom known as the Morgridge Family Outdoor Learning Center. This Center is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Schoolyard Habitat, including bird houses, butterfly garden, and an insect hotel. It was made possible through a generous donation by school alumni and philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge. Other outdoor classrooms exist at Roosevelt, Madison, and Wilson/WSTEM elementary schools. Vel R. Phillips School has a garden of hope. See attached: Category 1J - Lincoln school outdoor classroom.
L. Show that your community has restored at least two acres of woodlands, wetlands, or prairie.
The City of Wauwatosa coordinated activities with the Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture to convert a degraded 2.5-acre man-made lagoon near the intersection of Burleigh Street and the Menomonee River Parkway into a six-acre wetland surrounded by four acres of restored upland habitat. The restored area will now trap stormwater and pollutants that currently drain directly into the Menomonee River. The Fund for Lake Michigan provided a grant to partially fund this project. See 5 attached photos of these wetlands titled Category 1L - Wetlands Photos.
N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.
A significant number of community organizations collaborated within the City of Wauwatosa in 2022 to conduct annual and semi annual weed outs to control and remove invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard, particularly along the Menomonee River. One of the most active is the Friends of Hoyt Park and Pool annual spring river cleanup as one of 50 locations organized by Milwaukee Riverkeeper. This event was held on April 23.
Milwaukee Riverkeeper conducted several additional spring cleanup events in Wauwatosa, including Menomonee River Parkway and North Avenue, Gravel Sholes Park, Webster Park, Hart Park, Jacobus Park, and Honey Creek Parkway at 84th Street. A video of the 2022 events on April 23 can be viewed here https://youtu.be/MImZT_B4YIY
In 2022, The Park People conducted spring and fall weedouts in Wauwatosa locations such as County Grounds Park, Hoyt Park, Honey Creek and Menomonee Parkway, focusing on the removal of garlic mustard, dame’s rocket and burdock in park natural areas. https://parkpeoplemke.org/get-involved/programs/weed-out/https://parkpeoplemke.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/2022-Weed-Out-Fall-schedule-2b.pdf
The Friends of County Grounds Park, located in Wauwatosa, had another stellar year in 2022 for invasives management. They had 4 separate buckthorn removal events, with lots of Wauwatosa student involvement. This Friends group also conducted 2 Trash Removal events in April 2022.
The City of Wauwatosa held its first Tosa Takes Out the Trash event in April 2022. 50 volunteers collected over 600 pounds of trash throughout the city.
O. Document a program to support the establishment of natural lawns and native landscaping, possibly including public presentations of Audubon’s Plants for Birds Initiative (contact them for a presentation kit).
In December 2022, the Wauwatosa Common Council approved a No Mow May ordinance, as part of an amendment to Sec. 15.32.030 (D) of the Municipal Code Exterior Property Requirements. Section 4 now reads:
No-mow or short grass prairie areas are preferred as an alternative to mowed lawn areas upon approval by the development department, provided the seed mix utilized contains not more than eighty percent permanent native grass, sedge or forb species, is expected to grow not more than twenty-four inches in height, and is managed to effectively control the influx and growth of invasive or noxious plant species. Approval from the development department for grass in excess of six inches is not required in the month of May.
See attached file: Category 1O - No Mow May
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.)
Wauwatosa's Forest Exploration Center (FEC) is a non profit organization dedicated to sustainable forestry, education and accessible recreation. It includes a 60-acre, mature hardwood forest, representing one of the best and last remaining remnants of the southern hardwood forests that once covered southeast Wisconsin. Visitors to the forest experience solitude and passive recreation under the canopy of trees along a one mile self-guided nature trail. This accessible loop for hiking and nature observation offers all abilities the opportunity to immerse themselves in the experience, deepen their understanding of our relationship to forest ecosystems and consider the role each of us play as stewards of these special places. https://www.forestexplorationcenter.org
The FEC includes The Forest Ecology Trail, ian accessible self-guided nature trail on a one mile loop.... with specially designed double sided signs for twice the fun! Panel themes, media interactives and explorations will rotate frequently. See attached photos: Category 1T - FEC Trail Map and Category 1T - Birds of the Forest Series
The Forest Field Guide |"Birds of the Forest Panel Series" features scannable QR codes at the bottom of each panel that access exclusive curated audio/video content. Listen and learn bird song, watch birds in action as they feed and nest, learn why this forest is an oasis for birds in the city. See attached photo: Category 1T - Birds of the Forest Series.
A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
As of 2022, the City of Wauwatosa has been awarded Tree City USA status for 40 years, celebrated annually with a tree planting around the time of Arbor Day https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityUSA/index.cfm#recognizedSection
F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
in 2021, the City of Wauwatosa introduced its Tree Dashboard, a tool to identify location, species, pruning, removal and other data on the city's 25,000 trees. https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/f31abd1794d6493b8526fa02971ff1a6
When you click into the map on the dashboard, you can navigate to any Wauwatosa street and start to see city trees populate on the map.
When you start to dig into the data, you will notice some trends:
Four species of trees make up roughly two thirds of the City's urban forest – which is not a healthy balance for our ecosystem. We have over 116 species of trees and the goal is to increase tree diversity, so Wauwatosa’s forest continues to thrive. By choosing a diverse palate of trees, the City minimizes risks of pests or diseases impacting the urban forest. This tool also provides the ecological benefits that each tree contributes. Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air and water quality, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. City Foresters often get questions about when trees were last treated or pruned, and this tool will have those answers.
In December 2022, the Wauwatosa Common Council approved a new Mission, Vision and Values Statement for the Parks Department. Its values includes Resource Stewardship: Manage natural, historical, and cultural resources in balance with recreation andpublic access; and Promote natural resource management and sustainability initiatives. See attached file: Catgegory 2F - Parks Mission, Vision and Values Statement.
C. Show that your municipality practices Integrated Pest Management, using natural pest control and the best available science to minimize pesticide and herbicide use.
in 2022, City of Wauwatosa Forester Alex Krutsch, continues to report that Wauwatosa practices many of the principles associated with Integrated Pest Management, but does not have a formal IPM plan
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.
The Wauwatosa School District has a number of schools that have organized environmental outreach programs:
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).
In 2022, hundreds of bird sightings in Wauwatosa have been documented in the ebird system, including 143 species at County Grounds park https://ebird.org/hotspot/L7364893, 134 species at Hoyt Park https://ebird.org/hotspot/L711306, 72 species at Hartung Park https://ebird.org/hotspot/L4375912, and 130 species at Jacobus Park https://ebird.org/hotspots?hs=L711306&yr=all&m=
The Friends of County Grounds Park conducted a Birding Tour of Sanctuary Woods on May 22, 2021. Carl Schwartz led a 90-minute spring migration hike, hoping to catch views of colorful spring warblers, Scarlet Tanagers and Baltimore Orioles, along with many year-round residents. He also shared photos taken on the County Grounds of birds seen through many seasons.
The Friends of County Grounds Park also led a Christmas Bird Count in December 2022. The count covered the following areas: Sanctuary Woods / County Grounds Park, The Monarch Trail / Innovation Park, and MMSD basins / Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.
E. Illustrate a program that involves schools, garden clubs, or other organizations in bird conservation activities.
Wauwatosa Library Director Pete Loeffel and Children's Librarian Anne Kissinger report that the Children’s Library visits the Wehr Nature Center annually, including in June 2022, for a program that includes several topics, including a focus on birds.
F. Demonstrate that your community understands the critical ecological role of pollinators by documenting your Bee City USA status or by describing another substantial effort to promote pollinator health (for ideas visit the Xerxes Society and the Pollinator Partnership).
The City of Wauwatosa Ordinances 9.04.070 and 9.04.080 allow honey beekeeping in residentially zoned districts within the City of Wauwatosa. Two hives (apiaries) are allowed. Permits and approval from adjacent neighbors are required. The complete ordinance and permit can be found in attached files Category 4F - Beekeeping ordinances 9.04.070 and 9.04.080 and Category 4F - Beekeeping application.
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 City of Wauwatosa's home page on its web site includes, under "Get Involved", a link to its Bird City Wisconsin profile. The link can be found here https://www.wauwatosa.net/get-involved. A screen shot identifying Bird City can be found in the attachment Category 4G - Link to bird city web page
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.
The City of Wauwatosa conducts an annual sustainability event called the Tosa Green Summit. The 12th annual summit took place on September 10 and 17, 2022.
The event is a free informational open house to learn how you can make your community green and sustainable. Fifteen Exhibitors built AWARENESS and education on topics ranging from climate, home energy, conservation, water, gardening, transportation, and food. Among recent exhibitors: Citizen Climate Lobby, Focus on Energy, Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Sierra Club Great Waters Group, Compost Crusader, Master Gardeners and many more.
The Tosa Green Summit also offers several opportunities to take ACTION, with numerous recycling and refuse collections taking place in the Wauwatosa City Hall Parking Lot: MMSD's annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection, Wauwatosa Police Crime-stoppers project featuring collections for shredding, electronic recycling, medicine, along with bike collections from Dreambikes and textiles from Milwaukee Textile. In 2022, the event recycled and collected: 40,457 lbs household hazardous waste, 10,290 lbs. of electronics, 9000 lbs. of shredded paper, 3264 lbs. of textiles, 197 lbs of medications, and 65 bikes.
In 2021, the Tosa Green Summit received a Recycling Excellence Award from the Wisconsin DNR.
A. Document an energy audit for a municipal building and show that your community is working to implement its recommendations.
The City of Wauwatosa Energy and Recycling Advisory Committee (currently known as the Sustainability Committee) has conducted a number of energy audits of municipal buildings over the past several years, including the Muellner Building, Parks Department Administration Building, Police Headquarters and City Hall. Here is detail on the results of the audit and implementation of the recommendations at the Muellner Building:
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.
Wauwatosa has become a leading Milwaukee suburb, and a leader in the state of Wisconsin, in implementing innovative biking (and pedestrian) solutions. Headlining this achievement is Wauwatosa's Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Plan, with goals and recommendations that build on the existing bicycle and pedestrian network, and that provides education and encouragement programs to facilitate bicycling and walking. See the complete plan here https://www.wauwatosa.net/home/showpublisheddocument/682/636552822529130000
Although Wauwatosa is a city of only 13 square miles, it includes 11 miles of bike lanes (including green bike lanes and green box boxes in East Tosa) and 14 miles of shared use trails. In 2022, Wauwatosa hosted the Tosa Village Classic, the final stage in the 11 day Tour of America's Dairyland bike racing competition. See attached file Category 5B - Biking Map.
In addition, Wauwatosa has partnered with Milwaukee area Bublr Bikes to provide bike sharing throughout the city, with 16 stations and over 3000 rides taken annually in the city.
You can view all of Wauwatosa's biking and walking programs here https://www.wauwatosa.net/discover-tosa/bike-walk-tosa
Finally, Wauwatosa has become a leader and award winner in the Safe Routes to School program, achieving in excess of $500,000 in state grants that have provided infrastructure for items such as flashing beacon crosswalk signs and car speed display signs. All schools have participated in annual Walk to School and Bike to School Days, with the safest route to walk or bike identified for each school.
D. Document that your community has been recognized as a Green Tier Legacy Community.
The City of Wauwatosa has been a Green Tier Legacy City in good standing since 2017. See https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/GreenTier/Participants/CharterPages/LegacyCommunitiesReports.html
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)
Wauwatosa has an active and engaged Sustainability Committee (formerly known as the Energy and Recycling Advisory Committee). Its mission is to champion environmentally sound practices fostering the City’s long-term livability and economic vitality. The committee advises the Common Council and City staff on sustainability matters, and collaborates with residents, businesses and other partners to advance the City’s environmental goals. Many of the city's suatainability objectives can be found here https://www.wauwatosa.net/discover-tosa/sustainability
The Committee and City have embarked on a program to convert all streetlights to LED, which will reduce energy usage by approximately 1,500,000 KWH per year and save the City an estimated $105,000 annually. The City owns about 6,000 street lights. Approximately half of these lights have already been converted to LED fixtures through various capital improvement programs with the remaining half planned to be replaced by 2021.
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.
In April 2021, the City of Wauwatosa, partnering with Arch Electric, completed the installation of a solar panel system on the building complex that includes City Hall, the Civic Center and the Library. This will reduce the city's annual energy cost by $40,000.
In 2019, the City partnered with McKinstry to design, install, commission and monitor solar panels on the roof of the city’s Public Works Facility. The project is expected to meet an estimated 96% of the facility’s annual electricity consumption, as well as reduce CO2 emissions.
In addition to substantial energy cost savings, the City of Wauwatosa will receive more than $100,000 in incentives through the Renewable Energy Competitive Incentive Program (RECIP) offered by Focus on Energy. The statewide utility program provides incentives for cost-effective renewable energy systems installed at eligible Wisconsin businesses through a competitive proposal process. The combination of these incentives and annual energy savings will cover the cost of the Wauwatosa solar project at the Public Works Building. See attachment Category 5F - Solar panel installation at DPW building.
In 2017, Wauwatosa partnered with Midwest Renewable Energy Association to create the Solar Tosa program. Solar Tosa is a grassroots residential and commercial group purchasing program for solar energy. Home and business owners throughout Wauwatosa participated in this program to help pool their buying power to secure significant discounts that make installing solar more affordable than ever. 120 kW of solar were added on 24 properties in Wauwatosa as a result of this program. https://www.growsolar.org/solar-tosa/
I. Document that your community is part of the Energy Independent Community program.
The City of Wauwatosa is designated an Energy Independent Community as shown here https://energyonwi.extension.wisc.edu/energy-independence/#cities
In 2020, the Common Council approved a resolution adopting clean energy goals to reduce municipal emissions to 50% of 2010 levels by 2030, in line with global goals, source at least 25% of all energy from local renewable sources by 2025, and achieve municipal and community carbon neutrality by 2050. The resolution can be found in the attachment Category 5I - Clean Energy Goals.
In 2021, the Common Council approved 2 additional resolutions that support the City's efforts on energy independence. See attachment Category 5I - resolution supporting the energy innovation and carbon dividend act in the US Congress; and attachment Category 5I - Resolution authorizing the City to join the Wisconsin Local Government Climate Coalition (WLGCC).
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 City of Wauwatosa will celebrate World Migratory Bird Day on Sunday, May 7, 2023, focusing on the 2023 theme of "Water". In collaboration with the Friends of County Grounds Park, the City will conduct a Spring Bird Tour at Sanctuary Woods located in the Life Sciences District adjacent to Watertown Plank Road in Wauwatosa. Observe, explore and discover on a 90 minute hike, led by the renowned birder Carl Schwartz. Binoculars are recommended, but not required. All are welcome but tour size is limited to two shifts of 12 and may fill up quickly. Accessible parking will available at the Main Entrance, but is limited. There will be goody bags for adults and children after the tour.
To edit existing photos (must be logged in) hover over the document to reveal the gear.