Village of Whitefish Bay

Village of Whitefish Bay

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.

Whitefish Bay submitted a plan in 2009 that was accepted by the state and has been in compliance with Wisconsin’s Smart Growth law for planning and resource management since. The Village updated its comprehensive plan in Novemver 2019. The comprehensive plan include information about natural resources near and in Whitefish Bay including bird species. The plan encourages local groups to study the local presence of rare species and work with regional and state partners to develop + implement a plan that not only preserves existing rare species, but supports diversifying the local habitat in support of rare species. 

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)

Judith Huf has been monitoring birds since 1995; she lives in the Klode Park area. She also has reported the Chimney Swift count on Silver Spring. Paul Hunter shows monitoring data from eBird hotspots, which in Whitefish Bay is Big Bay Park. He is also part of The Biome system that monitors birds in the county.

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

In 2020 and 2021,the Village worked with Whitefish Bay Garden Club on local pocket gardens/parks at Cahill Park, Marlborough Park and Village Library (bio-swale) for butterflies and birds.  Consaul Commons pocket park opened in 2022 with natural plantings. In 2022, hundreds of native plantings were placed at Silver Spring Park, Cahill Park and inside the roadway medians of Silver Spring Drive.

In 2023, the Fire Department parking lot will be replaced with permeable pavers and a bio-swale installation and native plantings on Hampton Avenue. Ushering in yet another oppourtunity for bird friendly native plantings. 

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

The Village has no ordinance that prohibits natural/native landscaping that emphasizes native plants and non-turf lawns. §18-5G states: Yards shall be kept substantially clear of debris and shall be provided with adequate lawn, ground cover, vegetation, hedges, bushes, or other vegetation, maintained as necessary to create a neat and attractive appearance. As long as the native landscaping is well kept and does not contain noxious weeds it is acceptable. On December 5, 2022, the Village Board amended ordinaince §18-5G to allow for participation in "No Mow May": "The height restrictions of this subsection pertaining to grass may be temporarily exceeded during the Month of May to promote pollinator emergence. The exception to grass height limits during the month of May, however, shall not be construed to also provide an exception to the need for a property owner to abate all weeds defined as noxious weeds in Wis. Stats."

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.

In 2021 the Village added signage at Silver Spring Park and the Library Bioswale regarding natural habitats. Videos of invasive species presentation on Silver Spring park project created and posted online on Garden Club Facebook and Instagram. There are continued refforts to maintain Silver Spring Park, and remove invasive speciaies as they are identified. 

The Village continues to keep Klode Park herbicide/pesticide free. Money to improve the turf was included in the Village Budget. Using green procedures, efforts were made to continue restoring the turf damaged by the ice rink. 

Native plants were introduced in the Klode Park garden. This will be used as an educational tool for the Village. 

Continued efforts are being made to assess other sustainable land practices for Klode Park and other parks in the Village. The Klode Park bluff renovation renovation project will begin in 2023. This project will focus on re-establishing the steep bluff and increase the number of native plantings throughout the area. The bluff is currently a "no-mow" zone.

Continue to improve sewer runoff, reduced salt usage along with encouraging the use of rain barrels and installation of rain gardens. In 2023, the Village is also continuing its active Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) program. A park advisory committee met numerous times in 2016 to formulate a plan for park management efforts. In 2017, the park advisory committee finalized its report and recommendation.

Village Ordinance states that that yards shall be kept free of noxious weeds as identified in § 66.0407. 

The educational efforts in order to eradicate the invasivve speciaes are pbublised ont eh Garden Club website, the Village Weekly Newsletter and the Bay Leaves Managzine. These species were eradicated using industrial strength vinegar, black geo-fabbrik tarping and natural sunlight. 

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 Whitefish Bay Garden Club works with the Village of Whitefish Bay yearly on completing the Bird City application and the initiatives listed in the application. The Village has provided great cooperation and coordination of reaching out to the Garden Club when planning public works projects. In turn, the Garden Club provides expert assistnace in reviewing planting schedules and species selections. 

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

In 2019 the Whitefish Bay Garden club created a new rain garden and bioswale at Silver Spring Park. Bioswales provide landscaping create habitats for birds, butterflies, and local wildlife. They also reduce the overall runoff volume and flow rate which is received by the larger stormwater system. Bioswales are an aesthetically-pleasing alternative to concrete gutters and storm sewers, employing vegetated low-lying areas or troughs that use plant materials and specialized soil mixes to treat, absorb, and convey stormwater runoff.  Using a black geothermal fabric to remove invasive plants and limiting the need for harmful chemicals. In 2021, the Whitefish Bay Garden club finalized the bioswale and natrual planting area at Silver Spring Park. A walking path was created for people to learn about plants, birds, and insects. Educational signage in the park allow for patrons to scan QR codes with their cell phones. Large educational signs explain bio-swales and raingarden in the park, in addition to the QR codes.  An education campaign will display on the phone which demonstrates which native plants people may choose to plan at their homes.  More than 650 plants representing more than 42 species were planted in the park.  

The Whitefish Bay Public library has a natural planting seed bank for residents to help restore bird habitats on thier personal property. The Library also has the natural bio-swale with native plantings. 

The Village is always researching new public locations for native plantings. 

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.)

Silver Spring Park offers eductional signage, some with QR codes that can be scanned with a cell phone. The user will be shown educational infomation on the species of native plantings located within the park, and tutorials on what can be planted in the home garden. 

U. Show that your community maximizes the value of right-of-way space (e.g., power lines, pipelines, etc.) by planting them with native grasses, shrubs, herbs, and other prairie/grassland plants.

In 2020 the Whitefish Bay Environmental Group, the Whitefish Bay Garden Club, and the Village will be working on a pocket park project to introduce native species in three Village right-of-way spaces.  This project was partially completed in 2021 and will continue in 2023.  There was a small natural planting area added to Bartlett Drive in 2022. The Village is now exploring options for native plantings within alleyways. 

Community Forest Management

A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

The Village of Whitefish Bay continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1994.

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 Village has created a web link educating the public on the Cats Indoors program. Brochures for this program are also available in the Village Hall, a local vet office and the Green Day celebration.  The Village publishes a cats indoor article annually in the March Bay Leaves village-wide magazine. The Village will promote via newsletter and other media outlets as well. 

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 Village website includes information for enhancing backyard habitat for birds and links to Bird City and other national organizations.  The Garden Club provides articles in the Village Newsletter and Bay Leaves that help promote this issue as well. 

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

The Whitefish Bay Garden Club spearheads the Village's Bird City application and also maintains a website with articles related to World Migratory Bird Day and Bird City (under “Resources”). This website is linked to the Village’s website.  The Garden Club teaches school age children at the Annual Bay Day event various lessons related to improving bird habitats. In 2020 many venues were closed due to COVID-19, however the Garden Club completed social media posts, Bay Leaves articles, and sold Bird Houses that included educational materials about the birds at the local Whitefish Bay farmers market. 2021 the Garden Club supported Bay Day by handing out native plantings. Bay Day will return in-person in 2022. 

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 Bird City Wisconsin page can be found directly under the Community tab on the Village website.


I. Show that your municipality promotes and supports a bird club or other environmentally/ecologically-minded club. (Exclusions: Garden clubs, unless you demonstrate a strong focus on native plants)

The Village has partnered with the Whitefish Bay Environmental Group on achieving solar power on the Public Works Building, composting promotion, and the  2020/2021 pocket parks project. 

The Garden Club has also partnered with Bird City. 

J. Document that a municipal building has significant bird-friendly landscaping that features native plants AND signage that explains the importance of native plants and providing diverse habitat for birds (e.g., brush piles, water features).

In 2021 the Village a bioswale and raingarden between Village Hall and the Library was completed include educational signage. In 2019, the Police Department completed a rain garden with native plantings. Silver Spring Park completed in 2021 also has signage and brid friendly landscaping. 

Energy & Sustainability

A. Document an energy audit for a municipal building and show that your community is working to implement its recommendations.

In 2015, an energy audit was completed on the Vilalge Libray. The recommendations for installation of a new automation system were implemented and the result is a net savings of $26,000-$28,000 annually (in 2014 dollars). 

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)

In 2021-2022 the Village upgraded all streetlights to LED.

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.

The Public Works Building now receives the majority of its electricity from solar energy.  Click here for tracking web page. 

H. Describe your community’s efforts to educate residents about climate change.

In 2023, the Village has engaged in preliminary discussions regarding the possibility of developing a Climate Change Action Plan. This will be explored in more detail in 2023.  

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

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.

In May 2019, the Village of Whiteish Bay celebrated World Migratory Bird Day during its Bay Day event at Klode Park. The focus of the day was to create a healthier environment for birds by promoting an awareness of bird migration, native plants and composting for turf, gardens and birdhouses. The official poster of WMBD was handed out to children. The theme in 2019 involved was the reduction of plastic use. The Whitefish Bay Garden Club created posters creating awareness of single use plastics.  This helped by not using single use water bottles and plastic bags. There was also a raffle reusable mesh bags for produce and reusable storage containers to reduce use of cling wrap  Members spoke about the importance of providing healthy materials for bird nesting and lists of recommended materials were provided for creating a bird friendly environments in the back yard. The nesting bags included all natural materials. Children were encouraged to make their own bags. Feedback from those who utilized the bags was positive and individuals indicated that it was enjoyable to witness the birds using the nesting bags. In 2020, Bay Day was cancelled as a result of COVID-19, however the Village did place articles in newsletter and Bay Leaves about plastic use. In 2021 and 2022, the Village and the Garden Club partnered to hand out natural plantings as part of a moblie Bay Day event.  

Joined Bird City: 2012

Population: 14,110

Incorporated: 1892

Area: 2.53 mi2

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