Bird City - Town of Grafton - Year 3: Sustained Flight

To achieve annual certification as a "Bird City," communities need to demonstrate in a written application that they have met at least seven of 22 criteria, including three from Category 1 and one from each of the other four categories:

Approved Application

Highlights of ---'s Bird Conservation Efforts

 Category 1: Creation and Protection of Habitat

The Town has adopted and is in compliance with Wisconsin’s Smart Growth” law: Ordinance No. 2010‐01: AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF THE TOWN OF GRAFTON, WISCONSIN.

The Town of Grafton also has an ordinance creating an Open Space Program to protect and preserve open space and natural areas within the town. Ordinance 60 authorizes the Board of Supervisors to purchase lands within the town for present and anticipated town purposes, to appropriate money for establishing, maintaining and repairing ecological areas, and to appropriate money to conserve natural resources in the town.

The Town has an active Open Space Commission with a mission to preserve the open space and rural landscape of the Town, which serve to protect birding habitat.

1B. The Riveredge Bird Club has included Grafton in the Christmas Bird Count and that is documented by the map of the bird count and found along with survey data on the Riveredge Website

www.riveredge.us/default.aspx?id=168

Birding Hotspots are identified by Ozaukee County in the Ozaukee County Trailside Birding Guide. Of the 11 on‐trail hotspots, 4 are in the Town of Grafton. Of the 9 off‐trail hotspots, 4 are in the Town of Grafton. That means 8 of 20, or 40% of the designated birding hotspots in Ozaukee County are in the Town of Grafton.

1C. Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve, a prominent Ozaukee County Park and bird habitat on Lake Michigan, is legally protected by a conservation easement held by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT). The conservation easement assures that Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve will be maintained as a nature preserve, prevents any use of the property that could impair or interfere with conservation, and preserves the lake shoreline, forests, wetlands, bluffs and other natural features of the property. The property is also under the guidance of a Stewardship Grant Contract and Land Management Plan for protecting the natural resources. In addition, there are several other State and Federal properties in Ozaukee County with existing bird habitat under legal protection, including several USFWS Waterfowl Production Area properties, including the Ulao Waterfowl Production Area along Hwy. C north of Hwy. 60.

The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust owns the Bratt Woods and Kurtz Woods properties in the Town of Grafton and holds easements on several properties in the Town of Grafton, notably Woodland Shores with a strong Forest Management Program that supports bird life.

Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve. Photo by Gary Mulder
Below: The Bird City Wisconsin flag flies over the informational kiosk at the Lion's Den Gorge Nature Preserve along Lake Michigan in the Town of Grafton.
1D. Updates to the Open Space Program include segments on Important Bird Areas, providing additional bird habitats (e.g. expanding Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve).

The Town of Grafton has begun construction on its 15‐mile Multi‐Use Trail to connect open space areas within the town. The Park and Open Space Plan 9.1.3.11 “is intended to provide for areas where the recreational needs ...can be met without undue disturbance of natural areas". The P‐1 Park and Recreation District is intended to provide for areas where the recreational needs, both public and private, of the populace can be met without undue disturbance of natural resources and adjacent areas.

The C‐1 Conservancy Overlay District is intended to be used to prevent destruction of valuable natural resources and to protect watercourses, including the shorelands of navigable waters, and areas that are not adequately drained, or which are subject to periodic flooding, where development would result in hazards to health or safety, or would deplete or destroy natural resources or be otherwise incompatible with the public.

The RCDO Residential Conservation Development Overlay District is intended to preserve the rural landscape character, sensitive natural areas, farmland and other desirable areas of open land as determined by the Town, while permitting residential development at appropriate densities in an open space setting which is designed to reduce the perceived intensity of development and provide privacy for dwellings. It is an overlay district to be used in the R‐1, R‐2 orR‐3 Residential Districts by choice of the landowner/developer. Specific objectives of the RCDO District are as follows: A) To maintain and protect the Town of Grafton’s rural character by preserving important landscape elements, including those areas containing such unique and environmentally sensitive natural features as woodlands, hedgerows, stream corridors, wetlands, floodplains, shore lands, prairies, ridge tops, steep slopes and critical species habitat by setting them aside from development. Such areas contained in primary environmental corridors, as identified by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, are of particular significance for this District. B) To preserve scenic views and to minimize views of new development from existing streets. C) To provide for the unified and planned development of clustered, single‐family, low‐density residential uses, incorporating areas of permanently protected common open space. To aid the Town of Grafton in determining whether the applicant has accomplished the purpose and objectives and has met the design standards of cluster groups and common open space, the development shall include an inventory and site analysis of the tract, including wildlife habitat areas including identification of the predominant species of birds, mammals, amphibians, fish, and reptiles present. The presence of rare and endangered species shall be noted.

1F. The Town of Grafton has a noxious weed ordinance requiring that all noxious weeds shall be destroyed prior to the time in which such plants would mature to the bloom or flower state.

www.townofgrafton.org/noxious_weed_and_invasive_species_control/

and enforces it through the town’s weed commissioner.

Also, on February 8th 2014, Grafton will be presenting a “Love that Rural Feeling‐Ways to Preserve and Enhance” at the Grafton Public Library starting at 11 am. This will focus on hedgerows, bird habitat, and removal of invasive species in addition to land preservation through easements.

In addition: The Town’s web site includes information on weed control for residents with this link: http://dnr.wi.gov/invasives/plants.asp The Town of Grafton held a community invasive species workshop at Bratt Woods in conjunction with OWLT work day. Instructor: Steve Wilkinson.  The Town of Grafton also employs a part‐time “weed inspector” who makes annual rounds and sends notices to residents if they have weeds that need control.

1G. The Town of Grafton has three sites on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail: Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve, the Ulao Waterfowl Production Area, and the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, which crosses through the Town. Bratt Woods is also identified at the trailhead as a birding hotspot.

Category 2: Participation in Programs Promoting Effective Community Forest Management 2B.

 

Forest management in the Town of Grafton is done by Ozaukee County staff and OWLT staff and volunteers. Ozaukee County manages the Lion’s Den Nature Preserve area. OWLT manages Bratt Woods, Kurtz Woods and the private easement forest land in the Town, such as Woodland Shores. All properties have a management plan in place and are monitored a least once a year in addition to property management activities from Spring through Autumn. Additionally, Ulao Creek Partnership has an active program in both tree planting and invasive plant removal along Ulao Creek and on adjacent properties.

 

Category 3: Limiting or Removing Hazards to Birds 3A.

 

The Town of Grafton Open Space Commission website provides this web link to informaiton on controlling free-roaming cast www.wisconsinbirds.org/catsbirds.htm   Because of their small office space and the infrequency  of resident visits to that office, they believe that internet links are the most effective way to inform town residents on educational topics. As an incidental support, Ozaukee Humane will not adopt cats to county residents without guarantee that the cats will be kept indoors. Additional brochures are available at the Town office. The Town’s website is also helpful.

http://www.townofgrafton.org/open_space_commision/

3B. The Town of Grafton Open Space Commission website provides links to information on how to protect birds from window strikes. www.birdcitywisconsin.org/Protecting/PreventingWindowStrikes.htm

Category 4: Public Education

4B. As mentioned above in section 1F, the Town of Grafton will provide a workshop entitled “Love that Rural Feeling‐Ways to Preserve and Enhance” at the Grafton Public Library starting at 11 am on February 8th, 2014. This will focus on hedgerows, bird habitat, and removal of invasive species in addition to land preservation through easements. Furthermore, they provide informational links on improving natural habitat on their website: http://townofgrafton.org/open‐space‐commission

4C. The Town of Grafton Open Space Commission website provides web links to information on the creation and enhancement of backyard habitats.

www.birdcitywisconsin.org/Protecting/PreventingWindowStrikes.htm www.wihumane.org/wildlife/wings/birdsafebuildingparticipants.aspx www.interurbantrail.us/BirdingGuide/Index.htm

4D. The Riveredge Bird Club’s Christmas Bird Count includes the Town of Grafton and that is documented by the map of the bird count and found along with survey data on the Riveredge web site

www.riveredge.us/default.aspx?id=168

 

Category 5: Community Celebration of International Migratory Bird Day

On May 12th, 2012 the Town of Grafton celebrated IMBD. The event was held at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve and ran from 7:30 am to 10:30 am. Highlights of the day included nature walks and a variety of information was readily available to participants.

On May 11, 2013, the Town of Grafton celebrated IMBD with a program at Town Hall and cooperated with OWLT and Ozaukee County on the celebration at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve. That event featured bird walks, a live birds of prey show, and information on how a golf course was turned into the migratory preserve.
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