Wildlife Hazard Assessment

Airports and the areas that surround them are often ideal habitats for birds, deer and other wildlife. And that can wreak havoc on airport operations.

Reducing Risk and Promoting Safety

The Federal Aviation Administration encourages airports to perform wildlife hazard assessments and supports this with funding through their Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

The wildlife biologists at L.R. Kimball, part of our Natural Resources Group, are specially qualified to develop and carry out these FAA-recommended assessments. We also provide coordinated follow-up services, including ongoing communication with regulatory agencies and the development of effective Wildlife Hazard Management Plans (WHMP) to help our clients keep wildlife conflicts at bay.

Key Benefits

Airports can reap huge safety, cost and operational benefits from wildlife hazard assessments, including:

  • Improved safety for passenger, aircraft and airport personnel 
  • Enhanced long-term cost savings via implementation of an approved management plan 
  • Reduced liability for damages caused by wildlife strikes 
  • “Green” image that comes from taking a proactive approach to wildlife management 
  • Reduction of wildlife mortality in the area 
  • Proactive identification of wildlife hazards 
  • Wildlife Hazard Management Plan development to address the issues 
  • Comprehensive evaluation of management efforts

Tips and Suggestions for Addressing Wildlife Concerns

For airports that are considering conducting a Wildlife Hazard Assessment and/or developing a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan or are just struggling to address wildlife concerns, L.R. Kimball Senior Natural Resources Specialist and FAA Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist, Steve Toki, offers the following suggestions:

  1. The FAA distributes various Advisory Circulars, CertAlerts and Certification Information Bulletins, as well as guidance documents and Best Management Practices from the Airport Cooperative Research Program and Bird Strike Committee, USA. Review these materials and understand them.
  2. Consult with an FAA Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist.
  3. Reducing an airport’s attractiveness to wildlife through habitat modification or conversion will have the most pronounced and long-term effect on wildlife occurrence and utilization.
  4. A zero tolerance policy should be instituted and adopted toward all potentially hazardous wildlife. Consistency in hazing/harassment is required in order to eliminate or reduce the occurrence of any one target species.
  5. Information sharing and communication between all vested parties is essential. Frequent and consistent coordination between and among airport management, maintenance, ATC personnel, civilian and military pilots and ground operations can reduce potential hazards through increased awareness. It can also initiate wildlife control and avoidance measures. Wildlife issues should be a topic at all operational meetings.
  6. Wildlife control and management measures should be adaptive and may require implementing various techniques depending upon individual species, time of year and habitat utilization.
  7. Airports must ensure compliance with other applicable state and federal laws and regulations (i.e. wetlands and species of concern).
  8. A WHMP should be clear, concise and actionable.
  9. Various management recommendations may require funding beyond what is currently available to the airport. Thus, it is important to include activities in the airport’s Capital Improvement Program.
  10. Wildlife management requires long-term commitment and vigilance.
  11. Short and long-term habitat management, exclusion and wildlife control plans may be required.
  12. Personnel must be properly trained and equipped in order to successfully implement the plan.

For more information on conducting a Wildlife Hazard Assessment or developing and implementing a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan, please call L.R. Kimball at 814-472-7700.

Thousands of Wildlife Strikes Every Year
From 1990 to 2007, more than 82,000 wildlife strikes were reported. Birds accounted for 98% of all strikes, with mammals contributing 2% and less than 1% attributed to bats and reptiles.